I have just finished my article for this week’s Cornish Guardian, which is as follows:
Last week, the Sunday Times published an article which claimed that
Cornwall was a
“playground for the super-rich.”
The article argued that, “with the drive down from
taking just three hours in a Porsche, Cornwall
is becoming something of a millionaire’s paradise.” It also had a lot to say is
about celebrities, helipads, polo on the beach, and hotel rooms with “the scent
of fig electronically pumped into the air.”
Individuals featured within the piece included a businessman who owned “loads of boats … including a 43ft motorboat with every gadget going,” his wife who has “racked up three speeding fines roaring around the county in her Range Rover,” and the owner of a St Mawes second home – complete with a “cinema room and a heated pool” – who felt that “walking down the beach can sometimes feel like Chelsea-on-Sea.”
In the inevitable list of “dos and don’ts” for visitors to Cornwall – renamed by the Sunday Times as the Champagne Coast – the newspaper advised “do chat to strangers, minus your worst West Country accent,” and “do spritz seawater into your hair – a blow-dry looks wrong, wrong, wrong,” but “don’t ask for air-con – use those funny things called windows.”
Such distorted and patronising views distress me, and I do not recognise this almost mythical “lifestyle
that is written about in so many glossy magazines.
I see much more of what the academic Bernard Deacon has described as “life-struggle
which local people struggle to make ends meet in a low-wage area.
By contrast, the patronising Sunday Times article did not even mention the “locals” until the very last paragraph of their article, where there was an inadequate passing reference to
being one of “ Britain’s
poorest counties … qualifying for emergency funding from the EU.”
If the Sunday Times want to feature
in its newspapers and magazines, I would suggest that they properly address
those massive issues impacting on the full-time residents of the Duchy.
They could, for example, examine the growing inequality between the haves and have-nots, explore why Cornwall’s economic performance is only two-thirds of the UK average, delve into its dysfunctional housing market, investigate why over 50% of children on certain estates in West Cornwall are living in poverty, or scrutinise the impact of the government’s austerity measures on local people.