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Big Enough, Rich Enough, Smart Enough
During my recent visit to Scotland – for a week’s holiday – I took the opportunity to read Scottish newspapers and catch snippets of Scottish television. I found the news media to the north of the Tweed to be so very different to the largely London-centred output that we, in Cornwall, have come to accept as the norm.
It was so refreshing to see the news from a national perspective that was not dominated by the South East of England.

There is even one newspaper, launched only in 2014, called The National, which actively campaigns for an independent Scotland. While I was there, it launched another independence campaign titled “Big Enough, Rich Enough, Smart Enough.”

It is a clever initiative. It seeks to reverse the age-old criticism of the push for both devolution and independence, that stated Scotland was “too small and too poor,” while its inhabitants were not clever enough. It is an effort that resonated with me.

As the leader of Mebyon Kernow, I must make it clear that I am not saying that I wish to campaign for an independent Cornwall. I remain 100% committed to securing meaningful devolution for Cornwall within the United Kingdom through a National Assembly.

But the National’s campaign did resonate with me because I can remember the numerous occasions when arguments against greater self-government for Cornwall suggested our nation was also “too small and too poor.” I have also lost count at how many times I have heard people question whether the residents of Cornwall have the where-with-all to govern themselves, and why we need to bring in new people for prominent local jobs as if there is no-one already living in Cornwall who is capable of doing such roles. Remember how David Penhaligon defined an expert as “someone who comes from 150 miles away.”

As the quote from David Penhaligon shows, this has long been a problem and it is just over thirty years since the seminal text “Cornwall at the Crossroads” by Bernard Deacon, Andrew George and Ronald Perry was published.

I believe this book is as relevant now as it was in 1988. It rightly made the case for Cornwall as a special place with a distinct identity, rooted in the strengths of its people and communities, while pointing out how decisions about Cornwall were continuously being based around externally derived assumptions that it was “remote” and “too small” and its people suffered from backwardness.

Looking forward, how about joining me in a “Cornwall is Big Enough, Rich Enough, Smart Enough” campaign?
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Published on 25th July 2019.

Cornish Assembly Campaign
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