Recently, browsing Cornwall 24, I came across the eloquent words of a JenniferA. They are in response to the seemingly eternal criticism that to promote Cornish culture and campaign for greater home-rule is in some way racist and/or anti-English.
JenniferA's contribution and the original discussion thread can be found here: To Tom and other visitors
From my limited experience of other fora, this forum is no different in that some people post statements with a degree of vehemence and vitriol that they would never deploy in face-to-face conversation. It goes with the territory.
However, the views are so stridently expressed, that even a casual visitor can spot the deranged, deluded and distressed and tell them apart from those seeking to exchange knowledge and views so as to learn and inform.
This forum does a lot of good in that respect. For instance, its language forum provides an outstanding service and is a real prize to be treasured in the preservation and promotion of Cornish culture.
This ‘political’ section also delivers a valuable service in offering a platform for public (throughout the whole world!) discussion of matters important to the Cornish.
It is an open stage and anyone can come on to it. You will therefore sometimes read the outlandish, the reprehensible, the weird and the simply batty. However, you will, for the most part, also hear genuine voices of ordinary Cornwall.
Tom, most Cornish people know that they stem from a Celtic race – different from the English. Language is the most obvious badge of nationhood. However, don’t be fooled by the fact that English is overwhelmingly used in our little land. The English language has conquered the world, so it is not surprising that it also swamped this peninsular little country on in the far West.
But look and all the usual badges of nationhood are still there – language (Kernewek is alive and growing), culture, custom, outlook and so on. The Cornish often only realise the differences for themselves when they first leave Cornwall.
Celebration of being Cornish is like celebration of being part of a family. It can happen without denigration of anyone else. Cornish nationalism is like that of the Irish, the Scots and the Welsh. It is founded on celebration of national consciousness. It is positive.
It is wholly unlike the nationalism of UKIP or of the BNP [add the English Democrats to that list], which is a celebration of rejection and negation, not to say, in the case of the BNP, of racial hatred itself. These are parties known for what they oppose, not for what they affirm. They are known primarily for what they are against. Yes, they may have adherents here in Cornwall. The Cornish are no different from anyone else in that we also have our loonies.
The Cornish do though have a sense of national difference. So it is not surprising that the Cornish want some recognition of their sense of difference, like the Scots etc. Some may want full independence, but most, almost certainly, do not.
In a hundred years, Britain has gone from being the world power of Pax Britannica to being very much a declining and secondary power – a reluctant member of a grouping (Europe) that itself must work hard to maintain its interests against the growing BRIC powers of the future. Trying to have an independent Cornwall is as much of a denial of reality as trying to have an independent Britain – only the Canute-minded pursue it.
However, we can have our language taught in our schools, we can have our own police force and so on. We can have meaningful regional government in Cornwall.
It is the precise nature of that government that is the stuff of debate and discussion here.