Only since I came to Cornwall in 2008 have I developed a passion for politics. Living and working in the Duchy I am trying to offer what little I can to the cause of the Cornish nation. I have become a Cornish nationalist.
But what is a Cornish nationalist?
A Cornish nationalist is frequently subjected to ridicule, derision, hostility and often even hatred – for no other reason than believing that the people of Cornwall are a nation separate from England and deserve to be recognised as such. For believing that the Cornish nation should have the opportunity to rebuild its economy, infrastructure and social systems utilising the skills and experience of Cornish people based within Cornwall itself.
Why does holding an opinion such as this appear to generate such hostility from a highly vocal minority?
Often the reason that this minority gives is that to be a Cornish nationalist you must be an extremist and a violent extremist at that. This is an argument which becomes very pervasive in any debate concerning whether Cornwall is a proud historic nation or simply a rather poor county of England. It seems that any constructive debate leads inevitably to cries of violence and extremism.
If the cry is not of violence or extremism then it becomes one of ridicule and derision. How stupid are you nationalists to look back at a thousand years and more of history and claim that it has any bearing on the present day? How stupid are you to believe that Cornwall could set its own course without the paternal and benevolent decree of a far-off, London-centred, Westminster parliament.
I have come to believe that this fear mongering and mockery is simply a device. It is a device which masks the inability to hold a serious debate and it is a device to make people unwilling to be linked to Cornish nationalism for fear of being branded as violent or stupid.
That Cornwall is a nation is, in my opinion, beyond question. I acknowledge the right of others to disagree with my opinion. What I ask is that I, and anyone who agrees with my opinion, not automatically be labelled a mindless, stupid, violent extremist.