Cornwall has harsh words for David Cameron in a language that he is no longer willing to support. Westminster has slashed the annual £150,000 budget for the Cornish language, without explanation and with immediate effect.Well, he won't bother to read 'em, then, will he?
But when it is estimated that fewer than 500 people speak Cornish fluently, and (at time of writing) fewer than 6,000 people have signed a petition asking the government to reconsider, the effects of the cuts aren’t immediately clear.Au contraire, I'd say they were very clear!
Steve Double, Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay, says he can’t see how Cornwall council could have spent £650,000 it has received over the past four years, and that the language is not a priority for his electorate. But campaigners such as Loveday Jenkin, who chairs the Cornish Language Fellowship, argue that great value was extracted from the tiny sum. Core staff at Cornwall council facilitated volunteer groups, who translate road signs and documentation for the council and local businesses. Maga Kernow, the Cornish Language Partnership, offers educational resources and training. Pensans primary school, in Penzance, has been teaching Cornish since 2005, which wouldn’t have been possible without Maga, says the school’s Sarah Crummay.Hmm, I think I can see where they've spent it. On jobs for the boys!
But why is it important to keep Cornish alive when so few speak it? Jenkin calls Cornwall a place of low aspirations, and suggests that renewed regional pride, coupled with a local rise in high-value creative and digital jobs, might stop people from leaving the county to find work.That's the biggest load of bollocks I've read since...well, since the last 'Brexit will cause XXXX' statement from the 'Remain' campaign.
Dr Merv Davey is the grand bard of Gorsedh Kernow, which maintains the region’s Celtic traditions. He is angered by the cuts, but remains optimistic. “We have to carry on fighting for proper recognition and what we’re owed, but I don’t think we should be obsessed with that; we must get on with it ourselves,” he says. “We’re quite resourceful, as Cornish people. We’ve never really kowtowed to central government, and we’re not going to start now.”No-one expects you to kowtow - we'll simply be satisfied if you just stop holding your hand out for more taxpayer money!