Cornish Democracy Unit (Kernow Demokratieth Unses)
Towards a Sustainable Economy
Rachel Turner and Jane Wills from the ESI
- Achieving sustainable development requires an approach which recognises the interconnections between social and environmental factors
- The challenges of present-day issues such as social deprivation and climate change are rooted in systems that require innovative responses
Managing flood risks and uncertainties in Cornwall
Dr Nick Kirsop-Taylor and Professor David Benson. Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall.
- We don’t know enough about how communities perceive the risks and uncertainties around climate-induced flooding.
- We conducted in-depth qualitative research in a Cornish community to better understand this.
- Community members perceived that flooding was increasing, and with it perceptions of risk to both people and capital assets.
- Also an eroding sense of legitimacy in state agencies and institutions to support communities that flood.
- This was precipitating an invigorated sense of community reciprocity networks based on social capital and risk perceptions.
Preaching to the converted? Who attended the Camborne, Cornwall Corbyn rally in August 2017?
Clare Saunders, Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall.
- Camborne, Cornwall, Corbyn rally supporters were disproportionately female (59%) and highly educated (62% have a university degree or higher). Half were in the baby boomer generation (aged 53-71). The most common occupations were socio-cultural professionals (42.9%), managers (15.6%) and service workers (15.3%). 41% had public sector jobs.
- Rally participants were very supportive of Corbyn and the 2017 Labour Party manifesto (apart from the HS2 high speed rail link). The majority were new (47.0%) or non- (30.0) members.
- Many were active in at least some party activities, but non-members were disproportionately engaged in lower intensity activities and high intensity activity was mostly engaged in by new members.
- Only 27 of those surveyed at the rally were not already Labour voters, suggesting that ‘preaching to the converted’ might not be enough to take a swing seat from the Conservative Party.
- The data, and Labour’s failure to win the seat in the 2019 election suggest that Labour should advertise its rallies earlier and open their invitations up to a broader audience in order to convert swing voters.
Growing local councils in Cornwall
Jane Wills, Geography at the University of Exeter, Cornwall
- Cornwall’s commitment to devolution came into its own with austerity and has contributed to the growth and development of a number of town and parish councils in the region.
- Cornwall was able to do this because of the relationships that the council had already been starting to build with town and parish councils.
- Many of the town and parish councils that took part in the research are very interested in expanding their roles.
- Having such increased capacity means that the role of parish councillor carries more weight than it might have previously.
Climate Strikers in Cornwall: Evidence from a protest survey and media analysis
Clare Saunders, Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall (in collaboration with Brian Doherty, Keele; and academics in 11 other cities across Europe)
- Greta Thunberg has been inspirational to Truro-based global climate strikers.
- The majority of Truro-based climate strikers are aged over 20, and therefore are not actually skipping school but rather showing solidarity.
- Women and the highly educated outnumber men and the less well educated.
- Participants are relative novices to protests (even if they do engage in pro-environmental behaviours), who engaged with the strike in order to pressure politicians and express their views.
- Despite being motivated to pressure politicians, the strikers have little faith in governments (or corporations) to solve climate change and they generally lack trust in political institutions.
- The local media has not been particularly supportive of the Truro climate strikes and tends to overlook the genuine motivations of the majority of participants and over play conflictual elements.
Towards a Participatory Representative Democracy? UK Parish Councils and Community Engagement
Joanie Willett and Joe Cruxon, Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall.
- Town and parish councils have the potential to be a really important way for people to be able to shape their communities, and are a primary access point of democracy.
- Although people know that they exist, unfortunately many people don’t have a very good perception of them, and don’t necessarily feel that they reflect their interests.
- To counter this, Cornwall’s parish councils need to make themselves more accessible to a much wider audience. New technologies such as community mobile phone applications might be one way to do this.
Regional Development, Distinctiveness, and the Growth of Identity in Cornish Politics
Joanie Willett and John Tredinnick-Rowe, Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall.
- Despite the fears that globalisation would remove the distinctiveness between different regions, regional identities are getting stronger in many parts of the world.
- Cornish identity has also been getting stronger and more visible in recent decades, and has become a key underpinning factor in many different aspects of Cornish politics.
- One of the reasons why this has happened is because there is a tight inter-relationship between identities, regionalism, and economic development.
Fast Fashion and the Global Climate Emergency: Changing How We Think About Clothing and Developing a Sensibility for Sustainability
Professor Clare Saunders and Dr Joanie Willett, Politics at the University of Exeter, Cornwall.
- The fashion industry is more polluting than aviation and shipping combined, so we need to change our behaviours with regards to clothing. We ran a series of workshops in Cornwall to see what happens when people learn how to make, mend and modify clothing, starting with the raw materials
- The fabric and the garments that we wear are precious and time-consuming to make! Even if we treat them as if they are disposable.
- Learning about clothes in a practical, hands on way in a non-judgemental, supportive space helped people to develop new pro-environmental norms that became supported by the group.
- High street retailers might offer opportunities for regular workshops to mend and modify garments purchased in-store. ns why this has happened is because there is a tight inter-relationship between identities, regionalism, and economic development.