Whether you think Cornwall a nation or not does it deserve, even need, a free and balanced press? I hope others join me in answering this question with a resounding YES. A healthy civic society needs and should be mirrored by a free and egalitarian press.
Is this what the Duchy has? The Western Morning News, The West Briton, The Cornishman, The Cornish Guardian and Cornwall Today are all part of theNorthcliffe Media Groupwhich itself is owned by theDaily Mail and General Trust. Readers will probably be aware of the hard-right verging on far-right editorial line of the Daily Mail but just to provide some historical perspective to this political position:
In 1922Lord Rothermereacquired control of the Daily Mail newspaper and to this date, Rothermere's descendants continue to control the Daily Mail and General Trust. Rothermere and the Mail were editorially sympathetic toOswald Mosleyand the Fascists and he wrote an article, "Hurrah for the Blackshirts", in January 1934, praising Mosley for his "sound, commonsense, Conservative doctrine". Rothermere visited and corresponded with Hitler. On 1 October 1938, Rothermere sent Hitler a telegram in support of Germany's invasion of the Sudetenland, and expressing the hope that 'Adolf the Great' would become a popular figure in Britain. Secret British government papers released in 2005 show that Rothermere wrote to Adolf Hitler congratulating him for the annexation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, and encouraged him to march into Romania.
I would say that the Piran Pascoe article inscribes well in the populist Anglo-British nationalist tradition of the Mail and all its underlings in Cornwall. A contributor to theCornwall 24forum summarised the article as follows:
In terms of a free press I do not object to the article. What I – and many do object to – is a similar right of reply. Even the WB's letter page has been cut down and sanitised to deter lengthy correspondence. The article itself was poorly written, anti Cornish (carefully bordering on racism), full of mistakes (i.e. talk of 'independence' rather than devolution), failed to discuss real issues such as the need to devolve in the face of funding constraints and was pathetically populist with the photo of Katie Price cuddling Colin Gregory who (incidentally) is a fantastic journalist compromised by working for this outfit.
An anonymous "Journalist" who uses the age old tactic of mockery and ridicule to make his point, (I am aware that this is written in a similar way) belittle your opponent, pitch your piece at those people who already agree with you, whilst casting doubts on the mental faculties of your opponents "I am sure, like me, many of you normal readers will laugh out loud at this very concept", "Initially I just found this concept – and the deluded band of merry men behind it – laughable" (are the printers of the WB running out of comma's?), "and these kind of proposals are the finest fiction from Cloud Cuckoo land". He uses the words "Them" and "They" to distinguish that there is a definite difference between those "normal" people like him, and the abnormal people who hold such "Cloud Cuckoo land" opinions.
Indeed the article seems to do little more than attack and caricaturise political opponents using hackneyed stereotypes. At no point is there a substantive and rational criticism of any one issue or the suggestion of constructive alternatives. Populist name calling but that is all the West Briton thinks the residents of Cornwall deserve apparently.
Personally I think the Cornish could handle properly researched articles with well argued points of view but tell that to them. Will we see similarly childish articles for a dumbed down duchy that lampoon UKIP, the BNP or the Tories? Don't hold your breath.
It is interesting to note that even when attacking the Cornish and their aspiration for greater democracy it is still felt necessary to adopt symbols of Cornish ethnic or social identity to lend some form of credibility to their out-pourings. Hence 'the Skipper', hence 'Piran Pascoe'. It appears in fact that Piran Pascoe is from Essex.
What's the answer? Hopefully rags as described above are gasping their last breaths in the modern world of the internet so let’s help them on their way to the back pages of history.
Boycott the Daily Mail Groups papers in Cornwall!
Sometimes it is sadly necessary to destroy so that fresh new shoots can grow. We have a number of other truly local community media projects that deserve all our support. -Cornish WorldMyCornwallTVPenwith RadioCornwall 24- Lets help them grow into the media that our region so badly needs.