My dad's gone native. He's spent the last decade or so living in the West of Cornwall, and apart from an unfortunate incident in which he resigned as chairman of Falmouth Bowling Club - the word "grockle" was mentioned by one of the more established members who can trace Cornish ancestry for at least three hundred years - he has done a pretty smart job at blending in with the yokels.
However, he's taken it too far. Okay, I can live with the obligatory flag of St Piran in the back window of the car, the unremitting diet of pasties, never-ending references to rugby union and the name-dropping of local celebrities ("So I said to Rick Stein..."), but it's the OTHER thing I can't handle.
"Bloody tourists. Coming down here and buying our houses..."
As my brother so rightly pointed out: "Dad! You're from Essex! You bought a holiday cottage in Falmouth and stayed here. You're a GROCKLE! You're as Cornish as a chicken tikka pastie!"
Dad's sane compared with the other buggers, mind.
Cornwall is an angry place. The atmosphere is of barely restrained aggression and frustration. There is an underlying current of xenophobia and hatred, aimed at "them", the cause of all the county's troubles. "Them" being outsiders - the European Union, London and even the proposed South West Regional Centre, as it'll be based in Plymouth or Bristol, which might as well be the moon as far as your man on the Penzance Omnibus is concerned.
"Them" is embodied in the Grockle, the holidaymakers that provide thousands of jobs and thirty per cent of the Cornish economy. And when "Grockle" isn't harsh enough, the more affluent are sneeringly refered to as "DFLs" - Down from London. I prefer to call myself "A contributor to Cornwall's continued service industry affluence, you whinging yokel". The roof box on the car, however, had me marked as a "Them".
This rage has found an outlet in the UK Independence Party, the BNP that's OK to like. Whipped up by a rabid local press (I've never seen so little balance in all my years), there are pink UKIP election placards wherever you look in Cornwall. Mostly, it has to be said, in farmers' fields - the first people to suffer when the CAP payments stop rolling in. Say what you like about EU fishing quotas, and I've heard enough in the last weekend to last a lifetime, but it'll be no use whining when you drag the last fish from the sea...
UKIP neatly solves the Cornish dilemma of someone to blame, as they both have the same enemy in the EU, the embodiment of rule from afar which so offends Cornwall. But yeah, I really want to pull our country out of the world's largest tading block and throw ourselves in with our American "allies". The same allies who make a regular habit of stabbing their most favoured nations in the back when the chips are down. Suez 1956, for example.
"Non-racist!" claims the smily Kilroy UKIP literature, the same literature that vows to ban EU immigration. This party is white, middle class, old, suspicious of outsiders, only interested in "I'm alright Jack". The BNP of the landed classes. I was glad to get over the border to Devon as see all the Conservative Party placards. I've never been so pleased to see a Tory in all my life (apart from that unfortunate business with the fragrant Teresa May).
Q: What's the difference between UKIP and the BNP?
A: A two million quid advertising budget. And fucking Robert Kilroy fucking Silk.
Meanwhile...Robber Rabbit's writing again. Only not about Kirstie Allsopp for a change.
As we're rather light on laughs today, here's a bunch of funny stories about wanking.