A poem stirred up by the many English Twitter trolls who believe that the inhabitants of Cornwall should be a little more grateful and subservient to the visitors who are descending on Cornwall both this year and last because they can’t go to their usual haunts. It was noticeable that these visitors don’t really ‘get’ Cornwall and expect it to be more like the sun-soaked hotspots they would normally frequent. The point of my poem is that ninety percent of us (an estimate, I suspect that is more than it probably is, but works well for scanning purposes) don’t get any of our visitors money because we are doing the same jobs as everywhere else in the country…and having to put up with unprecedented traffic queues on our roads and boorish behaviour in our understaffed shops and services.
The poem is not having a go at the tourists who usually come here and who appreciate the land and the people of Cornwall. They are still very welcome.
THE GRATEFUL CORNISH
(a rejection of English twitter trolls)
The grateful Cornish are few in number;
(My augmented guess a mere ten percent)
The ones who make money from tourists and
Keenly await your approaching descent.
Five million of you come to see us;
Making your annual trip-trap, trip-trap.
Trolls over, not under the Tamar Bridge
And filling social media with crap
About how the Cornish should be grateful,
As we sit and await your arrival
Like leprous beggars with our hands outstretched
Keening for economic survival.
So, who is it that gets all your money?
Clearly not the folk that you’ve envisioned,
But supermarkets, big nationals and
Second home owners, mostly from England,
Hoteliers, campsites and restaurants,
English Heritage, The National Trust,
Hedge Funds and the venture capitalists
Who profit from financial boom and bust.
There’s only half a million of us
That live here, most of us don’t want to move.
Wages below national average
Yet house prices and rents are through the roof.
Just as everywhere else on this isle,
Ninety percent do the same jobs as you;
Like driving wagons, buses and taxis,
Amazon, Yodel and Deliveroo.
We stare bleary-eyed at computer screens…
Civil service and data collection.
We police both the town and the country.
Our kids sign up to fight insurrection.
We work the land, picking fruit and flowers;
Risk our lives at sea to bring you your fish
We serve you beer, wine, cocktails and spirits
And expertly cook your favourite dish.
We tend the gardens, the parks and the greens,
Sweeping the streets to clear littering sins
Doing our utmost to keep Kernow clean,
Recycle and beat the gulls to the bins.
We teach at nursery, school and college;
School-mums and dads are made late for the bell;
We’re accountants, lawyers and journalists;
Musicians, artists and poets as well.
We fix the electricity and gas
And dig to keep utilities flowing.
Just the same jobs…just the same jobs as you…
I hope by now you’ll see where I’m going.
We clean second homes and holiday lets;
We work in shops, here to serve and assuage
But unless we actually own it
Then all we’ll get is the minimum wage.
We heal the sick and then nurse them better
And we care for both the young and the old.
We place value on our opinions
And raise our hackles whenever we’re trolled.
Ninety percent of half a million
Won’t benefit from a single penny.
Yes, it’s contrary to what you guys think
But it’s true most of us won’t see any.
We want to get on with our normal lives
Just like everywhere else in this land.
So, don’t mind when we get a bit pissed off
When the situation gets out of hand.
And think on not to take too many risks,
Zealously questing that thrill-seeking hit.
We only have one major hospital
Which is going to be struggling a bit.
Those prices you pay that fill you with rage
On the buses, for coffee or ice cream,
Are the same that we pay throughout the year.
There’s ever a cost to our Cornish dream.
In your ubiquitous holiday let,
When drink and drugs give your volume a lift;
The person who’s trying to sleep next door
Has an early morning hospital shift.
It’s like trying to get on with your work
While sat in a child’s jungle gym for hours
Or hoping for an ordinary life
In the queue for rides at Alton Towers.
How welcoming do you think you would be
If the world and its wife came to visit
Your town with enough room to spread the load,
Proper-sized roads and a choice of exit?
How much of our cash do you think you’d see
To put up with such long-lasting hindrance?
Would you bear the hardship with stoic grace
Or wave us off with a grim ‘good riddance’?
We understand we’re not as rich as you;
And that it’s crass and very unfunny
To vaunt your money in a hardship zone.
It’s so last century…loadsamoney!
You are so unlike our usual guests,
Who come down here because they adore it.
Not grudgingly ‘cause they can’t go abroad
Because of restrictions caused by Covid.
For when it comes to Cornwall’s GDP,
Tourism accounts for just twelve percent.
Because most of the money made down here
Goes back to England and that’s where it’s spent.
Now hopefully you’ll understand that we
Don’t cash in with your holiday moolah.
How about you give your keyboards a rest
And we can all cry out “Hallelujah!”
So, we’ll do our best to be courteous
Now you know you won’t get our gratitude.
Best regards from us, the ninety percent
All hoping for a better attitude.
© gray lightfoot