The desire to manipulate people in the name of Anglo-British nationalism could be the unfortunate answer. When it comes to quashing Cornish national identity, along with hopes of any real devolution, then these two others-wise-enemies are quick to combine their efforts.
The Tories in Cornwall have recently announced
that the campaign for a Cornish assembly is a divisive and inward looking failure. They described the campaign as a form of separatism from the United Kingdom. At this point most Cornish campaigners must have wondered if the Tories where talking about the Cornwall we all know and love or one that exists in a parallel universe.
I can’t speak for all but the vast majority of the Cornish movement do not want Cornwall separated from the United Kingdom. Speaking as one who does want a Cornish republic I know what a small minority I’m in. What is sought is recognition of Cornwall’s national identity. That we are not a county of England but rather one of the Celtic home nations of Great Britain and therefore deserving of an assembly. This in no way can be seen as separation from the United Kingdom. Is Wales now separate from the UK because it has an assembly? If anything it would be a step towards a more democratic and federal UK.
At this point let’s not forget the rabid europhobia that infects the Conservative party amply demonstrated by ever increasing calls from their hard-right to pull out of the European Union. Separatism if ever there was.
I assume the Tories in Cornwall know the difference between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the internationally recognised sovereign state) and the traditional home nation that is England. Equally they are aware that the campaign for a Cornish assembly is not about separation from the UK. Why then these glaring errors?
The rather predictable answer is that the Tories are treating us all like chumps. They are fully aware of a rise in British patriotism following the Olympics. Conscious of this wave of pride in the UK they want to portray Cornish nationalists and assembly campaigners as wanting to tear Cornwall away from the United Kingdom. They assume that most citizens won’t know that much about the Cornish assembly campaign or Cornish nationalism and, moreover, that we don’t really know the difference between England and they United Kingdom. It’s manipulative spin riding on a wave of British nationalism designed to misrepresent the aims of a political enemy, Cornish assembly campaigners, in order to dismiss them all the more easily.
Why mention the BBC then? Well it must have been around the 20th of August that I watched an article on Spotlight which was based on the Tory spin discussed above. Did the BBC take the opportunity to remind the Conservatives that the campaign for a Cornish assembly is not about separation from the UK but rather the creation of a devolved assembly for Cornwall similar to the one in Wales? Of course they didn’t. In fact the story was introduced by a graphic showing a Cornish flag being separated form a Union Jack and not, as would have been far closer to the truth, a St George Cross. They gave a stage to a Tory MP to peddle misrepresentations of the assembly campaign and then backed it up with some swish graphics.
Now for our Cornish assembly campaigners, including our three Lib Dem MP’s, to lobby the BBC to be allowed to respond to the Tories on a future edition of Spotlight.