As one comment on Syniadau'r blog put it, it seems the Catalans will have to start killing people if they want their cause to be covered by the BBC or the 'Welsh' press.
Many of you may know that because the Spanish Constitution (which can't be changed because it was given by God on Mount Sinai) doesn't allow a democratic referendum on independence for Catalonia or the Basque Country. The Catalans have side-stepped the band and are holding a series of referenda on 13 December on the subject in some 150 local councils.
This is big news. But, not big enough for the BBC or the Western Mail. Vaughan Roderick gave is a quick mensh a few weeks ago and there was a piece in Golwg360 as Jill Evans Plaid MEP will be in Catalonia as an observer. Other news which is covered in BBC Europe online include a hunger strike by a Western Saraha dissident (another Spanish colony) and conseiderations by Turkey to ban the pro-Kurdish DTP party . So, the subject of minority righst, or independence movements isn't a problem for the press, it's just that, well, by not killing people or threatening to kill people or not being attacked by tanks or water canons, the Catalan cause isn't deemed newsworthy.
However the big story is that Spain, unlike the UK, which, would in theory at least, allow a referendum on independence for Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales won't allow a similar democratic vote for the constituent nations of their state. The Catalans, like the Basques and Galicians, predate the Spanish state. Catalonia is only a part of Spain because they lost a war of independence in the early 18C - a cause which Westminster supported.
Spain isn't Turkey, but denying a referendum on independence for a European nation within the EU, a nation which has not used violence or intimination is news. Is Spain the kind of EU member state we want to have?
Friday, December 11, 2009
As one comment on Syniadau'r blog put it, it seems the Catalans will have to start killing people if they want their cause to be covered by the BBC or the 'Welsh' press.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Lots of talk been on Celtic nationalist blogs about the Labour hold at the Glasgow North East even on the Welsh blogger site, Grangetown Jack.
It's a terrible indictment that after 75 years of holding the seat, 12 years of power in Westminster (and several other stints) and 8 years in power in Holyrood - Labour blame the SNP (who've been in power at Edinburgh for 18 months) for Glasgow North East's ills! Yes, you couldn't make it up.
That the SNP failed to take the seat is also an indictment.
The best analysis I've read is in The Times. It'd be worth Plaid supporters, policy makers and politicians taking time to read it too.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
No more Welsh men fighting British wars!
Monday, November 09, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Being an internationalist movement, the Welsh national movement has close links and affinity with other state-less nations. One of the most successful in terms of political power and language regeneration (not to talk of economy - and yes, there is a link) is Catalonia. And it seems the affinity is reciprocated.
For all those Catalan-speakers, there's a new site about Wales and the other Celtic nations. La Llengua de drac - the dragon's language, surely - is a great addition to the Welsh and Catalan blogesphere. (If, like me, you don't speak Catalan, you can use googletranslate).
There's also an article in the Catalan daily, El Punt about Rhodri Morgan. In it Rhodri tries to outline Wales's insulting and confusing constitional mess to the Catalans - the mess his party got us into to keep happy it's Brit Nat section!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Surprised (am I really?!) that none of the 'Welsh' media ran this story. Arenys de Munt, a small town mid-way between Barcelona and Girona in Catalonia, voted for independence from Spain.
The town's mayor held the election.... even though (or because of rather) the fact that Spain won't allow Catalonia to hold such a vote. The Spanish state declares that a vote on independence in 'unconstitutional' - the word 'unconstitutional' is used of course to give their colonial prejudice some semblance of intelligence and legality.
Much the same way as divorce was once 'unconstitutional' or gay rights was 'unconstitutional' or breaking apartheid laws were 'unconstitutional'. Put it in UK terms, under Spain's 'constitution' the Irish (and the Good Friday Agreement) would not be allowed nor would the Scots or us be allowed to hold a referendum on independence! It's all nonsense really.
The Catalans, like the Basques and Galicians, predate the Spanish state and so have a right to leave that state. In fact, had luck (and France) been on their side in the 18th century Catalonia would now be independent like Portugal are.
In any case, a campaign is gathering apace in Catalonia for the right of the Catalan nation to decide its own destiny within or without the Spanish state. Some time the Spanish conquistadors will have to give into democracy in Catalonia like the Basque Country and Galicia.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Interesting article in The Times by Rachel Sylvester on 1 September. Now that Britain is just a medium-sized state why stick with it? What ever your view on the Lockerby Bomber decision it's interesting to note two facts. It took a Scottish Parliament Minister to stand up to the Americans in a way the 'Brits' never would, what Blair called the 'Love Actually moment' and related to that, the general increasing irrelevance of, or irritation with, Britain which the US feels.
Now that Britain can't offer the glory which always attracts a type of person who just like to be on the winning side, then what does Britain offer? Unlike a Welsh or Irish or Estonian state which are there to foster and promote weaker cultures and languages, the most appealing parts of British identity - comedy and popular music are independent of needing a state. After all, would the independence of four Britannic nations undermine 'British' comedy or pop music? Hardly ... it would probably strengthen it if anything. So, why stick with Britain?
Basically, there's nothing a British state can do which a Welsh or Scottish one can't do just as well or better. Now that the glory and prestige once attached to it is fading it will lose the affection of those fickle people who want to associate themselves with it. There is no point to Britain!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
At last, after years of waiting, suffering the Brit natfest (or even worse, English nat in Wales fest) which was the Ashes (haven't they bloody finished yet!) we get an item on Welsh news about one of closest things to an indigenous Welsh sport - Baseball.
It was on S4C's news program at 7.30pm Monday 17 August - about 23 minutes into the programme and BBC Wales. Good on Wyre Davies! Of course, this being 'Welsh' media the item was only broadcast because of the lack of support by the Olympic committee towards the game and also because the item was run on Radio 4's Today programme the previous Thursday - if it's been in 'national' (UK) radio then it must be a proper story see boys! It was also featured in the letters pages of the Times.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia is making history. Not only taking control of the country's natural wealth which goes down well with the Brit left wing, but is also proving that the battle for economic control is the same as the one for dignity of marginalised languages and cultures... something some of our British nationalist friends in the Labour party conveniently forget.
What serendipity. After denying the need or ability to develop a Coleg Ffederal, funny that Labour, with Plaid in government - and keeping to the One Wales pact, now goes about actually delivering a gear change in university education through Welsh with the delivery of the Coleg Ffederal Cymraeg. Evo Morales is doing the same in Bolivia. The Welsh nationalist project is a world-wide project not the spiteful one so long propagated by some Labour members.
And the proof, well, this item on the www.eblul.org site (the old Eurolang.net site) mentions that the Bolivian Ambassador will visit Machynlleth on 14 August. Why? Well to learn and hear from us Welsh about our struggle for linguistic rights and our efforts to normalise our language in our own country.
Fantastic! Funny, I don't think our Brit Nats friends like the Kinnocks of this world (and some AMs) will have much to contribute to that discussion. No doubt, were they in Bolivia they'd be doom-saying that 'we can't afford this', 'it's divisive', 'should be spent on schools (Spanish/English speaking of course) and hospitals'.
British Labourism has run it's course. It has misread the cultural change which is sweeping across the world. Labourism is a cult of the discredited modernist 20th century a Darwinism of culture and languages. Good riddance to it. It served us badly. Welcome to the new world where Wales talks like friends to Bolivians and Welsh is an asset not a problem. Viva La Revolución - in all our languages! May the conquistadors mentality of Bolivia and British nationalism in Wales perish!
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Friday, June 05, 2009
BTW doesn't know enough about Cornish politics - why didn't the Welsh media give it some space, not even the eclectic Vaughan Roderick. But in any case, with a blue tide washing across the UK (it would include Wales were there local elections here - don't fool yourself) Mebyon Kernow got three of its members elected.
The Tory's took Cornwall which bodes badly for the LibDems at the next General Election. That could be good news for MK if they can garner the anti-Tory vote in the future.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Change is afoot in Greenland. In a national election held to elect a government as it enters a new enhanced form of self-government within Denmark on 21 June, the voters have gone for a left-of-centre nationalist party Inuit Ataqatigiit, a sort of Greenlandic Plaid Cymru .
This is good news. The voters in Greenland have seen that after 30 years of rule by the more cautious devolution party, they want a new party for a new constitutional set-up... will the same be true of Wales? Lets hope so.
BNW is all for independence for Greenland but as we've written before, we believe that the Danish connection is an important one as trilingualism - Greenlandic, Danish and English is better for a small linguistic community like Greenlandic than bilingualism where the second language, English, is such a strong and potentially fatal one for the smaller language. From the Greenlandic point of view, keeping Danish as a second language would enhance Greenland's independence not undermine it. The lesson from Nunavut, the semi-autonomous Inuit Canadian province next door confirms this. For small linguistic communities like Greenlandic or Welsh isn't that speaking another language is a threat but that speaking only one other language is a threat - it's best for us to be trilingual not bilingual.
It seems, that now the Greenlandic language and community is the dominant one in terms of number and confidence that Danish is no longer a threat. There's a lot to be said then for keeping the Danish connection therefore... a connection which stretches back centuries and is a window on a wider (and quite appealing) Scandinavian culture.
Maybe Greenland could have independence within a Danish commonwealth along with the Faroe Islands - another nation, were it governed by a more powerful linguistic community, English in Scotland or the UK for instance, would have seen it's language lost and economy weaker - see the Shetland islands as a comparison.
In any case - Greenland leads the way where Wales will follow!
Monday, May 25, 2009
The French Cup Final on Saturday 9 May was anything but French! The two teams in the Final were both Breton; Gwengamp (a small town) and the capital of Brittany, Roazon (Rennes). The euphoria surrounding the event it seems to me will renew Breton confidence and politics for a generation to come. http://cymru-llydaw.blogspot.
Not only did the French press make much of the event - the sports daily Equipe gave a Breton make over but the Bretons made most of the day.
The nationalist Parti Breton asked for the Breton national anthem, Bro Goz ma Zadou (Hen Wlad fy Nhadau - literally the same title and same tune as ours) to be sung before the final a la Cardiff City at Wembley last year. Of course, the French wouldn't allow that, but they did allow the Bretons to sing their anthem before the game (that's big of them!) ... and tens of thousands did.
A huge Breton flag the Gwenn ha Du (yes, gwyn a du - white and black) covered a good part of one of the stands and thousands of Breton flags were flown with pride. To tell the truth, I'd be damned if I could see any French tricoleurs being flown by the fans at all.
This is incredible. After two hundred years of the awful French republic which has tried its best to kill off any significant sign of Breton language and culture beyond the folkloric, the events on Saturday prove that the Bretons are a nation reborn. Their flag is the Gwenn ha Du, their anthem is being confirmed as Bro Goz ma Zadou and they're not a cowered and beaten nation which the French have come to expect. That Breton, the nation like Kurdish, so long humiliated by the French like the Kurds by the Turks, is still fighting is proof that the French state has not won.
The Breton, for so long humiliated by the French and the French state (and it is a French state) have turned a corner. There's no turning back. I don't expect Brittany to become independent any time soon, but with this historic football event, the ongoing campaign for the reunification of Naoned (Nantes) with Brittany and the continuing call for Breton status, Brittany is on the march. President Sarkozy stayed away - a quite incredible decision for a head of state. Maybe after implying he'd support reunification of Nantes he didn't want 80,000 booing him and making him keep to his word.
All in all, a historic day for Brittany. A Nation Awakes. Good news for the Breton language and culture and all who believe that the beauty of Europe is the plurality of her languages and her peoples.
Had a quick look at the Western Mail phone around asking the AMs for their view of the Assembly's achievements over the last 10 years.
Wasn't much to say really - Labour spend the first 8 doing as little as possible so as not to upset London. A lot of stuff about the Children's Commissioner - who's done sod all to change the life of any kid in Wales as far as I can see. Some stuff about 'free' (working people pay for it) transport and 'free' prescriptions, and erm, that's it. Not much to boast about. Some of the answers (if important in their own way) were very parochial for a Q&A in national, as opposed to, local paper.
The much-respected John Griffiths, Newport spoke some sense (he usually does) but my hat is donned to Jenny Randerson, Alun Ffred and Leanne Wood for actually saying that one of the achievements of the National Assembly was to do something about one of the biggest things that makes us special and unique as a nation. Not just hospitals, buses nor parking, but the Welsh language. Good on them.
However, one hopes to God that in 10 years time, the Assembly Members will have much more to boast about.
So, has Kinnock admitted that a large section of traditional Labour voters are racists when he says the BNP can attract votes from his party?
Is the former Labour leader dog whistling to appeal to the less attractive side of Welsh Labour voters? Can one imagine were Ieuan Wyn Jones to say 'Plaid needs to do something in case our traditional voters go over to the BNP?' Hmm, you can hear the Labour attack dogs barking at the press straight away!
So, how do Labour apologists and members think this sounds to Welsh nationalists (and Tories for that matter)? Years of inane comparisons between Welsh nationalism and racism/Nazism endless quoting of a couple of sentences by Saunders Lewis or misquotes of Dafydd Iwan or Simon Glyn or Dafydd Glyn Jones or any one else who raises any issue other than schoolsandhospitals? It really does grate.
Are most Labour supporters racist? No, I don't think (though a fair number have hostile views towards Welsh medium education). But no, they are not! Are the BNP a threat? Yes. Do I like the BNP? No. Trouble is, after years of having Labour accuse good people who are Welsh nationalists of being xenophobic or racist, I've started thinking to myself, 'hmm, aybe Labour are just calling wolf here too? If they were wrong with Plaid/Cymdeithas/Cymuned over the years, what's to say they're not wrong with the BNP?'
And you know what, it seems to me that a good part of the traditional (read 'white' English-speaking Britishers) of the Welsh Labour party have maybe come, independently and from a different position, to the same conclusion. Labour are to blame for the rise in the BNP. Difference is, I won't be voting for the BNP in June but it seems a lot of Labour people will.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Take time out, do yourself a favour, read Adam Price's speech at this year's Plaid Cymru Spring Conference.
How hollow the charges of 'narrow minded' flung towards Welsh nationalists by British nationalists; how Philistine their appreciation of the world's complexity and subtly of language and culture; how ignorant their knowledge of countries, economies and peoples except the Big Boy Nationalists of their own ilk; how Darwinian, wrong-footed, flat-footed, genocidal their actions. How stuck in the past the British nationalists are.
Price puts it better than I ever could. Wales is the future. The politics of the future is the politics of Welsh nationalism. We have much to learn from the world and I say it humbly, maybe some have things to learn from us.
Viva the Welsh nation-state, independent with the Kurds, Tibetans, Greenlanders, Sarahawi, West Papuans, Bretons ... and yes, English, Germans, Russians and Castillians.
This is really obscure I know, but taking a look at the www.nationalia.cat website I found the Plaid Cymru and the SNP's grouping in the European parliament, the EFA (which also includes the Greens) has extended it's membership. Among the new members are the Sued Tiroler Freiheit (South Tirol Freedom). South Tirol, of course was cut off for some reason from north Tirol following the First World War as a way of rewarding the Italians for coming in against Austria-Hungary.
The region has more power than our poxy Assembly does (and will for a while unless the leaders of Plaid and Labour get their act together and start campaigning for a Yes vote in the referendum). But people are keen for more power. My German isn't good enough to work out if the STF want actual independence, union with Austria or just more autonomy (grateful for any clarification by German speakers).
In any case, one thing struck me about their website and especially the YouTube video on the right hand side, 'Marsch gegen Faschismus' (March against Fascism). It's obvious that a monument built by Mussolini is upsetting people and they've organised what looks like a very effective rally against the Faschis Denkmal (Fascist Monument). Contrary also to Welsh Labour prejudice (and also some left wingers in Plaid) the traditional costume usually associated with being reactionary and fascistic by some has become a badge of anti-fascism, democracy and rights by the Southern Tirolers. Maybe we Welsh should worry less our Labourist hang-ups (the successful St David's Day parade being a case in point) and confirm our traditional costume a badge of identity and anti-fascism and like in the Tirolean case a badge of anti centralised British/Italian nation statism.
Freiheit fuer Sued Tirol!
Monday, March 30, 2009
Dutch language under pressure from monoglot French-speakers on Flemish border (Aljazeera):
An introduction and history (yes, unlike Marx and Engels we at BNW think all nations and languages are valid in their own right)
Greenland moves to Independence (Russia Today). BNW is all for it, but as has been posted previously, believe that ditching the Danish language could make Greenlandic more open to linguistic domination by the English language. It makes good linguistic, cultural and economic sense for small language communities to be trilingual.
Amazigh / Berber
We're used to hearing Arabs complaining of discrimination against Arabs by the West and Israel but how often do we hear of Arab discrimination against one of the original inhabitants and languages of the Maghreb, the Berber (Amazigh)? From the first video it's obvious that the Berbers have suffered a 'Welsh Not' in education and that the language of authority has been Arabic. The fact is, Arab-speakers in Israel have more linguistic rights that Berber-speakers in Algeria for instance, something which is rarely mentioned.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I'm aware that quite a lot of the visitors to this site come from outside Wales.
The last posting showed the little-known ideological roots of the contempt of the 'big nation' left-wing chauvinism of people like Eric Hobsbawm and numerous communist and socialist politicians and writers towards the many Bretons, Basques and Gaels (and Welsh) who visit this site (see video clip in previous posting).
For those of you outside Wales it's worth you also seeing how low the British nationalist left wing in Wales - the 'Welsh' Labour party - have stooped. This time, it's not so much ideological as erm, well, embarrassing. The noise you can hear in the background is the 'Welsh' Labour party digging its own grave!
As one person said; they've discarded their ideology, they are bereft of ideas, they have no vision and they're left with being a tribal, childish, spiteful party which would rather hamper self-government for Wales and so be ruled by the Westminster Tories whom they claim to hate so much. Compare this childish website and video (if you can bare to watch it all - I couldn't! - just too embarrassing) with Plaid Cymru's intelligent www.WalesCan.com laying the argument for Wales to become a normal independent nation state.
Plaid = grown-up party
Labour = childish
I really think that this is the beginning of the end of British nationalist project which was Welsh Labour. It's not over yet. But when a once mighty political party has this to offer, and when Peter Hain thinks that this is "Obama moment for Welsh Labour" you know they're on their last legs. A party can't last for too long without some intellectual belief and project.
Needless to say, this video has clogged the bloggersphere and websites in Wales. Here are some of the latest links:
And here are a few quotes:
"Check it out, if only for a laugh. It's cringeworthy. It's so obvious that they're angry with Plaid for coming up with the idea of Walescan and feel threatened by it. Everything about it is wrong." - Heledd Fychan
"Aneurin Glyndwr - not even funny. What a complete joke. Not worth a meagre link even." - Rhodri ap Dyfrig
"If Aneurin Glyndwr is the best Labour can offer in terms of modern campaigning in Wales then bring on the General Election." - Geraint Day
"Still can't quite believe that 'Aneurin Glyndwr' is an official Labour site. It's a set up job surely?" - Cynical Dragon
"At the moment aneuringlyndwr.com is the internet equivalent of watching your dad dance at a disco." - Peter Black
"Peter Hain said it was Welsh Labour's 'Obama moment'. I think he meant 'Dubya Bush moment'." - Rhydian Fôn
"Anuerin Glyndwr - the new web site - its supposed to be satirical. It's pathetic." - Valleys Mam
And the 'student' behind this project? None other than Leighton Andrews' researcher, and Welsh Assembly pin-up David Taylor. According to Martin Shipron of the Western Mail, he is "feared for his skills on the internet, being seen as one of the most talented disciples of Adrian McMenamin". Internet Skills? Talented? If this is the best Labour have to offer, God help them!
We have blooged about David before, back in 2005. View posts below:
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Well done Sara Medi Jones. It must be quite intimidating asking a question to Hillary Clinton especially among all the smug Euro and US press corp, but she made Wales proud (view video below).
She could have chickened out with some question about GM, Gaza, nuclear weapons or another safe 'radical' agenda which Plaid sometimes promote to the detriment of Welsh self-government as they try and prove that they're part of a broader movement. Nothing wrong with that, but if Plaid Cymru won't raise the issue of Welsh independence or language rights - then who will? Her simple forthright question - a lesson to some Plaid AMs and MPs - made the news in Catalonia... but not the useless BBC Wales (must be some cat stuck up a tree).
So, Sara goes up to the mark and asks the world's most important woman, what her views are on independence for nations like Wales, Scotland and Catalonia? Of course some members of the press corp snigger - you know, Wales, Wales for heaven's sake, having ideas above their station? What, more food Oliver, more?! No doubt, the same kind of attitude which fills the ranks of Brit Nat Welsh and Scottish Labour MEP's. But Sara stood her ground.
Clinton wasn't supportive - but then George Bush Snr famously told the Lithuanians and Ukrainians to stay part of the USSR but had to eat humble pie a few months later. But she's not against the idea either. We're not going to get independence any day soon but the principle has been made. The USA see it as an internal matter for the 'nation states'. If the UK or Spain can sort it out then they won't oppose.
The Brit and Spanish Nats will talk of constitutions (even though the UK hasn't really got one!). But constitutions can change. Would the Labour Brit Nats stop campaigning for a woman's right to an abortion, or gay marriage rights, or for segregation or women's vote ... because it's in the constitution?! Or is independence for Wales, Scotland, Catalonia etc the only part of a constitution they wouldn't change?
In any case. Three cheers for Sara Medi for retaining Wales' honour - unlike our First Minister who managed to embarrass his American hosts this week. And three cheers for Hillary Clinton for not being a patsy to British and Spanish nationalist agendas. Clinton supports democracy after all.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Plaid's new www.walescan.com website is just fantastic. A political party which actually maps out where they want Wales to be not in two or five years, but twenty. At last, we're starting to have the self confidence to take the first steps to being a proper nation.
Of course, the British nationalists will rubbish it and talk Wales down - no news there. But I think we're on to something. My hunch? In the same way that the First World War initially saw a strengthening of the existing 'nation' states and empires - Russia, Austria-Hungary, Britain, as the war progressed other radical voices, voices which just a couple of years earlier were seen as marginal, maverick or extremist - Czech, Irish, Estonian, Slovene nationalists - became mainstream and ultimately it was their prescription and their assessment of the future course of their nations which won the day.
Thank heavens, the present recession/depression is as nothing of the scale and carnage of WWI, but I've got a sneaky feeling that the initial strengthening of Britishness will wane. After all, Britishness has decreased with every recession in the last hundred years.
Plaid's bold and high-risk WalesCan.com website and strategy may seem foolhardy to some now, but I reckon, give a few years and it will become mainstream.
My only plea for Plaid is to stop being so timid and so referential towards the British nationalists. As Adam Price notes in his blog, Brit Nat MP, Albert Owens, wants to see the end of a Welsh football team, or is at least willing to jeopardise it for the sake of British nationalism and nation building. Why doesn't Adam or the other Plaid MP's and AM's refer to Albert (who's a nice enough chap) as British nationalists? Is there still a lingering lack of self-confidence, or self-censorship within the Plaid elite, a deep fear of Labour? I don't know. In any case, if fighting for an independent Welsh football team is Welsh nationalist, then it stands to reason that fighting for an independent British football team is British nationalist. Come on - "hyder yn ein hunain" as they say in Welsh - confidence in ourselves.
More of CanWales and more of calling British nationalists by their true description - British nationalists!
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Sunday's election for the Galician Xunta (assembly) in the Spanish State should stand as a warning to Plaid.
Since 2005, for the first time ever, the 'regional' assembly in Galicia had been run by a Socialist - Nationalist coalition. By doing so they broke an unbroken tradition of Galicia being run by the right wing PP - heirs to Franco. However, on Sunday, the loss of one seat each by the PSdeG (Galician Socialist party alligned to Spanish Socialists, PSOE) and the BNG Gallician nationalist parties saw the PP return.
One of PP's first decision is the 'depoliticise' nursery education - Spanish nationalist New Speak for reversing a strategy of promoting the Galician language in education - promoting Spanish at the disadvantage of Galician is, obviously, not political (!).
The BNG had just 4 years to try and implement new policies to reverse the fortune of the Galician language and culture. Plaid could be in the same situation in 2011. Plaid AM's need to look at this term in government as possibly their only term in government for ten or maybe twenty years. If Plaid were to 'lose' in 2011 - which is possible even if Plaid win more seats - then what will Plaid have achieved in 4 years in government.
The message is - don't delay for 2012 what can be done now, or needs to be done now - Language LCO, referendum on further power to Wales, sort out education in Welsh, council housing, rail improvements and expansion etc. Treat every term in office as now or never!
Thursday, March 05, 2009
St Piran's Day march in Truro, Cornwall (05/03/2009)
Saint Piran or Perran (traditionally in Cornwall, saints are simply named, without this title) is an early 6th century Cornish abbot and saint, supposedly of Irish origin. He is generally regarded as the Patron Saint of Cornwall.
Dydh Sen Pyran Lowen!
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Congratulations to all those responsible for organising the 6th St David's Day parade in the capital. A truly excellent and life affirming event! Have a look at the videos on the site. Well done to Cardiff City Council, the Assembly, HLW Insurance, the Arts Council and Celtfest for sponsoring.
Plenty of people, music of different kinds - the newly formed, Breton-inspired Bagad Morgannwg leading the parade; our Breton cousins in their costumes (pity they forgot the Gwenn ha Du flag so that the thousands that lined the streets could learn about Brittany), excellent music by Samba Galez drummers, athletic young people on those bouncy stilts things and just loads of people - families, oldies, one or two eccentrics (always a good sign!) and even some respectable people. In fact every type was there .... except anyone from the 'Welsh' Labour party.
Heavens, how anti-Welsh do you have to be to boycott a St David's Day parade?
Ah, well, as one person said, their loss. Wales is marching on without Labour, we'll allow them to wallow in 1930s and 1940 nostalgia whilst the rest of us get on with building a new, inclusive, colourful Wales, a Wales proud of its culture and history and not afraid to show it. Life's too short to be in the so-called Welsh Labour party.
Wales is on the march, with a big smile on her face, and Labour is having a big sulk about it!
Great also to see the first St David's Day parade in Wrexham - things are moving in the North East. Swansea next year! As the Irish song goes - 'Northmen, Southmen, Comdrades all!'
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Sorry about the pun. Keeping with the international themes I've been alerted to some interesting stuff about the Faroes. It seems among all the economic crisis there is one (fairly) stable financial oasis - the Faroe Islands in the north Sea - midway between Shetland, Norway and Iceland.
The Islands have Home Rule government but are still part of Denmark - granted to them in 1948 despite the electorate voting for independence. The population is a shade below 50,000 (yes, that's 50,000 - about the same as Ynys Môn). Their financial situation is robust enough to have offered Iceland a loan a following the collapse of that country's banks. Accord to some reports it's now among the safest places to keep your money.
One reason for the fairly sound financial situation is that the Islands themselves witnessed a financial catastrophe in the mid 1990s which saw one her banks close and up to 5,000 people (10% of the population) emigrate - mostly to Denmark.
Since then, the Islands have picked themselves up and as part of a continual move for more power and less dependence on Denmark are actually receiving less money annually from Denmark. That's a sign of a proud and industrious people. It would do Wales no end of good to work out a phasing of any 'subsidy' (though what is termed a subsidy is open to discussion) and stand on our own two feet. After all, we have to learn to swim some day and someday, taking off the armbands and being solely responsible for the income we raise and spend would be the best answer for generating an entrepreneurial spirit in Wales - better than any government agency, 'one stop shops' or grants.
I'm also informed that the Islands were also recently voted the most appealing in the world by the National Geographic.
In any case, if you'd like to know more about this great little country, speaking their own language (less than 10% the number of Welsh speakers) and with a soccer team even less successful than Wales, why not tune into the newly launched weekly podcast. Some interesting things on #4 about the history and political situation there.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Once you've been on the St David's Day parade in the capital, you may wish to go another parade - this time in Brussels
I've just been alerted to a massive campaign in the Catalan Countries to march on the European Capital on 7 March to demand the right of the Catalan nation to chose their own constitutional future. The organisers are aiming for 10,000 persons to travel from Catalonia to Brussels for the march... and seem to be on target!
At the moment, the Spanish constitution has made it illegal to hold a referendum on succession from the Spanish state. So, although this right is part of the Good Friday Agreement in the UK and one supposes were Wales or Scotland to wish so, then we could also hold a referendum to leave the UK. This basic right doesn't exist in Spain. This illogical decision is one reason for the continued violence in the Basque Country.
If the Spanish constitution gave the historic nations which make up the Spanish state (nations which precede that state) the right to a democratic vote, then any legitimacy which ETA claims to have would have been taken from beneath their feet. It would then be the job of ETA's supporters to make a peaceful case as to why the Basque country should gain independence.
Unfortunately, the Spanish Cortes voted down the Basque premiere Ibarretxe's bill on the right to a vote on 'free association'. Making Ibarrexte a nationalist of WAJ-PNV party (the SDLP-type party) look stupid, and give credibility to the ETA supporters who say Spain will never democratically allow the Basques the right to chose.
Fortunately, there is no ETA-type militant wing in Catalonia. However, the Spanish elite are stalling many agreed principles in the New Statute which the Catalans campaigned and won a few years ago.
It's a basic questions. What moral right does the Spanish state, which was formed in 1492, have to deny nations which precede that state, the right to independence? It's a right which the west didn't recognise for the USSR, the Habsburg Empire, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Ireland nor countless other nations. Should we only recognise those states which existed in 1492?
Why not take a Draig Goch flag and take a trip to Brussels in support of our Catalan friends?
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
The more I think about it, the more I believe Plaid Cymru should have made a political issue of Rhys Williams's article in Barn.
At the time I believed that it was best that Plaid let the matter rest, content that Rhys had given himself enough rope. There is also the matter of free speech and of an avoidance to go back to poisonous cesspit which was Welsh politics in 2001/02 when Labour pounced on any comment, and with faux horror and no irony, turned them into some supposed Nazi/racist spleen.
In fact, Rhys Williams, for all his hatred of Plaid Cymru and nationalism (that's the Welsh version not the British version of the Labour party), should go on his knees and thank Plaid for not playing sixth form politics with his silly comments. But were Plaid wrong to be so magnanimous?
Rhys Williams's comments, which belie the deep-felt feelings of many Labour people, is in the same intellectual tradition which allowed Stalin to unleash his man-made famine on Ukraine, the Holodomor. It's right for Plaid to point the direct line between Rhys Williams's thoughts and Stalin's actions.
The deep-set prejudice is all there: dislike of 'peasantry' or country people; a feeling of superiority of the 'intellectual', forward thinking urban society as set against the 'conservatism' right wing of the country folk. A suspicion that these country people speak their own language (Welsh / Ukrainian) to cut others out of their closed society. Their inability to see the enlightened benefits of Labour/International Communism/Stalinism. Their supposed counter-revolutionary insistence on keeping a language and culture which is used to undermine this enlightenment left-wing movement.
Armed with this intellectual certainty inherited from the communist and socialist high-priests, Stalin could starve the Ukrainian population, safe in the knowledge that the phase of dehumanising them had already been done through hundreds and thousands of books and pamphlets extolling the virtues of the urban proletariat against the supposed selfish, religion-obsessed conservatism of the country people - those kolkols not sensible enough to see the virtues of collectivisation. Stalin killed millions all in the name of equality, internationalism, modernism and anti-nationalism of course.
Stalin's effort to wipe our the bourgeois middle-class of the smaller nations of the USSR (see crachach in Labour speak) is also part of William's strategy. He attacks the Welsh middle class but doesn't suggest changing them or putting anything in their place. The strategy is to eliminate a self-conscious Welsh-speaking middle class (' bourgeois intellectuals' in Stalin speak) because of their threat to communist/Labour hegemony. Leaving us with a middle-class which is identical in culture and political outlook to the accepted metropolitan 'norm'.
Rhys Williams's is perfectly in line with the beliefs which underpinned Stalinism. For some reason this is conveniently overlooked by Plaid whilst all discussions by Labour of Welsh nationalism, from keeping Welsh a living community language in Gwynedd, to Welsh medium education in Cardiff, has that 'knowing look' that Welsh nationalism is but one step away from cattle-trucks and gas chambers. Labour really hasn't moved on. Worse still, gets away with this by a compliant BBC.
Rhys isn't Stalin, but his prejudice towards the Welsh speaking community and especially that of rural Wales belies the same pathology and hatred which was the warm sea in which Stalin swam. There's no use pointing out the contradictions and mistakes in Rhys's world view.
His rather bizarre section in the article which implies that urban people (an idealised version of the Valleys of his youth in this instance) are more egalitarian than country folk is contradicted by all social report which point to the fact that the South Wales Valleys are very socially as well as economically conservative. The line that rural societies are right wing when his government has been hand in glove with the greed of the City is beyond a joke. It's an irony which communist nomenklatura habitually threw up to smear any meaningful discussion on economic reform and power-structures.
Plaid; Elin Jones, Adam Price, should have made the link between Rhys Williams's pathology and Stalin's. Only then will we start to see some humility, some realism and some common sense in Labour's discussion of Wales and Welshness. As it is Labour can get away with the big lie that Welsh nationalism is but one train-stop away from Nazism willfully ignorant of the common link between their prejudices and Stalin's atrocities.
Friday, February 06, 2009
Rhys Williams, Labour PPC Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, has decided to write an article for Welsh language monthly, Barn, saying that although he likes individual Welsh-speakers he doesn't like the Welsh speaking community. Moreover, despite his back-tracking on Radio Wales, he accuses Welsh-speakers of being elitist and trying to cut people out.
One can only guess that this 'elitism' or 'cutting people out' is the insistence of Welsh speakers to, erm, speak Welsh in Wales and not to turn to English, or turn all their clubs and societies into English whenever a non-Welsh speaker comes close to the radar. If Williams knew Welsh speaking society as well as he should, he'd know that it's usually the other way round; Welsh societies, clubs, social networks turning to English ... not the English turning to Welsh.
He goes on, as evidence, to sight Gwynfor Evans's experience when he arrived at Aberystywth university in the 1930s (as described in Rhys Evans's book on Gwynfor, which is now available in English).
Evans, a native of Barry who'd lost his Welsh (because of the socio-political-cultural climate of Barry at the time - i.e. it wasn't cool nor kosher to speak Welsh) was keen to relearn the language. However, a native Welsh-speaker from Bala who was to be his mentor, couldn't be bothered and refused to speak Welsh to Evans. Rhys Williams thinks this is hilarious. Other Welsh-speakers think it's rather sad... and I'd imagine many speakers of other minority languages like Tibetan, Breton, Inuit who are all too familiar with language death would too.
So Rhys Williams celebrates the ignorant Bala boy for refusing to allow Gwynfor Evans to join Welsh language society (by making sure Evans' never become proficient in Welsh) but at the same time, Rhys Williams accuses Welsh speakers, or Welsh nationalists in particular, of acting like a clique and not allowing others to join their club! So, refusing to speak Welsh makes you enlightened, open and egalitarian; speaking Welsh makes you closed or elitist?!?
The whole article just doesn't make sense.
Well, it does make sense. The Labour party is just institutionally anti-Welsh. It just can't handle modern, secular, contemporary Welsh speaking society. It can only handle Welsh-speaking society which is stuck somewhere around 1955 - keeping Welsh to places which knows it's place - chapel and hearth. A Welshness which is serf-like in its embarrassment of its own sound.
Rhys obviously feels uncomfortable in Welsh-speaking company. He's tried to back-track on Radio Wales, but it's obvious from his original article that he believes Welsh-speakers are just being awkward.
We could follow Rhys's line of thought (well, maybe not, because it doesn't follow any logic) and get rid of all these 'closed' societies, mason like, institutionally anti-English as he says. That would be quite easy - you get rid of papurau bro, Welsh gigs, Welsh chapels, Welsh schools, Welsh clubs, Merched y Wawr, Welsh radio, Welsh television etc. And you'd have no more Welsh domains or Welsh 'masons' as Rhys says... you'd also have no Welsh language. And lets be honest, that's what Rhys is really suggesting, that's the end game.
Rhys, as a Labour party member, feels excluded from modern secular Welsh language society. That's a pity... but this is a conscious decision by the Welsh Labour movement not to engage in any meaningful way with Welsh-speaking society. Labour members were irrelevant to the formation of the papurau bro. Why? I don't know, a community-lead, not-for-profit newspaper should have been up Labour's 'socialist' street. But that would have meant doing stuff in Welsh and that would have meant engaging thoughtfully with the future of Welsh not just sniggering like a school boy because Welsh-speakers weren't passing Welsh on to their children.
Labour sees no problem in not passing Welsh on to children. They see no social, economical, cultural nor political reason for these micro, individual decisions. And because of that, they see no need to spend time preparing the papur bro, organising a Welsh language gig, running a Welsh language youth club, speaking Welsh to Welsh learners.
Labour is totally irrelevant to modern Welsh language society, because Labour have decided to be so. Labour have opted out of creating a Labour Welsh language society. That's why Labour's vote has collapsed in Welsh-speaking Wales. That's why I increasingly believe Labour will not be the biggest party in Wales following the next Assembly election. Welsh society, both Welsh-speaking and non-Welsh speaking have moved on, leaving Rhys Williams and the Labour party stuck somewhere in 1955.
Tivy Side Observer - Welsh language slur condemned
welshramblings.blogspot.com - Labour stirring up anti-Welsh sentiment?
Borthlas - Biting the hand that you want to feed you
Guerrilla Welsh-Fare - Treat 'Em Mean....
Have a look at the Dragons Eye report on this. It’s 18.30mins in.
BBC Cymru'r Byd - Iaith: 'Corddi'r dyfroedd'
Y Prysgodyn - Lemon i arwain ymgyrch chwerw
Blogmenai - Rhys Williams eto
Vaughan Roderick, BBC - Pregeth Rhys
I guess Adam Price's majority will be 10,000+ next time round!
2005 Result in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr
Plaid Cymru: 17561 (45.9%)
Labour: 10843 (28.3%)
Conservative: 5235 (13.7%)
Liberal Democrat: 3719 (9.7%)
UKIP: 661 (1.7%)
Other: 272 (0.7%)
Majority: 6718 (17.5%)
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Is this some kind of joke? On the day Heritage Minister makes announces that the Welsh Government wish to legislate on the Welsh language, up pop the usual suspects (Labour's Paul Murphy and some Chamber of Commerce/CBI bloke) saying that we need to be mindful of the business sector.
Is Murphy totally shameless? The Labour Government - his government - has chucked £400bn down the drain because of their incompetence and obsession with the great British 'City' is telling us we can't have equal rights for Welsh and English in our own bloody country, in case it affects adversely on the economy?!
Why doesn't Alun Ffred tell him to take a running jump and put his own financial house in order? The UK and Welsh economy is going down the toilet not because WAG believe that large companies which get £200k out of our money should give some service to some of those tax payers; it's going down the pan because of the British nationalists infatuation with the City. This infatuation is built because British nationalism needs a bloated City to prop up it's own self-worth.
And then the CBI bloke comes out with the usual line. This is the same CBI which miserably failed to predict the financial crisis and told us the minimum wage would bring on a plague of locusts? Why do the BBC still insist on interviewing these people - they're totally discredited. They're just a pressure group in smart suits. Why not ask Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg their view on the economy - it could hardly have been worse than the CBI... nor Labour's.
Ann Beynon of BT would 'prefer Welsh language services to remain voluntary.' Ann, I'd prefer taxes were voluntary too - but hey, life's a bitch eh? You've got a license to print money from the state you can now pay that state back for that right.
Murphy's Labour Party and the CBI are two totally discredited bodies in search of a role. They should spend more time sorting out the economy, and stop lecturing a democratically elected Welsh government which believes the future of the Welsh language should be in the hands of a Welsh government.
It's time Alun Ffred told them a few home truths and spoke in plain English the next time they try and 'advise' us.
A Comprehensive Language Measure – Demand more for the people of Wales!
Publication of LCO is a start – but also an obstacle on the road to full linguistic rights.
Welsh language LCO petition
If you support the transfer to the Assembly the necessary power to confirm official status for both Welsh and English
Welsh language bid for Assembly sparks fears over firm cost
South Wales Evening Post
PLANS for the Assembly to be given the power to compel private firms to use the Welsh language in their dealings with customers have received a mixed
Can the law protect the language?
The Welsh Assembly Government now wants the power to make laws to promote the Welsh language, partly to extend a responsibility on those in the private
Language Commissioner must be independent, say Tories
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Language choices for all
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Let weans speak oot in oor ain guid Scots leid
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Bid for Welsh language responsibilities ‘common sense
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Post employees would be affected by language legislation
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Business may opposes it, but the assembly government
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Iaith: Cais am fwy o bwerau
BBC Cymru'r Byd
Mae Llywodraeth y Cynulliad wedi dechrau'r broses o wneud cais i gael mwy o bwerau dros yr iaith Gymraeg...
Cam diweddara brwydr hir
BBC Cymru'r Byd
Cyhoeddiad cais Llywodraeth y Cynulliad am bwerau i ddeddfu yn achos yr iaith Gymraeg yw'r cam diweddara yn y frwydr hir i gael statws swyddogol..
Public services will mind their language
The organisation has been developing bilingual services for a decade through its Welsh language scheme. Telecoms workers for BT and utilities workers at ...
Battle lines are drawn on historic day for language
DEEP tensions shot to the surface yesterday as the Assembly Government outlined the powers it will seek from Westminster over the Welsh language. ...
Time is right for mature language conversation
IVEN its long gestation period and the frantic rumours about what it would contain, one could be forgiven for expecting the Welsh Language LCO to set the ..
Law would force firms to use Welsh language
Ministers in Cardiff yesterday began seeking the right to legislate over the Welsh language when they unveiled a long-awaited request to transfer powers ...
Private firms are be ordered to provide services in Welsh
Suppliers of utilities could be forced to use the Welsh language when they provide services, under plans being put forward by the Welsh Assembly. ..
Private firms and utility companies forced to offer services
Utilities and private firms in Wales could be forced to print all their bills and literature in both English and Welsh...
Bid to safeguard right to speak Welsh
A move to create a truly bilingual Wales by transferring powers over the Welsh language from Westminster to the Assembly Government was announced today. ...
Welsh Assembly wants power over language issues
ASSEMBLY ministers are expected to launch a formal bid today for the transfer of powers to pass laws over the Welsh language in Wales. ...
Welsh language plan for private firms
Under the 1993 Welsh Language Act, public sector bodies are legally obliged to communicate with the public through Welsh and English. .
Ann Beynon from BT says the telecom company would prefer Welsh language services to remain voluntary. A bid by the Welsh Assembly Government for more powers ...
Lord Elis Thomas, assembly presiding officer, said the bid for Wales to make its own laws on the Welsh language was a "hugely significant day".
Scrap the Welsh Affairs Select Committee
And that’s why we can expect an almighty ding-dong after tomorrow, when the long-awaited Welsh Language LCO sees the light of day. ..
Language move needn’t be an excuse to re-run tired old rows
I MAKE it 18 months since the Labour-Plaid coalition in the Assembly announced they wanted new powers over Welsh language legislation. ..
El Gobierno galés presenta hoy una ley para impulsar el uso
El Confidencial, Sbaen
Desde la aprobación en 1993 del llamado Welsh Language Act (Ley sobre el Gaélico), que equiparaba esa lengua, de origen celta, al inglés en el sector .