I can understand why many will be mystified why I’m showing a picture of Redruth station in 1902:
But it (click to enlarge) simply indicates the amount of emigration from Cornwall at the time – though if you see the later photos in the booking hall of Redruth station nowadays the platforms are actually even more crowded!
These are Cornish miners who, with their mining industry having been rapidly devastated by more difficult mining conditions than elsewhere in the world at the end of the nineteenth century, found that their skills were still definitely in demand not only in South Africa, but also significantly in Mexico, Chile, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and Canada.
This reminds me of my father’s contention that half the Cornish had never strayed from the ‘county’ and the other half had never worked in it.
To governmental shame, it is not so different today.
This simply reminds me of Brexit.
There is a small minority that is content to stay home and believes in nowhere but home and meanwhile the rest of us who relish outside contact and exchange are considered deluded if not traitorous.
Now I realise that those Cornish miners were not going abroad entirely of their own volition – but it did give the Cornish diaspora an importance – and even an influence.
I remember encountering – with some (in restrospect) naïve shock – somebody called May in Spanish speaking – and he was Spanish speaking – Chile.
I’m influenced by the FT Public Policy Editor who has written on what I can only call the wider social consequences of Brexit.
Yes many initial consequences may be somewhat ‘middle class’ – or what the Tories would call ‘aspirational’ – although they themselves seem largely to have surpassed any aspiration.
But so what?
What Cornishmen ended up with as a result of their prosperity which actually ended in hardship, I suggest that Britain may well actually end up with a similar outcome.
But, importantly, this is a self- inflicted choice.
We see that European social links have been completely shattered on the back of Johnson’s lying ambition and how does that speak to our offspring’s future?
We are supposed to be a new ‘Global Britain’,
But isn’t Europe mightily important in that?
After all, if I’d worked in Spain I might have been able to better ‘catch up’ with my Cornish relation in Chile!
Europe, having been such an important influence in the world actually will teach our youth about it – and give them a broader outlook.
Johnson’s arbitrary decision to go for a cultural cut off is entirely against our offspring’s interests. Although of course our Prime Minister appears not to know how many he himself has, so perhaps we should not expect much different…
But, when the difficulty in trading with our nearest neighbours, combined with a reduction in employment possibilities and even residency, is added to the arbitrary abolition of Erasmus, I think we have a government who actually looks towards a Globally ‘closed’ Britain and not, I fear, an open one.