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English Nationalism & Royal Support

In relation to the Cornish national identity much is made by Cornish activists of the inherent English nationalism and Anglo-supremacy that is to be found within the UK establishment. I'd like to look at one particular organisation as an example of this.

Modern English nationalists are keen to point out that following devolution to the ‘recognised’ Celtic home nations England has been left without its own parliament. Not wishing to debate the injustice of this situation for the English nation, suffice is to say that, when considering the history and construction of the UK, this lack of a specifically all England body of governance is but a paragraph in the story of English political and cultural dominance.

When looking specifically at Cornwall and accepting that we have a none English culture, heritage and identity, organisations such as the Church of England, English Heritage, English Nature, Royal Society of St George etc (the list is long) all assume politically nationalist overtones. All these bodies and many others besides reinforce the English county model for Cornwall and constitute the much less than even playing field the Cornish national identity has to contend with.

If we take a quick glance at the website for the RSOSG, 40 odd members in the Duchy, we notice that it is little more than English ethno-cultural nationalism.

(i) To foster the love of England and to strengthen England and the Commonwealth by spreading the knowledge of English history, traditions and ideals. (ii) To keep fresh the memory of those in all walks of life, who have served England or the Commonwealth in the past, to inspire leadership in the future. (iii) To combat all activities to undermine the strength of England or the Commonwealth. (iv) To further English interest everywhere to ensure that St. George's Day is properly celebrated and to provide focal points all the world over where English men and women may gather together.

I take it from objective number three that the Cornish national identity is seen as a threat to England and therefore to be 'combated'.

A closers look will show that what is little more than a platform for English ethno-cultural nationalism is in fact incorporated by royal charter and has the Queen as patron!

Are any Cornish cultural organisations, for example the Gorseth, patronised by the Duke of Cornwall (and please note that the Gorseth at no point talks about 'combat')? Can anybody envisage a Cornish version of the RSOSG receiving royal endorsement?


Sola Gratia said...

I've been interested in the "Cornish question" since my family visited Hayle, where ancestors of ours lived.

This is a open-minded and intelligent blog about the whole issue. From what I've read, you seem to take other points of view into account, which I respect.

First of all, I'm an American, but one interested in my heritage (Predominantly Cornish [Rowe], English/Scottish [Gray], Norwegian [Bratrud, Lizslo] and Norman/English [Hubbard.]) I'm also a deeply committed Anglophile, and not just England but the whole of Britain.

So, my questions to you are: What good will a devolved Cornish parliament do? Is it in fact too late to save Cornish culture, especially its language? Or can a renaissance on a Welsh scale occur? Do you think the Lib-Dem MPs are capitalizing on the Cornish identity to stay in office? Do you think a devolved Parliament and perhaps even government would work in such an economically depressed area? Are there any good books on the subject?


Your fellow blogger,


--Sola Gratia

cornubian said...

Your questions:

1) What good has devolved government done for any number of European regions some of which are poorer, smaller and/or have a lower population than our Duchy?

2) How can I possibly answer that other than with a NO! Perhaps you think (or want) it to be too late? Our language today is in a better state than it has been for hundreds of years. It is recognised and funded by both the EU and UK. It is still a minority interest but a growing one and something most Cornish folk are proud of. It is a small part of Cornwall modern culture but a well established part none the less.

3) The Lib Dems often co-opt the symbols and ideas of Cornish nationalism in Cornwall, but it is not just the the Liberals who have done this through history.

As for good books if you take a look at the right hand side of my blog you'll find a book list. John Angarrack, Philip Payton and Bernard Deacon are recommended authors.

Oll an gwella

Sola Gratia said...

Cornubian: Thanks for your prompt reply.

I will answer your answers, so to speak, in turn.

1) You overestimate me. I don't have any idea what devolved government has done for other regions in Europe. But I assume you see that it has had favorable results, and so you anticipate it to have them in the Duchy. Do you know anything about the Welsh economy after Wales got its own Parliament? Did it follow the English trends, or forge its own path?

2) No, no, no. I don't think (or want) it to be too late to save the Cornish language/culture. I'm not coming from a hostile point of view here, there's no need to jump down my throat. But from what I have read, it looks like you're right; the language is in a better position than it has been in a long time.

3) Okay. Another question: What are your views on the Prayer Book Rebellion? I'm considering doing a research paper on it for school.

Thanks! I continue to read your blog with interest.