RSGB Chairman Steve Hartley, G0FUW, to visit Poldhu 12th December.

“VISIT CANCELLED

Due to family illness, Steve Hartley cancelled his planned visit on 12th December,, but will be in touch in due course.”

Following our request to the RSGB to support our request for a further allocation of the “K”, the RSGB replied on 23rd November, we now have their consent to publish their email as below.

We also exhibit our reply dated 29th November.   As a response, the RSGB Chairman has kindly agreed to visit Poldhu on Monday 12th December.      Anyone who would like to meet Steve, and put their views to him is welcome to come to The Marconi Centre, Poldhu, from 2.30pm.   It would help us to know numbers if you could email your intention to “info@gb2gm.org” .

g0fuw

Please reply to:
Mr Keith Matthew
Secretary,
Poldhu Amateur Radio Club
3, Marconi Close
Helston TR13 8PD
or by email to: secretary@gb2gm.org
29th November, 2016

Mr Steve Thomas
General Manager
RSGB
3, Abbey Court
Fraser Road
Priory Business Park
Bedford MK44 3WH

Dear Steve,

RSL “K” for Kernow

Please thank your Board for their time in considering our Report to Ofcom, with its request for RSGB endorsement, and also thank you for kindly writing to advise us of their decision.

We are grateful for the kind words in your last sentence. But much of the rest of your email seems to convey an attitude to us which may appear to be incompatible to the RSGB’s policy of ” developing the practice of Amateur Radio”, the words on your website?
Where is the well deserved congratulations to Cornwall’s Amateur community for the outstanding success of K2016? Cornwall’s Amateurs have, by and large, remained loyal to the RSGB, but the reverse does not seem to be in evidence. Why try to find every nuance of a point that would be contra to our case instead of the looking for ways to support us?

Yes, the NM status was granted to Cornish people, not to Cornwall. But Ofcom long ago made the jump from one to the other, which you, too, should accept:
September 2014, Ofcom letter, ” In the case of the ‘Cornish minority’, I am aware that, historically, the ‘ethnic Cornish’ spread well into what we now call Devon (and beyond). So, as with the Scotland example, we must limit the use of the RSL by geography, as otherwise it is unmanageable. We shall make the RSL available because the ‘Cornish minority’ has been recognised by the UK Government under the FCNM and can be tied to the county of Cornwall.”

Wales, Scotland, etc are countries…which Cornwall is not. But what is a “Country”? An area of land that has its own government? The difference between the powers of the Welsh Assembly, and those of the Unitary Cornwall Council, which enjoys more delegated powers of self government than any other county, is only a matter of degree. On many matters, such as defence, the difference is indistinguishable.
The RSLs for Wales, Scotland, etc, were established before the FCNM was conceived. Under the FCNM decision, it is the Cornish Celtic ethnicity which is decisive, and the Celtic nations are defined in undoubted terms, e.g. in Wikipedia. Cornwall is on an equal footing with the others, as clearly stated in the FCNM announcement. As a quasi – government body, Ofcom is obliged to recognise this equality, even if the RSGB does not have to. You should support our aims, assist Ofcom in any way to reflect the FCNM status, and not try to persuade Ofcom to side-step their obligations.

2.

Wales, Scotland, etc., are DXCC entities, which Cornwall is not. We have throughout made clear that we are not seeking that status. The prefixes 2, G, and M, are allocated to the whole British Isles, how we use them is up to us. Canada, and a 100 other countries, as you know, use a further character to denote parts of their country, with no attempt to portray them as separate entities. Why should we not do the same? I hesitate to use the expression “little Englander”, but failing to use a practice widely used elsewhere, if it will benefit the hobby, is inexcusable, is it not?

The inability to change the RSL for visitors when in Cornwall was your final point. We have requested this point many times with Ofcom, as we see it would be a major boost to the hobby if it were allowed, and this was put again in our latest Report (para 4.1). We guess that Ofcom thought this was a step too far, but we believe it would work well. By and large, Radio Amateurs are proud of their licence and observe it in all details. With K2016 there have been no problems, the nearest has been two cases of people switching “main addresses” so as to have their main, rather than a holiday home address, in Cornwall. Ofcom told us they would accept such at face value, but the issue would not have arisen had our request been granted. Your support, too, for this request would be welcome. You can imagine the groups who would visit Cornwall to use the “K”, just as they visit Guernsey, etc., with consequent mutual spin off benefits to the hobby.

Your rebuttal of the statement about persuading Ofcom to refuse us, is flawed. Your website carried the words “and to review the decision itself”. Surely that is diplomatic speak for “find a way to revise and change your decision”. Ofcom certainly took it that way, using expressions such as “The RSGB challenged our decision” (letter from Ofcom 22 6 2015). Whatever the exact wording in your communications with Ofcom, would you deny that you wanted the decision to be reversed, rather than commend Ofcom for their support for the hobby? This lack of support for us in Cornwall, was greeted here with absolute dismay and disbelief. We are still receiving comments, such as the attached from Chris Hoare, G6GWX. You make much of the lack of consultation by Ofcom, so why did you not send us copies of your exchanges with Ofcom? Or consult with us before “challenging Ofcom’s decision”? We have been straight with you – our first submission to Ofcom was handed in through the RSGB by Graham Coomber, he later told me that we could go on negotiating direct with Ofcom. I reported Ofcom’s approval personally to Graham at the 2014 Newark show. Each stage was shown on our website.

We now learn from a recent Ofcom letter to Scott Mann, MP for North Cornwall, as attached, that you have expressed to them “strong views” that the RSL “K” for Kernow would “be of concern to amateur radio enthusiasts in other parts of the country”. Again, a clear hint of a negative attitude? Why is the reason for these concerns not stated? If it is because others cannot benefit from a similar RSL, an issue which we understand, then surely you do not think that such an issue should be the justification for denying the “K” to Cornwall, and thus suppressing the development of the hobby here? That would be an appalling position to take, and is clearly a case of “sour grapes”. Instead, any such leanings should be countered by good leadership from the RSGB. Your “strong views” seem to have no valid basis?

We in Cornwall wouId be delighted to support improvements to the hobby in other areas. As regards the “K”, we have “done our bit”, by requesting that visitors can use the “K”, and we have devised and run a successful Award, which together with others run by CRAC and the WAB group have been widely welcomed, and have benefited other UK (and overseas) Amateurs with the extra activity they have stimulated. We have tried to extend the benefits of the “K” as widely as possible.

3.

Ofcom initially allowed our request, in principle, satisfying themselves on all issues – regulatory,
international obligations, etc. After your challenge, they took 9 months to find a reason to change that decision, then only saying that they had no Policy for new Permanent RSLs, and so withdrew
their consent to us. It cannot be that difficult to change an internal policy, why not support our request to them to do so? But you say “it would not be appropriate to discuss the matter further with Ofcom” . That decision seems flawed? It is not acceptable here in Cornwall.

In these days when there is a widespread anti-establishment feeling, neither you nor Ofcom can maintain for long your negative stance on this issue. There is a mood of intolerance of intolerances. The new Prime Minister made it one of her first tasks to order a review into the discrimination by public services against ethnic minorities, this being a classic case.

We here in Cornwall are working hard to promote the hobby. We have found a way that causes no adverse effect, is an undoubted success, but our National body seems opposed to it all the way. Why, please?

The RSGB seems to have lost contact with Cornwall. Perhaps it would help if you and Nick Henwood could please visit us, how about December 12th, when we have an activity day and in the afternoon make a symbolic contact with Canada? Our last official visitor was when Mr Kirby came, about 4 years ago? Steve Nichols called in, informally last summer when on holiday, when he seemed very complimentary of our efforts, which was very welcome to hear in the circumstances.

We now request you to please reconsider your position, and to support our request to Ofcom for a further allocation of RSL “K”. As we said to Ofcom, we will be happy to discuss with you any issues, and to help to resolve them.

Yours sincerely,

John Farrar GK3UCQ

Chris Lewis GK3NHL

On behalf of Poldhu Amateur Radio Club

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