Why should I be funding the Cornish language when I don’t speak it?

“I don’t speak Cornish, so why should my taxes fund the Cornish language?”

– a response to this often asked question!

We pay so much tax in this country, that it would seem that any saving would be, well, a saving.
Where does the money come from and where does it go?

Back in 2012 a calculation was done on an “average salary” of £25,000 and we have to ask, who in Cornwall earns that much? This seems a magical and high salary until you realise that “average salary” includes company directors, the bosses, the stock brokers “earning” £37million for their legal thefts, manipulations and dodgy deals, the bankers and “capitalists” who ensure they increase their wealth at our expense.

At the other end of the scale, we in Cornwall pay billions in taxes, and receive only some of that back in government funding. In fact, according to Business Age magazine, the government was, is, and continues “fiscally raping” Cornwall which is why the EU investment is so essential to mitigate the disaster which is our ongoing economic loss to London (the irony is that Europe’s poorest region – Cornwall – is subsidising its richest city – London).

But what do they do with all that money? It all comes back to us in benefits, defence, health, and all! Doesn’t it?

Well, no. No it doesn’t. Aside from our net loss, much of the money we receive is to make us good little Englanders. We Cornish, therefore, are paying for our own eradication.

destroying our cultureTo illustrate; the government begrudged the Cornish language £150,000 last year. Bearing in mind that even conservative estimates of the total number of people who learn or speak Cornish is around 3000, then that is £50 per speaker. Wow! That sounds like a lot! Until you look at what we spend on education.

Looking at the link below, and bearing in mind our wages are “about 74%” of the UK average, this means our taxes, we in Cornwall contribute £610 every year on education.

How much of that is spent on Cornish language? Well, none, not even the £50 mentioned (which comes from the Department for Communities and Local Government, and not Education).

The £610 we pay every year is all spent on teaching our children English language, English culture, English sport, English drama, English music and an English curriculum. Every last penny is spent on eradicating the Cornish from Cornwall.

Not a penny is spent on teaching anything Cornish to our Cornish children (which make up about 46% of the children in schools in Cornwall now). As one head teacher put it “We are not a Cornish school. We are an English school which happens to be in Cornwall” .

There are some that try to mitigate this disaster – some schools dress their children up as miners for St Pirans day, others might have an after school club learning Cornish. Some have even signed up to the “Curriculum Kernewek” which includes realising that the land outside the window is Cornwall, to an extent, but it is lip service, and ALL things Cornish remain outside of the English curriculum.

So when you next hear someone say they shouldn’t “waste” money on teaching Cornish, remember that you are already paying to have your child indoctrinated into an English curriculum, and £50 per speaker is a drop in the ocean which barely mitigates the disaster.

In fact disaster is a mild term. If there are 5000 people able to speak Cornish (and considering more than 1200 people have signed up to just one beginnners course then 5000 may itself err on the cautious side) then the amount begrudged is £30 per speaker. In contribution terms, that is everyone in Cornwall contributes just 30p per year to the Cornish language funding. We say “begrudged” because the government doesn’t want to pay it.

People in Cornwall saying it is a “waste” provides them with the excuse not to pay it at all, but that money will never go on a nurse, doctor, teacher, or not even a bomb! It will be kept by government, and Cornwall will lose out a little bit more.

Remember, we pay £610 every year towards the English indoctrination of our children. Personally, we would prefer for our taxes to be spent on teaching our children Cornish language, history, sport, drama, cuisine, geography, and all.

Imagine if our £610 was spent on that! We could even teach our kids some English too.

However, at the moment, this is not the case, and so you pay £610 every year towards making Cornwall more English, and paying 30p to making it just a little bit Cornish is a poor mitigation, but desperately needed.

John, Teresa, Craig, Tony, Matt, Mike, Clive & Samuel
Elected Members of the KMTU Steering Group

January, 2016