Eden Project co-founder Sir Tim Smit insults Cornish people in rant

Dutch businessman criticises ‘inarticulate tossers’ who romanticise ‘good old days’

<p>Eden Project co-founder Sir Tim Smit has insulted Cornish people by calling them inarticulate </p>

Eden Project co-founder Sir Tim Smit has insulted Cornish people by calling them inarticulate

The co-founder of the Eden Project has caused a stir by labelling Cornish people as inarticulate “tossers” who romanticise “good old days” that never existed.

Sir Tim Smit, 67, was speaking to a podcast about the criticism he receives from some of the county’s inhabitants about “representing” Cornwall when he’s not from there.

The businessman said his detractors could represent themselves more if they were “a bit more f***** articulate”.

He said the perception the county had “good old days” was wrong and “they’ve been bad for about 70 years”.

Sir Tim, who was born in Holland but grew up in Sussex, added that “they’ve been bad because of tossers like you” – referring to people who romanticise the past.

He made the comments on The Reason Why podcast, hosted by actor and musician Seamas Carey, in an episode about life in 21st century Cornwall.

He told the podcast: “One of the problems in Cornwall is if you say anything - if you’re not Cornish - and you say anything about it, they say you’re an arrogant so-and-so speaking for the Cornish.

“You feel, and I don’t, but you feel like saying ‘well if you were a bit more f***ing articulate you could speak up for 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 tossers like you.

“And that’s what I would actually say to quite a few Cornish people.

“I really would because you cannot define your life in terms of what you don’t like.

Sir Chris Smit (right) showing Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip around the Eden Project in Cornwall in 2006

“You’ve actually got to define your life in terms of the sunny uplands you’d like to aspire to, and 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.”

Sir Tim also defended his friend Rick Stein who has faced criticism from some Cornish people.

He 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.”

Mr Carey told the Guardian he was aware Sir Tim’s comments had “ruffled the feathers of many people” in and out of Cornwall.

He added: “To my surprise, extracts of what Tim said were turned into a meme at surprising speed. He’s sparked debates in many households.

“It’s good to remember that Tim’s made big things happen in Cornwall, of which many people have benefited from. He’s a canny businessman, with a confident style.”

Sir Tim also said he was “sorry that some of the comments [he] made in the podcast have caused offence”.

Additional reporting by SWNS

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