When first reading one of John Angarrack's books, an initial emotion they inspire is often anger. Why should you feel angry? One reason is the realisation that we have been lied to. I don't just mean the many sins of omission; like forgetting to let Cornish people know that we ran our own country of Cornwall perfectly well and independently as recently as the seventeenth century (we get told "You inbreds have not been independent for more than a thousand years!") or the attempted deliberate murder of our Cornish language by the English state ("It died off because people didn't want to speak it. If you want to learn it you must pay for it yourselves"), but I mean the more insidious lie - that we are taught that our Cornish history is of no worth and that we only ever have any worth as good little Englanders. That is the lie of the English state.
To pass through the English education system is to pass through assimilation on an Orwellian scale. This is not to single out Michael Gove's pathetic attempts at state funded jingoism a few years ago, but rather to point out that the absurd arrogance perceived in Victorian text books has changed rather than gone away, and pervades the entire education system even today. So now the English states, socialist or conservative, write their curriculums, courses and text books under the misleading title of "reasonable" - which by implication casts all dissenting voices as "unreasonable". Even the Guardian newspaper, supposed liberal bastion of “reasonable” recently published a diatribe against Welsh schools teaching Welsh.
You do not learn about English concentration camps in English schools. You would in South Africa - their school curriculums include the Cornish Emily Hobhouse who exposed them and their conditions. English text books are silent about Emily Hobhouse, as they are about most of the many unpalatable aspects of English state behaviour. What is worse is that Cornish text books are also silent about one of Cornwall's greatest heroines, because she does not fit into the grand narrative of the glorious (disguised as "reasonable") English state, and Cornish text books are part of the English education system by the English state.
You do not learn about Cornwall’s independence in English schools. Instead the English state created a narrative that civil war Cornwall was staunch royalist, but what historian Mark Stoyle found out was that the royals did not trust the Cornish, and the Cornish were fighting for Cornwall and not the crown. Once the parliamentarians were chased out of Cornwall, the Cornish refused to cross the Tamar. King Charles’ letter of “thanks” to Cornwall covers up a war of five nations and relegates we Cornish from proud independent nation, to a mere county of England.
So read Angarrack and get angry. He challenges us to think about what we think we know about Cornwall, and our relationship with England. Something that the English state education system will never do.
Thomas Flamank said “Speak the Truth, only then will you be free of your chains” and we will only be free of our chains when we speak the truth, and tell our children the truth of the real history of our nation of Cornwall. When we can do that in Cornish, we will be getting somewhere.