Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Cornish Culture Fund announcement comes with attacks from Conservative MPs

Cornwall’s six Conservative MPs this week issued a press release which confirmed that the UK Government will be awarding Cornwall Council a £100,000 grant (spread over two years) to create a Cornish Culture Fund.

Strangely, this announcement was accompanied by quotes from Conservative MPs which were somewhat confused, contradictory and geared more to election sound-bites than support for Cornish identity.

Sarah Newton MP stated that “Cornwall has a distinct culture and heritage which is vital to our way of life as well as the local economy, jobs and tourism,” but felt the need to slam Cornwall Council by stating that culture monies had “not always been well spent by the council.”

Steve Double MP meanwhile launched an assault on the Cornish language by slamming the unitary authority for “spending money on teaching council officers to answer the phone in Cornish when only 300 people list it as their primary language,” which is a gross distortion of reality.

He then went on to demand that Cornwall Council “spend this money … sensibly on promoting Cornish culture in a tangible way” and “not on one of their madcap schemes or vanity projects, which they are so fond of.”

Not sure what this means and I do not see how the promotion of our national language can be dismissed as a vanity project!

It is all a bit distasteful, and Cornwall Council was right to have pointed out that the level of funding, while welcome, was less than adequate, and to have criticised the MPs for their negative attacks on Cornish identity,

At this time, it is worth pointing out that the Opinion from the Council of Europe on how the UK Government and other public bodies are meeting the articles of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (including the Cornish) will be published this week..

There will undoubtedly be a range of recommendations. And I would challenge Cornwall’s MPs to show they really care about Cornish culture and identity by supporting all the recommendations contained within the Opinion, wholeheartedly and without reservation.

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