Welsh Nationalism

Oct 312014
 

‘Surely you’re not going to write favourably about Ukip, Jac?’ I hear you plaintively inquire. Well, yes and no. What I’m going to try to say is that if we learn the right lesson from Ukip’s recent success then that lesson can be used for the benefit of Wales. So let’s first remind ourselves of what the party achieved in the May European elections. (Click on table to enlarge.)

The party won 27.6% of the vote, against just 15.3% for Plaid Cymru and only 28.1% for Labour. And for those who used to argue that the Ukip vote came almost entirely from disaffected Tories, the Conservative vote held fairly steady at 17.4%. If you wanted to be even more dismissive, and self-deluding, then you would have written off this success as the kind of protest vote in which people indulge at Euro elections. It was not. It was much, much more. ‘Something’ was happening. It was observable then and it has become unmistakable since May.

Euro votes 2014

So what was the response from the other political parties to the Euro results? Initially, there was a stubborn refusal to accept the changed landscape of Englandandwales politics. (Ukip is irrelevant in Scotland.) Precious, simpering Leftists and liberals held their noses at the very mention of Ukip, as if it were unwholesome and repugnant, while many leading Tories tended to see Ukip members as oiks, the products of minor public schools. But that soon changed.

Because more recently we have seen  the defections of a couple of Conservative MPs (with more expected to follow). One of those MPs, Douglas Carswell, has already won for Ukip the Clacton seat he vacated when he resigned from the Tories. While on the same night, at the Heywood & Middleton by-election in Greater Manchester, Labour held on to one of its ‘safe’ seats by getting just 617 votes more than Ukip. Ukip is odds-on favourite to win the Rochester and Strood by-election next month when another Tory defector, Mark Reckless, stands for his former constituency.

Finally, and very reluctantly, the other political parties have been forced to accept that something very worrying is happening, and it’s no flash in the pan. The growing contempt for Westminster and the ‘established’ parties is manifesting itself in increased support for what voters see, and welcome, as an ‘outsider’ party, an untainted, maverick presence that can shake everything up – and articulate their concerns. And there is one issue more than any other on which Ukip has captured the public imagination – immigration.

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As I have made clear more than once on this blog, the biggest threat facing Wales is not fracking, or the lack or primary legislative powers, but the steady and engineered colonisation witnessed by every one of us every single day. It is taboo to raise the subject of English colonisation, and it results in being shouted down as a ‘racist’, or else have it pointed out that there is nothing that can be done about immigration due to EU laws on free movement of labour. Another argument employed is that as citizens of the UK English people are perfectly free to move to Wales.

Ukip’s success, and it’s focus on immigration, has not only legitimised immigration as a subject for debate, but it has even changed the terms of reference. To the extent that even Ed Miliband, the nerdy and disconnected leader of the Labour Party, now agrees that something needs to be done about immigration. This, remember, is the same Labour Party that not so long ago was in favour of unrestricted immigration in order to create a multiracial society. A policy that they believed would lead to better race relations(!) and of course, more votes for Labour.

The Conservative Party has always talked tough on immigration, accused Labour of being ‘soft’, but since regaining power in 2010 has done nothing itself to curb the flow. That’s because today’s Tories are not the patriots one would have found in the Conservative Party in earlier generations; the current crop contains too many of the selfish and short-sighted who know the price of everything and the value of nothing. In the view of such people immigration equals cheap labour, which in turn helps to depress wages more generally. Therefore, no matter what they might say for public consumption, and to hang onto their seats, if immigration is good for them and their friends then they aren’t going to knock themselves out doing anything about it.

This is the split one finds on the Right across the Western world. On the one hand, there are those that oppose unskilled or non-professional immigration. Then there are those that appreciate the economic benefits unskilled migrants can bring to farmers and others, using well-rehearsed arguments such as ‘locals don’t want these jobs’. Finally, there is the extreme Right that opposes virtually all immigration. Most Conservative MPs today belong to the second category but, under the increasing threat from UPlaid logokip, are being forced to adopt the rhetoric of the third. To the extent that a government minister this week talked of English communities being “swamped” by immigrants.

So Welsh nationalists should thank Ukip for bringing immigration to the forefront of political debate. What’s more, the debate now is not about legal rights – for ‘Europeans’ have legal rights to be in the UK – but effects on the host community. If ten per cent of the population of Peterborough being immigrants is legitimate cause for concern, then fifty per cent of the population of Powys being English should be cause for immediate action.

The other reason true Welsh nationalists should thank Ukip is for exposing the sheer bloody uselessness of Plaid Cymru. Last May, in the kind of election in which people say, ‘What the hell!’, Ukip was able to get more votes than Plaid Cymru; worse than that, Ukip gained the ‘soft’ Labour, or non-voter, vote in the south that Plaid Clymru claims to have been chasing for half a century. Plaid Cymru can now look forward to coming fourth at the 2016 Assembly elections.

Ukip has opened a door, but Plaid Cymru won’t go through because it’s afraid to point up the hypocrisy in the position of English politicians and media being outraged when a few thousand poor people turn up in a prosperous English town to take the low-paid jobs, yet condemn us as ‘racist’ for drawing attention to wealthy English people buying up our homeland and, in the process, destroying our very identity! No, instead, Plaid Cymru snuggles up to a party the SNP has all but destroyed in Scotland and cobbles together election pacts with the Green Party of Englandandwales and it’s colon representatives here.

With events in Scotland threatening the Westminster consensus on another front there has never been a better time for a radical Welsh party to make a breakthrough. Plaid Cymru is not that party. It never was. It looks jaded, even part of that now-detested Westminster consensus. Maybe that’s the price you pay for being ‘respectable’ and ‘responsible’, being written about favourably in the Guardian and the New Statesman. And Wales pays the price.

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Having got that off my chest, let me end on a lighter note, with something I’ve wanted to say about Ukip for a long time – I find Nigel Farage and his gang incredibly funny. Let me explain.

As a child growing up in the 1950s one sub-species of humanity then to be observed was the somewhat louche individual who favoured cavalry twill trousers and a badge-embazoned blazer, or a sports coat. For neckware there was the choice of regimental / old school tie, cravat or bow tie, and above that a moustache he hoped would help him further promote the image of a man who’d done his bit of derrFarage T-Ting-do, don’t y’know. The favoured mode of transport was a sports car, in which our specimen would cruise around hoping to pick up ‘crumpet’. Despite his natural habitat being the Home Counties and certain areas of west London, this fascinating creature could even be found in Swansea, often at the more acceptable ‘watering holes’ on Gower or in Mumbles drinking half pints in glasses with dimples and handles. (Never a straight glass!) These they would obtain by marching into a pub demanding to be served with ‘A half of your very best bitter, squire’. (It should be noted that during this period many innocents were elevated to the ranks of the squirarchy without ever understanding how or why.) They seemed a hearty crew exhuding bonhomie and guffawing at lame jokes about ‘shirt-lifters’ and ‘darkies’ while slapping each other vigorously on the back. They were almost a stock character in English films of the period, played by none better than Terry-Thomas. In a yet earlier age many of them might have been remittance men.

Remittance men

Anyway, the point I’m making is that I had assumed this sub-species of homo britannicus (‘Homo’, geddit? nudge, nudge) had been rendered extinct by the decline of the English sports car industry, or Rock ‘n’ Roll, or loss of habitat, but I was wrong – they were just hiding, biding their time, and now they’ve re-emeged from the collective apoplexy of the golf club and the piss-take pageantry of the masonic lodge – as Ukip! This realisation has been quite disconcerting for me, even disorientating, though it brought memories flooding back. I suppose younger readers will suspect that the creatures I’ve described never existed. Believe me, boys and girls, they did – just look at Farage and his chums and you’ll get some idea of what they were like!

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Of course, nothing I’ve written here changes my opinion of Nathan Gill, the Ukip MEP for Wales. (Pick up the story from here.) He is still a lying shite. He and his brothers-in-law – possibly others – are unscrupulous, hypocritical, exploitive bastards prepared to make money out of desperate immigrants from the ‘Europe’ they claim to hate, and then hide away the cash-in-hand income from the tax authorities. When they aren’t exporting dangerous used tyres to West Africa, that is. Don’t y’know.

Feb 272014
 
(What I argue in this post in no way invalidates my assertion that Wales is, in reality, run by civil servants answering to London; a sitution that reduces ‘Welsh’ Government spokespersons to mere mouthpieces. In this post I am dealing with perceptions, and for the vast majority of people in Wales the country is ‘run’ by the Labour Party government in Cardiff.)

 

In a piece I posted on February 18th, Polls and Donkeys, and in other posts, I may have given the impression that I view the Labour Party in Wales as a bunch of unprincipled, self-serving, dim-witted and traitorous self-abusers. This is still my view. However, in the post referred to I should perhaps have expanded my interpretations of the opinion poll that formed the basis of that post, as I subsequently did in answer to certain comments.Labour Performance

What the poll told us, among other things, was that despite the abysmal performance of the Labour Party its vote in Wales is holding firm. Looking at the approval ratings we see from the table that the highest rating was 41%, this from Labour supporters who believe the ‘Welsh’ Government is doing a good job with the economy. (I kid you not!)

Yet when we consider voting intentions, in the rather colourful table below, we find that support for Labour is little changed from earlier contests. In any normal society this would be regarded as very odd, even perverse; perhaps an indication of endemic or congenital masochism within the population. A condition possibly resulting from centuries of being kicked around and exploited. Yet while history may play a part in shaping attitudes in twenty-first century Wales there’s a much simpler explanation. For too many Labour supporters there is no credible or attractive alternative to Labour.

Now, clearly, the Tories are never going to be that alternative. Perhaps because there has never been a coherent and recognisably Welsh Tory voice; by which I mean a patriotically Welsh, but Unionist, position prepared to argue Wales’ corner. I had hoped we might be moving towards such a party, but the recent split over income tax, and the Uriah Heap-like behaviour of David Jones tells me that the Conservative and Unionist Party in Wales still contains a majority of politicians wanting a party that represents the interests of England, and the English within Wales; often done by promoting the view that our best interests are served by ‘smoothing out’ all differences with England, done for our own good of course, because whatever makes us different is just ‘ugly, intolerant nationalism’ – ach y fi!

Then there are the Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Greens, BNP, Monster Raving Loony Party and other, even more outlandish groups, unlikely to ever over-work ballot-counters and Returning Officers. Which leaves only Plaid Cymru. For despite the fact that Labour’s ‘Donkey’ voters belong to the most deracinated and, um . . . ‘uninformed’ (that the word?) elements of the nation, there still resides within most of them a spark of Welshness. This spark flickers into life for sporting events, and on those occasions when someone reminds them they’re just a ‘Welsh bastard’, but not when Plaid Cymru comes knocking. Telling us that Plaid Cymru, Voting Intentionsa ‘national’ party, is failing on the most basic level.

Partly because being a Labour Party Mk 2 will make no headway with Labour supporters. They will ask themselves why they should vote for the imitation when they can vote for the real thing. Equally pointless is pathetically struggling to win the approval of Guardianistas and the scroungers and shysters of the poverty celebration industry. Also worth remembering is that for every Mike Parker there are a dozen or more English in Wales who resent being reminded they are even in Wales. (To verify that, just pop in to your local golf club.) What I’m trying to say is that the only hope for Wales, and the only possible threat to the Labour Party, lies in Plaid Cymru appealling to the ‘Donkey’ voters on a different level. Which will have to mean Plaid reasserting itself as a Welsh party, rather than continuing to posture as some kind of lefty Brit regionalist party.

To achieve this will mean standing up for the Welsh, rather than for the cop-out of ‘Wales’. Because if you restrict yourself to ‘Wales’, and divorce it from Welsh nationhood, then you are left with nothing but a geographical expression, or an empty shell. It then becomes possible to argue – as with tourism – that something is ‘good for Wales’ while working against the interests of Welsh people and Welsh nationhood. Plaid has to face the reality that distancing the party from perceptions of ‘nationalism’ has paid no electoral dividend. Plaid Cymru must re-unite with the Welsh nation, all of the nation. Demand that Welsh people, those with roots in this country, have priority claim in employment, social housing, training, grants – everything ‘Wales’ has to offer.

Plaid must no longer avoid the inescapable truth that its existing and potential electorate is almost entirely restricted to those who regard themselves as Welsh. So unashamedly target this electorate, speak up in its defence, demand measures that specifically benefit Welsh people. Done effectively this will allow the party to take votes directly from Labour, which will obviously damage Labour far more than by taking votes from other parties. There is no other way for Plaid Cymru to become the major political force in Wales other than by attacking Labour head-on. (As the SNP has so successfully done in Scotland.) Given that the two parties are so close ideologically, the only hope of victory lies in appealing to people’s innate Welshness.

If Plaid Cymru is unwilling to change direction, to speak in defence of Welsh people, then it has no purpose, and no future. By refusing to fulfil its obvious role it guarantees its continued impotence and takes up space that could or should be filled by a genuinely Welsh party . . . while also gifting the Labour Party – and England – unchallenged hegemony over our homeland.

May 272013
 

In recent months I have given much thought to my lifestyle. I’m spending far too much time at my computer, writing my blog and other things; reading, watching television, or just filling my head with information I’d be none the poorer for not knowing. Then there’s Twitter, Facebook, texts, e-mails. And so often I’m not even sure who I’m dealing with . . . I suspect many are socialists, or oafs in baseball caps. Even socialist oafs in baseball caps! People I wouldn’t bother with in the real world. It has become clear to me that this technology, promised to be the great servant of mankind, can, if we allow it, become our master, exerting an unhealthy influence over our lives.

Another issue encouraging my return to the real world is the new wave of US entrepreneurs and capitalists behind this revolution. They may look and sound like unworldly geeks, but when it comes to business, with their monopolistic ambitions and their tax-dodging, they are more ruthless than Ford, Rockefeller and J P Morgan ever were. Do I really want to use anything over which these amoral weirdoes have control? Do I want to use software or social networking that is all the while gathering information about me? Do I want to download a harmless ‘update’, only to find that I have, totally unwillingly and without warning, also installed a toolbar, a search engine, anti-virus software, tracking cookies and God knows what else? No, I do not.

Don’t run away with the idea that I am Thoreaurejecting new technology entirely and going live in a cave, but I will in future be drastically reducing the time I spend on my computer. My Twitter account will be closed soon, and so will my Facebook page (which I never could see the value of). As for my blog, I shall keep it open but resort to it less. Maybe a weekly or bi-weekly post, supplemented by ‘specials’ if I think I have something worth saying. For while I believe some of my postings have had an effect, particularly those dealing with the Third Sector and other obvious forms of mismanagement or corruption, at the end of the day, blogging could be viewed as a cheap form of vanity publishing.

‘Why now?’ you might ask. Well, there comes a point when you realise you’re repeating yourself. Largely because the stupidly of politicians, and the perfidy of those who manipulate them, is unchanging. As is the gullibility of  too many Welsh voters. Only the characters and the circumstances change. One Third Sector scandal is much like another. And when a blogger finds himself referring back to his own earlier posts then he should realise that he’s said it all before. Such is the situation with me.

In addition, my mother has just died, a milestone in any man’s life. So now seems the right time to make my return to the real world. Before finishing, I’d like to thank you all for reading my blog, both at its original home with Google Blogger, and more recently here, courtesy of Gwilym ab Ioan of S C Cambria. Thank you also for your support and comments over the years. What follows may be my last post for a while, in it I try to give my honest assessment of the situation in Wales today, and how we got here.

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IN THE BEGINNING

When I joined the nationalist movement in the mid-ʼ60s I joined something vibrant and exciting, there was a ‘We’re not taking this shit any more!’ attitude, and a belief that change would be brought about by pressure from below, by activists like us. And for a while we had the system worried. But by 1975, the high-water mark had been reached, and Welsh nationalism was in retreat. For by now the British Establishment understood what it was dealing with. It knew how far Welsh nationalism was prepared to go, what barriers it wouldn’t cross; it had worked out who could be bought, or intimidated; and it understood that by guiding a nationalist movement without mass support into politics that that movement was never going to threaten the status quo.

And so it proved. After Plaid Cymru won Carmarthen in 1966, Meirionnydd and Caernarfon in 1974, after seventeen years of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, after the Free Wales Army (FWA), Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC) and countless other manifestations of Welsh nationalism, on St. David’s Day 1979 just 20.26% of us voted for a Welsh Assembly. That the devolution referendum of 1997 was won was due to Margaret Thatcher and eighteen years of Conservative rule. It had nothing to do with Plaid Cymru. Even then, many Labour voters argued that we didn’t need devolution – Labour was back in power! (A good example of the mentality of the ‘Donkey Labour’ voter; rejecting devolution because it’s only needed when the Tories are in power but unable to work out that the Tories will never give Wales devolution!)

DOWNHILL

By the early 1970s the English Establishment had worked out the following facts. Plaid Cymru was essentially a linguistic and cultural movement which, once the initial excitement had worn off, would have little appeal to the anglophone majority. Many of the language activists were simply after their own niche in the English system, some proving themselves to be ruthlessly ambitious. While the most sincere and selfless element of Welsh nationalism, those who resorted to direct action, were not prepared to take a human life. Just to be sure, the English Establishment put it place a colonisation strategy to encourage English settlers into Wales, using agencies as diverse as higher education and tourism, plus quangos such as the Development Board for Rural Wales.

It was downhill from there. Apart from the Meibion Glyndŵr campaign and groups such as the Welsh Socialist Republican Movement, Cofiwn, Cyfamodwyr, Wales was quiescent. Plaid Cymru went through various colour changes – red, green, pink – and Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s best days were behind it, its victories nearly all won in the first twenty years of its existence. Whatever came to us now would be gifted by our masters without them having to worry about pressure from below. Even the Meibion Glyndŵr campaign, which had widespread popular support, did nothing to remove the problem of holiday homes.

TODAY

Which brings me to a consideration of Wales today. Plaid Cymru can be discounted entirely. Exposed and discredited. Infiltrated and manipulated. A former leader openly talking about joining the Labour Party. More concerned with socialism and environmentalism than with nationalism. Its ambition limited to being junior partner in a Labour-led coalition. Quite happy to see the Welsh countryside covered with wind turbines and populated with English settlers. Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, or the wider language-cultural movement, stands exposed as a bunch of weak-kneed charlatans. Deluding themselves that another school in Cardiff is fair exchange for the loss of Ceredigion. Smug and complacent on the moral high ground, as the enemy takes over the land below. Direct action? There is none.

Ah! but we’ve got devolution, you reply. No. What we have is a system in which a bunch of second-rate politicians faff about in a leaky building down Cardiff docks while real power is increasingly exerted by English civil servants and organisations of which most of us have never heard – Planning Inspectorate, Housing Directorate, Wales Rural Observatory, countless Third Sector shyster-wagons, etc. – for which we never voted. So don’t kid yourself that this system fronted by Carwyn and his gang is devolved and democratic government, or that it’s doing anything for us. It is nothing but English colonialism with its repulsive features partly disguised with a Welsh veil.

TOMORROW?

The biggest issue facing the Welsh nation is its very survival. Partly due to ‘Wales’ becoming divorced from ‘the Welsh’. Allowing politicians and academics, journalists and others, to crow about something being ‘wonderful for Wales’ when it offers Welsh people nothing, or is even detrimental to their interests. Tourism, for example. To the point where people can even bang on about Wales being ‘a rainbow nation’, with we Welsh nothing more than another exotic component. Hand in hand with this divorce goes the trivialisation of Welsh identity, and a careful promotion of what are considered to be acceptable expressions of Welshness. So that some tart on a reality TV show would be an acceptable face of ‘Welshness’, but a dignified patriot rejecting an ‘honour’ from the English Queen would be a narrow bigot, an extremist.

EuphemismThese Orwellian interpretations dominate Welsh life. Exemplified by the approach to colonisation. Wales today has ‘incomers’ or ‘in-migrants’, and ‘people from other parts of Britain’, or even ‘from over the border’. These can be ‘retirees’, or people ‘looking for a better quality of life’ (even ‘good-lifers’ is acceptable). They can even be, in the memorable phrase of Wyn Roberts, “this beneficent influx”. You can use any bloody euphemism you choose, but they must never be called ‘English’. To do so would be ‘racist’. Exposing a pathetic self-censorship, perhaps even self-intimidation. This is the level of debate we have sunk to in Wales; one corrupted by political correctness and poisoned by a variant of socialism that would be ridiculed and rejected from Bilbao to Barcelona to Belfast.

From now on the only issue must be the fight against colonisation and the threat it poses to the survival of Welsh nationhood. Everything else is secondary or irrelevant. Whether it’s ‘saving the planet’ (as if Wales could make any bloody difference!) or the chimera of extra power for those clowns I mentioned earlier in the leaky building. Because no matter how many lies are told, how imaginative the euphemisms employed, or how many distractions promoted, WE know the truth: England is carrying out a colonisation programme in Wales that is excluding and marginalising the Welsh (apart from those needed to disguise the process) with the intention of destroying Welsh national identity. Fight this evil wherever you find it. It is the biggest threat the Welsh nation has ever faced.