The ongoing stadium for Cornwall saga received another set back during a Cornwall Council meeting that resulted in its deferral, but despite the disappointment felt by stadium supporters, there are people who question the whole concept of a so-called stadium for Cornwall.
For while the facility is promoted as being the stepping stone for Cornish talent that will further enable that talent to play at the highest levels, where exactly are these highest levels? The highest echelons of English sport that will likely be rugby, and even worse for Cornish and Cornwall’s identity – it will be English rugby
. . the charity shop cloak of an ‘English county’ administration
There exists in Cornwall a belief that to tag something ‘Cornish’ makes it so – it doesn’t. Unlike the Cornish people who, after centuries of assimilation, have had their ethnicity officially recognised, Cornwall’s own identity remains that of an ‘English county’ – a stadium for Cornwall does not mean a Cornish stadium.
Cornwall must rid itself of the charity shop cloak of an ‘English county’ administration to become a fully fledged, law-making Cornish Assembly. A Cornish Assembly, like that of Wales, would serve to enshrine the identity of Cornwall in a similar fashion as the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities did for the Cornish people themselves. Until that happens, any Cornish talent will likely be assimilated by playing ‘county’ rugby as very few have followed the example of Cornishman Luke Charteris who has played for Wales at at the highest level.
The Cornish and the Welsh are from the same cloth that was torn asunder by the very people who imposed Cornish assimilation. It must not be forgotten too that the Cornwall RFU isn’t Cornish. It remains a subordinate club of the English RFU that facilitates Cornish players’ progression to the English national team, a facility which is certainly not in the spirit of the FCNM. So much for Cornish recognition. It would therefore greatly benefit Cornish identity if the Cornwall RFU cut the ties to the English RFU and held negotiations with a view to reforming under the Welsh RFU. In fact, all sporting groups in Cornwall should form links with Wales; cut the ties that binds Cornwall to an England that has such a negative effect upon the identity of Cornwall.
The Cornish and the Welsh are from the same cloth
Of course, financial constraints will likely trump any Cornish ethnicity/identity considerations thus ensuring that most Cornish sports people will continue to shun their own Cornish ethnicity for an English identity and its larger pay-packet.
But until Cornwall is in the secure position of having its own unique identity recognised and enshrined within a Cornish Assembly, then any proposed ‘stadium for Cornwall’ will be a stadium of assimilation; a stadium that will erode Cornish identity into becoming an English identity; a stadium that will likely host English games that would see the English flag of St George flying from its masts rather than the Cornish flag of St Piran; Cornish players wearing the English rose rather than the Cornish shield of fifteen bezants.
English flags flying at a Cornish stadium?
Does the recent hard-fought Cornish recognition mean it can be cast off like an old smock leaving future Cornish generations reduced to playing under an English identity?
Be careful what you wish for Cornish people – because you just might get it.