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It is 50 years since Daphne Du Maurier called for home rule for Cornwall
Much has been written about the life and achievements of the novelist Daphne du Maurier, and it is often noted that the author of Frenchman’s Creek, Jamaica Inn, My Cousin Rachel, Rebecca and Rule Britannia was a member of Mebyon Kernow.
Indeed, it is fifty years since she had an article published in MK’s Cornish Nation magazine, which was titled “Stand On Your Own Two Feet.”

It is a quite interesting piece of writing and very optimistic, believing that “a form of self-government for Cornwall with legislative powers touching local industry, education, health and economy” was possible within ten years.

Very much of its time, it does cover a range of subjects including education – she argued against the closure of small schools – and economic matters, such as the need to support the traditional industries of “fishing, mining, farming.” She set out hopes that Cornwall’s fishing ports would be “able to compete in a big way” and local mining companies should not be outdone by large American companies, while agriculture could help Cornwall be more self-sufficient in terms of food production.

In particular, she had a lot to say about tourism. Bemoaning the impact of “junk-shops” and “trinket-booths” selling mass-produced goods on Cornish quays, du Maurier argued that the “visitor should be encouraged to come to Cornwall because of its historical interest and its present day craftsmanship, not merely because it has beaches that are ideal in fine weather.”

She also called for Cornwall to “have its own Tourist Board” with “all matters relating to tourism … in the hands of this Board, who would not take direction from other similar bodies beyond the Tamar.”

But du Maurier did not just want greater control over tourism and had the following vision for the future:

“The aim must surely be to make Cornwall a really worthwhile place in which to live, and work, and bring up future generations, not harking back too much to the past, but looking forward and planning for the century ahead. Not ‘just another county,’ but a Cornwall where ‘One and All’ means what it says, no divisions, no petty strife, no inter-borough squabbles, no east versus west, a united Cornwall able to run its own affairs with minimum direction from London yet remaining part of the UK and loyal to the Crown.”
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Published on 25th July 2019.

Cornish Assembly Campaign
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