Friday, 9 December 2016

“The Casey Review” fails own test by denigrating Cornish identity

It is appalling that “The Casey Review” by Dame Louise Casey has criticised the expenditure of money on the Cornish language in a report on the need for greater social cohesion.

How can a review into “integration and opportunity in isolated and deprived communities,” sanctioned by the former Prime Minister and Home Secretary, feel it is necessary to be so dismissive of such an important part of the UK’s cultural tapestry.

The offending section was as follows:

1.67. Too many public institutions, national and local, state and non-state, have gone so far to accommodate diversity and freedom of expression that they have ignored or even condoned regressive, divisive and harmful cultural and religious practices, for fear of being branded racist or Islamophobic.

1.68. This accommodation can range from relatively trivial issues such as altering traditional cultural terms to avoid giving offence, to the department responsible for integration policy spending more in 2011-12 and 2012-13 promoting the Cornish language than the English language, or some trade unions challenging a strategy for all public sector workers to speak English. At its most serious, it might mean public sector leaders ignoring harm or denying abuse.

1.69. This has not helped the communities which many well-intentioned people in those institutions have wanted to protect; more often it has played straight into the hands of extremists. As a nation we have lost sight of our expectations on integration and lacked confidence in promoting it or challenging behaviours that undermine it.

Whatever positive justification there might have been for the study, the disrespectful attitude to Cornish identity is totally unacceptable.

It has even lead to spurious reports in the Sun and Daily Express.

The Sun headline read “Corn Identity” while a sub-heading Daily Express stated “EXTREMISM is on the rise and integration is stalling because the Government is spending more money on Cornish lessons than English lessons, a damning report has claimed.”

What a shameful nonsense.

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