Tweeters among you may recall that a couple of weeks ago I told that the last Ddraig Goch had been removed from Tywyn promenade and replaced with a curious thing I’d never seen before. (Shown below.) After making a few enquiries I learnt that the banner in question is the new flag of Tywyn, and the person responsible is none other than Councillor Mike Stevens, who has form. I last brought him to your attention when he was getting all worked up over Cyngor Gwynedd placing bilingual warning notices on a new rock island on Tywyn beach.
After seeing this odd flag replace our national flag I wrote a letter to the Cambrian News. When that letter didn’t appear last week I assumed they weren’t interested. What I didn’t realise – because I’ve been away – is that the CN decided to run it as a story, and wanted to talk to me. Anyway, and without any further contribution from me, they ran the story in this week’s issue, using my letter and quotes from Stevens. You will also note, from the front page start of the report, I have become a ‘backlash’! More interesting than this lapse into journalese are Stevens’ comments in defence of his actions.
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He talks of “the history of Tywyn’s past” (sic) to explain the raven. But the raven is the symbol of the Corbett family of Worcestershire, benefactors to Tywyn in the nineteenth century. Yet as the Wikipedia entry tells us, Tywyn can be traced back to sixth century Saint Cadfan, after whom the parish church – containing the oldest known example of written Welsh – is named. Cadfan founded the monastic settlement on Ynys Enlli. Then there are the two medieval effigies to be found in St. Cadfan’s church. But none of this matters to Mike Stevens, it’s all Welsh, you see. For him, the history of Tywyn begins with it being discovered by the English, rather in the way Columbus ‘discovered’ America.
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The designer of this relatively harmless piece of silliness is Jenny Stevens – Mike Stevens’ daughter, would you believe? And all done in the name of the Tywyn and District Chamber of Commerce and Tourism. I don’t know who else (if anyone) belongs to the TDCTC, but Stevens does many things in its name that lead me to conclude either that he runs it single-handedly or else he gets carried away with his own enthusiasm and acts in the name of TDCTC when he lacks the authority to do so. If I was a member of the organisation I would most certainly want to rein him in.
Mike Stevens is one of those people who has moved to Wales but doesn’t want to be reminded of the fact. In the hope of achieving the state of bliss he seeks, in which Towyn and Aberdovey are English seaside resorts unable to survive without a man of vision and energy like him, all things Welsh must be derided or dismissed. Unfortunately we have too many in Wales like Mike Stevens. Which is a pity, both for us Welsh, and for those English with more respect for Welsh identity and Welsh nationhood.
UPDATE I am happy to report that after being away for a few days I was pleased to see, on the 22nd, that the Welsh flag has been returned to its rightful position on Tywyn promenade.