Thursday 24 April 2014

Cornwall recognised by EU

Cornwall has been granted national minority status by the European Framework Convention for the protection of national minorities. Though by no means a nationalist of any sort I am Cornish by birth and most of my family still live there; I have been an émigré since I was 18 (I say that very much tongue-in-cheek; I live all of 150 miles away from where I grew up!). It's good news for the county, which is one of the poorest regions in Europe and should have a louder voice politically as well as qualifying for more EU funds.

I sometimes identify as Cornish rather than English, British or even European though not because of any deep-rooted atavism. I suppose it's because all those alternative labels have such awful historical affiliations while 'Cornish' seems fairly benign by comparison. There is a Cornish nationalist movement and I'm sure that it has its share of reactionaries but, all things considered, there's not a lot of mud that will stick to it.

But it's not just that; there's a stronger element to the identification. I do feel at home when I'm in Cornwall; there is an atmosphere and a sensibility that is particular to it and that'll never leave me. I don't necessarily always like that atmosphere and sensibility—it can suffocating—and I have no desire to go back there any time soon but it does feel like home. Yes, proud to be Cornish—why not? I'd rather be that than a citizen of 'the world'—that vainglorious, superficially benignant motto of cosmopolitan transcendence. No one is from nowhere. The trick is to not make where you're from such a big deal.