Wednesday, 9 August 2017

The media and being a Cornish nationalist ...

The headline speaks for itself. My article in today’s Cornish Guardian is as follows:

During the last few weeks, I have been approached by a number of “up-country” journalists. All were keen to find out more about Cornwall and, in particular, Cornish nationalism.

It would have been nice to think that Mebyon Kernow had generated this interest; possibly through specific campaigns that we had been running, or due to some of the key arguments we had been making for a better deal for Cornwall.

But sadly, the journalists were following up on the widespread and irresponsible reporting of the "fake news" of alleged terrorist activities in Cornwall.

For those of you that missed it, there was an electrical fault at a bin store, associated with fish and chip shop in Porthleven. This lead to a localised fire, for which an organisation claimed “responsibility.”

It was, of course, all nonsense, but that did not stop newspapers such as the Sun, Daily Mirror and Daily Mail, printing a series of unfortunate articles.

One local man – a former MP – interviewed for a feature on Radio 4 was cheeky enough to suggest that the claims were some sort of “Cornish humour” to see how many of the “metropolitan elite” would be daft enough to give credence to the claims.

That said, I do find it extremely infuriating that legitimate political and other stories from Cornwall – such as the 50,000 declarations for a Cornish Assembly in 2001 – are so often ignored by the mainstream media and “Fleet Street,” and yet they fall over themselves to publish stories lacking in substance.

In the recent interviews that have followed, I have often been asked what it means to be a Cornish nationalist. At this time, I thought it would be good to share my response in this article.

To me, the answer is quite simple. Cornwall is a historic entity with its own distinct identity, language and heritage. It is a nation – just like Scotland and Wales.

Every person who seeks the greater recognition of the nation of Cornwall or campaigns for self-government for Cornwall or positively promotes Cornish identity, is therefore, by extension, a Cornish nationalist.

What is important is that our approach to politics is inclusive and outward-looking. I am particularly proud that we campaign for a better deal for all the people of Cornwall and are never afraid to make a stand on global issues with significance far beyond our borders.

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