Cornwall is a beautiful and mysterious place. Under the Roman occupation of the British Isles, Cornwall, like Scotland and parts of Wales remained only nominally under Roman control. The Romans, following the Greek habit, referred to all non-Romans by the Greek term ‘keltos’ (Latin: celtus), which roughly translates as ‘barbarian’. This term never referred to a specific ethnic or cultural group, but served the specific purpose of drawing a psychological and physical line between the Romano-Greek culture (which was considered superior), and cultural groupings that were not historically connected to either Greece or Rome. These cultures, when referred as ‘keltos’ are clearly depicted as ‘inferior’ social constructs, not worthy of consideration or equal treatment. The ‘keltic’ cultures, and the people who adhere to them, are viewed as being highly exploitable commodities that lack the inherent ‘humanness’ that define Greek and Roman existence. In modern parlance, the term ‘keltos’ represents a derogatory racial term, but it has been embraced by certain groups of modern British people who happen to be born in the furthest geographical areas of the British Isles. To these people, the original term ‘keltos’ has been turned on its head and is assumed to refer to a particular human cultural grouping, and to the language associated with this grouping. This is a clear example of inverted thinking. Terms of abuse are taken on by groups as if they are positive badges to be worn with honour.
In reality, the idea of celtic-ness is a myth that has no basis in the science of genetics. The tribes that this term originally referred to are long gone, together with their cultures and languages. Such was the contempt that the Greeks and Romans had for these people that they did not bother to record any details about them, other than how many were killed in battle, or enslaved within Greco-Roman society. The only history that exists at all about these disparate people is that written by the Greeks and Romans themselves – as it is assumed that these tribal people did not practice writing, etc. Cornish nationalism is partly geographical in nature – the area that comprises Cornwall is isolated on the southwest coastal area of the UK, with only the Atlantic Ocean surrounding its northern and southern boundaries. The further west the geographical location, the less population density exists, and there is a sense of being ‘cut off’ from the rest of the UK. English is the language of Cornwall, but there exists the remnants of an old Briton language that is often referred to as ‘Celtic’, or ‘Gaelic’. Similar languages were probably spoken by the tribal peoples of ancient Briton prior to the Roman invasion, and the later invasions of the Angles, Saxons, and Danes, etc. Modern British culture prevails, in one form or another, all over the British Isles, with various areas of presumed ‘distinctiveness’ here and there. This is modern (or post-modern) British culture coloured in part by echoes of past history. Cornish nationalism evolves around the remnants of an old Briton language spoken by a very small minority living in the area. A particular and very ‘modern’ phenomenon that is evident in Cornwall is the open support of racist political parties such as the British National Party (BNP), and United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). Placards and large billboards can be seen, usually in prominent places near major roads, radicalizing and demonising foreigners, and ethnic minorities. The local people accept this display of ignorance mostly without comment. Whilst demanding that these modern British people be granted ‘minority status’, the very same people strive politically to deprive other – non-Cornish people – of exactly the same right. This situation is compounded by rural poverty. The majority of working class Cornish people are kept in cultural and material abject poverty by a minority of conservative farmers, landowners and landlords. This minority ensures, through their corrosive conservatism, that this general level of ignorance is maintained from one generation to the next in a continuous charade that is deliberately misinterpreted as ‘celtic’ culture. The middle class nature of Cornwall’s conservative elite represents the pro-hunting lobby that actively keeps the majority of its citizens ‘asleep’, or at least semi-conscious, whilst fed on a diet of racist separatism.
This has led to local campaigning within Cornwall to have the myth of Cornish ‘celtic’ culture officially recognised – which amounts to a step back into feudal times. Such has the pressure been for the actualisation of this myth that the Tory government will announce today (24.4.14) that under EU legislation, the people of Cornwall will be granted ‘National Minority’ status. The plethora of contradictions is immense. Many in Cornwall are intolerant to others, whilst peddling the myth that the Cornish are racially ‘special’, whilst at the same time supporting UKIP which would withdraw from the very European Union that has granted the Cornish minority status! Within Cornish nationalist literature there is no mention of the status of ethnic minority people living in Cornwall, or the status of EU migrants legally travelling to the area for work.