Calling Cornish 'inbred' not 'racist' **WARNING: Contains Cornish joke

From the Telegraph:

The Kernow branch of the Celtic League complained to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) about the use of the term and other mockery of the people of Cornwall in the media.

But the commission said it was powerless to prosecute anyone because under the Race Relations Act, the Cornish did not exist as a separate nationality from the English.

In this reply to the Celtic League, Qaiser Razzak, the South West regional manager of the EHRC, said that in order for any remedy to be available in domestic (UK) legal proceedings, the Cornish would need to be defined as a “racial group” under the Race Relations Act, which had not yet been done.

“To date, case law has not established the Cornish as a ‘racial group’, for the purposes of the Race Relations Act, so currently, it is not clear whether any claim of racial discrimination against Cornish people would be successful.”

I think the ERHC have got a point here. “Cornish” is not normally regarded as an ethnic group. It means, presumably, that you were born and/or “bred” in Cornwall. Then again, there are quite a few communities across the world that could perhaps describe themselves as Cornish. For example, in Latin America as a result of the emigration of mining experts (and let’s not forget those of us who ended up exiled in deepest Berkshire). And there are many people in Cornwall who were born there, and perhaps whose parents and grandparents were born there, but whose ethnic origins are from elsewhere. Indeed, even stalwart members of Mebyon Kernow have been known not to have actual Cornish roots. Daphne Du Maurier was a Mebyon Kernow member but was born in Hampstead and had pretty obvious French roots.

DNA research at the University of Exeter has established fairly firm Celtic origins widespread amongst Cornish people – but also those in Devon – particularly North Devon. And of course, Celtic roots are shared by many, and the Celts originally came from mainland Europe.

So, it’s all a bit of a mish mash.  I did what amounts to quite an extensive search for this list of “racial groups” in the Race Relations Act, referred to by the EHRC. I couldn’t find it, even on their web site. But I did find quite a few lists for the purposes of ethnic monitoring like this one here, which I presume flows from the Act. It has “British” on it and also “Irish”. But not even Welsh.

So Anne Robinson was in the clear when she had a go at the Welsh on Room 101.

And let’s not even get started on Ian Gibson’s remarks about Norfolk people.

But, here’s a thought, if someone (presumably) insults you for being British, it is racist. There’s a thought.

I think the Celtic League would be best advised to leave this one alone. The more people see you getting uptight about being mocked for being Cornish, the more likely it is to, in their eyes, prove their point. Let’s show a little sense of humour here, shall we? I mean, Cornish jokes are not exactly rife are they? (except when told by Cornish people such as Jethro). It’s the poor old Irish you need to have some sympathy for….

So let’s loosen up a bit. Here’s a Cornish joke:

Yma an dyskar ow leverall then dyskybyll,
— An peswara deth y thew hethow pan res thys gortas wos an scoll. Pandra es thys the leverall.
Y ma an dyskybyll ow korryby,
— Y thew per tha genaf the wothfas avorow the vos de Sadarn.

It’s a killer isn’t it? Vos de Sadarn! Hilarious!

It "may well be curtains" for the prospect of Iain Dale MP

A little while ago, Mark Valladares speculated that Suffolk Coastal might be a good chance for Iain Dale to become a Tory candidate at the next election. Sadly, Iain was not selected for the shortlist. Commiserations to Iain. He writes:

  • Yesterday, Suffolk Coastal Conservatives met at CCHQ to draw up their shortlist to succeed John Gummer. The hoped for phone call telling me I had made it never came, so when I saw the actual shortlist on ConHome today it didn’t come as a surprise. That may well be curtains for me. It was the last seat operating by the old rules. All other seats are now being selected by the new system in which Eric Pickles nominates a shortlist of at least three. It has already been made clear that the same names will not keep cropping up in this process (and rightly so) so if I get one chance, I’d better make sure I take it.
  • Margaret Thatcher – egg fueled PM

    Margaret Thatcher’s files from her early days in power, have been released. They are very absorbing. I have already learnt that MT (as they refer to her) received, on her appointment as Prime Minister, congratulatory telegrams from Lulu, Peter Sellers and Eric Morecambe (previously assumed to be a Labour supporter). And Denis Thatcher was most distraught because he had to attend a state banquet and miss the Middlesex RFU centenary dinner.

    Early notes also show that Margaret Thatcher already had strained relations with Oxford University:

    MT already had troubled relations with Oxford. Her old college, Somerville, was holding a reunion (‘Gaudy’) to mark its centenary. MT heard about it but did not receive an invitation so – evidently hurt –asked a fellow Somerville graduate to find out quietly whether they wanted her to come. The college said the letter had gone astray and she attended. A few months later the college Principal wrote her sharply attacking the government’s increase in fees to overseas students.

    The files reveal that Jim Callaghan had terrible trouble with his Rovers (official cars) and eventually, after a window fell out on his lap, banished them all to the back garage. Thatcher’s officials considered a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow as her transport, but eventually plumped for Daimlers.

     Thatcher was very keen on her eggs. At one point she was eating 28 eggs per week. I hope someone opened the windows.

    'Cynical and unforgivable' media coverage of MMR

    It’s worth reading every word of the article entitled MMR scare doctor conducted invasive, unnecessary tests on children says GMC in today’s Guardian (it has a different title online).

    The whole MMR scare is utterly mind-blowing, particularly now that the full story is coming out. But as Ben Goldacre points out, not for the first time, it’s no good entirely blaming Dr Wakefield and his colleagues: The media are equally guilty:

    Wakefield was at the centre of a media storm about the MMR vaccine and is now being blamed by journalists as if he were the only one at fault. In reality, the media are equally guilty.

    Even if it had been immaculately well conducted – and it certainly wasn’t – Wakefield’s “case series report” of 12 children’s clinical anecdotes would never have justified the conclusion that MMR causes autism, despite what journalists claimed: it simply didn’t have big enough numbers to do so.

    But the media repeatedly reported the concerns of this one man, generally without giving methodological details of the research, either because they found it too complicated, inexplicably, or because to do so would have undermined their story.

    As the years passed by, media coverage deteriorated further. Claims by researchers who never published scientific papers to back up their claims were reported in the newspapers as important new scientific breakthroughs while, at the same time, evidence showing no link between MMR and autism, fully published in peer reviewed academic journals, was simply ignored. This was cynical and unforgivable.