In-migration and Cornish nationalism since 1960

Jenna Hawkey and Joseph Melling, University of Exeter

[Project number 30067]

The study aims to examine whether in-migration has had a true effect on Cornish nationalist sentiment as is popularly believed. The data will be used to link in-migration location statistics and housing patterns with election statistics in order to analyse the relationship between in-migration and the rise of Cornish Nationalist support in Cornwall. Specifically, we wish to plot the key areas of in-migratory settlement against the proportion of natives residing in council accommodation in order to investigate how these figures correlate with election results for Mebyon Kernow in those areas.

It is a popular belief that the increase in anti-English sentiment amongst a proportion of the Cornish people and the rising success of Mebyon Kernow, the Cornish nationalist party, can be attributed to the rise in in-migration since the early 1960s. This demographic change has had fundamental effects on access to council and private housing as well as employment, and it is commonly believed that it is these economic factors - rather than the cultural threat - that are the causes of the growth of nationalist feeling throughout the county. In order to establish whether or not these assumptions match reality, the study will question the correlation between in-migration and electoral figures in various towns and localities.