22 March 2007

The dust and heat are over. The loving cup has come and gone on its tour of England: see my post of March 1. The Western Morning News said about forty people demonstrated in Truro against it. That’s not many at all but it was a Monday morning.

The demonstration (and its preparation) will have helped the nationalist cause by being peaceful and visible – the Piran flag is readily recognised in Cornwall as the national or county flag, depending on one’s view, and I think, like the England one, it’s an attractive and noticeable flag. The demonstration will have reminded some people that they are nationalists. The Cornwall branch of the Celtic League and the Cornish Stannary Parliament, which appear to have taken the lead in this, will probably have had increases in their memberships.

Those of us who think Cornwall is an integral county of England and the flag and other symbols of England can be displayed in Cornwall have upheld that. It’s democracy.

This is a battle that should be fought politically and intellectually. Both sides want what they see as the best for the people of Cornwall. There should be explicit acceptance by everyone that the two views of Cornwall (put very roughly, a county or a country) are held sincerely and both are legitimate. They can be argued for and against with vigour but no one should be silenced, no one put down as anti-Cornish, no emblems barred – the decision to ‘unban’ the Piran flag is welcome.

Eventually, we shall have to decide what we want Cornwall to be; indeed, what we want England to be. For the moment we can all celebrate life in Cornwall while arguing as courteously and persuasively as we can. Let a thousand flowers bloom and schools of thought contend.