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!