Western Morning News

We are not ‘ice cream Mussolinis’


I FULLY agree with your correspond­ent’s criticisms (WMN Apr 21) of Jeremy Clarkson’s disdain for the Cornish.

To the ‘blacklist’ I would add Clarkson’s journalist colleague Camilla Long, who described the Cornish as ‘Ice Cream Mussolinis’ (should this have merited reference to the Racial Discrimina­tion Commission?).

Here are a few facts for the London ‘experts’ to consider:

Cornwall Council list about 6,800 dwellings registered as second homes; these would together house as many people as Truro, Cornwall’s capital.

Not surprising­ly, this housing gap has pushed house prices up in one of the poorest areas of Europe.

Many ‘second homes’ do not pay any Cornwall council tax at all, and may be registered as ‘small businesses’, this exempts them from many ‘lockdown’ regulation­s and could qualify them for emergency business grants.

In contrast, many so-called ‘Ice Cream Mussolinis’ – local full-time businesses based on the tourist industry – have been forced to close by the current emergency, although they are vital employers in this lowwage region.

After the ‘lockdown’ the council received about 1100 reports in 10 days suggesting that second home properties were in use.

Over 800 of these were through one particular online letting agency, and some appeared to be in contravent­ion of the regulation­s.

Again, compare this with the plight of the local holiday letting industry, which is registered and hence closely watched when told to close.

Much could be said about life in modern Cornwall, but secondhome­rs and London journalist­s need to be reminded that it is not like Poldark or Doc Martin, especially in winter.

It is an emotion-filled history of hardship and privation over the last century and a half, as thousands of Cornish miners left home to find work all over the world to feed the families they left behind.

Many ‘Cousin Jacks’ never returned, such as the two ancestors of mine whose names I am very proud to bear, who suffered premature and painful deaths in the Wild West.

Perhaps they would agree with my scepticism.

Richard Giles Lympstone, Exmouth

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