Cornwall: Daily Express article recorded as racial incident by Met Police

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Daily Express article recorded as racial incident by Met Police

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Inaccurate reporting by the Daily Express has resulted in a written complaint submitted by Cornish campaign group ‘Kernow Matters To Us’ (KMTU) being made subject of a crime report following consideration by the Metropolitan Police Community Safety Unit.

A prominent article in the Daily Express of 8th December 2016 maliciously libelled the endangered Cornish language and, by extension, its users, and incited hatred against the protected Cornish national minority people.

The main headline read:  “Government spends more on CORNISH lessons than English, anti-extremism report reveals.”

The sub-headline went much further, making the following false and malicious claim:  

“Extremism is on the rise and integration is stalling because the Government is spending more money on Cornish lessons than English lessons, a damning report has claimed.”

This directly, and falsely, links the Cornish language with a purported rise in extremism, when the fact is that the many Cornish language users are decent, caring and law-abiding people, which include several serving and former police officers, members of the legal profession, elected councillors and former Members of Parliament (several of the latter, including current Cornish MPs have actually made their Oath in the House in Cornish). 

No mention is made of the fact that all government funding for the Cornish language was cancelled in April 2016, or the additional fact that not a single school teaches Cornish as a curriculum subject.

The cited Report, by Dame Louise Casey, is misinformed regarding funding but, in fact, makes no claim that links Cornish with extremism.

Cornish, like Welsh, a descendant of the indigenous language of this island, is a protected language under the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages, and listed as “seriously endangered” by UNESCO; while the Cornish people are also recognised and protected under the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.  The UK Government is a signatory to both the Charter and the Framework Convention.

It is the view of members of KMTU that the author of the offensive article, a journalist named Joey Millar, and the Daily Express editor Hugh Whittow, have committed a serious incitement of hatred against the Cornish national minority people and their native language.

Commander Chisty from the Metropolitan Police has contacted KMTU by letter explaining that the matter will be treated as a ‘specified investigation – Racial Incident’ and the matter recorded under Met Pol crime reference 6506047/17.

A member of KMTU is in liaison with Detective Sergeant Tim Shea of the Metropolitan Police Community Safety Unit.

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