Cornish moaners are just ‘t***ers!’ – Eden Project founder launches extraordinary attack

David Domoney visits Eden Project's Mediterranean garden

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Sir Tim Smit, 67, who designed the tourist attraction in Cornwall, complained that people who are not from Cornwall are sometimes criticised as “arrogant” when they speak about the county. The outburst came when he was discussing the criticism levelled against the Padstow-based chef Rick Stein for not “representing” the country because he is not Cornish. Sir Tim, who moved to Cornwall in 1987, said that Cornish people could represent themselves more if they were “a bit more f***ing articulate”.

He also criticised the Cornish for being overly nostalgic for “imagined good old days”, adding: “they’ve been bad for about 70 years”.

He said: “They’ve been bad because of t***ers like you”.

Sir Tim, who was born in the Netherlands and grew up in Sussex before relocating to the county, was speaking to The Reason Why podcast, which focuses on social issues in Cornwall.

He was speaking to host Seamas Carey, a Cornish comedian, who was complaining that he does not see his home county represented in Mr Stein’s TV shows.

Sir Smit said Stein is “personally quite anxious about being seen as a spokesman for Cornwall because he knows you get bricks thrown at you for saying you speak for anybody here.

He continued: “One of the problems in Cornwall is if you say anything — if you’re not Cornish — they say you’re an arrogant so-and-so speaking for the [locals].

“You feel, I don’t, but you feel like saying, well if you were a bit more f***ing articulate you could speak up yourself but you haven’t.”

“You’ve all got mums who made the best pasties in the world and it’s fantastic and it’s fabulous and you talk about the good old days and the good old days never were the good old days.

“They’ve been bad for about 70 years and they’ve been bad because of t***ers like you and that’s what I would actually say to quite a lot of Cornish people.

“I really would because you cannot define your life in terms of what you don’t like. You’ve got to actually define your life sometimes in terms of the sunny uplands you would like to aspire to”.

Sir Tim, who is executive vice-chairman of the Eden Project, went on to say that Cornwall had been dealt a “bad hand” by the Government and there was plenty to be “genuinely angry about”.

He said: “What makes me cross is that there was plenty to be genuinely angry about injustice in Cornwall, in terms of the way central government saw it and it was allowed to be painted as if it was political as opposed to being factually correct.

”It is factually correct that Cornwall has been dealt a bad hand and it deserves significantly more.”

He defended friend Chef Stein who has been criticised by Cornish people in recent years for gentrifying the town of Padstow.

Sir Tim said: “People forget that he’s a chef with a successful restaurant who was the first chef on television who rooted his chef-ery in the town in which he lived.

”His foundation was the fishermen of Padstow and him being a chef of fish.

“He is personally quite anxious about being seen as a spokesman for Cornwall because he knows you get bricks thrown at you for saying you speak for anybody here.”

Sir Tim has faced a backlash with many people expressing their anger on social media about his portrayal of the Cornish.

One person said: “Well he can leave anytime. Happy to take our money though isn’t he?”

Another said: “I rather admire Sir Tim Smit, but his comments about Cornish people today are surprisingly ignorant given he’s lived here for three decades.”

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Sir Tim has since said he was “sorry that some of the comments I made in the podcast have caused offence”.

He said his words were taken out of context, with him speaking specifically in defence of Mr Stein.

He said: “My strongest words were directed at people who seek to damn him for making Cornwall attractive to outsiders.

He added: “I wasn’t intending to comment on Cornish people as a whole, rather some of those who would tell you that the past was better than now when the truth is different; it was not.

“Cornwall has been my home for more than 30 years and I don’t want a few harsh words on my part to damage the many friendships I’ve made in a place I love.”

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