I have decided to enter the fray (maybe foolishly) over English – Cornish – Duchy – County. I might as well be up front and say I am not a native of Cornwall. In fact, I was not even born on these shores. I have watched, read and witnessed many debates, blogs and twitter feeds on Cornwall, the people and how it fits in with the rest of the UK. I am not going to claim I am any historical buff on Cornwall, but I will say what I have to say from my view point.
There is no getting away from it, but Cornwall is something special. I am proud to live here. So much so I can say I love Cornwall like someone born of this land. I have been here since my late teens, so I can honestly say I have grown up in Cornwall. I do however struggle with some of the claims, points and views that certain people have. I am not saying they are wrong, as everyone has the right to an opinion. Like I have.
The first one is what makes you Cornish? Are you automatically Cornish if you are born here? Even if you are only born here by sheer coincidence? What happens if both or one of your parents are not Cornish? Are you less Cornish if you are not from pure Cornish stock? If so, how far back do you have to go to claim to be Cornish. Grandparents, Great Grandparents? It’s an interesting point, and one I have asked many times. Only to get different answers. Maybe if you just live in and love Cornwall that is enough?
As for Duchy – County this is a complex issue. It’s a shame that we cannot go back in time and ask what the King really meant when he granted the land and titles. Did he do it to keep his son busy with the administration of Cornwall. Did he do it so his son was so busy that he could not usurp his own position. It was not uncommon in those times for many claimants to the throne, or for there to be many attempts to take it from the current holder, and more importantly, the treasury that came with that position.
Many claim that Cornwall is a Duchy and therefore not part of the mainland (England or even the UK), thus not making it a County. But what would happen if the Sovereign stripped those lands off the current holder? Without a Duke, it can’t be a Duchy. Then what happens? It may sound simplistic, but to the more republican viewpoint they may argue why do we need these ancient offices of Monarchy, Dukes, Earls etc. So without these titles and positions, you can’t have the title of Duchy. You can’t have it both ways, or pick what parts you like/don’t like. An interesting point is if there are no sons of the Monarch, the Duchy remains in the power of the Monarch.
Maybe if the Sovereign gave some sort of ruling on this we might all understand. As for the Government, it administers Cornwall the same as any other County. They after all are the law makers of this land(s). If Cornwall is independent, then is the Duchy of Lancaster too? At least that generally has a Government Minister who is the Chancellor for that Duchy.
Even better would be if someone took this whole case to the High Court for a final judgement on this issue. Then maybe this yes/no/maybe would all be sorted once and for all (or would it?)
Here are some other viewpoints on this interesting and (very) complex issue
Jason Williams - Graham Smith - Cornish Republican - Cornish Zetetics - Mudhook