Sep 062017
 

‘I can hear the rumblin’ river as it rushes underground’

Those of you familiar with 60s folk music will know that the title of this piece is shared with a great song by Tom Paxton, a song in which he articulated the growing anger he sensed among disparate elements in the 1960s USA.

For the halcyon days of the 1950s were over, gone with their jobs for all. In the inner cities and the Deep South black people were being influenced by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jnr, and taking their destiny into their own hands. And as President Johnson sent more and more troops to south east Asia the anti-war movement grew in size and determination. America was in a ferment, from which it became impossible for anyone to insulate themselves, black or white, rich or poor, north, south, east or west.

Which probably explains why we saw an explosion of folk singers trying to articulate or capitalise on the zeitgeist. Though, musically, the 1960s was a difficult time for me; the golden era of early Rock was over, Buddy Holly was dead, and so was Eddie Cochran, while Little Richard seemed to alternate between searching for God and being searched for by the men in white coats. Fortunately, I had by then journeyed back to Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Country roots, with Folk providing another distraction from the horrors of the Beatles and the Beach Boys.

Though as I say, it wasn’t easy. For a start, I was in love with Joan Baez (and couldn’t figure out what she saw in that weird little git, ‘Dylan’). Then there was Judy Collins, and Joni Mitchell – it was great to be alive! The problem was of course that while I loved the music and the singers, I opposed the political sentiments expressed. For I supported the USA in Vietnam, Young Jac had bought into the Domino Theory.

But of all the folk singers of that era none had Tom Paxton’s range. People know his songs for children, such as Goin’ To The Zoo and The Marvellous Toy. Then there are his love songs, including the one everybody’s covered, Last Thing On My Mind, though my favourite remains My Lady’s A Wild Flying Dove.

Of course there are political songs, but even some of these are done with humour; Daily NewsWhat Did You Learn In School Today? Others songs are fun commentaries on life, a favourite of mine is Annie’s Going To Sing Her Song. It reminds me of the Swansea pubs of my youth, where there was always some old bird who’d insist on singing . . . whether anybody wanted to hear her or not. (Sophie Tucker renditions were particularly popular, I recall.)

Finally there are those Paxton songs about life, or death, that just make you think. Try I Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound, and Jimmy Newman. The latter is a very strange song, but often held up as a musical companion to All Quiet on the Western Front.

‘I can hear a thousand voices making ready for a fight’

So why did I choose that particular Tom Paxton song? Because I sense a mood abroad, a growing belief that Wales is being screwed and we are being lied to. There seems to be an increasing realisation that politicians and their corrupt system – including devolution – have no answers, and may even be the cause of the problem. It almost goes without saying that we no longer trust the mainstream media or any representatives of traditional authority.

I have not known these sentiments to be so widely shared since the 1960s.

The one big difference today from the 1960s is of course that Plaid Cymru is not benefiting from this mood. Back then the national resurgence encouraged by Tryweryn, Aberfan and the Investiture resulted in an upsurge in support for Plaid Cymru, but this time around, after 50 years of Plaid Cymru failure, many have concluded that if not part of the problem, then Plaid certainly isn’t part of the solution either.

We are therefore in uncharted territory.

Another factor contributing to this strange combination of confusion and anger is that we are seeing attacks on the Welsh language from quarters that many had hitherto regarded as friendly, or certainly not hostile. From bastions of left-liberal orthodoxy such as the Guardian and Newsnight.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has proved to be another disappointment. He has certainly disappointed Welsh Remainers through his understanding that if Labour is not to become the unelectable party of the chattering classes and ethnic minorities it needs to reconnect with the English working class.

An English working class that is more aggressively and intolerantly English than at any time in living memory. A mood that has spilt over the border to encourage those among us of a BritNat or anti-Welsh mentality.

Wales needs a new voice, but where will that voice come from? And knowing that actions speak louder than words, how do we leave the enemies of Wales in no doubt about our refusal to accept the destruction of our country?

‘And I guess it’s up to me because we’ve given up on you’

The mood I’m describing runs from frustration in some to real anger in others. What unites them is a realisation that Wales is going nowhere with the current system, or with the existing political parties and politicians, except backwards.

Literally, for not only is the UK government trying to avoid devolving powers ‘repatriated’ from the EU but behind the scenes Englandandwales organisations are spreading their tentacles, making a mockery of devolution, and slowly but surely absorbing Wales into England.

Look around Wales today and everywhere our country is both less Welsh and poorer than it was when we voted for devolution 20 years ago. How did this happen, for devolution was supposed to serve the interests of the Welsh people?

It happened because the interests of the geographical area of Wales were allowed to become divorced from those of her people, to the point where politicians and other liars can argue that a policy or an initiative is ‘good for Wales’ yet closer examination reveals that it may indeed benefit somebody but that ‘somebody’ is rarely Welsh.

It’s called colonialism, and history is full of such examples. I bet that in the 1870s Indians on the Great Plains witnessing the destruction of their way of life were told, ‘But look at the money all these buffalo hides bring into the region . . . you ungrateful bastards’.

As I say, this outcome can only be achieved by divorcing a people from its territory, then insisting that the territory in question belongs to everybody, and that’s because it was terra incognita ere the arrival of the enlightened colonialist bringing ‘progress and prosperity’. (They invariably go together.)

In Wales this progress and prosperity will take many forms: managed decline, zip wires, new housing we can’t afford or don’t need, having England’s decrepit, dysfunctional and delinquent dumped on us, and seeing what were once Welsh universities engaged in a race to the bottom. All designed to increase the numbers of strangers in our country, make Wales less Welsh, and slowly assimilate Wales into England.

Any attempt to defend or promote Welshness against this ‘progress and prosperity’ will be decried as ‘racist’, even ‘backward-looking’. (Always amusing to hear this from the English Right and the London redtops.)

A slander made easier to lay by the position taken by Plaid Cymru. For the Party of Wales is more afraid of being labelled ‘racist’ by the Guardian than it is of its national executive being filmed in a drug-fuelled orgy with rent boys and under age girls in William Morgan’s old gaff.

And the rise of the Right across the Western world has made Plaid Cymru shy away even more from promoting Welsh interests. Which further emboldens our enemies.

So the system grinds on almost unchecked.

‘I’ve been listening to some people and one thing I understand’

Or it did until relatively recently.

But as I’ve suggested, there is a mood abroad; a mood that rejects much of what we have been asked to accept in devolved Wales. Not that there is anything anarchistic or nihilistic about this mood, it is simply a realisation and a rejection of the prevailing corruption.

A growing belief that Wales is dying before our eyes. Or, more truthfully, being killed off.

If you want to see this mood, then look at recent developments such YesCymru, consider the outcry against the Ring of Steel planned for Flint castle, and not just the responses to the recent attacks on the Welsh language from the GuardianNewsnight and elsewhere but where the responses came from.

The internet and social media are of course vital in encouraging this mood. I like to think that this blog plays its part. Fortunately I’m not alone, there are a number of good sites out there. One I’ve mentioned before is Nation.Cymru, which came up trumps again recently.

On the first of this month Dylan Iorwerth, a respected journalist, argued that immigration into Welsh-speaking areas must be halted. In other words he is calling for measures to stop English people moving into Wales. Of course this has been said before . . . and it has always provoked a violent reaction from within Wales and without.

Perhaps the most famous example would be the response to Gwynedd councillor Seimon Glyn’s call, back in 2001, to curb English immigration, for which he was pilloried in the English media. As a result, his party leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones, was severely mauled over the issue on Question Time, by Glenys Kinnock.

Not long before, Plaid Cymru vice-president Gwilym ab Ioan was thrown off the party’s national executive for saying that Wales was being used as a dumping ground for England’s elderly, misfits and oddballs.

What I’ve found strange is that there has been no reaction from politicians or media to Dylan Iorwerth’s call to halt English immigration. Why might that be?

Could it be that it’s now generally accepted that there is massive and damaging immigration into the Fro Gymraeg? And if the phenomenon is undeniable then it’s best not to discuss it and stir things up further? Maybe others sense this mood I’m alluding to?

‘A great flood is a-rising fast and there’s a rumbling in the land’

If I’m right, then what’s the best way to capitalise on this mood?

For a start, I suggest that we stop fighting battles that have nothing to do with Wales, or else are beyond our power to influence. One example being those idiots who want President Trump to be impeached or removed by force. I call them idiots because achieving that objective would give the extreme Right the excuse to reject the democratic process altogether and take up arms. (And they have a hell of a lot more guns than their opponents.)

Such distractions are usually the result of ideology. Which is why there can be no place for ideology or dogma in the future struggle. Anyone trying to introduce ideology, or to promote issues external to Wales, must be dealt with, and dealt with ruthlessly. For such people are the enemies of Wales.

Equally dangerous are those who slink in the shadows, whispering, trying to get the more headstrong involved in violence. Also root them out and deal with them.

At this critical juncture Wales needs unity of purpose. As yet, we don’t need a new political party, but we do need a movement. This movement needs to coalesce from the disparate groups and individual voices found on social media and other forums.

We must promote what strengthens and advances Welsh identity, and combat everything that threatens it; all the while accepting that full independence is the only guarantee of the long term survival of Welsh national identity.

In the short term the agenda or strategy could be reduced to a simple Good / Bad list. That which is good for Wales is supported, that which is bad for Wales is opposed.

But if an issue is needed, where widespread support could surely be guaranteed, it would be a campaign to reform how housing operates in Wales. To take planning matters away from the Planning Inspectorate, to reduce the input from Wimpey, Redrow and the rest, to ensure local allocations in social housing, to demand local markets – such as operate on the Channel Islands – reserving most properties for locals.

Or to put it simply: a housing sector serving Welsh needs and interests.

If we cannot get together, sinking our various differences, to agree on a housing campaign such as that, then I’ve misjudged things completely, and there is no mood for radical change.

That’s my contribution. I now suggest that those reading this Think It Over (That’s Buddy Holly, not Tom Paxton.)

P.S. I am not putting myself forward for any role in any movement, my days of activism are long past.

♦ end ♦

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76 Comments on "A Rumbling In The Land"

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Dr Sally Baker
Guest

Jac – you mention that there have been attacks on the Welsh language by forces hitherto seen as friends, the liberal-left orthodoxy such as the Guardian and Newsnight. I’m not sure that they ever were friends. In my youth I thought that contingent of society was splendid – but then I went to work in the London medical schools and I actually got to know them. I had contact with the inner-circle too – people who are now Labour peers, friends of Salman Rushdie etc. And what a bunch of vacuous utter snobs they actually were. Guardian readers every one, they’d never have voted Tory or read the Telegraph, in those days they were all signing up to Charter 88. It meant nothing in terms of their day to day practice. I spent three years on the receiving end of the most blatant anti-Welsh ignorance and snobbery. Yet they were all so sensitive to ethnic minorities and their issues…

I think the snobbery stemmed from a number of areas – the class snobbery was huge, but there was also tremendous snobbery towards anyone who was rural and indeed Welsh. Your regulars know that I am not real ‘Welsh’, I’m from Somerset but went to Wales to university and subsequently spent most of my life there – but as far as the pillocks who lived in Wimbledon or Notting Hill Gate were concerned I was as good as Welsh and they let me know it. For them, the world really did stop at the more desirable areas of London and they had bugger all knowledge of anyone or anything outside that sphere – not that any of them were aware of their ignorance.

The chickens have now come home to roost – it’s why the Guardian now has nothing radical to say and is simply a PR sheet for the higher echelons of the public services. It’s why Guardian readers were able to level a charge of ‘racism’ at Lisa McKenzie, a sociologist from the LSE who isn’t as radical as she likes to think she is but who is from an urban working class background and who has a mixed race son. I think the Guardian is also owned by a hedge fund or something bizarre these days anyway. And it is of course why Polly Toynbee caused such entertainment for the panellists of The News Quiz a few years ago when she realised that one result of sky-high property prices in London was that she and others like her couldn’t find cleaners.

Present day Welsh people – or people who live in rural areas but who are not dwelling in a thatched cottage – are simply not quaint enough for the BBC or the Guardian. We’re certainly not going to get any help from them – or as far as I can see from any other section of the media. We are unrepresented politically and our interests are not reflected in any media outlet…

Gruff Williams
Guest

These comments are bang on the nail in my experience.

Lee
Guest

Why did English people treat you as Welsh if you are English? Did you tell people you were Welsh? I’m a bit perplexed how an Englishwoman gained the experience of being the subject of anti Welsh attitudes. I am Welsh and have experienced these things but find it hard to relate to someone who is not Welsh claiming the same kind of experiences.

Dr Sally Baker
Guest

In my experience the bigotry and ignorance as well as the finer points of one not actually being Welsh when one steps into the sort of social circles that dominate the likes of London medical schools are gobsmacking. I’m always very clear with people that I grew up in Somerset, but went to north Wales when I was 18 and have spent most of my life in Wales. When I meet English people with anti-Welsh attitudes – which I sometimes do – I am seen as some sort of traitor because I challenge them on their bigotry. As far as London went – well I had a house near Bethesda where I went every weekend (no, I wasn’t an over-privileged second homer, I hated London so much that I ended up spending as much time as possible in Bethesda and after 2 yrs I could stomach London no more and went back to Bethesda permanently. I had friends in Wales and dared challenge anti-Welsh comments in London. And I had gone to university in Wales. It was enough to label me a sheepshagging outsider.

I am not the only person to have had this experience. I have a friend who’s English parents went to work at Bangor University in the 70s. The family live on a farm in Tregarth, spend their time with local people and farmers and sent their children to local schools, so my friend and her brother are fully bilingual. My friend now works at Worcester University. At the ‘ice breaker’ during a staff training session, my friend was asked to tell the group something about her that was important to her identity. She stated that she spoke Welsh. She told me that this was seen as ‘ludicrous’ by other members of the group. When I have told other people this, I have been met with the same sort of incredulity that you are expressing.

These confused or ignorant attitudes to English migrants into Wales who have blended in are not that unusual and they are most obvious among English people who are anti-Welsh. It’s how I first realised that some English people do have a bad attitude – they would hear my accent, which I am told sounds middle-class English, and presume that I too was anti-Welsh and would make the most appalling comments about ‘the Welsh’.

I compare it to the generation of young white people in the English cities in the 70s who made friends with black people and were ostracised by white racist family members and friends. There was a BBC documentary made in the early 70s by Des Wilcox called ‘the Family’ about a working class family in the south of England. One of their teenaged daughters had a black boyfriend. The BBC received abusive mail directed at her for being friends with black people. One memorable letter read ‘as the only really attractive member of that family why do you have to be friends with a fucking nigger?’ (Jac – dunno if you want to be uncharacteristically PC and edit ‘the N word’, I’ve written it in full because that’s what the letter in question said).

In a follow up documentary years later, Wilcox revealed that the daughter had later had children with a black man and had a mixed race family. She was filmed explaining that she had simply told her children that they were black because, although they were actually mixed race, white people saw them as black. Even the children’s grandmother was filmed explaining that her daughter ‘went around with ‘them’, but I don’t, but I’m not racist’.

The syndrome of being a ‘traitor to your English fellow countrymen’ probably doesn’t exist in Anglicised parts of Wales, but it does in Y Fro Gymraeg. I think it was relatively easy for me to feel comfortable in Y Fro Gymraeg because although the language was obviously something I hadn’t come across before, it was a rural farming area, with attitudes very similar to those that I grew up with in Somerset. London was far more alien to me than Y Fro Gymraeg and those who surrounded me in London noticed it.

There is a massive ignorance of matters Welsh in England and it extends to a massive ignorance of people like me who feel comfortable in Welsh Wales and adopted it as our home.

David Robins
Guest

I so much agree on the Blaid. The test of ‘good / bad for Wales’ is precisely Derrick Hearne’s community benefit state as described in his trilogy from Y Lolfa, so expressive of what the Blaid ought to be about.

I have this week cut my monthly donation to the Blaid from £10 to £2. Why? Because, in contrast to identical support given to the SNP, it has not demonstrably contributed to any improvement in the Blaid’s performance. In my view, an ineffective choice of priorities does amount to financial mismanagement.

The Blaid’s leadership has faced some specific criticisms in recent months, notably over the Gwynedd LDP and over Sports Direct. Its defence, if any, has been woeful, politically correct and cringing. There is, however, a more general criticism that the Blaid lacks purpose, that it has now settled in as Labour’s sidekick, more concerned with the short fix of ending Tory rule at Westminster than the sustainable solution of ending English rule in Wales.

There seems no sense of urgency, yet we do not have forever to wait. I remember when the Eryr Wen was painted on walls and on rocks, when Wales was a young country with a glorious future. The last straw was the current ‘Welsh’ ‘Nation’, Leanne Wood with teacup in hand, proffering a gossip session, Helen Bradley sparing five minutes from her plush new job to tell us how to group-hug. Lots of self-congratulation about heroic inputs, no realisation of their worthlessness with so few outputs to show for it all. The local election results are presented as a triumph, yet the Blaid now controls fewer councils than in 1999. It’s all become about making Wales a better managed part of the UK and empowering those pledged to keep it that way. Who put the dragon’s fire out?

Plaid Cymru is the Welsh nationalist party. It long ago forgot what a nation is. It is now well on the way to forgetting the meaning of Wales. That only leaves the party and I would rather not leave that. What’s that line about it being sad to leave your country, but sadder still to see your country leaving you? For country, read party too.

Brychan
Guest

My first memory of the early 1960s was a long car journey visiting my Mamgu in Cwn Garw Road in upper Brynamman. Besides being fascinated by a coal fire that made no smoke and the insecurity of soon being enrolled at infants school, I can remember sitting on the lap of my Tadcu while he coughed up black phlegm into an old rag and asking him why we had to start speaking English, as he sat me in the high chair for tea. He replied..

“So you can be clean and respectable”.

At that age it didn’t make sense. But I always did what I was told, am mai Cymro bach oeddwn i. I do remember an argument ensuing in the parlor, not just about paying for my new shoes for school, but there was lots of cursing about a family of ‘hot-heads’ down the road.

Things were going on in the ‘60s and that lot became quite famous in Welsh politics.

Half a century on I get an email from a member of that ‘family of hot-heads’, and I quote “Yn wir o’r adroddiadau sydd yn fy nghyrraedd mae’n ymddangos bod gan aelodau blaenllaw yn yr ardal fwy o ddiddordeb yn lladd ar ei gilydd nag mewn hyrwyddo’r achos cenedlaethol. Ni all hyn barhau. – Cadeirydd Plaid Cymru”. Nice to see the language so well polished into corporate memos.

So why am I still being told what to say?

Big Gee
Admin

Nice point made there Brychan.

This video is just for you!

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Jonathan Edwards
Guest

Oh really Jac, it is not much of a rallying cry if you say “Rise up!” but also “But count me out because I’m past it!”
First of all, noone is past it. All hands are needed, male, female, Welsh speakers, non-Welsh speakers, people who have moved to Wales (provided that – Baltic-style – they qualify for citizenship. (Wales FA or WRU definition of Welsh ness will do for starters). OK Jac you adopt the persona of an old grouch, which is entertaining – but is anyone truly fooled?
Second – what you do is priceless. It is an essential part of being in the Welsh team. We number not 11, or 15, we number 3 million.Your role in this is one of hard thankless but essential graft:
You pick apart, systematically and unanswerably, one of the worst features of today’s Wales which is our awful Third Sector. Noone else does this. Be in no doubt that it will have an effect. But the effect will be as part of a wide movement from which you must not exclude yourself, you old grouch
Don’t do yourself down.You have never let us down before

Big Gee
Admin

Yes it is “all hands on deck” especially in a storm. However what you have to realise is Jonathan, that often the heart is willing, but the body is failing.

It’s easy to say “why not”, but I sympathise with Jac – I’m in the same boat myself, and Jac is a year or too ahead of me. It takes energy and stamina, two things that are sadly in short supply when you reach certain milestones.

Sure we can supply encouragement, advice and wisdom drawn from past experiences through our keyboards, (and sometimes that’s too much of an effort for me, hence the reason I have breaks from the blog at times) but in reality, you don’t send your pensioners to the front line do you?

No, as in real wars in the old days, you keep your old men and women at home making arrows and gathering the goose feathers for the flights of the bows and arrows of your young men in battle. The other function is to provide advice and wisdom.

Call us an “old grouch” or possibly ‘MOGs’ (miserable old gits), but in fact that’s exactly what we are (well many think I am at least). Nevertheless we won’t stop fighting for the cause – even if it is by now the job of collecting goose feathers!

Frank Little
Guest

Does the senior citizen Tom Paxton still feel the same way? The comfortable middle-aged troubadour I saw on TV in the 1980s certainly seemed to have lost his radical edge.

Big Gee
Admin

I feel the heartache in your latest post Jac.

Dyfal donc a dyrr y garreg

my friend. But as you say:

At this critical juncture Wales needs unity of purpose.

I heard an amusing tall tale by Dewi Pws on Radio Cymru this week. It was very tongue in cheek, and hilarious (“Clawdd o ffa). However in the middle of his yarn he did comment on something that was very significant. He said (translated loosely) “. . . at this time long ago, the Saxons were fighting the Welsh, and the Welsh were busy fighting a lot harder, because they were fighting the Saxons AND other Welshmen“. And we’re STILL at it! It’s our Achilles Heel – tribalistic squabbling.

I’m not a Tory, I was very happy with sixties music – including The Beatles (maybe not The Beach Boys – too ‘American’). I especially loved the Welsh protest songs of the time (Yma o hyd / Safwn yn y bwlch / Carlo / Efail Wen etc. The war in Vietnam – along with all other American colonial wars make my blood boil (didn’t the ‘young Jac’ realise what a load of bull-shit the Domino Effect was and how much propaganda was involved? Unusual for a sharp historian).

However both Jac & I have a common goal and a common cause – the freedom of our nation. Until that comes we will put our fickle differences to one side – as all others should.

Big Gee
Admin
Wynne
Guest

Diolch Big Gee. Arguments for independence well presented. Agree, up to us to write the next chapter of Welsh history.

Big Gee
Admin

Croeso Wynne.

The downloadable document above simply sets out the arguments FOR independence.

We need a constitution in our back pocket before we press for independence as a free and sovereign nation. It’s the first step in clawing back our identity as a separate nation and as a self determining country.

Plaid should have got down to this job years ago – if they were truly serious about independence. I believe many of their supporters are serious about it and seriously want it, but for the hierarchy it’s just lip service to keep their followers quiet.

As usual the Scots are ahead of the curve compared to us. They have worked on documents for a Scottish constitution for many years. They now have a consultation process in place on a full draft – whilst we are still pissing about, bickering and waiting for our so-called national party to do something for us (fat chance of that – does a leopard change it’s spots?). In the end forget the party and let the people get down to the job. No one ever said that a constitution for a country has to be written by any political party. The Scots have a party that can do it – we don’t – simple as.

1. Scottish Constitution – initial document
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2. Scottish Constitution – Draft for consultation
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Moaning about our problems and the unfairness and dreaming about independence is a total waste of time and energy, unless some positive steps are taken to kick start the process into life. Writing up a constitution is the first step on a long journey to accomplish our independence and dignity as a nation. We haven’t even put our boots on yet for that journey!

CambroUiDunlainge
Member

Problem with Independence currently is that its largely preaching to the converted. Increasing the audience needs to come first – setting the groundwork for the outcome of a successful vote should of course not be ignored – but the focus needs to be on getting everyone on the same page.

Problem with that is… cultural Imperialism is a silent killer of nations. It needs to be more overt… they won’t be drowning any more towns so that really leaves the investiture as the big occasion that we should be exploiting (peacefully). People need to see and feel that being Welsh is being subordinate to being English… and thats the time. The media attention gives a stage… will Yes.Cymru saying no make a difference? No. Will Plaid Cymru the party which does not represent all of Wales saying no make a difference? No.

I have my views on how that should be approached but progressiveness and republicanism rule Welsh nationalism which part of me feels makes this all futile. People need to embrace their identity and history… all of it. They need to accept all of it – not pick and choose what suits whatever perverse intentions they have for our nation post-freedom.

Big Gee
Admin

Problem with Independence currently is that its largely preaching to the converted. Increasing the audience needs to come first – setting the groundwork for the outcome of a successful vote should of course not be ignored – but the focus needs to be on getting everyone on the same page.

The ONLY way to do that is to focus on our education system. Given correct and expansive knowledge of our history, culture, language, heroes and heritage, automatically grows a next generation that does not need to be herded into the pen – they gravitate there of their own accord. It’s not “the economy stupid” (as pervert Clinton once said), but “it’s the curriculum stupid”.

Re.: “The Education System in Wales – The Nation’s Blessing or Curse?

CambroUiDunlainge
Member

Oh goes without saying that education should be increased as its a foundation for the future. I think Malaysia managed a reversal over 30-40 years (1970s when English medium had been totally replaced by Malay schools – not including the decade or so it took for English medium to be replaced). Its really taking what we’ve learned from the English and using it to undo what they’ve done.

Thing is… we’d be trying to instruct Welsh people to value their identity in the same way that we do. I don’t think its a case that people in Wales don’t value their identity… i think its a matter of them interacting with it differently. The litmus test is if you got 100 people together in Wales and called each one of them English I’m sure most of them would not be too impressed.

If that identity is insulted, or under threat I think a lot of people would be motivated – maybe not so much to talk about independence but enough to start rejecting Unionist parties and asking for more. Hence my point of cultural Imperialism (which the education system propagates) being the silent killer and that it needs to be seen overtly and in a way people cannot ignore nor dispute as imagined.

All we need is a catalyst.

Big Gee
Admin
Dafis
Guest

just scribbled a note on NationCymru and being one who is wedded to ideas of economy of effort I’ve cut and pasted onto this site as I think it relates to some/much of what is being said above , so here goes –

My memory fails me, but being reminded of the style and content of Jones’ criticism of Emyr Llew’s ideas suggest that not much has changed when critics wish to convey a negative image. Tarring Adfer and Emyr Llew with the Swastika/neoNazi brush was as much a lazy cheap shot then in the 70’s as it is nowadays when the default comment of every kind of critic seeking an easy denigration of others is to dig up words like “Nazi” “Fascist” “racist” surround them with more “blah blah blah” and pass it off as an indepth analysis. It just doesn’t work but suffices to keep couch potatoes, fed on a diet of conflict via movie and sports channels, in touch with the illusions of current affairs. As for realities it does nothing.

This nation needs an in depth Adfywiad. Some of Adfer’s ideas would add value to a modernised strategy. I am personally unsure of creating a “reservation out West” as it implies that we are ready to ditch the rest, but such a territory could be used to foster recovery of language, culture and economy primarily through the medium of Cymraeg as the language still has some strength within those counties. Further East the Adfywiad would require more time, more resources in supporting and enthusing the acquisition and use of language skills while the parallel economic recovery and redirection would be just as vital as we cannot, must not, trust any global corporation or international financial institution to stay put in any shape or form. The recent behaviours of TATA at Port Talbot is symptomatic of this dysfunctional relationship, and there’s plenty more where that came from. A far more robust economy will be needed with far greater native participation in ownership to underpin any kind of sustained Adfywiad.

Sadly none of this seems to be high on any political party’s agenda.

Big Gee
Admin

Your reservations are well founded about creating a “reservation out West” Dafis – a ‘Gaeltacht Gymraeg’. Cymuned promoted that idea – as a last ditch attempt to stop the rot. Iwerddon has it’s Gaeltacht, an idea originally floated, in the hope that a Gaeltacht would be a nucleus to promote it’s presence out beyond the borders of it’s territory, and then spread across the isle. It doesn’t work like that. It’s the forming of a nationalist ghetto stronghold that the rest of the country forgets about. It may have it’s temporary function to stop the rot, long term it does not solve permanent problems, and never will work.

As I keep on preaching, the key is what we teach our children. “Give a man a fish to feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime”

daffy2012
Guest

OK Big Gee. I have to ask you this question regarding your last paragraph. The Irish are in charge of their own education aren’t they? So why aren’t they able to ‘stop the rot’?

Big Gee
Admin

We’re talking Éire there daffy (which, quite appropriately I think, was the name of a Gaelic goddess. Ériu is generally believed to have been the matron goddess of Ireland, a goddess of sovereignty, or simply a goddess of the land).

Unless you haven’t noticed it’s a totally independent, sovereign state – a self governed republic since it was founded as the result of the Easter Rising on the 24th of April 1916.

So what ‘rot’ are you talking about in the Irish context? Their colonial rot ended a hundred years ago. We are still rotting as I write.

Whilst the Gaelic language is not strong throughout the Republic, because many Irish no longer see the English LANGUAGE as a threat – because they have their freedom. However Gaelic is taught in all schools, and believe me, their version of history taught in those schools bears no resemblance to what’s taught from an Anglo-colonial perspective in Cymru – regardless of what medium is used to teach the crap.

We have a skewed view on Y Gymraeg, because it has become the sole symbol of our struggle for survival. That is not the case in Éire. We’re comparing apples with pears.

Read my essay again and see what I wrote about the futility of trying to keep our indegenous language alive. As I say in the essay, keeping the ‘leaves’ alive on a tree that is being poisoned at the ‘roots’ is like pissing in the wind. Our loss of identity is not due to the demise of our language, it’s the withering of our knowledge about ourselves and our unique identity.

As I said above:

It’s not “the economy (or the language) stupid” . . . . but “it’s the curriculum stupid”.

daffy2012
Guest

Thanks. You don’t need to preach to me 🙂 Unless you like preaching to the already devout. You seem to say that a Gaeltacht Cymraeg is a non starter because we don’t control our education in particular the teaching of our history. I agree, we have Brit Nat Labour in control. But you also say that the Irish Gaeltacht hasn’t been successful even though they have total control of their history teaching. But in our case, control of our history teaching is key to save the language. I know the Irish situation is different to ours. They don’t share a border with a dominating England to begin with. And thus, they don’t see the English language as a threat to ‘their identity’. But I do think that they need to ask themselves some questions regarding that. In fact, there are many in Ireland who would agree. In Wales though, I believe it’s central to our identity. Although many would think that Welsh identity begins and ends with the national rugby team. I just had a problem with what you were saying in this paragraph:

“Your reservations are well founded about creating a “reservation out West” Dafis – a ‘Gaeltacht Gymraeg’. Cymuned promoted that idea – as a last ditch attempt to stop the rot. Iwerddon has it’s Gaeltacht, an idea originally floated, in the hope that a Gaeltacht would be a nucleus to promote it’s presence out beyond the borders of it’s territory, and then spread across the isle. It doesn’t work like that. It’s the forming of a nationalist ghetto stronghold that the rest of the country forgets about. It may have it’s temporary function to stop the rot, long term it does not solve permanent problems, and never will work.

As I keep on preaching, the key is what we teach our children. “Give a man a fish to feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime””

In Ireland, the Gaeltacht didn’t stop the ‘rot’. Then you say that teaching our children is key. (I am repeating myself I know) The Irish have tried both but they haven’t managed to expand the Gaelic language or stop the ‘rot’. But as you suggest, they are more at peace with the English language and it’s not so much a threat to their identity. But I am not so sure. I do think we will fight harder to preserve our language because of our geographical location. For now, I believe we need a Welsh Gaeltacht and teach our history in schools etc. I don’t think comparing Ireland to Wales as you suggest is comparing oranges with well oranges. Have you seen this video?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqYtG9BNhfM

Big Gee
Admin

An extremely entertaining but sobering little film daffy – I loved it when the Irish barman says “I didn’t know Paddy spoke Chinese!”. It gets to the heart of the problem that our Irish cousins have. However, with them, their problem revolves around their use of their own language. Many lessons could be learned in Iwerddon on how Hebrew was resurrected from a dead language to a language used and spoken by all Jews in Israel today.

The ‘rot’ mentioned in the above posts are two different ‘rots’. In Cymru the rot is a colonial one and our assimilation into a region of England. That will never happen in Iwerddon. They have been saved from that torture.

Theirs is a language rot. Our language rot is not such a huge problem – but still a problem, but mostly to do with the bigger and more threatening problem of assimilation and disappearance of our unique identity as a nation, driven by our present education system which was purposely designed (at the time of the original Compulsory Education Act at the end of the nineteenth century) to airbrush our knowledge of ourselves out of our collective psyche.

It also has to be realised that two thirds of the population of Iwerddon lives in Dulyn city, and that is a focal point for the effects of globalisation. Fuelled by their close historical ties to America, whose language is English of course.

A Gaeltacht does not work. it preserves a relic (just as a museum does – a large scale San Ffagan if you like). It’s a quaint novelty that provides a ‘feel good’ illusion. It does nothing to resurrect or preserve an identity – it certainly doesn’t seed itself to the rest of the country, as can be clearly seen in Iwerddon. There are no ‘Hebrew Gaeltchts’ in Israel.

In some ways we have a stronger position linguistically – if we could manage to break free, because our language is strangely preserved to a quirky degree. Cymraeg (and not a rebellion for freedom) has been the rallying point for our struggle to keep our identity, that’s why it’s still spoken by around 20% of our population, but it’s precarious, because it will eventually get washed away by the powers of colonial assimilation. We have focused so much on our language that our struggles in other ways have been overlooked. Iwerddon has it’s freedom – through rebellion – but has a struggle to preserve it’s language. Gaelic has always been the preserve of the sparsely populated rural areas of the west of Eire – but not Dublin.

Two problems, two different rots, two different causes for the problem. That’s why I said it’s like comparing apples with pears.

daffy2012
Guest

Diolch G. I don’t know enough about the Gaeltacht in Ireland. It obviously hasn’t worked hitherto. And neither to I know enough about Israel except of course their situation was a melting pot of languages where it made sense to introduce a common language even if very few indeed spoke it. All I know is that Cymraeg still does have to varying degrees a territory where it’s still in the majority albeit quickly disappearing majority. Adam Price with his Arfor idea has spoken about this and how Pembrokeshire (and I think Conwy) shouldn’t be included or the figures drop to below 50% Welsh speaking. I just feel we need to preserve an area from which we have a base to spread.

Dafis
Guest

there has been an excessive concern with the “Irish model” for too long. It’s only useful if Cymry are prepared to win a sort of independence by armed struggle and work their way through about 50 years of economic purgatory to get to an end game which is incomplete due to 6 counties and a nearly dead language. That’s why Cymry need to think through their needs and aims, and engage in a serious debate about 1. What kind of society are we going to be, how do we get there
2. How do we go about creating the resources to support/sustain that vision and
3. Having “baked the cake” how do we share it, and how can we make sure that the model has long term traction ?
Again I’ve taken the liberty of copying and pasting part of a piece I loaded onto NationCymru,while it was working !!!

Myfanwy
Guest

This is just what’s needed Big Gee, a concise and well argued document for Independence, which is a tangible representation of the “unity of purpose” which Jac has described so well in this post.

Dafis
Guest

nation.cymru is experiencing a tech problem, OR some bastard’s jamming it !

Big Gee
Admin

It could be a DOS (denial of service)attack. That could cause ‘database error reports’. It might be a faulty database, or problems with the PHP scripting function on the server.

My guess is that the site is being hosted on a server that is finding it difficult to cope with traffic, or the hosting account has insufficient bandwidth. It’s probably a Shared Hosting account – that is Web hosting in which the service provider serves pages for multiple Web sites, each having its own Internet domain name, from a single Web server, possibly hosting up to 50 sutes. That can sometimes cause headaches, either if your site has heavy traffic, or another site that shares your server has high traffic at times, and therefore robs you of bandwidth.

Although shared hosting is a less expensive way for people to create a Web presence, it is usually not sufficient for Web sites with high traffic. It may be a sign that the site is attracting more traffic and is growing out of it’s shoes – that is a nice problem to have. All that’s needed is a Dedicated Server account, but it is quite a bit more expensive.

Trailorboy
Guest

Been contemplating writing a book about a fictitious place, where a beautiful species of Rhododendron was introduced in the 16th century called Anglo Cultivaris.

At first it attracted many well to do visitors who marvelled at its magnificence and the move was on to ensure everyone had some of it, to impress and attract more visitors.

It soin spread out of control destroying the habitats of native species, yet still visitors marvelled at its beauty and magnificence.

Local people who made a living from the land were condemned for their concerns about its effects on their ability to to produce a living from the land.

Ultimately it became the prettiest desert in the world devoid of any diversity or interest.

daffy2012
Guest

I like it. I’ve thought of a similar story but this time with a land of the native Wiwer goch and of course, the Wiwer lwyd. 🙂

Big Gee
Admin

Two brilliant allegories!

Interestingly, I was talking to a Welsh doctor in a hospital once, I quipped that it was nice to come across a Welsh speaking doctor & asked where he came from, He said Tywyn, I said that he had his share of English migrant there. He replied by rolling his eyes upwards and saying “ma nhw fel rhododendron ym mhobman” (they’re like rhododendrons spreading everywhere)

Trailorboy
Guest

and the solution to the wiwef goch/wiwer lwyd issue seems to be the reintroduction of the polecat.

Not sure we can reintroduce Vikings and rural brigands, but I guess they were the equivalent of the polecat.

What scares the shit out of the affluent rural settlers more than anything else would be something that affects their previously engrained urban cosmopolitan sensibilties, the quiet life, wealth and inheritance.

David Wood
Guest

I am the world’s second greatest Tom Paxton fan! But for me his greatest is “All Night Long”.

Its great that there are people like Jac to look underneath the stones in Wales.

But two things come to mind when reading the blogs, which you might see as worthy of thought.

The first is that to move more of the general population of Wales to vote for Plaid, to be "independence minded", there would need to be a figurehead, a leader(s), behind whom the Welsh public would rally. The individual(s) needs to be honest, fair, aware of the main issues, charismatic, a convincing speaker, likeable...etc. Is such an individual to be found in Plaid today, and if not, how could he/she be found?

The second is to wonder what could be the “goal” for Wales? What kind of society should be the objective? They say that any road is the right one if you don’t know where you are going. Where could be the roads end for Wales? Of course, it is for Wales to be a worthy nation that has an identity that the Welsh are proud of. But is it to have wealthy country like Norway or Luxembourg, or something like Singapore with three distinct population groups who are asked to respect each other`s culture?

In any event, please keep the blogs going, and keep looking under the stones.

Big Gee
Admin

We’ve been hunting for a “mab darogan” for a very long time (Y Mab Darogan is a messianic figure of Welsh legend, destined to force the English out of our land and reclaim it for its original Celtic inhabitants). The trouble is if we found him Plaid would kill him in his cradle – like they’ve done with all other Nationalist parties that have shown their heads. That’s why Plaid needs to be eradicated for something better.

The second is to wonder what could be the “goal” for Wales? What kind of society should be the objective?

Now that point is a very important one and requires a lot of thought. Something which is very important but overlooked by most.

CambroUiDunlainge
Member

A few Plaid Cymru supporters seem to think that is Adam Price.

Le Gallois Fou
Guest

Seems contradictory to insist that the people of Wales should gird up their loins, and various other bits, to help themselves, then complain that the English Guardian, Newsnight and Corbyn are doing nothing to help.

Dafis
Guest

Wrong – the Guardian and Newsnight ( indeed most of BBC output about Cymru/Wales ) is a sneering attack on the country, its people and culture. How dare we be different ? So there’s nothing contradictory in launching attacks on some of the worst characteristics of Anglo Brit supremacy particularly those that posture as bastions of tolerance and fairness. As for Corbyn, he just doesn’t get it once he steps out beyond the M25, especially into the more rural bits of UK in general and Cymru in particular.You’ll get some nice platitudes, neutral stuff from him which excites Leanne and her colleagues but does nothing to make Labour WORK for Cymru. As ever the media in their various shapes and forms are a most real threat to the survival and adfywiad of our identity.

Bill Chapman
Guest

Sorry, Jac. I don’t get any sense of what you think you have noticed. There is some anger about the Brexit negotiations (on both sides) but I detect no hint of change in Wales – except that the Labour Party is becoming more popular. http://www.itv.com/news/wales/2017-09-11/labour-lead-increases-as-support-for-2nd-eu-vote-grows/

Nigel Stapley
Guest

If we won’t stand up when things like this happen, then what’s the bloody point?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cymrufyw/41226273

To paraphrase for the monoglots: a woman talking our language to her small daughter in a shop in Llanbedr-Pont-Steffan is confronted by some harridan telling her that she shouldn’t be speaking ‘foreign muck’ to her child, and why doesn’t she speak English to her?

There’s no indication in the story of where the wretched woman was from (I mean, originally), but the probability is that she’s just another of the white-flighters who have infested the midlands of our country over the last twenty-five years. You know, the ones who think that no-one should be allowed to live in England unless they speak exclusively English, even with their own friends or family.

That this is happening in our country today stands as a mark of how far things have regressed in the last twenty years or so.

But that’s not the worst of it.

The victim of this piece of bigotry offers others who are confronted with the terminal pig-ignorance of the coloniser the following ‘advice’:

“You have to keep calm – don’t swear or shout, because people won’t take any notice of you afterwards – and teach them that it’s your business and no-one else’s”

Well, float my coracle through Cenarth! What sort of advice is that? That sort of bigoted twerp will not take any notice of us unless we get right in their faces about it! It is – literally – the only language they understand. And if they get ‘offended’ by that, then good; better we offend a stroppy Sais (or native Uncle Tom) or two than we lose what still remains of our dignity.

But then, I looked up town councillor Elin T. Jones. Can you guess which party she represents on Llambed Town Council? Yes, our very own Don’t-mention-independence-or-nationalism-for-fear-of-alienating-our-English-‘friends’ Party! We need something far stronger and more radical than anything which the out-of-touch rural solicitors, retired teachers and ‘third-sector’ hangers-on in Saunders and Gwynfor’s old party have left to offer. Who amongst our younger compatriots will take the lead?

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