Sunday, April 23, 2006

Better Bombers and Racists than Welsh Nationalists

It's difficult to see where Welsh nationalists have gone wrong. Irish nationalists have bombed, and killed thousands during the troubles and yet Gerry Adams gets a nice cup of tea and scone with Brit Nat PM, Tony Blair and other Brit Nat Governor Generals like Paul Murphy and Peter Hain.

White English working class people, 'traditional Labour voters' seem to be going over in droves to the racist British National Party at the forthcoming local elections in England, and Brit Nat Labour MPs like Frank Field (after giving the 'I'm not racist caveat) are quite openly saying that 'something has do be done'.

Welsh Nationalists haven’t killed or maimed a single person, not a single person in its whole modern history. Simon Glyn's comments about the movement of English-speakers into Gwynedd was decidedly not racists a fact recognised by the Commission for Racial Equality's decision to work closely with Cymuned, the movement founded following the Simon Glyn affair in 2001. All gains made by the Welsh nationalist movement in the last forty years have been through peaceful lobbying and non-violent direct action.

And yet, where are the Labour apologists? Welsh nationalists and Welsh nationalism is actually treated with more contempt than people like Adams who have blood on their hands.

It does seem that the British Nationalists problems with Welsh nationalism isn't its tactic or even 'racism'; it seems the problem is with the very concept of a Welsh nation and a Welsh language (which is much more than the token music-hall or post-national Welshness which Welsh internationalists campaign for.)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Paving over the crachs

Couldn't have said it better myself. An excellent piece by Patrick McGuiness in the Western Mail. And coming soon, Brit Nats Watch own Top Ten Labour Crachach

Paving over the crachs - Apr 8 2006

Why do some people in the know hate the crachach, Wales' Welsh-speaking middle-classes? Former Labour candidate Patrick McGuinness warns his old party to leave our beloved latte-loving luvvies alone.

WE'VE heard a lot about the 'crachach' lately, a mysterious and shadowy group of people, middle-class media types who speak Welsh and run our lives.

We've heard about them, but that's because we're always being told about them by the Welsh Labour party.

But when do you hear New Labour in Wales complaining about the much larger English-speaking middle class? The answer is, you don't.

They can all sleep safely in Lisvane, Penarth or the Vale of Glamorgan.

No, the people we're told to worry about are a few Welsh-speaking people in Pontcanna, shady characters who hatch nefarious plans over their lattes and cappuccinos.

In the topsy-turvy world of Welsh Labour, we have middle-class English-speaking politicians attacking other middle-class people because they speak a different language.

There is, of course, never any mention of the other deprived areas of Wales which are predominantly Welsh-speaking, the crisis in housing and communities, or indeed any of the serious issues of health and employment which affect North and West Wales.

No - the party that gets millions of pounds from the super-rich is all for persuading us that the real bogeyman is a small number of well-off Welsh-speakers making TV programmes for S4C.

Take the recent dog's breakfast of tribalism, control-freakery and incompetence that passes for Alun Pugh's handling of the leadership of the Arts Council of Wales.

Apart from the nasty personal criticisms of Geraint Talfan Davies by Labour's attack-dogs in the letters pages of newspapers, the sight of Huw Lewis springing to Pugh's defence with the old accusation of a 'crachach' siphoning off money from the deprived areas of Wales was surely symbolic. I have searched for letters or speeches from Huw Lewis in which he attacks the middle class English-speakers and found none.

Another example: use the word 'Senedd' and you're told, by Leighton Andrews AM, that 'the establishment' (never defined, of course) is foisting the word upon us by stealth. Who is this establishment?

I moved to Wales from Oxford five years ago. I am from Wimbledon, and middle-class (but don't worry - I don't speak Welsh). From where I'm standing (Canton in Cardiff West), the establishment looks pretty much like this: a South Wales-based Labour party that has been in charge at local level for the best part of the last 50 years; in charge at Cardiff Bay for the last seven; and in charge at Westminster for the last 10 years.

Powerful and rich, this is the party that has redefined the electoral rules to disadvantage the opposition, kicked the Richard Commission into touch, and run a health service that is a blight on the devolution project. It is also the party that has presided over the increase of inequality between rich and poor, often in the very constituencies of those who most vociferously complain about the supposed 'crachach'.

You can always tell who the establishment is by the fact that it's always telling you that someone else is the establishment. In some ways this is just party politics. Politics is the game of taking power but evading responsibility. In other ways, however, it is a deeply dishonest, unhealthy and divisive game of scapegoating the visible members of a minority group for short-term expediency.

It always helps to find someone to blame. In the scramble for middle-class South-East English votes, the Labour establishment attempts to inject cultural envy into its politics by attacking a Welsh-speaking middle-class.

The attempt to exploit the proud working-class culture of Wales by generating a culture of envy is perhaps the most corrosive element in the whole tawdry story of the genuine Welsh establishment.

I write all this more in sorrow than in anger. When I arrived in Wales I was a fervent Labour supporter. I supported devolution partly because we were promised the end of yah-boo politics.

Instead I have seen some of the nastiest tribalism and divisiveness I have ever encountered in 20 years of observing British politics.

As anyone who has lived here even a short a time knows: it's not the crachach that run the show, but a one-party ineptocracy fast running out of people to blame.

Patrick McGuinness is a poet and lectures in French at St Anne's College, Oxford. His most recent book of poems is The Canals of Mars. He writes for Planet: The Welsh Internationalist.

Brit Nat Nu Labour hypocrisy

I Watched on TV some of the Government of Wales Bill Debate at the House of Lords a few weeks back. Many old faces from the past of Welsh politics appeared and spoke - Lord Crickhowell and Lord Roberts of the Tories etc. I'm surprised some of them are still alive!

And then, up steps Baroness Anita Gale of Blaenrhondda. Labour's Women’s officer for Wales from 1976 - 1984, and then General Secretary for Wales between 1984 and 1999, at which point she retired after being appointed to the House of Lords. Keeping a straight face she said:

"It is wrong that a candidate rejected by the electorate in a first past the post election can some how appear i
n power in front of the electorate. We can not allow candidates for election to the National Assembly to stand in a seat and on the regional list".

A few days later, it was announced that Maggie Jones, the Nu Labour candidate who lost the party's safest Welsh seat (Blaenau Gwent) in the 2005 general election, is to be made a peer.

Maggie has never been elected to any role in her life. And her prize for being the biggest loser in Welsh political history - a cosy seat in the House of Lords.

It simply beggars belief!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Welsh Tories Show Some Guts

The Tories' decision to call a vote of confidence against Alun Pugh for the political appointment of Kulture Kommisar, Dai 'speak no Welsh' Smith was spot on. Why didn't Plaid Cymru supporting this motion?

Smith's colonial attitude towards the Welsh language and culture means he's not to be trusted running such an important institution. And who'll take any money that Dai Smith won't be reappointed once Labour look to appoint the new head of the Arts Council on a permanent basis?

Why are Plaid such wimps? Do they think if the shoe was on the other foot that Labour wouldn't go to town against such a blatantly political appointment, who has such a low opinion of Welsh culture? Would Labour accept a person of say Saunders Lewis's view as head of the Arts Council? (even though Lewis called for a national Welsh and English radio service as far back as 1935 - forty years before the founding of Radio Wales and Radio Cymru).

Smith has such a low opinion of culture through the medium of Welsh, that he hasn't been arsed to learn the language, even though being a Welsh historian it would have been to his benefit. His identity is that of an ethnic English-speaking Welshman who won't learn Welsh on principal. His politics is based in a colonial mentality towards Welsh. Smith is an English nationalist.

If Plaid were a confident Welsh nationalist party, they would fight against such an appointment. It makes you wonder if Plaid have the guts ever to be in Government.

Monday, April 03, 2006

FAW - Last Bastion of the Welsh-Not

Noticed that the Welsh Language Society are now posting news on their website in English. I just couldn't believe this story! Absolutely disgraceful.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg have strongly criticised FAW Secretary General David Collins and the FAW Council for their anti-Welsh, English-only policy, another prime example of the need for a New Welsh Language Act.

John Pritchard, Secretary of the Caernarfon and District League, recently replied to a letter from the FAW through the medium of Welsh, and to his great surprise, received the following response from FAW Secretary General David Collins:

"I can infom you that the Football Assocciation of Wales conducts its business in English... it will remain the policy of the FAW that all communications are conducted in English."

John Pritchard was also refused permission to speak through the medium of Welsh in two separate hearings with the FAW, and they refused to pay for any translating facilities, forcing John Pritchard to speak in English. John Pritchard said:

"During this time I requested several times, that the FAW, which represents football throughout the whole of Wales communicate through the medium of Welsh. My request was turned down more than once; with the decision to refuse according to the replies, made by the Secretary General, who despite having an important sounding job title is still an employee of the Association and I doubt, has the power to rule on such a significant issue."

John Pritchard strongly believes that he was discriminated against by the Football Association of Wales on account of being refused to communicate in any form with the FAW through his own language, in his own country.

He requested a guarantee from the FAW that they were willing to discuss adopting a full bi-lingual policy, but received no further reply from the FAW. He has therefore sent a complaint to the Legal Department at FIFA. He believes that the FAW have broken FIFA Statutes 3 which states:

"Discrimination of any kind against a country, private person or groups of people on account of ethnic origin, gender, language, religion, politics or any other reason is strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion."

And statutes 8.2 which states:

"It is the responsibility of each member association to translate into the language of their own country"

As well as gaining the support of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, John Pritchard has also gained the support of Hywel Williams MP, and local Assembly Member Alun Ffred Jones, who will be writing to FIFA on his behalf. Catrin Dafydd, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith's New Welsh language Act campaign said:

"This is a perfect example of the need for a new Welsh Language Act. An act that would make the Welsh language an official language in Wales. An act that would create a Commissioner to regulate such matters. An act that would give all Welsh people Welsh language rights."

Cymdeithas yr Iaith have also received many complaints from its members regarding the FAW's non-existence bi-lingual policy, and their English only website. We fully support John Pritchard, and will be contacting our members, urging them to complain to the FAW and FIFA regarding the matter.
Please use the following email addresses to lodge your complaint:


Or write to: FAW, 11 / 12 Neptune Court, Vanguard Way, Cardiff, CF24 5PJ