The Cornish, the part-time Cornish and selective amnesia
The Cornish are an ethnic group recognised as belonging to the Celts that inhabited this island called Britain prior to the invading Romans, and later the Anglo Saxons, forefathers of today’s English. However, it wasn’t until November 2002, that the Cornish language was recognised and it took a further 13 years until the Cornish themselves were formally recognised as an ethnic group in April 2014.
This recognition wasn’t ‘gifted’. It followed many years of political battles and campaigns by Cornish historians, politicians, groups and individuals who were up against not only an Anglo-centric media, but an even more Anglo-centric Westminster. These people that stood against bigotry and hatred are the champions of Cornish identity; these are Cornish people, the essence of the Cornish minority. Some are named in the Cornish National Minority Report 2 that did much to promote our recognition.
Yet Cornwall itself has yet to receive the respect of similar recognition. It remains under the ignominy of an English administration; an administration that excludes Cornish history and language from its school curriculum and imposed upon Cornish school children in Cornwall – assimilation by education. This is against the FCNM and the reason the Cornish were included to prevent such assimilation.
The situation is exacerbated further. As we write about Cornish patriots, there also exists other types of ‘Cornish’ person that are the complete opposite. There are the part-time Cornish that only appear on St Piran’s Day; there are the type that have distinct Cornish surnames and lineage, yet steadfastly refuse to acknowledge their Cornish ethnicity; other Cornish types declaring their ‘Cornishness’ while while at the same time supporting their favorite English football/rugby team; some are content to support their ‘Cornish’ rugby clubs so secure in their ‘selective amnesia’ they actually need reminding that they are not Cornish clubs at all, but are English clubs under a Cornwall RFU which itself resides under the English RFU that selects players of ability to play for . . . England.
The Cornish are a minority in their own homeland and in danger of becoming an even lesser minority as Westminster, enabled by Cornwall Council, has building targets not aimed solely at Cornwall’s current growing population, but to house more incomers to Cornwall.
Despite the efforts of our Cornish patriots, England’s assimilation of the Cornish and Cornwall continues apace and enabled to some extent by our own ‘part-time’ Cornish that remain in a state of subserviance and selective amnesia. For without significant Kernow-centric support, an Anglo-centric Westminster isn’t motivated to enable the way towards a Cornish administration; a Cornwall that can take pride in a Cornish RFU or Cornish School Curriclum.
“If my mother tongue is shaking the foundations of your state, it probably means that you built your state on my land”