Exemptions from Democracy

Lord Berkeley, in a speech in the House of Lords on 15th May 2012, quoting a representative of the Duchy of Cornwall, stated that:-

“the Duchy is not democratically accountable in any meaningful sense”.

Lord Berkeley’s speech covered the Duke of Cornwall’s right to bona vacantia; escheat; ownerless property; foreshore; gold and silver mined or treasure and crown immunity in Cornwall and posed the question; why is this different in Cornwall?

Suggestions for modernisation were made for the Heir to the Throne’s Duchy of Cornwall, and, “Most important, the Duchy should not have Crown immunity”.

Who is responsible?  Is the avoidance of democratic accountability a criminal offence?   Why have generations of politicians condoned and ignored instances of the failure of democratic accountability?  Politicians have also failed to produce a one-stop British constitution document containing details of the enforceable responsibilities for persons elected or employed to exercise power in a manner we were taught to believe would mean democratic accountability.

The Duchy of Cornwall has never been democratically accountable to the pre-England indigenous British and Celtic Cornish people of Cornwall.

When encountering information about the Duchy of Cornwall, English people would be advised to take note of the Complete Oxford English Dictionary definition of: “Democracy”, which is:  “From the Greek, People rule”  and, “A social state in which all have equal rights without hereditary or arbitrary differences of rank or privilege”.  “Society characterised by tolerance towards minorities”.  This wording should be included in the British constitution and applied without fear or favour.

People rule is not the prerogative of political parties.  Following the election of Francois Hollande as the new President of France, the leader of the government party in the German Parliament is reported by the Sunday Times of 13th May 2012 as affirming that: “Germany is not here to finance”, i.e., is not democratically accountable for; “French election pledges”.

In the UK it is time for a constitutional debate on the proposition: “Cornwall is not here to finance English election pledges claiming the Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate so that Parliament can be exempt from the constitutional duty of imposing taxation on its electorate to provide an income for the heir to the throne”.  This ‘Cornwall’ plan has helped to make the Monarchy popular with English people.    For Cornwall, “not democratically accountable” began with the assumption of the hereditary title of Duke of Cornwall for the heir to the throne on the authority of two still unrepealed Charters of the 17th and 18th March 1337 which transferred extensive Celtic properties in Cornish speaking Cornwall to the very first English Duke.   

Although legally recognised as constitutional, on account of providing an income for the heir apparent, questions concerning established Duchy of Cornwall policies  relevant to the economic history of Cornwall are treated as a state secret exempt from democratic accountability and Freedom of Information Acts.

Even in the fourteenth century, when Hereford Cathedral displayed the famous Mappa Mundi showing Cornwall as a nation, it was considered unchristian to rob your neighbour and confiscate his land. 

Hence, the preparation of a third secret Duchy of Cornwall Charter on 3rd January 1338, also unrepealed, which specifically grants to the Duke the right to exercise absolute power in Cornwall with The King’s Writ and, to do any other official act {officium} there.   In effect, the Duke of Cornwall was made exempt from democratic accountability by politicians and employed by the state to finance his private and public life outside Cornwall in Anglo-Saxon England from the wealth of Celtic Cornwall. 

Unlike the English language, Cornish is not compulsory in Cornish schools.

Cornish history may be ex-curriculum in Cornish schools because, it would appear that the Duchy of Cornwall became the prototype for the subsequent development of the multi-national British Empire with each subjugated land administered by a Vice-Roy exercising the absolute power of The King’s writ.  Fortunately, H.M. The Queen has supported the drive towards responsibility for one’s own destiny which has led to independent nations in control of their own language, culture and history.

Legal authorities claim that the Duchy of Cornwall is: “an institution without separate legal personality”.  (Halsbury’s laws, Crown Property, Vol. 12 (1) para.320).   It is strange that on the strength of its third Charter, Duchy laws were enforced to collect income from Cornish land and cultural sites.   A double tax on mineral production to 1838 was replaced by an award of the mineral rights to all the foreshore and rivers of Cornwall under the Cornwall Submarine Mines Act 1858.  The avoidance of a legal challenge would appear to be the reason why the Duke and the Duchy of Cornwall are given, without public participation, exemption from criminal liability as in the case of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, section 54 and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 sections 111, 145, 185 and 295. 

As to what particular criminal offence might be authorised to qualify for automatic activation of the hereditary right or privilege to exemption from the law and exemption from democratic accountability for the Duke of Cornwall is not revealed.

Such exemptions from the law should be highlighted in a detailed single document constitution.  The British constitution remains an unwritten state secret offering no guarantee against the abuse of power.   This is another form of exemption from democracy.

Anyone might well feel that they should be made exempt from certain laws, especially those concerned with taxation, but one exemption or voluntary payment of tax always presents a bad example for the rest.  By the standards of natural justice however, concessions and exemptions for the Duke of Cornwall remain in open conflict with the spirit of the United Nations principle of equality before the law.

Official secrecy of exemption from democracy appears intended to ensure that the Duchy government of Cornwall has all the powers it needs to exploit Cornwall.  Consequently, there are restrictions on access to information which ultimately over time has lost sight of the English definition of democracy and evolved into an official policy of restricting access to information and access to justice. 

It is contended that secrecy and exemptions from democracy can only have been found necessary in order to conceal the economic history of Cornwall.

In response to a request for information concerning the Duchy of Cornwall, the Library of the House of Commons, by letter of 16th June 1997 to Andrew George M.P., declared: “there are restrictions on any questions which cast reflections upon the Sovereign or the royal family”.   This is clearly one form of exemption from democracy.

Questions might well include: “Did the Duchy of Cornwall promote identity theft by handing over to English Heritage the Celtic icon of Tintagel the Intellectual Property of the Cornish people.   Tintagel was claimed as Duchy of Cornwall property in its first Charter of 1337.

The Duchy of Cornwall claimed exemption from democracy in the form of exemption from the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to deny a request for an answer to a question regarding the date on which the transfer of Tintagel took place. (Duchy of Cornwall letter dated 22nd February 2005).

A state policy of exemption from democracy even in respect of revealing the innocuous transfer date of the ownership of Tintagel exposes a policy of preserving the feudal system for the chosen few with all its racial prejudices.  It raises the question, is the Duke of Cornwall being guaranteed exemption from democracy and authorised by successive governments of the United Kingdom to play the royal card in areas where politicians acting in public could not avoid democratic accountability?

Exemption from democracy leaves the door open for unofficial Duchy continuation of the documented history of racial discrimination against the Cornish people.   Attempts might be made to justify such policies on the grounds that the Charters of 1337/8 were intended “for ever” but then, so was Magna Charta, now all but totally repealed. Fear of the truth about the Duchy of Cornwall is preventing an open debate on the economic history of Cornwall, the policies of the Duchy of Cornwall and the Cornish as a minority nation.

Who is responsible for exempting from English law a guarantee of the basic international democratic principle of “equality before the law”?   Although equality before the law is enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Article 7, it has, obviously as a deliberate policy, not been incorporated into English law.   

Equality before the law is intended to act as protection against discrimination by being applied with integrity by the legislature, judiciary and executive branches of government in the decision making process.  In particular, the principle of equality before the law is intended to avoid racial discrimination on the part of majority nations, such as England, towards minority nations, such as Cornwall. 

Equality before the law has been excluded from the UK Equality Acts 2006 and 2010 possibly for the benefit of Duke of Cornwall’s interests in Cornwall.  This exemption from democracy has totally ignored the Collins English Dictionary which defines “Democracy” as including:   “A social condition of classlessness and equality”.

It is generally asserted that the victor writes the history, though fortunately not the dictionaries, but, does the victor of the Conquest of “1066 and all that” also write the law?    Whether English democracy was designed to recognise the Cornish as a national minority may depend on whether the authors of the Bill of Rights of 1688 intended that their declaration of; “asserting their ancient rights and liberties” included democracy.   If the Bill of Rights includes democracy, then, democracy would include the “ancient rights and liberties” of the indigenous Cornish as a Celtic people of Britain since the time of Christ centuries before England came into being.

There is a hint of English political policy towards the Cornish in the report of the Royal Commission on the Constitution of 1973, The Kilbrandon Report,  which concluded at para 329, that: “ The creation of the Duchy of Cornwall in the fourteenth century may have been in some respects a mark of English overlordship”.  Overlordship?    Just another form of exemption from democracy.

Under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010, Schedule 7 amends the Freedom of Information Act 2000, section 37 (1) to include exemption specifically

for  “the heir to the Throne”. This constitutional change in governance means that the heir to the Throne, in his capacity as Duke of Cornwall, is also exempt and that therefore, Duchy of Cornwall history and the Duke’s policies regarding Cornwall are a state secret as: “not subject to a public interest test”.   

For example.   The Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund (Reg.No. 1026752) has as its object the distribution as ‘benefit’ the income from intestate estates etc., within the area from which it is acquired.  Whereas, “the public interest test” has not been applied in the case of The Duke of Cornwall’s Benevolent Fund (Reg.No. 269183). The distribution of ‘benefit’ from similar sources in Cornwall goes to: “United Kingdom and elsewhere”.  The Duke of Cornwall’s policy is not in the interests of the Cornish public and would appear to reflect a policy that has been in place for over six hundred and fifty years, designed to exploit Cornwall for the benefit of “elsewhere”.  Consequently, Duchy of Cornwall rights in Cornwall represent a policy of retained feudal racism.    


Politicians have apparently confirmed Duchy of Cornwall rights in the belief that allegiance to the Crown means giving absolute priority to the Crown.  This has involved politicians in exempting themselves from every English dictionary definition of democracy to facilitate the maximisation of the Duke of Cornwall’s feudal privileges and income. 

The right of the Duchy of Cornwall to claim property in Cornwall for the benefit of a mythological “elsewhere”, with Crown immunity, is a relic of the Conquest and should be replaced by providing for the heir to the Throne through general taxation to ensure transparent democratic accountability of royal ambitions.

There has been no public debate on the relationship between the English national majority and Cornish national minority rights caught in a Duchy time warp. 

It would appear that the mind-set of the 1% appears to endorse:  state secrecy;  overlordship;  no democratic accountability; Crown immunity; exemption from the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010; exemption from criminal liability while harbouring objections to questions which cast reflections and are in denial of Freedom of Expression.

Exemptions from the law are so obviously in direct contravention of equality before the law.  That equality before the law is compatible with any English language definition of democracy should be recognised by the English political, legal and academic professions as justification to promote the adoption of equality before the law across the board.  To consolidate this legitimate expectation the 99%  should recognise that, in relation to world population, every member of the global society is a member of a minority and therefore, very much dependant upon the principle of equality before the law in order to prevent exemptions from democracy.

After over 650 years of  ‘not democratically accountable’, the impact of the Duchy of Cornwall on the economic history of Cornwall and the exploits of the heir to the throne as Duke of Cornwall calls for a public debate and a public inquiry with the widest possible terms of reference.  

© Save Cornwall – 1st June 2012.

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One Response to Exemptions from Democracy

  1. Glyn says:

    Right on, Colin!

    PS I think Viceroy is preferable to Vice-Roy.

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