Minority Rights for Cornwall? We Essex Men Want Them Too!
Byline: Simon Heffer
AS PART of our politicians' endless search for minorities to ingratiate themselves with, they have decided that the Cornish are 'a national minority'.
An announcement to this effect was made by Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, on a visit to Bodmin, and it has no doubt caused dozens of Cornish people, and millions of Cornophiles all over the world, to heave sighs of relief at the end of their centuries of oppression.
It has also sparked one of the greatest outpourings of drivel, rubbish and tripe in this country's recent political history.
A man called Stephen Williams, described as the Government's 'Communities Minister', greeted Mr Alexander's announcement by grovelling to the Cornish people about the joy they would feel at this moment.
'The Cornish and Welsh are the oldest peoples on this island,' the Lib Dem MP for Bristol West proclaimed, without any actual facts to reinforce such a statement.
The Cornish will be added to the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities -- which means that those who had hitherto feared pogroms being conducted in the streets of Penzance and Newquay can sleep easy.
Far be it from me to suggest that this shameful stunt has anything to do with the fact that the Lib Dems -- who appear to have been wholly behind it -- are about to face obliteration even in a county that has long been the party's heartland.
Nor, I am sure, is it anything other than a coincidence that Ukip are strong in Cornwall, thanks to the betrayal of the county's fishing industry by the EU's Common Agricultural Policy -- something endorsed by Nick Clegg and his friends.
Since Cornwall is a giant retirement home for people from all over Britain, it would be interesting to know how many residents are actually ethnically pure members of the 'oldest peoples' in these islands. Not a lot, I should imagine.
And since, as one campaigner interviewed on Radio 4's Today programme yesterday said, with an apparently straight face, 'Cornwall is not England', I wonder whether the Cornish people (ethnic or immigrant) are prepared to put their principles where their wallet currently is, and assert their independence of the despised mother country?
Not at the moment, apparently. When resources are so scarce that even the English language cannot be taught properly in our schools, Mr Clegg, in a repulsively cynical gesture, announced last month a grant of PS120,000 to the Cornish Language Partnership, taking the amount spent on this since 2010 to more than PS500,000.
The money is used by this quango to 'promote the use of Cornish'. No doubt if you stroll tonight into a bar in Helston you will hear little else.
LIKE Scotland and Wales, Cornwall is asserting the right of economically disadvantaged extremes of the British Isles to protest they are a victim of dictatorship from London, while being quite happy to take English money.
Cornwall's gross domestic product is around 24 per cent dependent on tourism, with some towns, such as Boscastle, saying they are 90 per cent dependent on it.
Figures suggest that five million tourists a year visit the county, with most of them from the rest of the UK. Since Cornwall strikes many as being Brittany without such good food, drink or weather, it is easy to see how vulnerable this economy is.
England now waits to see how the county will develop its national identity until the inevitable day when it calls a referendum on independence. …