Friday, 7 October 2016

Leanne Wood's Experience on BBC's Question Time Makes my Blood Boil

Last night, on the BBC political discussion show, Question Time, a UKIP member of the audience had the gall to call Plaid Cymru a racist party.  He claimed that the party's name Plaid Cymru, meant 'Wales for the Welsh' (and it doesn't) before shouting 'What about the rest of us?'
            How dare he? At at time when thanks to Brexit and the rhetoric of UKIP and CO, foreign nationals across England are being told in the street to 'go home' while others have been assaulted, even fatally, simply for speaking their own languages in public places, to call Plaid Cymru anti-English racists when they have done nothing of the sort just makes my blood boil.  The truth is that Plaid Cymru has been very kind and politically correct and not gone for anti-English incomer bashing.  As an English incomer to Wales myself, I can say that I have never been given a hard time for being not Welsh or for speaking my English mother tongue in the street nor have I heard Plaid bang on about the numbers of us English incomers the way Farage has talked about Romanians.  Plaid Cymru has many English members and a third of its MPs are English so calling them anti-English racists really is like a black pot calling a white kettle black.
         In fact, perhaps with reason, some Welsh Nationalists argue that Plaid Cymru has been too politically correct and not bold enough in stating the fact that the amount of migration from England to until-then Welsh-speaking areas of Wales since the 1960s is why Welsh speaking areas have shrunk so disastrously, since , you guessed it, the 1960s. Those people, such as the organisation Cymuned, along with the notable blogger Jac O the North, perhaps do have a point.  After all, if you compare areas in the traditional Welsh-language Heartland which are still Welsh speaking with those which have been anglicized in the last 40-50 years, you will notice a pattern.  Areas, both urban and rural, which still have a large majority of their school children speaking Welsh at home, such as Pwllheli, Caernarfon, Blaeanau Ffestiniog etc tend to have less than 1/3 of their population born outside Wales.  Those which are no longer Welsh Speaking, such as Bangor, Llandudno and Barmouth etc tend to have more of their population born outside Wales.  In addition, there have been stories of many English incomers actually being hostile to the language of the place they have chosen to move to; a notable example is a Daily Post article from 2009 which reported that a Welsh speaker in Blaenau Ffestiniog (where 80% of children speak Welsh at home) was mimicked pejoratively by a non-Welsh checkout worker when she tried to ask for something in her mother tongue.  In addition,  it was reported on the BBC in 2015 that Ceredigion County council was trying to urge many English homeowners not to convert the Welsh names of their new houses to Anglo-Saxon sounding names.
          Plaid Cymru have avoided making a meal of the phenomenon of migration to Welsh speaking areas because they are a kind and pleasant party and we English incomers should be bloody grateful for that and not accuse them of anti-English racism.  Because even if Plaid Cymru were to adopt the policies that more extreme Welsh Nationalist organisations, like Cymuned (which by the way had English members such as Tim Webb,) were calling for 15 years ago, ie calling for control on migration into Welsh speaking areas and obliging incomers to learn Welsh, that would not make Plaid half as racist as the current Tory/UKIP rhetoric is towards immigrants to the UK.  Here me now; the Tories are now calling for policies such as naming and shaming  companies which hire non-British workers while also criticizing the number of foreigners working in our NHS.  This is  despite the fact that the vast majority of migrants to the UK do learn English and immigration poses no threat to the dominance of English in the UK, unlike, it seems, the situation in North and West Wales.   The rhetoric of UKIP, the Leave campaign and now the Tories has resulted in an elected MP and foreign nationals even being murdered and others assaulted while we haven't heard of English incomers, even in the most Welsh Nationalist areas, of receiving that kind of treatment.
         Thus, Plaid Cymru have deliberately avoided anything that resembles Anglophobia or opposition to incomers and so to be called racist by a member of UKIP, of all parties really is like a black pot calling a white kettle black.  But that didn't matter to that ukipper.  To him any nationalist who isn't an English/British Nationalist is an anti-English racist.  And that itself is racist against every other nationality on this Earth because it says that the English are so special that only they have the right to indulge in nationalism.  If there is one positive outcome to hope for in a post-Brexit crisis in Britain it is that UKIP and Tory supporters will learn the hard way to respect other nationalities like equals whether it be nations across the seas or the other nations of the British Isles.

1 comment:

  1. An Englishman (or woman) is aware of his/her nationalism to the same extent that a fish is aware of the water it swims in, that is hardly at all. It is something that surrounds them from Birth and is simply taken for granted. Move to Wales, Scotland, Ireland ... and hopefully, maybe the truth will dawn, at least if like yourself they have an open mind. Alternatively, they may simply grow a hard shell and even become militantly 'British', an ugly deformity.

    Very sadly the Welsh voted with the English for Brexit, a great disappointment to their fellow Celts --- a united front would have been valuable, isolating the English and showing up their self-centred xenophobia. So all in all the Welsh come over as nice but just a bit pathetic. Maybe Leanne needs to take lessons in that quiet but powerful assertiveness displayed unerringly by Nicola?

    Mae'n ddrwg gen i i'w ddweud, but Wales deserves everything it gets at the hands of Our Imperial Masters. And therein lies the tragedy :-(

    Efallai gwladfa yn yr Hen Ogledd, am mae'r Alban yn barod am fewnfudwir ???