KEEP KERNOW TIDY! Cornwall has always been multicultural and always will be. Following Mebyon Kernow party leader Dick Cole's condemnation of the pigs head event (see here and here) some more thoughts.
Throughout history our Duchy has welcomed people from other cultures. Flemish, Breton, English, French and other nationalities have lived side by side with the Cornish and our sea ports have always thronged with languages and peoples from around the world. The sea has never really isolated us but rather connected to us to the wider Europe and wider world. Even the vast majority of our modern genetic make up is thought to have originated in the north west of the Iberian Peninsula and spread up the west coast of Europe after the last ice age followed later by our Brythonic language.
By multiculturalism I mean the natural product of a multi-ethnic, multi-faith, individualist society. Such a society is healthy, liberal and libertarian whilst being respectful and tolerant of other peoples life choices. No group can live in isolation and the exchange of people and culture is a source of innovation, creation and ultimately strength.
I don't mean passively accepting massive in migration from England. This is not a question of multiculturalism but rather cultural, economic and environmental sustainability. Surely nobody is arguing that in the name of multiculturalism our environment should be destroyed, our young families priced out of the housing market and our indigenous culture submerged and lost?
Nor do I mean isolated communities layered on top of each other yet ignorant and suspicious of one another. Such is a recipe for a breeding ground of hate, intolerance and all forms of extremism.
Of course we need an immigration policy but we cannot (and should not want to) hermetically seal off Cornwall from the rest of the world because in the end it will be only us who suffer. The best we can wish for our nation is a healthy civic society which is informed about our true history and culture yet open to other cultures and new ideas from around the globe. Rather than isolation us give us a Cornish education; give us autonomy; give us institutions and our culture will look after itself.
There is no place for the extreme right in Cornwall, surely this is something all Cornish groups can agree on. I find it hard to believe true Cornish nationalists were involved with the pigs head incident, after all how can anyone with their head screwed on think targeting hyper-minority groups in the Duchy will help the Cornish nation in anyway whatsoever? When it comes to the Cornish question there is a list of usual suspects, and tiny communities issued from immigration aren't on it.
The disparate groups in the Cornish movement well never agree on everything but perhaps the Pigs Head affair is cause for a common front. Why not a letter or anti racist charter drafted and signed by all Cornish groups denouncing all forms of prejudice that is then disseminated to the media in Kernow?
If you are thinking the BNP have anything to offer Cornish culture then take a look at the Anglo-supremacist trash below.
MK CONDEMN ATTACK ON FORMER CHAPEL AT QUENCHWELL
We must all work hard to promote understanding throughout Cornish communities Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall has condemned the recent racist attack on the former Methodist Chapel at Quenchwell, near Carnon Downs, where an Asian community centre is planned.
The new owner of the chapel has stated that he hopes to develop the building into a multi-faith centre where people of all faiths can go to celebrate family occasions and practice their religion.
In the recent attack, the head of a pig was nailed to the door and graffiti of a racist and ‘nationalist’ nature daubed on the walls.
Speaking on behalf of MK, Party Leader Cllr Dick Cole made the following statement:
“MK is saddened and appalled at the attack on the former chapel at Quenchwell. Such racist behaviour has no place in Cornish society and we condemn it without reservation.
“The attack is a crude attempt to foster division and intolerance in Cornwall and this must be resisted at all costs. It is unacceptable that any individual or group should have to put up with such harassment.
“We believe it is important that everyone works hard to help build an inclusive society that respects and celebrates the cultural background and faiths of minority groups in Cornwall today.
“We also welcome the statement of Police Inspector Mark Richards that the graffiti was offensive ‘not only to Asians, Asian religions, but also to Christians and Cornish nationalists whose name is taken in vain.’
“It is our hope that the Police will be able to catch those responsible for this crime and take the appropriate action.”
From the Celtic League:
KERNOW - RACIST ATTACKS ON COMMUNITY CENTRE CONDEMNED
The General Secretary (GS) has written to Cornwall Council Leader David Whalley in an attempt to urge the Council to do more to promote relations between ethnic groups in Cornwall. The call comes shortly after a spate of racist graffiti attacks against a former Methodist chapel near Truro that is currently being converted into an Asian community centre.
The full text of the GS letter, which has been copied to the Muslim Council of Britain and Chief Constable Stephen Otter (who is also the spokesperson for the Association of Chief Police Officers on Race and Diversity), can be found below:
"Dear Councillor David Whalley
Racist attacks on Methodist Chapel, Quenchwell
I am writing to you following repeated graffiti attacks on the old Methodist chapel at Quenchwell, near Carnon Down in recent weeks.
The Celtic League outrightly condemns any racist attack against members of other ethnic communities in Cornwall and elsewhere, even if they are only, for the moment, in the form of graffiti. Even though it was probably only a small number of people who were responsible for dubbing the graffiti and that the vast majority of people in Cornwall would equally condemn the attacks, it may nevertheless be prudent for Cornwall Council, along with members of the Devon and Cornwall Police Constabulary and other public bodies, to begin a campaign or series of events to encourage members of Cornwall's public to engage in intercultural dialogue.
As you may be aware, 2008 is the European Year for Intercultural Dialogue and is also an area that the European Union has been promoting for many years within Europe and beyond. The aim of the project is to forge and develop good relations between members of different cultural groups. (More information, including some ideas, can be found at the link below). Relating to the Year for Intercultural Dialogue events could be organised between members of different ethnic groups throughout Cornwall, in an attempt to promote cultural dialogue and understanding. In the other Celtic countries, where such programmes have been implemented, the results have been very encouraging.
We are aware of some small scale programmes in Cornwall that aim to promote intercultural understanding e.g. Redruth Polish Society, but the Celtic League believes that a Cornwall wide approach is needed to overcome the bigotry and prejudice among some people that has manifested itself in the graffiti at Quenchwell.
We look forward to hear your views on this matter.
The Celtic League is committed to combating racism and in 2001 at its AGM in Cymru endorsed the aims and objectives of the (United Nations) 'World Conference Against Racism'.
See links at:
J B Moffatt
Director of Information
The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.
Internet site at: