29 January 2007

Nationalists demand rights for the Cornish.

There is an imprecision about many Cornish nationalist beliefs and different nationalists believe differently but I think what this seems to mean is issues about identity, such things as formal recognition of people’s Cornish identity, the right to tick a box saying one is Cornish on forms, including the census, the right to teach pupils in schools in Cornwall a particular version of history, and the right to access much more of taxpayers’ money to promote Cornish cultural desiderata. Nationalists also believe that Cornwall should be partly or wholly independent of England: devolution within England, home rule outside England, or a fully independent country.

I should think most people have no difficulty in agreeing that people should be free to categorise themselves as they wish and claim whatever ethnic, cultural, religious, racial, and so forth, identities they wish. The possible financial ramifications are, like most public financial matters, contentious (and largely undiscussed).

However, focusing on identity issues detracts from what I think are the real issues for people in Cornwall, however they see themselves, the issues that will make everyday life better for everyone. I’m not sure they are rights but these sorts of things are certainly what we should be working for and concentrating on:

An all-year-round job with decent pay and conditions
An affordable house to buy or rent
A health service that works well – and is as local as possible
Schools in one’s locality that offer an excellent standard of education
An end to poverty, or at least serious progress towards ending it
A healthy and life-enhancing environment.

I suspect that most people in Cornwall see these issues, the right to seek and work for a good life, as what is most important.This is the real pro-Cornish stance. This is the real pro-Cornish agenda.

It is also the agenda of progressives throughout Britain.