22 March 2004 11:34
If you snooze you lose
See you are off on another tirade agin incomers (bit cheeky that), the
wealthy, property developers and other innovative types. Thinking back I seem to
recall you moaning about people who want Cornwall to remain in the 19th/18th
cent just to please the tourists and the incomers looking for the peace and
tranquillity they cannot get elsewhere (why did you move to Cornwall?). On the
other hand you are invariably moaning about people/projects that bring Cornwall
up to date or are innovative. So moans about Eden, Heligan and laughing at the
balloonists. Seems you don't want the cake yourself but neither do you want
anyone else to have it. If you read Tim Smit's book on Eden you will see that he
was already in Cornwall when he thought up the Eden project. He then worked
very, very hard to find the finance. Now, why couldn't a Cornishman/woman do the
same thing? - There are very astute, clever Cornish capable of thinking up such
a project, working hard to find the finance and then project managing it. OK,
the "average Cornishman" in the Sloop may not be that innovative (no
insult intended to the regulars) but then again neither is the
"average" English, Scots, Welsh, Indian, Russian or whatever sitting
in the Star and Garter or the Red Lion. Look back through Cornwall's history and
to a great or lesser extent it has often been "poor". Then look at the
innovation, invention and pure genius that has come out of there. has it all
gone? Can't people
22 March 2004 14:20
What's innovative about being rich? Last time I looked I don't remember any
merchant bankers, stockbrokers, lawyers or property tycoons being in line for
any 'services to humanity' awards.
22 March 2004 14:48
Where do humanity awards come in to it?
22 March 2004 17:17
No. I didn't miss the point.
23 March 2004 11:21
And that just about sums up my argument! Taking up ostrich farming?
23 March 2004 13:40
No, just applying the same tactics as you.
23 March 2004 14:09
You need a little mystery in your life. The great and Saintly Winwaloe
provides some. I thought that you were building up a picture, no? - A few clues,
I know West Penwith better than other parts of Cornwall, I have an interest in
the RNLI,Cornish Solidarity, Cornwall Heritage Trust and other some other
Cornish associations. I have collected for "The Mission" and have an
interest in the fishing industry especially in Cornwall. I like church music, my
late mother was a Methodist, I enjoy all sorts of music but I trained as a
classical singer although, as you know, did not decide to make a living from it.
I have a deep and passionate interest in Cornwall and the Cornish but believe
that real Cornwall is West Penwith. My main interest is studying Cornish
Folklore and collecting
23 March 2004 15:39
Oh, damn. And there I was hoping that you might have some genuine insight to
24 March 2004 08:34
Obtuse is, I think, the word I would use to describe your reactions. It's a
good word, a rounded, wholesome word that appears to fit. Progress, good or bad,
dependent on the individual perspective, is almost bound to occur. Cornwall has
been "invaded" since earliest times. There is a school of thought that
the original occupants of Cornwall
24 March 2004 10:30
Spare me the tedious statement of the bleeding obvious. Every single person on this planet has ultimately come from somewhere else (apart from poor Lucy (not the lobster) who got stuck in a rock in Ethiopia and didn't get to migrate along with the rest of us apemen). As usual you fail to grasp the nettle of the argument and instead slither off on another tangential trip down trivia road. What I asked you was "I don't see what building a zillion holiday/second homes in St. Ives is going to contribute to the continuance of an ancient community. Perhaps you could explain.". You point out that people have moved to Cornwall for ages, which is correct. Bernie and Babs certainly weren't Cornish but they are sure as hell regarded as part of the fabric of St. Ives now. Even your mate Vic Morwenstow was born and defuncted out of the county. However, moving to Cornwall, I would submit, in those instances, entails integrating yourself into the community to become part of it (just like what I have tried to do). That is a very different concept to having thousands of transients coming in, using the place and buggering off again. You only have to see the tumbleweed blowing through Downlong, the unclaimed flyers, catalogues and phone books cluttering up so many darkened doorways to get an inkling of what second homing/holiday-letting has done to that part of the community. The place looks like a ghost town in the depths of winter! To my mind, it's bad enough now but, in true Britisher fairness, what's done can not be undone now by forced re-purchasing or whatever of legally acquired properties. However, to continue a policy of unchecked development and re-development would be like saying we couldn't save the dodo from extinction so we might as well not bother trying to save anything from extinction.
You witter on about the lame old 'tourism brings in money' point (true) and avoid the usually avoided except by the people it affects point that 'tourism costs Cornwall money' (also true). At the minute Cornwall is dependent on tourism for any sort of income because it has no alternative. Let's face it, if the likes of Richard Trevithick or Sir Humpty Davy were to try and go into business with their new-fangled inventions today the first thing they'd have to do is leave the county. The thing that narks me about the whole tourism concept is that it is used by the powers-that-be to avoid addressing other social and economic issues. Hence, the comments from various sources that too much Objective One money is being allocated to prestige 'picture postcard' projects and not enough on less glamorous but socially more important projects like urban and economic regeneration of wastelands like Camborne and Redruth (and elsewhere in the county, it's just C & R are the obvious local examples. Probably with PZ not far behind). Tourism has its place in Cornwall but it should not have so great a place that people can get away with saying 'the tourist industry in Cornwall is booming, therefore the county is booming' without first ascertaining whether this is actually true.
You seem to think that this whole argument is some great conspiracy cooked up by myself (probably while burying Amelia Earhart's remains on the grassy knoll in Dallas) and never acknowledge the fact that I am quoting (or paraphrasing) the ilks of county, district and town councillors. Even the bloody Bishop of Truro! Are they part of my conspiracy too? You should have heard what a local Police Officeress (not La Pitts) said about 'the benefits of tourism'. Not a happy bunny rabbit. Or are the Police also out of step with everyone else, too? You (and whatsherface who sent her rant this week) seem to be unwilling or unable to grasp the concept or acknowledge the fact that I am not just making these stories up because I've got a personal axe to grind. I am reporting and commenting on what is done and said down here by real people. Therefore, these are real issues. Saying 'no you are wrong' and ignoring them from a lofty distance is not going to make these issues go away.
At the end of the day (it gets dark. Apart from this Sunday, obviously, when it will get dark an hour before the end of the day!) Spooky St. Ives is just a personal website, written by me, paid for by me. It owes nothing to anyone else, it has no sponsors, it is entitled to its opinion. People don't have to look at it if they don't like it. People can create their own counter-SSI websites if they feel so enraged about it. I'm not an official spokesjelly for Cornwall, Penwith or St. Ives, just someone who lives here and writes about local things. I am not contractually obliged to sell St. Ives to the outside world on the other mandible, nor do I maliciously fabricate stories or alter facts to suit my arguments. Ironically, whatsherface of the other rant accused me of ripping off the St. Ives Times & Echo for my stories (actually only partially true, I also blag from The Cornishman, West Briton, Radio Cornwall, and local TV news). Point being are all those media organs also part of my conspiracy? I think not, which must, ipso facto, mean that the stories in the SSI bulletins reflect genuine local issues and concerns.
So, maybe it might be an idea to stop taking pot-shots at the messenger for a while and take some time out so see what the message actually is! Then, if you still don't like it, don't waste time having a go at me, write to the policticans, civil servants, business bods and locals I've been quoting and tell them why they're wrong.
24 March 2004 16:57
I understand what you say and why you say it. So what are the alternatives? I
would be very pleased to hear your ideas, the ideas of the local and County
Council, the local plods and anyone else. How would you and/or they regenerate
all or parts of Cornwall?
25 March 2004 10:54
Well, oddly enough, I haven't got the resources to single-handedly come up with a masterplan to regenerate Cornwall, a masterplan which has so far eluded thousands of well-paid and resourced politicos, civil serpents and special advisors. Hardly surprising that and hardly reasonable to expect me to have done so.
However, I have had the occasional ruminate on the subject and to my mind, the key issue is sovereignty. Which is a problem, because once you bring up the subject it usually just becomes an ill-mannered, idiotic punch-up between the super-nationalists and the Little Englanders. I don't think Cornish independence is that important in terms of having a King Piran, a senate and border guards on the Tamar. I thought (and went on record in SSI) that the 'campaign' to vandalise the English heritage red rose signs was childish, pathetic and self-defeating. That sort of sub-adolescent posturing just lends ammunition to those who argue that they have to control the important decisions because the people asking for greater independence are morons who can't be trusted to look after the place themselves.
However, I do think that Cornwall needs greater freedom to control its own fate. Have you read (I haven't yet but I've seen bits of it elsewhere) Andrew George's book? It's called 'A View from the Bottom Left-Hand Corner' which pretty much sums up the problem down here. We're hundreds of miles from the centre of power (Cherie's lifestyle guru) and to make matters worse, most of the MPs down here are Lib-Dems, which means that no one in King Tony's witan is going to pay a blind bit of attention to them the odd time they do manage to get a word in edgeways!
What I would like Cornwall to be able to do (and it can't happen overnight because the skills/resources aren't down here at the present) is try to get itself some sort of status similar to that of the Isle of Man. Yes, I know that the IoM has an existing 'odd' status similar to that of the Channel Islands but that doesn't mean because that status derives from a historical anomaly does not mean that it can't be deliberately re-created in the here and now.
Now, it would take me forever to explain the whole IoM concept and how it works but suffice it to say that I believe what Cornwall needs to do is follow that example. Send out its missionaries to find out how the IoM operates and start to build something similar for Cornwall. Obviously, it's a long-term project but it has got to be better than simply continually pouring resources into sustaining a 'tourism economy' because, as the official stats show, the Cornish are not getting rich out of tourism. The majority are on minimum wage/low-income no long-term prospects jobs. Yes, tourism is bringing in money as we speak but all it is doing is maintaining the majority of the population in a subsistence existence.
Compare and contrast with the IoM:-
Size: 225 sq. miles
GNP: £1.17 billion (2001/02)
Bi-lingual government: (Manx and English)
Active Celtic culture including award-winning museums/projects. Manx taught at school as part of national curriculum up to 11. Opportunity to study Manx up to GCSE in secondary school.
Location: Slap bang in the middle of the Irish Sea.
Now, if they can achieve all that in splendid isolation from mainland UK, then Cornwall really ought to be thinking about the possibilities. I'm not suggesting that the Cornwall umbilical cord be cut and the aforementioned border guards be put in situ. Rather, the opposite. The IoM and UK governments work together so that the IoM has the ability to set domestic tax rates, enterprise initiatives, whatever. John Malkovich recently moved a film project from the south-west to the IoM because the UK government cut the financial support. As he put it, he'd barely got round to wondering what to do about it and whether the project would have to be abandoned when IoM reps booted down his door, cut him a deal and got the project moved over there. Malkovich said he was amazed that after spending months haggling with the UK to get the project green-lighted, it took less than a week to get the paperwork signed, sealed and delivered with the IoM.
Now, that's the benefit of having the freedom to act on your own initiative. And it's not as if it generates clashes of interest, the UK didn't want to finance the project, the IoM did. The UK get shot of a financial burden, the IoM get a prestige project for their developing film industry. The only people who missed out were the locals down here, I suppose. Semi-autonomous government does not have to be in conflict with its overlord if both parties are prepared to co-operate. F'r instance, the IoM maintains a common VAT agreement with the UK so that they don't have to set up customs controls between the island and the mainland. The UK government handles foreign policy issues, the IoM uses the UK NHS so that it doesn't have to waste resources unnecessarily duplicating facilities. As far as the Manx patient is concerned they are getting their treatment on the Manx NHS and as far as the UK NHS is concerned the IoM is a private client who pays for the privilege of having their peeps treated on the UK NHS. It shows how a region can be self-governing without having to tread on the toes of other interested parties in the process.
So, more independence for Cornwall is what I recommend. But it's economic independence that will achieve more in the long-term rather than political independence. These days, it's the accountants rather than the lawyers in government who make the important decisions!
PS. On a more cheerful note, did you know that the loyal toast on the IoM is 'The Queen, the Lord of Man'. Talk about gender-bending!
25 March 2004 16:36
I am with you all the way and I do think it takes people like you to rattle cages and prod sleepy politicos of whatever party. I thought that Cornish Solidarity might have done more to bring the fight outside of Cornwall but I have not seen/heard much from them lately. But, and I am not being deliberately provocative, do the majority of people really care. do they really think they can achieve a substantial change around, is the fight, drive and initiative still there or does Cornwall and the Cornish suffer the general malaise of the rest of the UK? I really do not know, I have no objective information on which to form an opinion. What do you think?
26 March 2004 09:30
I think apathy is part of the problem. It's not just Cornwall, I think most
people now feel that the process of government has become so vast that it is
effectively unaccountable. The recent instances of King Tony's reign, whereby he
says 'black is white' and gets the vast Labour majority in the HoC to
rubber-stamp it, seem to show that people don't have any meaningful
representation in government. After the Iraq WMD/Kelly affair broke, the
majority of the country thought TB was lying through his teeth. He organised the
Hutton Report to prove he wasn't. The majority of the country didn't believe the
findings of the Hutton Report. Result? Bugger all.
26 March 2004 11:27
Don't know why the emails appear in funny format unless by divine intervention. Any ideas? -
26 March 2004 15:31
Nun whatsoever. All I know is that yours seem to have a different line
spacing so that when they are copied and pasted on to the webby they appear to
have lots of line breaks where there shouldn't be any. So, when I rearrange one
line so that it fits properly it buggers up the alignment of everything else
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