Cornish Solidarity (Unvereth Kernewek in Cornish) was a Cornish organisation founded in February 1998. It was founded by the then President of Redruth and District Chamber of Commerce, Greg Woods, who having been disgusted at the press being notified of the demise of South Crofty Mine before the staff and workers of the mine, organised a go-slow. The following day on the A30 he was joined by many people who agreed with him. Later that evening the news reported that this had been a show of "Cornish Solidarity" this was the name that the group then adopted. It is a cross party organisation that is fighting for 'Cornish Rights' including the recognition of the ethnic Cornish as a national minority and for more Cornish autonomy in the form of a Cornish Assembly.
It was formed as a pressure group after the closure of South Crofty, the last hard rock mine in Cornwall, in March 1998. It produces "Cornwall First", a newsletter published every two months which is free to members. In a statement issued in 1998 it said:-
- "Cornish Solidarity is a cross party organisation, made up of people from all walks of life, who firmly believe that our politicians have failed us. We are uniting for ourselves and more importantly for the future of our children."
In 1998, in a protest organised by the organisation, hundreds of campaigners demanding help for Cornwall's economy staged a protest on the Tamar Bridge. A convoy of protesters, many waving black and white Cornish Saint Piran's Flags from their vehicles, drove to the bridge, and used pennies to pay the £1 toll to enter Devon at Plymouth. They claimed that Cornwall was experiencing a "youth drain," because young people had to leave to get a university degree, and then stayed away because there were few jobs to go back to. They also quoted the disproportionate gap between local wages and high house prices and the lack of affordable housing for the young. The organisers demanded a special status for Cornwall, which would give it the same benefits as South Wales and Merseyside in terms of development grants to businesses. Since this action Cornwall was granted European Union Objective One status in 1999. Previously the Government had statistically incorporated Cornwall with Devon in a process known as "Devonwall".
In 1998 Cornwall was recognised by the UK Government as having "distinct cultural and historical factors reflecting a Celtic background", thus allowing it to be separated in a regional and economic sense from Devon, a fact that underlines the importance of Celticity to Cornwall in recent years. Members have come from many diverse backgrounds, and included ordinary people, Business people, Personalities, Public Servants and clergymen as well as representatives from political parties including Mebyon Kernow and the Revived Cornish Stannary Parliament. Since achieving many of its aims, Cornish Solidarity has undertaken a self-imposed hibernation vowing to return to fight any attempt to attack or alter Cornwalls ethnic diversity, boundaries or status.
- BBC news March 1998 - Cornish Solidarity protest
- Hansard 1998 - Cornwall has distinct cultural and historical factors reflecting a Celtic background