IT IS obscene that £120,000 from central Government has been recently pledged to promote the Cornish language, in addition to the thousands already pledged by Cornwall Council.
Our public toilets are closing or charging – especially difficult for those in wheelchairs. So much for the Paralympic legacy. Our libraries are losing hours and staff, our bus fares are soaring and bus services being cut; our acutely mentally ill people and disabled children are being sent out of county away from their families for care no longer available here; Cornish wages are some of the lowest in the country, while house prices rise due to the desirability of second homes in Cornwall; and exorbitant rents remain unregulated.
These are the issues public money should be used to address – not funding the resurrection of a language declared extinct by the UN five years ago and spoken by no one as their first language.
Around 557 people claim to now speak it – a tiny fraction of Cornwall's population. Of course folk are free to learn any language they wish, be it Cornish, Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Clingon or Middle Earth, but at a time of austerity the use of taxpayers' money for a tiny minority hobby cannot be justified.
There is a mistaken belief that pumping public money into this rebooted Cornish language will boost tourism, but Cornwall's identity does not, and never will, derive from its defunct language being plastered everywhere, to be understood by only a handful.
The proudly Welsh comedian Rob Brydon spoke recently of the many "annoying" Welsh signs now dominating his native country, despite only five per cent of people there understanding Welsh. It is worth noting that children in Wales fared badly in recent national literacy assessments. Could the same happen here?
The iconic Dylan Thomas did not write in Welsh, precisely because he wanted his work to be understood by a wide audience.
Tourists and settlers come to Cornwall for the grandeur of the scenery, the sea and beaches, the majestic tin mines, the coastal path, the beautiful gardens and woods and many other things which make it a wonderful place to live and visit.
Given the choice between seeing a road sign in Cornish or being able to visit a public toilet for free I think most of us would choose the latter.
Public money must be used more wisely.