Friday, June 29, 2007


Adam Price is quoting Gramsci in a thoughtful and intelligent article on his blog. Gramsci is great, but I'm always a little worried about quoting him. The left have a habit of believing politics in teleological terms, that things develop and grow in a structured way which can be understood and foreseen. Trouble is, people aren't like that.

'Gramsci the communist' is cool, but then if he's so clever why didn't the Communists ever win power in Italy? Either he got it wrong or the electorate got it wrong i.e. didn't agree with Communism. So, wouldn’t Adam be better off reading and quoting those who did attain power and understand people - Thatcher, Freedman - only joking Adam!

Gramsci is great, quoting Gramsci's even better, but people are human and not theories. But, in true dialectical fashion here's my 'short history of Wales in the last twenty five years as seen through the eyes of a cultural nationalist':

The Welsh nationalist movement redefined Welsh-language cultural and political aspirations, partly through Saunders Lewis mostly through others and created a modern secular language. They gained status for the language - both hard status (Welsh Language Acts, education etc) and soft status (S4C, Welsh pop scene, papurau bro etc). This created a culture (OK, counter culture if you Gramscians wish) which was, is, dynamic, attractive and beyond the control of the Labour Party. It made 'traditional Welsh culture' (Labourist Wales) seem old fashioned and in Welsh, irrelevant. It created a new cultural space and cultural norms that extends to a new political space and political norms.

Welsh language culture was part of the driving force in redefining a new Welsh sensibility which was deeper and outlived C19th/early C20th Welsh Labourism which was rooted in heavy industries and dependant on Anglo-Americanism. Once those industries went, a central tenant of Labourism lost its confidence.

Welsh political culture is also symbiotic, and even invisible, almost illiterate. Welsh-speakers and non-Welsh-speakers are friends, part of the same family, are siblings or husbands and wives. And so, some of the new, modern secular Welsh-language political sensibilities were, are, transmitted orally more than written to non-Welsh speakers (and vice versa). This is one of the reasons why Welsh politics can be difficult to understand and prophesise. This happened throughout the 1980s and 1990s and 2000s.

Welsh Labourism has no modern Welsh culture. It's English, or American or 'World' (hence Glenys Kinnock's 'interest' in Africa, Wales is so boring see). Welsh Labour culture, seems to stop with Max Boyce, it hasn't progressed. It's as if the Welsh language pop scene started and then finished with Dafydd Iwan in 1969. There was the brief, exciting Cwl Cymru period in 1997ish - which could just about have won the Referendum but nothing has really rooted since.

Welsh Laboursim has to be propped up by Britishness because it can't put Welshness in its centre-place - to do so would be to engage thoughtfully and honestly with Welsh identity. Welsh Laboursim can't do that because a central tenant of Welsh identity is that Wales has been through a period of colonisation; a colonisation that Welsh Labourism dismisses ever happened, because Welsh Labourism supported that colonisation processes. To discuss Welsh identity honestly would mean undermining Britishness, and that would mean contemplating never being ruled by London.

Many on the Left in Plaid and in Labour frown upon cultural politics. But nationality is a cultural concept and so all politics is cultural. Welsh politics is cultural politics; economy, health, education are proxy for cultural identities. The Welsh cultural nationalists created a new national sensibility. Because Labourism doesn't believe in Welsh nationality or 'cultural politics' (although everything it did was British cultural politics) it has been overtaken by Welsh nationalism. Labourism is now trying to redefine British nationality, admitting that they go this wrong, but too late. Welsh nationalism have taken a march by some 40 years, and whilst Labour belittled cultural nationalist, cultural nationalists were creating their own cultural and political sensibility... a political sensibility that is now biting Labourism back.

Labourism took their eye off the ball. They believed their own propaganda that people are only interested in 'schools and hospitals' that we're all into 'materialism'. Some left wingers in Plaid believed this lie too. More fool them. We've created a modern Welsh culture that is exciting, international and growing in confidence, Labourism has nothing to offer us.

So, Adam, Gramsci, yes you're right and wrong - 'It's the (counter) Culture Stupid!

Monday, June 25, 2007

For Wales, see Labour

I'm not convinced by the talk of a Plaid-Labour Coalition. I fail to see what Plaid gets out of it.

Labour gerrymander the constitution which makes it difficult for the Assembly to actually pass laws without some backwoodsmen Labour MPs supporting it. So rather than call Labour's bluff, Plaid AMs put their hands in the air and say, 'OK, you win. We'll let you keep the ball - it's your ball'.

Labour have run a red-neck anti-Welsh language campaign since 1999. Rhodri Morgan says a New Welsh Language Act is 'boring, boring, boring'. Labour run a whispering campaign against Welsh-medium schools in Cardiff. Labour supporters trash Cymuned sings in Gwynedd. Labour AMs accuse Dafydd Iwan of supporting white-flight when in fact it was the opposite. Labour still haven't brought out a coherent strategy for Welsh-medium education (despite their own targets in the field) ... and Plaid AMs want to do business with them? Tories change their tune, or at least make some effort, and hey, Plaid AMs don't want to know. Labour make f**k all effort and Plaid come running to them.

Labour go on and on about British Day, British that, British inclusive identity, new British Nationalism. Not one Brit Nat Labour MP attends the cross-party, apolitical annual St David's Day march - I mean, how anti-Welsh identity do you have to be not to attend a St David's Day parade? Tory and Lib Dem AMs turn up. Plaid AMs want to cwtch up to Labour.

I could go on, but you get the gist.

What is it with some Plaid AMs? Is there a deep Oedipal complex which means they really just want to be accepted by their 'left wing' butties in Labour and for Labour to say, 'it's OK now, mammy's here, we don't think Welsh nationalism is bad, you're right, we just misunderstood you. Lets all cwtch up, light up a candle hold a peace vigil and it will all be OK. It's OK now, we think you're nice people honestly now.'

For heavens sake. Grow up! Labour thinks every single one jack Plaid supporter is a quasi-fascist. There's no difference how many peace marches you go on, how many little children in Africa you save or how many Israeli oranges you won't by, Labour think you're fascists. Why do Plaid AMs want to be accepted by such a bunch of Brit Nat bigots? Who cares what Labour think?

There's a group within Plaid who think that Plaid are there to make Labour more Welsh. It's Plaid's job to help out the so called 'Welsh-wing' in Labour to move Labour along towards a more Welsh agenda. Can't they see that Labour are laughing at them?

If Plaid lead a Rainbow alliance it will make news across Europe. Not massive news, but some news. People will think, heck, a Welsh nationalist party running Wales - that's interesting, I thought Wales was just England. If Plaid go into Anschluss with Labour then it'll be no news; same as usual, Wales a non-country, for Wales see Labour, i.e. see England.

Some Plaid AMs want to give Labour a breath of life. It does make you think if these AMs actually have any confidence in Welsh nationalism and more importantly - what's the point of Plaid Cymru? Why join a party when you could join Labour, a party that will be in power for ever and 'is more Welsh' thanks to Plaid's policies?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Kernow bys vyken! Cernyw am byth!

Good to see Cornish identity raising its head in the pages of the Guardian on Friday 15th. OK, there was a slightly patronising under-current to the piece, but then, attempted bombings of a hair-dressers and bingo hall seems an odd choice for an armed movement.

Better that Cornish nationalists concentrate on the language, culture and constitutional politics and not violence. Still, politicians need to prove that politics works too an not just mouth platitudes.

Funny, here in Wales, the issue of affordable housing for local people is now OK for Brit Nat Welsh Labour to discuss. Yes, six years after they lambasted Simon Glyn. Still, I suppose losing Labour votes in England to the BNP had its effect.

Funny again; voters switching to real racist parties like the BNP earn more respect with Labour politicians than voters voting for constitutional nationalist parties in Wales (or Cornwall). But then, as Brit Nats Labour has more in common with the BNP than do Welsh or Cornish nationalists.

Keep at it Kernow! We're with you all the way!

Cornish independence is back on the menu -

Monday, June 11, 2007

Britain Day = Good / St David's Day = Bad

Do I need to say anything? British nationalist MP wants us to celebrate Britain Day. British nationalists MP's don't want us to have St David's Day as a Bank Holiday.

Funny, Labour believe immigrants need to learn English; Labour in Wales are against a Welsh language act (which wouldn't force anyone to learn Welsh). Discussing effect of immigration on language and housing in England = OK; discussing immigration on language and housing in Wales = bad.

And people ask my why I keep calling Labour a British nationalist party. Dank hypocrites.