Llangennech – A Tale of Two Campaigns (By a guest writer)

On paper at least the Welsh language has come a long way in the last 60 years. In the 1950s and 1960s the language had no official status; apart from tombstones in chapel cemeteries it was all but invisible in public, and Welsh speakers had no rights. Small wonder that so many people drifted away from a language which they were told had no future and nothing to offer their children. English was the key to a more prosperous life; English was progress.

The first stirrings of a change in attitudes among Welsh speakers can be traced back to the village of Llangennech in the 1950s where Eileen and Trevor Beasley decided to ask Llanelli Rural District Council if they could receive their rates bill in Welsh. The council, whose staff were almost all Welsh speaking, served an area which was still overwhelmingly Welsh-speaking. It refused the Beasleys’ modest request and dug its heels in. In the years that followed, the couple were taken to court on 16 occasions, and many of their possessions were confiscated by bailiffs who carted off the family piano, wedding presents and anything else which was deemed to be of value.

After eight years and at huge personal cost, the Beasleys eventually won their battle with dignity, and Eileen has often been compared to Rosa Parks whose refusal to give up her whites only seat on a bus was one of the events which triggered the US civil rights movement and the battle to end segregation.

Eileen and Rosa may have won their battles, but hostility towards the Welsh language in Wales and black people in the United States remain deeply ingrained in officialdom and sections of the public. “Black lives matter” is so evidently true that the shocking thing is that it even needs to be said.

If proof were needed that prejudice and bigotry are alive and well, the BBC this week broadcast an edition of its Week In Week Out programme which happily trotted out the old myth that the Welsh language is expensive and irrelevant.

Ahead of the broadcast, the BBC was forced to remove statements based on false calculations of the cost to local authorities of complying with the new Welsh language standards regulations. In response to complaints, the BBC issued a half-hearted apology saying that the “data was not robust”.

The broadcast nevertheless went ahead, and viewers were served up with a depressingly familiar one-sided diatribe against the Welsh language, including a claim that having to employ staff on reception desks who can speak Welsh would double the number of staff needed, presumably because a Welsh speaking receptionist would be incapable of dealing with people speaking English.

Week In Week Out spent a lot of trundling around Torfaen and Merthyr Tydfil asking locals what they thought about their councils being forced to spend millions of pounds on the Welsh language, but the programme also managed to squeeze in a cameo appearance from Michaela Beddows who is one of the leaders of a campaign to save the children of Llangennech from the evils of Welsh medium education.

Back to Llangennech

The row about the infant and junior schools in Llangennech has been rumbling on for almost six months now. The proposal, backed by the governors and the county council, is to merge the two schools and create a single Welsh medium primary on the same site to serve the village. The English stream would be phased out, but children whose parents opted for English medium education would continue to be taught through English until they complete their time in the school. After that, parents who do not want their children to be taught through the medium of Welsh would take their children to other English medium primaries close by, of which there are several.

According to the 2011 census, 39.9% of the population of Llangennech ward, which extends beyond the village, were Welsh-speaking, and the junior school’s Welsh stream has been proving to be very popular. 73% of the children attending the infant and junior schools are in the Welsh stream, with just 27% receiving their education through the medium of English. Also, contrary to claims made by opponents of the scheme, 75% of the children in the school are from its catchment area.

The proposal to phase out the English stream went to public consultation, with representations from parents and others who were both for and against the change. Parents who cannot speak Welsh and who have never mastered another language apart from English will understandably have questions and concerns about Welsh medium education.

Will my child cope? Will their English suffer? What help is available?

Inevitably, parents facing change tend to see themselves and their children in isolation, but they are by no means the first to switch to Welsh medium. Councils and the government could do a lot more to explain the advantages, and to share the experiences of schools which have phased out English medium.

There is overwhelming evidence that being able to function in more than one language gives children many advantages, including improved cognitive and communication skills. Children with more than one language tend to be more creative when processing information; they learn new languages more easily; are better at multi-tasking, listening and problem solving; and they also outperform children in spatial working memory tasks, such as performing complicated mathematical problems using short-term working memory.

Unlike the 1950s, there are now also many more well-paid jobs and career paths open to Welsh speakers.

Put simply, a Welsh medium education, while it does not come with guarantees, will give your child skills and more choices later in life, and that is why there is growing demand for Welsh medium education, including secondary education in areas where the percentages of those able to speak the language are far, far lower than in Llangennech. In Torfaen, which featured so heavily on Week In Week Out, there is Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllyw, and Newport is about to get its first ever Welsh medium secondary school, to name but two.

In Carmarthenshire, the county council adopted a new Welsh language strategy a couple of years ago, part of which involves moving its schools along the so-called language continuum to increase the provision of Welsh medium education. This is in line with government policy, and was supported by 73 of the council’s 74 councillors, including the unanimous backing of the Labour group.

The problems start when policy is put into practice. Some parents back change, recognising the benefits for their children and the wider community. Others may have concerns, but are open to reason and persuasion. And then there is always a hard core who reject Welsh medium education for their children, stick their fingers in their ears and yell about freedom of choice while denying their children the choices which bilingual children have.

Inevitably, these campaigns always attract the attentions of political opportunists, nasties and nutters, and that is exactly what has happened in Llangennech where a small hard core of objectors has been conducting a campaign which has descended into bullying, intimidation and abuse, with various interlopers enthusiastically fanning the flames.

Apartheid

One of those who shipped up outside the school gates was Father John Plessis, the local Anglican vicar, dressed up like an old-fashioned Catholic priest in an ankle length cassock with silk buttons and a should-length cape.

Father Plessis has come to Llangennech from the north of Ireland via South Africa. Talking to the Llanelli Herald, he held up a placard with quotes from the Bible, and explained why in his view the plans were nothing less than apartheid and segregation. Judging by his placard, Father John’s god would appear to be an English monoglot.

Llangennech predikant du Plessis

Just how phasing out a dual stream English/Welsh system, and replacing it with a school in which children are not separated on the basis of language constitutes apartheid is a question the interviewer should perhaps have put to the cleric.

One of the most vocal objectors is Michaela Beddows, who it will be remembered popped up on Week In Week Out. Beddows says she is concerned about the impact on children with learning disabilities. She is the mother of a 15 year-old child who, funnily enough, no longer attends the primary school, but that is not going to stop her campaigning to deny Welsh medium education for other children in the school, and she has vowed to fight to the bitter end.

Beddows was one of the ringleaders of a group which organised a march by objectors into the school to harangue the school governors who had called a meeting to discuss the plans with parents. Unsurprisingly, parents who took a different view felt it wise to stay away from the event.

Calpolgate

Taking time off from yelling at staff and governors of the school, Beddows recently told her followers on Facebook of a run-in she had had with staff at her local Morrisons. After her son complained of earache, she went on a shopping spree and loaded her trolley up with goodies including Ibuprofen and two different products containing paracetamol.

The poor woman at the checkout had to inform La Beddows of rules restricting the bulk purchase of medicines, and that she could only buy two of the three. Beddows insisted on calling over the supervisor before venting her spleen on the store’s customer services and the store manager, all of whom she vilifies on her Facebook page.

Llangennech Beddows clip 2

Thanks to these jobsworths, she declares, “two pretty sick children will not be getting their medicine tonight”, before storming off, vowing never to shop in Morrisons again. The staff can breathe a sigh of relief.

The Spanish Civil War comes to Llangennech

It will come as no surprise to readers of Jac o’ the North to know that one of Beddows’ buddies on Facebook is local Labour community councillor, Gary Robert Jones, aka Poumista, who seems to spend most of his waking hours on Twitter, and Jones has been assiduously fanning the flames in Llangennech.

As readers may also recall, one of Jones’s best buddies is Labour’s human megaphone, Rosemary Emery, who declared on this blog that, “compulsory education solely through the medium of Welsh for all at this time does smack of facism”.

Emery’s CV includes a stint as researcher for Keith ‘Chardonnay’ Davies, the previous Labour Assembly Member for Llanelli, and she is now busy beating the PR drum for Lee Waters.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Poumista Jones and Megamouth Emery see the future of the primary school as a political opportunity, and the question is to what extent their activities have been sanctioned higher up.

Davies was something of a Welsh language mascot for Labour, while Waters appears to be more ambivalent while keeping his hands clean of all the nasty stuff.

A Broad Church

Llanelli Labour’s tactics of being all things to all men (and women) were on public display last week when Carmarthenshire County Council’s Education and Children’s Scrutiny Committee met to consider the next steps in the plans for primary education in Llangennech.

Labour has three members on the committee, and two of those did not turn up, despite being advertised as “expected to attend” on the council’s website. Their places were taken at short notice by the group leader, the lugubrious Jeff Edmunds, and Eryl Jones, a non-entity who was catapulted into chairmanship of the council this year in a manoeuvre designed to keep out a more deserving candidate who had displeased inhabitants of the vipers’ nest.

Edmunds acknowledged that Labour had supported the policy adopted by the council (Labour was actually in charge at the time, he might have added), but he felt uncomfortable applying it in the case of an individual school. Clearly Edmunds had thought that the policy was meant to be window dressing only.

When the matter was taken to a vote, Edmunds and his colleagues decided that the best course was to abstain.

Meanwhile, opponents of Welsh medium education in Llangennech have formed themselves into a committee and set up a website, Keep Llangennech Primary Dual Stream.

Although the self-appointed committee protests that it isn’t against Welsh medium education, the mask slips on the website. Here, various anonymous articles inveigh against the evils of Welsh medium education, the governors, Gwyn Hopkins (the local Plaid councillor) and just about anyone else who disagrees with them.

Most of the writers, who are clearly proud of what English medium education did for them, do not appear to have paid much attention in English lessons. Here are a few of the gems:

Currently English stream children have been upset to be not allowed to be sung happy birthday to them in English as must be Welsh only.

Some parents worry that if the levels of Welsh increases further within the school it will affect pupils currently in the English Stream regardless that it stated that they will finish their education technically within an English stream as the level of Welsh has increase year on year already.

Currently English stream children have been apologising to their parents as arts and crafts projects in school such as Easter Cards have had to be written in Welsh only and pupils feel bad their parents can’t read what they have written.

It must be very traumatic to be faced with the words “Pasg Hapus”, and you have to feel sorry for the kids who have to apologise and spell things out for their dumb parents.

The latest contribution was written in the wake of the Scrutiny Committee meeting where the Director of Education had ‘revealed’, shock horror, that children in the reception classes were being taught in Welsh.

This has been the case for years, and is standard practice in dual stream schools, where parents are asked to choose between the Welsh and English streams when their children are aged 7.

The outrage felt by objectors raises the question of just how much interest they actually take in the education of their offspring, because clearly they had not noticed that their children were being taught in Welsh:

Another dark grey cloud called “lack of integrity” blows over and settles firmly above the roof of Llangennech School this morning. It was during the Education & Children Scrutiny Committee in Carmarthen on the 23rd May, where discussions were being made about the controversial proposed change of language category for Llangennech school from Dual Stream to Welsh Medium, where Rob Sully the Director of Education & Children and Gareth Morgans Head of Education Services confirmed to parents of pupils in the school for the first time ever that Derbyn 1 and Derbyn 2 were not currently bilingual classes and in fact they are Welsh Medium classes already.

The rant continues with attacks on the school staff and accusations of lying and corruption, finally ending with a threat that parents will up sticks and take their children to Swansea:

However the corruption surrounding this school is now driving many parents in search for other avenues to educate their children, some looking at home-schooling others are considering the likes of Pontarddulais school so to come under Swansea Council area, removing their children from illegal enforcement of the Welsh Language and Lies.

Responding to this and other online abuse, Gareth Jones, the council’s Board Member for Education, on Friday released the following statement:

Llangennech statement Gareth Jones

Unfortunately for everyone concerned, the battle still has a very long way to go. The Scrutiny Committee met to consider the outcome of a statutory public consultation. Their recommendations will now go forward to the council’s Executive Board. If the proposal is approved there, there will be a second and near-identical consultation beginning in September, with another, near-identical report from the education department.

The report will then return to the Scrutiny Committee, which will pass it on to the Executive Board, which will pass its decision on to the full council for ratification some time in 2017.

If the aim of this process had been to prolong uncertainty and encourage bitter battles, the civil service which devised it could not have done a better job, and reform of the statutory consultation process must now be a priority.

In the meantime, the council must hold its nerve, and Carwyn Jones, Lee Waters and others need to read the Riot Act to their supporters.

UPDATE 31.05.2016: An interesting new post has appeared on the website run by objectors to plans to create a new Welsh medium primary school in Llangennech. It is in response to a statement put out by the county council deploring personal attacks on members of school staff being circulated on social media, and firmly rejecting allegations made by the objectors that the school has been acting illegally in its use of Welsh in reception classes.

In something of an own goal, the article includes an image of an article which has appeared in the Llanelli Herald describing how the objectors’ committee circulated a very long ‘press release’ (inverted commas applied by the newspaper) to a number  of media outlets repeating the allegations.

Llangennech Llanelli Herald 1
click to enlarge

The Herald notes that the objectors managed to misspell the name of the village they claim to represent, and asks why parents who should be closely involved in monitoring their own children’s progress and education, failed to spot or complain about language provision in reception classes, even though they claim that this “illegal” teaching has been going on for five years.

Could it be that the reading age of these proud products of English medium education wasn’t up to understanding the Herald article?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ END ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

JAC COMMENTS . . . 

We’ve been here before; an assortment of oddballs and bigots shrieking about ‘discrimination’ and ‘oppression’ – even ‘apartheid’! – having been stirred up by ‘Welsh’ Labour hoping to blame it all on ‘intolerant’ nashies and then reap the political dividend.

The Reverend Dr Plessis

The ‘apartheid’ slander came from a man wearing a full-length clerical habit who wasn’t on his way to a stag night. The Reverend Dr John K Plessis is an Ulster Protestant who has washed up in Llanelli via South Africa, Reading, Haverfordwest, Cardiff, Swansea and God knows where else, and is a clergyman in the Church in Wales.

Perhaps his Six Counties origins have conditioned him against the language of the indigenous population to the extent that he regards Welsh as a threat to his ‘British heritage’ (a much-loved term among Ulster Loyalists).

Llangennech Dr Father Plessis

I’m surprised by Plessis’ behaviour because the duty of the Church is surely to bring people together, but Plessis has taken sides, and accuses others of being divisive, while seeing nothing divisive in his own behaviour. (What does the Good Book say of motes and beams?)

But then, I suppose he might be representative of the Anglo-Catholic wing of the English national Church, though were I his bishop I’d be inclined to help this rootless individual keep moving.

 ‘Thou hypocrite’, indeed.

Michaela Beddows

I don’t know much about Michaela Beddows beyond what she’s told me herself, on her Facebook page, for which I am indebted to our guest writer and the link provided. But in case that post has been removed by the time you read this, I’ve saved it for you here.

Those who did not submit to Beddows in the ‘Calpolgate’ episode at Morrisons are described thus: ” . . . the checkout operator was a complete and utter jobsworth, no personality and pretty gormless, the Till Manager was arrogant, cocky and downright rude, obviously being a till manager has gone to her pretty vacant head – and the Manager of the store was a bumbling buffoon who should grow a pair of balls”.

‘Unhelpful’ or ‘incompetent’ are clearly inadequate descriptions, Beddows has to be very personal and insulting to people she doesn’t know. Which says much more about Michaela Beddows than it could ever tell us about those she thinks she’s describing.

Though the encounter with the “arrogant, cocky and downright rude” till manager might have been mildly disconcerting for her, one of those ‘doppelgänger moments’. Like looking in a mirror.

Being a student of modern English usage I was also struck by a phrase she used earlier in her diatribe. It reads, “I wasn’t happy that my daughter had also come in from school complaining of ear and throat ache”. ‘I wasn’t happy’, or ‘I’m not happy’ invariably means that the person using the phrase is annoyed with someone or something. (And who else had come in from school complaining of ear and throat ache?)

So who was Beddows annoyed with for her daughter’s ear and throat ache? If I had to guess, it would be the school, or the teachers. I say that because Michaela Beddows is obviously a ‘shouty’ sort of woman who’s in love with the sound of her own voice, while being blind to her own shortcomings, one who takes pleasure in putting people down.

In short, a bully, and just the sort of person I’d expect to find prominent in a campaign of blind bigotry.

Jones the Stirrer

Regular readers with recall – with unbridled joy, I’m sure – that in a recent post I wrote of Gary Robert Jones, and Rosemary Emery, comrades in the ongoing struggle against the encroaching forces of darkness.

Jones is a Labour community councillor in Llangennech, and takes his wit and wisdom to a wider world via his Twitter account @Poumista, the name taken from a Spanish Communist Party active during the Civil war. He has been seen at recent gatherings of the protesters energising the mob.

Hardly Napoleon addressing the Old Guard, more like some malodorous commissar spewing bullshit to keep the comrades motivated. But as our guest writer wonders, how far up the ‘Welsh’ Labour food chain does approval for this campaign reach?

Seeing as Jones is clearly given free rein by his superiors we must assume that he has their blessing, perhaps even their encouragement, because ‘Welsh’ Labour shares Joe Stalin’s attitudes towards independence of thought or action.

‘Penyfai’

I shall end with another priceless example of the sort of people who support the anti-Welsh campaign in Llangennech. Here’s a gem gleaned from this article in the Evening Post of May 23rd.

Llangennech 'Penyfai' comment

Rarely do we encounter such a brief message that says so much. ‘Penyfai’ is opposed to “monolingualism” . . . and there was me thinking that the teaching of Welsh was leading us towards a bilingual Wales.

And yet, with his / her attitude towards the Welsh language, ‘Penyfai’ is surely advocating monolingualism in Wales?

The most revealing bit though is where ‘Penyfai’ says that unless “Cymraeg coercion” is ended he / she “will refuse to buy any Welsh produce in future”. That’s telling ’em . . . until you start to wonder what Pwllheli rock, or Penclawdd cockles, Brains beer or Welsh lamb, etc., etc., have to do with a school dispute on the outskirts of Llanelli.

‘Penyfai’, like all bigots, would, I’m sure, want others to follow his / her example – and put tens of thousands of Welsh people out of work! What an absolute arsehole!!! I wonder what Plessis, Beddows and Jones have to say about their comrade in arms ‘Penyfai’? . . . but then, maybe one of them is ‘Penyfai’.

Whoever it is, this cretin serves to bring home the message that for many of those involved in the Llangennech dispute – and those outside the area who support them – this is not simply about teaching in a particular school, or even about the Welsh language, at bottom this is an attack on everything Welsh.

Fitting, then, that it should be orchestrated by anti-Welsh Labour, acting true to form. The repulsive George Thomas must be looking up approvingly from his final resting place.

P.S. My take on the update added to the end of the guest piece is as follows. I believe the parents knew their children were being educated in Welsh – they must have! Which means that the semi-literate ‘press release’ was issued by a person or persons not directly concerned. Which supports another theory – that this ‘campaign’, if not launched by persons not directly involved, has certainly been hijacked by such people. Which in turn suggests that the website and indeed the campaign is now controlled by people who just want to put the boot into the Welsh language, and are simply exploiting the parents, and of course, the children.

UPDATE 03.06.2015:

Darth Vader

101 thoughts on “Llangennech – A Tale of Two Campaigns (By a guest writer)

  1. André

    NO punctuation or affordable Spellcheck in the “sad”and “deprived” La “Beddows Towers”.
    Is Plessis a refugee from one person -one vote “Suid” Africa?

    1. The information on Plessis says he was born in Northern Ireland, and educated in South Africa, but without knowing his age it’s impossible to say when he was there.

      I’d like to know because his official bio makes play of working with and helping ‘the Africans’, but this isn’t always as straightforward and laudable as it might appear. There were many among the ‘British’ community, post 1948, who viewed ‘helping the Africans’ as a way of getting back at the Afrikaners for taking away ‘British’ South Africa.

  2. Sian Caiach

    I think the biggest problem here has been the lack of real consultation and explanations until well after the decision had actually been made, a feature of many actions in Carmarthenshire County Council. Unfortunately there are also persons tragically lacking in foresight, tact,diplomacy and plain common sense on the other side of this argument too. A lot of English speaking parents are really keen for their children to be educated through the medium of Welsh, however, there are exceptions and they are not necessarily just idiots,unpatriotic and being stubborn.

    As an English speaker myself I made the decision when we came back to Wales from Scotland to send my older 2 children, one autistic and one severely dyslexic to an English language primary school and as,a Plaid Cymru member at the time, took some considerable flack for it from other members, I don’t regret it. The vast majority of Plaid members were 1st language welsh speakers and they sometimes have no empathy on the issue of language matters, with those who are not. I understand this.

    Members of the public are generally less thick skinned than I am, Add to the mix a group of people who are absolutely passionate about saving the welsh language through primary school provision and very much less passionate about actually selling the offer, or even sweetening the pill.

    This need never have become a toxic dispute but the way the change has been manged has led to a lot of hurt. Behind the eccentric poster boys and girls there are some really aggrieved parents. I hope there is an olive branch somewhere out there.

    1. Unfortunately, in any dispute like this it’s those who can shout loudest who tend to get heard. And on the anti side it’s becoming clear who these are. One individual seems to shout at anyone who dares contradict her.

      In addition, I’m extremely disappointed to see a local priest take sides and fan the flames. Also, a dispute like this attracts those who are simply antagonistic to all things Welsh, as was revealed by the idiot ‘Penyfai’.

      Finally, in the background we have the Labour Party, the ‘Welsh’ Labour Party, stirring things up and hoping to capitalise in next year’s council elections.

    2. dafis

      You have written a pretty accurate summary of how disputes flare up, run out of control and end up with some sad compromise or outcome that leaves most parties feeling cheated, scorned or ignored. The County Council has long forgotten that it exists to serve communities in that county. Instead it develops a mix of pet projects and “least cost/damage” responses to selected demands.
      Any initial review of that locality’s needs should have examined the mix of pupils, present and foreseeable future, including those with ” special needs” especially those that present challenges beyond mainstream capabilities. An understanding of the likely demand profile for that community would then yield options, 1 or 2 or even more choices, some capable of being met in the immediate locality while others might require sourcing from an adjacent locality, like Llanelli, or heaven forbid a couple of miles over the border into the next county.
      But that’s where the pissing competition starts. Councils and councillors are remarkably narrow in focus, driven by narrow self interest, other part time politicians then stick in their oar just to be seen to be active, and bingo, your local issues have been hijacked by the hysterical irrational muppets who have no genuine interest in solutions but enjoy every opportunity to get into a scuffle with anything that doesn’t sit comfortably with their dogma.
      Most of this bickering demographic is found in that segment of the community that regards itself as “left wing”, inevitably Labour or Plaid in this neck of the woods. Now they have not cottoned on to the analysis that finds not a lot of difference between dogmas of extreme left and extreme right, so they persist with this funny notion that it matters, while in reality all they seek are opportunities for bullying and imposing their nasty one eyed vision of life on others. At times parts of that vision may be roughly in line with your view on a matter or issue, but do not mistake these people for allies because they will just as quickly slice you and dice you as line up along side you. And anyway as soon as another juicy issue comes along they’ll be off on that one.
      Finally it does appear highly fashionable now to engage in anti Welsh activity, attacking language, culture any aspect of identity where the criticism reverses the reality of aggression. Often, ironically, the same people who engage in these antics have equally nasty views about any new arrivals into the U.K with classic refrains like “they don’t try to integrate” “they bring their values with them” etc etc . And they don’t ever see the inconsistency of their stance. No wonder Mr Hamilton & co did so well 3 weeks ago.

    3. Brychan

      It’s rather concerning that Michaela Beddows thinks a ‘Streamed school’ to be worse than a ‘Welsh Medium School’ in a case of a child having a ‘learning disability’. (Even though her child is not a pupil at the Llanennech school at issue). I have two concerns.

      Firstly that she appears to dismiss the possibility that Welsh speaking families can also have children with additional needs, and secondly that early intervention on literacy for such children is the key to them having a fruitful and fulfilling life. The most effective early remedial intervention in literacy is a phonologic approach (the sounds of words) in direct relevance (cognitive logic) to the orthographic representation (spelling and how words appear). This is actually much easier in the Welsh language at early stage development. This relationship in the English language is recognised as being the most difficult in the world.

      Surely, the most important thing for a parent of a child with such difficulties is access to the opportunity to become literate, regardless of language, and this to be a rewarding experience for the child. Welsh being easier, the more difficult English can follow later, as the semantic understanding develops at a later stage. Sian also mentions she sent her two children to an English language primary school because of apparent autism and dyslexia but does not specify entry age. It would certainly be detrimental to a child with such difficulties to have to ‘start from scratch’ in a Welsh medium school if already grounded in early years (4-7) in English only. This is NOT the case in Llangennech as streaming will be maintained for existing pupils, and Welsh medium will be phased in from early year entry.

      1. I need to make one thing perfectly clear and that is that I am not dismissing the fact that children in welsh stream also have learning difficulties I am stressing the fact that children from an english language backround will not be able to attend their local school with the local children who they will grow up with and be friends with if the school becomes a welsh stream school, I am not arguing the point regarding welsh stream as they are not going to be sent out of the village to seek an education. I also have to add that I am in no way anti welsh language, just because I choose for my child to have an English stream education does not mean I do not respect the rights of other parents to choose the Welsh stream, it would be nice for a change if this respect was reciprocated once in a while.

  3. Anonymous

    The comment about the Easter Rising was not about you – it was about one of your frequent contributors. It was an example of the hypocrisy that appears frequently from the more extreme arm of Welsh Nationalism. You continue to defend your comments about the lady concerned whilst you and your contributors continually call others by viles names? This blog is not all about you – it is also what you permit to be published. Is that not double standards? I do not support anybody calling others vile names or being personally disrespectful about others that they don’t even know. There is also a lot of inaccurate hearsay contained in your posts. As you state you are a ‘Journalist’ on your Facebook page which, if true, means that you should check what you print is actually true. As far as the blog being in English, you slate parents wanting to continue a dual stream education for their childen, exude the benefits of a Welsh only education (which is the right thing to do where there is a transparent demand for it) but do not practise what you preach when it comes to your own blog. If you and your contributors believe this is totally equitable would it then not follow that it is also highly hypocritical?

    1. Re the Easter Rising comment – why make it all?

      “This blog is not all about you – it is also what you permit to be published. Is that not double standards?” You’ll have to explain that. I think the final two sentences also need to be explained.

      Again, if you think I have written – or published – anything that is not true, then point it out. As for me stating my opinions, that’s what this blog is partly about, while giving others a chance to have their say, even critics like you.

      It is a matter of public record what Michaela Beddows said – or claimed to have said – to the three members of staff at Morrisons in Llanelli. I did not make that up, but I am perfectly entitled to comment on it since it has been put into the public domain and, I believe, is relevant – revealing, even – to the issue being debated.

      Seeing as you’ve obviously got plenty to say, and it’s clear which side you’re on, how about saying something in defence of ‘Penyfai’? This being the sort of lunatic debates like this attract . . . and always on the same side.

      1. Ruth Price

        There’s a Penyfai Lane in Llanelli. Feelin’ pretty sad about all the Parson’s Pickles Laverbread that won’t be eaten there, if that’s where the name is from.

    2. Big Gee

      Who exactly do you think you are then “Anonymous”? The BLOG police? If you don’t like the blog, or the comments contained in it, then sod off & mind your own business. No one forces you to come on here, so stop imagining yourself as some kind of one man band regulator.

      Go and start up your own blog and regulate yourself – nobody here wants to hear your criticisms of the blog or ‘what should’ or ‘should not’ be written in compliance with what you would like or don’t like to hear.

      If you want to contribute constructively do so – whichever side of the debate you’re on, but DON’T have the cheek to come here to exercise your self made compliance rules, it’s an abuse of the freedom you are extended to make comments. Keep up your daft behaviour and I’m sure you’ll find that Jac will relieve you of that ‘freedom’ that you are abusing.

        1. Anonymous

          Well considering Jac has now been threatened with legal action for defamation I believe he should actually consider my comments about ‘hearsay’. It is not up to others to point out what is wrong. The onus is upon him, as a ‘Journalist’ to get his facts right before publishing them in the blog. To ban someone for having different views defeats the whole purpose of the blog doesn’t it? Or is it just meant to be a self congratulating, back slapping propaganda machine for the more loony faction of nationalists?

  4. Richard

    I’ve got some sympathy with what Sian says. Children with learning disabilities, whether they are Welsh or English speaking, need to be considered and assessed individually. In some cases English speaking children on the autistic spectrum thrive in WM education, others would not. It works the same for children whose first language is Welsh, of course.

    But let’s not forget that most children do not present with these conditions, and WM will leave them better equipped in later life and give them more choices.

    I also agree with the point about “selling” the benefits. Unfortunately in these situations there seems always to be a highly vocal minority which is bent on rejection, come what may. I know of information evenings disrupted and experts shouted down and dismissed as propagandists before they even enter the room. Even in meetings which were not about changing a school’s category I have seen extraordinarily aggressive and rude parents who are frankly immune to all reason when it comes to the Welsh language.

    In one primary school meeting I went to a mother complained bitterly that Welsh speaking parents were receiving more information than non-Welsh speaking parents. When it was pointed out that all parents received the same information in bilingual letters, she replied that she could not possibly know because she could not understand what parents were being told in Welsh. At least there was a kind of logic in there somewhere.

    There are certainly examples of schools which have gone through what Llangennech is going through now, and I suspect that if asked, parents who objected or had concerns at the time would now look back and wonder what all the fuss was about.

    A small final point. A fairly common concern from parents in primary schools is that they will not be able to help their children with homework and reading. The government sponsors and spends money on classes for parents with children in WM, and children love seeing their parents learning. Fair enough, many parents will have other commitments, but lots don’t, and sadly take-up could be a great deal better.

  5. Red Flag

    I think that ‘Anonymous’ is a classic example of the meaning of the old saying “if you are in a hole stop digging.”

    I wonder who these anti-Cymraeg people actually vote for? Can’t be the main 4 parties in Wales and as for the fringe parties even UKIP these days is slowly shifting to pro-Cymraeg, as is the shattered remnants of the BNP.

    1. Sibrydionmawr

      Thanks for that. I wonder why the programme has been removed from iPlayer? Maybe a little too contentious, and from the sounds of it not exactly presenting the issue in a balanced way.

      1. The Beeb have since admitted that the program was unbalanced and made unsupported allegations about costs etc. There´s an official apology somewhere online, sorry I didn´t save the reference.

  6. Under the Education in Wales Act 1870, teaching through the medium of Welsh was allowed. Under the Education Act 1944 it was encouraged, The Education Reform Act 1988 made Welsh compulsory. Lots of Acts not much Action!

    1. Big Gee

      I’m sorry but I have to correct you there Alwyn. The Acts you mention were to foist education on what was seen as a backward Cymru. However, these acts determined that education was to be compulsory, and more importantly they were a vehicle to impose English only education on the children of Wales, with the parallel intention of wiping out the Welsh language, culture and history, because the Welsh language and culture were seen as something that kept the Welsh population in (what was perceived at the time) as a ‘backward’ state. That is still the perception amongst the more primitively minded people who think that learning Welsh in some way holds their children back.

      You seem to have got things a bit mixed up. The 1870 Education Act did NOT allow the teaching of children through the medium of Welsh. To clarify here is an excerpt from the essay on the subject that can be found at:

      http://sccambria.com/essays/erth-add_saesneg.htm

      “. . . . .The Welsh language is a vast drawback to Wales and a manifold barrier to the moral progress and commercial prosperity of the people. Because of their language the mass of the Welsh people are inferior to the English in every branch of practical knowledge and skill. Equally in his new, or old home, his language keeps him under the hatches being one in which he can neither acquire nor communicate the necessary information. It is the language of old fashioned agriculture, of theology and of simple rustic life, while all the world about him is English … He is left to live in an underworld of his own and the march of society goes completely over his head!…. It is not easy to over-estimate its evil effects“.

      Quoted from The Royal Commission Report, 1847 (Part II page 66)

      ” Once the 1870 Statutory Education Act (known as the Forster Act), came into force, the Government now exercised direct control over education and dictated the terms through the power of its laws. Henceforth, there was no escape – the Board Schools had the right to compel parents to send their children to school – though it must be said that this was not realised, fully.

      In 1876 the Elementary Education Act came into force (the Sandon Act). This Act compelled parents to ensure that their children received an elementary education in reading, writing and arithmetic (in English, only, naturally). It also created Attendance Boards to compel parents to make sure that their children attended school in those areas where Board Schools did not exist.

      In 1880, another Elementary Education Act (the Mundella Act) extended the powers of the Sandon Act. This act made parents fully responsible for sending their children to school daily, between the ages of five and ten.

      On a superficial level, these acts may be regarded as beneficial, in terms of giving children a basic education where no such prior provision existed. The problem, of course, was that these laws went further than enforcing literacy on the children of Wales – they were tools to disconnect the nation from its roots, that is, its language, its culture and its history. The British Empire now empowered its government to finish the task of eliminating Wales as a country and nation that was unique and separate. Where the Tudor Acts of Union of 1536 and 1542 had failed to achieve that totally, the politicial processes between 1847 and 1880 saw the beginning of the end – through the political provision of education. Within four to eight generations down the line, the Welsh would be on their knees and on the verge of disappearing. Thus the vision of English Imperialism over the centuries (of assimilating Wales so that it was no more than a region of England, with the same language, laws, culture and education) would be realised, hundreds of years after the long campaign to assimilate the country by the sword had come to an end at the beginning of the fifteenth century – with the defeat of Owain Glyndwr’s (almost successful) revolution.”

      “The “Welsh Not” appeared. For those of you who are not familiar with this “enforcement order” here is a quote from the period when this punishment was in use:

      My attention was attracted to a piece of wood, suspended by a string round a boy’s neck and on the wood were the words, “Welsh stick”. This, I was told, was a stigma for speaking Welsh. But, in fact, his only alternative was to speak Welsh or to say nothing. He did not understand English, and there is no systematic exercise in interpretation.

      The Welsh stick, or “Welsh”, as it is sometimes called, is given to any pupil who is overheard speaking Welsh, and may be transferred by him to any school-fellow whom he hears committing a similar offence. It is then passed from one to another until the close of the week, when the pupil in whose possession the “welsh” is found is punished by flogging. Among other injurious effects, this custom has been found to lead children to stealthily visit the houses of their school-fellows for the purpose of detecting those who speak Welsh to their parents, and transferring to them the punishment due to themselves.’Henry Vaughan Johnson.”

      Out of interest, the only time that education was conducted through the medium of Welsh was through the schools established by Gruffudd Jones of Llandowror. Possibly that is where you have become a bit confused Alwyn.

      By 1731, the efforts of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge had come to an end in Wales, but one of its most staunch supporters, Gruffudd Jones, the rector of Llanddowror, took the reins by establishing his own circulating schools. By the time of his death in 1761, 3,495 schools had been established and 158,000 pupils of all ages had been taught to read. His work was continued by Madam Bevan, until her death in 1779. By that time, it is estimated that over 200,000 people had attended these schools, nearly half the population of Wales. By adapting the efforts of the Society to the needs of Wales, the majority of the Welsh people could read and write by the second half of the 18th century. – quite an achievement in the European context. Gruffudd Jones’ schools made a huge contribution to the life of Wales and the survival of the Welsh language. This was the beginning of elementary education in its modern form in Wales, but it did not have the opportunity to develop into a complete system, adapted to the unique needs of the nation, with a wide spectrum of suitable subjects. The Bible was the only textbook in Gruffudd Jones’ schools.

      To this very day there is still the problem of what is taught in the curriculum. In Welsh medium education schools the children are now being taught in Welsh – granted – but the content is Anglocentric. What these schools do is teach the propaganda of the British (English) Empire through the medium of Welsh. That is the same as being poisoned by your own mother on behalf of your enemy.

      What we need is an unique curriculum tailored for Cymru. As I have stated many times (including the essay that I have drawn excerpts from above), the core problem is the contents of the material taught in our schools, not the medium through which it is taught. Although being taught the wrong material through the medium of Welsh is better than being taught it in a foreign language.

      We MUST have an Education Act for Wales. We must have an education system that has been designed specifically for us as a nation, and that will enable us to co-operate peacefully and effectively with the other nations of the world – independently of any intervention from England.

      If this were realised the forecasts would be good. It would be possible to reverse the situation within one generation, and then build on that. Cuba is a wonderful example of the way Fidel Castro has reversed a similar situation there. The secret is that he concentrated on educating his people correctly, and they have gone from being a nation without direction that had lost its identity to being a nation at the other end of the scale. They have the best systems in the world in terms of education and health, which suit them perfectly as an independent nation.

      Keeping the Welsh language alive through teaching it in parrot fashion to children is not the answer. As I’ve repeatedly said, efforts to keep the leaves alive on a tree are futile – if the tree is being poisoned at it’s roots.

      1. dafis

        … and that is about all that needs to be said ! There is nothing in that script that is beyond the understanding of the vast majority of people. The only obstacles to adoption are linked to the feeble nature of those in power and absence of will to adopt. Even “budgets” are a fiction as any shift will of necessity take some time and accordingly budgetary planning and creation of resources will also take time – so it’s not “all change tomorrow, and live with the shambles”. Indeed given a clear vision and commitment we could be making top class provision for those “special needs” that are so often chucked up as an obstacle when in reality they are a test of innovation and ingenuity. Selling the ideas would become simplified if the vision was supported with outline plans for phased introductions right across the country. So instead of developing pet projects that fill the pockets of the select few, the Bay crew and their servants need to get cracking to enrich our nation’s identity and with it its self confidence.

        1. Big Gee

          I couldn’t agree more ‘dafis’! You are absolutely right. THIS is one of the things that Plaid should be addressing instead of parading up and down the country in socialist Labour clothes – as if they’re off to a fancy dress party.

          There again many of these poor souls within Plaid are the product of the English led education system – they see aping an English socialist party as something quite normal that they have been brainwashed into believing is in the best interests of a ‘fair minded’ socialist inclined Wales. WE know it’s short-sighted bullshit, but again “there are none as blind as those who do not want to see”.

          Careful you don’t trip over that elephant dear . . . . “what elephant?” . . . .

          1. Sibrydionmawr

            I don’t think ‘socialism’ is really a relevant part of the criticism, as there are, and have been many socialists who have been nothing but supportive of the Welsh language, stemming from R.J. Derfel in the 19th Century to people like S.O. Davies and Niclas y Glais.

            ‘Socialist Labour’ is, and always has been a bit of an oxymoron, to quote Tony Benn, ‘the Labour Party isn’t a socialist party, but a party with socialists in it’. However, your criticism of Plaid could be on the mark, as, in my opinion, they need to veer off in a far more socialist way: a grass roots socialist direction that is conscious of it’s national roots, very much like has occurred in Cuba, though without the oppression.

            ‘Dafis’ proposals make a huge amount of sense, and really something like that approach should have been adopted in the mid 90s – we’d then pretty much be where we would like to be in terms of having the Welsh language normalised. I also think restricting the effects legislation to the public sector alone is a huge mistake. Why not blanket legislation that affects both public and private sectors equally, and imposes a duty on the private sector to respect our national language instead of treating it with complete contempt. If there was a policy of making Welsh the language of internal administration throughout Wales, phased in over, say, a generation or two, it could be done painlessly, without anyone feeling that they would be forced to learn Welsh. Having been involved in workplace Welsh lessons as a tutor, I am all too familiar with people dropping out of workplace Welsh lessons simply because there is no one with whom to practice it at an everyday level, and no other opportunities to use the language, so what is the point? The existence of whole local government departments where Welsh is the medium of work would provide ideal opportunities for those who wish to learn Welsh, as well as providing, in the South East at least, opportunities for those many thousands of people who, once they leave their Welsh medium educations, no longer speak the language.

      2. Another factor overlooked in the Education Act of 1870 is the fear of competition that contributed to it. The English upper classes had been quite happy to see the lower orders remain uneducated. But by the 1860s Germany and the USA were overtaking Britain as economic and industrial powerhouses, due in no small part to their superior education systems.

        So fear of losing top dog status plus the demands of industrialists for a better educated and skilled workforce played a big role in the 1870 Education Act. Inevitably, this led to the formation of new universities, because Oxford and Cambridge remained institutions for the elite, an Anglican elite, which disbarred the vast majority of Welsh people.

        1. Big Gee

          Going back to that detailed report of 1,252 pages that was written and published on behalf of the Royal Commission in 1847. Three young barristers from London were chosen to prepare the report – and not one of them had the least knowledge or understanding about Wales, and probably had never even heard the Welsh language spoken, never mind any experience of education at the level of the working classes in the Wales of that period.

          Key to their report was their dependency on second hand evidence volunteered by the Anglican clergy – many of whom were angered and embittered beyond belief by the growth of Nonconformity in Wales. They were only too pleased to give an unbalanced impression of inferiority to the researchers, to blacken the character of Nonconformity and its effects on the Welsh people. Now isn’t it amazing? History repeating itself in the guise of a royalist/ loyalist Northern Ireland ‘Prosie’ clergyman in a cassock named John Plessis! If he is so keen to walk around with quotes from the bible scribbled on bits of paper in front of him, perhaps he should look to himself first, and pay attention to this verse in Matthew 23:9 – “And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father” (New Living Translation).

          Make no mistake, Brâd Y Llyfrau Gleision permeates down to our day, and the enemy is STILL from the same source.

      3. While I´m quite in agreement with the main thrust of your argument, I do feel there´s a danger of putting people off by over-stating you´r case, especially interpreting pieces written in another age as if they´d been penned yesterday.

        To take the (in)famous ¨under the hatches¨ piece. What I think the author was deploring was not that many in Wales spoke Welsh, but that they couldn´t speak or read English, which you´ll have to admit was a great disadvantage even then, all the more so as time went on. Again, was he not right in pointing out that there was little reading material available in Welsh other than the Bible and various theological tracts?

        The fault of the commentators, then and now, seems to be the inability of the monoglot English mind to continence the possibility that someone can be completely competent in two or more languages, even though this is entirely commonplace outwith the anglosphere.

        Also if Education is devolved (it is isn´t it??) then there is in effect a separate Welsh education system. If the Assembly is happy to follow English practice then maybe you should elect someone else.

        1. Anonymous

          “Again, was he not right in pointing out that there was little reading material available in Welsh other than the Bible and various theological tracts?”

          Again you’re pointing out how reasonable those people/ideas/methods were when it came to Welsh culture, language and sense of self worth being disadvantaged.
          I just wonder if you have decided to take on the role of Devil’s Advocate to get readers of this blog to question their hard held beliefs. Or you’re providing this service because it gives you some sort of satisfaction or even glee If you genuinely wanted to help surely you’d want a bit of knowledge and have put some cognitive thought into the matter first. Such a –

          As the Welsh language was effectively banned from all legal, government and official education roles and so therefore medical, scientific, engineering and business applications also.
          Why was there” little reading material available in Welsh other than the Bible and various theological tracts”?

          “….maybe you should elect someone else.”
          This seems to be your stock answer for practically every issue discussed on this blog.
          I just wonder if churning it out gives you some sort of satisfaction or even glee or you genuinely think you’re sharing what you think is your profound wisdom.

        2. Big Gee

          You’ve missed the main thrust of what it is actually about. It’s about oppression, control, dominance and cultural/ linguistic genocide. My pet hate is when people say “oh that’s history, water under the bridge – it’s different now” – it isn’t. The core problem remains, regardless of when or how it is recorded. The Anglo Saxon cultural mindset towards others can’t be excused because they’re monoglots & can’t understand. It’s a deep set stinking attitude towards other nations and peoples who they regard as inferior. It’s also reflected by their ‘nephew across the pond’. Little wonder they are two of the most hated nations on earth. It needs to be exposed at every opportunity – “overstating your cause” – bullshit. Has the truth EVER been overstated?

          Education IS devolved, but devolved to who? A London based party that dominates the Senedd. Now try telling me who the ‘someone else’ that we can vote for is? Certainly not Plaid. That is what makes the whole situation so helpless and depressing.

          Just keep your head buried in the sand-pit Marconatrix. Keep on repeating to yourself the mantra “it’s not their fault – the victims are to blame”. The very fact that you make excuses for the victimiser highlights the mindset I mentioned above. Yet I’m sure if someone whispered that the Nazi holocaust didn’t happen, or that it was different in the thirties & forties you’d be up in arms and the whisperer would be in jail! Arrogant, ignorant and excusing hypocrites.

          Oh! And as a footnote. In response to your statement (obviously based on sheer ignorance) “. . . was he not right in pointing out that there was little reading material available in Welsh other than the Bible and various theological tracts?”

          Welsh-language literature has been produced continuously since the emergence of Welsh from Brythonic as a distinct language c. 5th century AD. The earliest Welsh literature (llenyddiaeth Gymraeg) was poetry, which was extremely intricate in form from its earliest known examples, a tradition sustained today. Poetry was followed by the first British prose literature in the 11th century (such as that contained in the Mabinogion). Welsh language literature has repeatedly played a major part in the self-assertion of Wales and the Welsh peoples. It continues to be held in the highest prestige, as evidenced by the massive National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru), the largest arts festival in Europe.

          1. No, I didn´t say ¨ignore history it´s all in the past¨. I said you can´t always judge past attitudes by modern standards. For instance I imagine it´s perfectly possible these days to receive a good all-round general education entirely through the Welsh language, the resources all exist. I doubt that would have been the case back when the Blue Books were produced.

            Secondly, I´m well aware of ¨monoglot English blindness¨. I´ve come up against it, like a sort of mental brick wall, in people who are otherwise liberal, anti-imperial, save-whatever-tribe-in-the-amazon-is-fashionable-this-week types. Probably as far from the biggotted racist right-wingers as you can get, and not stupid or uneducated either. Yet … when it comes to Welsh or any other minority language/culture close to home, then you just run up against a blank wall. It´s not usually that they despise or actively belittle ¨the other¨, as far as I can see, they just don´t see it. It´s somehow invisible to them. Yes, they´ll walk all over you, but often out of plain ignorance, like someone stepping on a valuable object in the dark.

            I have to assume that this cultural blindness is the result of life-long conditioning and ´education´. But you get nowhere by blaming people for their disability, you need somehow to find a cure. At least it doesn´t affect everyone from beyond Offa´s Dyke.

            As to Welsh politics, clearly I can´t help you there, really you can only help yourselves. But if you´ve given up on both Labour and PC then what are you left with? Are you just going to sit there and grumble while Wales is dismantled around you? Sorry, but you reply seemed so hopeless.

            Rhaid bod rhywbeth i´w neud, yn hytrach nag anobeith?

            1. Big Gee

              Others, along with Jac & I have been there, done that & got the ‘T’ shirt (although Jac doesn’t wear ‘T’ shirts with slogans!).

              I don’t suppose you ever came across the Independent Wales Party, Llais Ceredigion or the NGO Cymuned? The dilution is so great and the overall ignorance so massive that I have long ago come to the conclusion that there is nothing left, the rot has gone too far to be remedied politically in this system. With the exception of civil disobedience or tactics similar to those employed by past groups from the sixties – it is already too late to go down the formal political route. Farting around with the likes of Plaid is futile. It has to be massive impact by direct action by a small group of dedicated ones. Sadly the likes of Jac & I are getting rather advanced in years to be of much help anymore with direct action (the arms are now too thin and the legs too slow!). All we have left are pens & keyboards. We are not grumbling, but trying to educate, in the hope of kindling a fire in the bellies of the next generation, highlighting the truth and exposing the works of the evil ones.

              Do you sometimes ponder whether the material on this blog is a bit too deep for you?

            2. TBH it seemed to me that Adfer had roughly the right idea as regards effective action outside conventional politics. I don´t know in detail how that developed and why it apparently failed.

              You and Jac seem determined to view me as one of your enemies, why? Isn´t it clear that I´m on your side? Although as an outsider to your particular struggle obviously many things are unclear to me, as they must be to many others who read this blog from outside Welsh Wales.

              I´m simply trying to understand the issues and problems. Without such understanding there is little chance of finding solutions.

            3. Big Gee

              Simply put – NO – it is not clear whether you are on our ‘side’ or not.

              You come over as a devious antagonist who plays Devil’s advocate to try and stimulate responses that cloud issues and gives a foothold to those who are our enemies.

              Whether a well meaning but ignorant outsider or not, the contents of your posts are generally viewed with suspicion. We’ve had plenty of experiences in past lives to be wary of characters like you. We are not blind to the attention that people like us attracts from all quarters from within the establishment.

              Is that clear enough for you? We don’t subscribe to ” Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat” – the onus of proof is on you.

            4. All I can say is that I´m seeking clarity and solutions, not confusion and failure. I understand your suspicions, but can only assure you all that I am not a troll, an undercover agent or anything else half as exciting.

              TBH you often seem to behave as if you´d been ¨rubbed up the wrong way¨ when nothing of the sort was intended. It seems almost at times as if you want, or at least expect, to be attacked.

              That I suppose is quite understandable in the circumstances, I´ve probably behaved similarly myself in the past (not here though as I don´t really have a dog in your race).

              Basically I´d like to see Welsh (and Wales generally) flourish, and learn whatever lessons are available from your experience, your successes and of course your failures too. Though hopefully there are more successes.

              And that´s the top and bottom of it — really!

  7. Big Gee

    ‘Y Llyfrau Gwyrddion’? Beth yn gywir yw rheini te? Wedi gweld hysbysebiad ar gyfer y llyfr O’r India Bell a Storïau Eraill o Siop y Cwlwm, ond heb rhoi’r law yn y boced eto (Cardi i’r carn!).

    Beth am ychydig o eglurhâd Glyn Adda?

  8. PRL

    The author of this web site, Royston Jones, calling somebody else “a bully” and accusing her of being “very personal and insulting to people she doesn’t know”.

    That’s irony of immeasurable proportions.

    In the personal smear merchant’s own words: “‘Thou hypocrite’, indeed!”

    Maybe readers could point ‘Jac’ in the direction of evening classes in self-awareness (bilingual provision probably won’t be necessary or advantageous.)

    1. Michaela Beddows stands exposed, by her own words, of being a bully. I defy anyone to draw any other conclusion.

      “Thou hypocrite” is a quote from the Bible, most definitely applicable to the discord-sowing Reverend Dr Plessis.

    2. Big Gee

      Oh no! Not another ‘Blog policeman’. Or in this case a hypocrisy policeman.

      This is becoming habitual. What is this preoccupation with shooting the messenger instead of addressing the message?

      “But he poked his tongue out at me first miss!” Grow up for heaven’s sake PRL. This is an adult blog for political current affairs, matters of important cultural significance, investigative journalism, and serious debate – not a school yard.

  9. Ianto

    Due to an interest in Celtic languages, I previously spent a bit of time reading the now defunct Cornwall24 forum. A thread on there devoted to Marconatrix (known there as Factotum) sheds a bit of light on why he posts here.

    Fulub-le-Breton : “So why do you bother commenting here on Cornwall 24 then? If all is lost it seems rather paradoxical behaviour to continue commenting on a forum dedicated to promoting the Cornish cause.” “Why would you do this? Why do you contribute? What motivates you?”
    Marconatrix: “the rather vain hope that I might needle someone in a position to do something to actually act.” “See my posts as a challenge, and somebody please rise to that challenge, otherwise I will indeed go away in despair, from this board, and if circumstances allow, follow your example and leave Cornwall for another Celtic country which is more inclined to fight for its continued survival.”

    It’s a valid way to do things, but you need to know more about the situation to do this effectively- and he showed as much ignorance over and snideness towards things Welsh on that board as he does on this one. If you don’t have knowledge, you simply come over as an annoying little arse, achieving nothing.

    Still, it does bring hope that if no one “rises to the challenge” of the marvellous posts his piercing intellect and great knowledge of Wales bring, he may eventually just bugger off.

    1. Big Gee

      Still, it does bring hope that if no one “rises to the challenge” of the marvellous posts his piercing intellect and great knowledge of Wales bring, he may eventually just bugger off“.
      creased up!

  10. Ateb Big G. “Hanes amgen” neu “hanes na bu” yw’r stori (fel un arall yn y gyfrol). Beth petai tri Annibynnwr radical o Gymry, yn 1847, yn sgrifennu adroddiad ar gyflwr addysg yn Lloegr?

    1. Brychan

      Regardless of the origin and timeline, that be-cloaked Mr Plessis in the photo above is holding up a placard “play on the words of St Paul”. It is…

      Titus 3:10. Pwy bynnag sy’n creu rhaniadau, rhybuddia nhw i stopio. Os ydyn nhw ddim yn gwrando ar ôl i ti eu rhybuddio nhw’r ail waith paid cael dim i’w wneud â nhw.

      What is significant and, as expected of the loyalist Anglican, he has failed to take notice of the context of the above biblical phrase which is specifically and intentionally prefixed by..

      Titus 3:09 Ond paid cael dim i’w wneud â’r dyfalu dwl am achau, a’r holl gecru a dadlau am ryw fân reolau yn y Gyfraith Iddewig. Does dim pwynt — mae’r cwbl yn wastraff amser llwyr!

      I hope you don’t mind me raising this point. glynadda. That man should not be flaunting his cloth on this matter, especially using biblical missquoted and out-of-context phrases. It is in itself divisive and stirs up deep issues of both religion and language. I can’t decide if he imported this from the northern counties or the veldt. But to flaunt his cloth in such issues is alien to Wales.

      I never had the opportunity to attend a Welsh Medium School (just the chapel. Ysgol Sul, Methodiad Calfanaid) Perhaps I should oblige Llangennech and the deanary of Cydweli needs a few lessons from Rhondda? Laff!

      1. Big Gee

        ADDERCHOG! Brychan.

        I’d forgotten all about that Dafydd Iwan song – the cap fits perfectly through those sarcastic words (they lose a lot in the English translation though). It hits a chord in the heart doesn’t it? Maybe it’s because of our upbringing as Calvanistic Methodists, whether on a hillside homestead in Ceredigion or the valleys of the Rhondda. I could swear it was written specifically for that essay I wrote back in 2002.

        For us who were brought up in the shadow of ‘Y Capel‘ – seeing an Anglican priest dressed up as Batman to rub salt in our wounds doesn’t go down well does it?

        1. Brychan

          Perhaps he’s be-cloaked to collect a tithe for the schoolhouse?

          I’ll swap you a winters coal for a side of lamb, just don’t tell the crown. My library had everything from the Communist Manifesto to William Williams Pantycelyn but the Anglicans only had stone spires and Shakespeare, poor dabs.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxhHurpBsGM

          On a more serious note, it’s crying shame when councils too often sign off the demolition of a chapel or it’s conversion to flats with the stroke of a pen yet only too willing spend loads of public and third sector cash revamping steeples in the name of preserving ‘heritage’. Who’s heritage?

    2. Dwi´n ei weld o rwan. ¨Dydyn nhw ddim yn dysgu Cymraeg fan hyn! Sut mae hynny yn iawn, wrth mae Lloegr a Chymru yll dyw yn rhannau o´r Undeb Prydeinig, felly mae´n amlwg fod etifeddiaeth i´r un yn etifeddiaeth i´r llall!¨ That would be the response of any ¨genuine unionist¨ if such a creature had ever existed, as opposed to an English supremacist. Hanes amgen yn wir!

  11. As I am the person that you seem to think of as nothing but a big bully, may I firstly say that just because I stand up for myself and my children that does not make me a bully. If you bothered to speak to me first you would find that I am anything but a bully, I will always defend anyone I think of as being bullied. I also want to clarify that I am part of a group of protesters against our school becoming a Welsh Medium school, it is not just me but I tend to speak more to the media than the other parents who are fighting for our rights for an English education for our children in different ways, May I also say that if our school was becoming an English stream school thus eradicating the Welsh stream we would be fighting for the rights for children in our village to have a Welsh education. It is very easy to insult people without knowing the true facts, you say I rant, and yes I do, quoting what happened in Morrisons supermarket, you were not there, it was a very upsetting incident, yes I did say some pretty horrible things about the staff there – have you been to the store??? I think that you would also have had plenty to say if you had been treated the way I was there.

    Also may I say that again you have not got your facts correct because at the governors meeting as parents we presented the parents and governors with a presentation which was done very professionally and we were complemented on our presentation by several members of the Governing board, the only time that meeting got heated was when we were told by the Chair of he board of governors that even if every parent wanted the school to remain dual stream, then he would not put their feelings to the county council because he feels that english and medium stream children should never be taught together and that english stream children were detrimental to the welsh stream childrens education, then there was a bit of an uproar. I personally thanked and spoke with nearly every governor, the staff and the head teacher and feel absolutely no anger towards them, just disappointment that the english stream children are not being treated fairly in the school.

    I also wanted to clarify that yes my daughter went to the school and has special eduational needs, she was treated fantastically and I have constantly praised the school and head teachers in the way that they helped her in the school and made her feel a big part of everything happening in the school. Not all children with special education needs can learn in welsh and children from an english speaking backround are advised not to learn in welsh, I have done my research regarding this, so am not simply saying what I personally believe. Welsh language backround children can learn in the welsh stream and I am not disputing this fact at all, but am arguing the point that children with special needs from an english backround will not be able to go to our local school and learn with their peers in the village if the school becomes a welsh medium school.

    I am not a horrible person, I am simply fighting for something I believe in, I believe the Welsh language should be encouraged in schools but I am totally and utterly against the enforcement of the welsh language on children and our village. I love the fact that my son is learning Welsh in school, I do not love the fact that he is being forced to learn welsh or that as parents we were not told that the first two years are all welsh, we were told they were bilingual with a 60% welsh input, which we were happy with, but to find out that this has not been the case is disappointing to say the very least.

    I respect the fact that you are simply reporting political events etc on your blog, and have quite enjoyed reading some of your comments but have to say, I think that you are the bully by deliberately quoting selective comments without actually looking at a much bigger issue. If you are going to be covering a story please remember that there are two sides to every story, not just the one you prefer and people have the right to see both sides. Have a look at our reasoning for fighting the council and school regarding the language status or Llangennech, Or have the balls to actually speak to the people you are slating on your blogs before you have your rant.

    1. Thank you for getting in touch. I’m sure there are those who follow this blog that are better qualified than I to respond to some of the points you’ve made.

      1. No problem, but as you are the one that has posted this surely you must condone what is said, who is the ‘guest writer’ it is easy to slander and bully people and not put your name, I think whoever wrote this ‘article’ should put their name to it or retract their comments, This whole article is bullying and intimidation at it’s very worse, and I am the bully? Just because I have stood up for something I believe in I am a bully, but I always put my name and face to my comments. If you have no comment Jac, then I suggest you check what you are putting on your blog in future,

        1. Guest Writer

          I think you protest too much. You are a leading member of a group which organised a march on the school and is responsible for creating a very intimidating atmosphere for anyone who disagrees with you. You berated employees, all easily identifiable, of a supermarket who were only doing their job and complying with rules which everyone knows about. Why should they humour you and risk losing their jobs? Oh, and for all you say you support the language, you took part in a rabidly anti-Welsh TV programme which is now the subject of an investigation.

          You are also a member of a committee which has published – anonymously – a string of articles attacking people who can’t answer back, spreading a mix of rubbish, lies and distortion about just about every aspect of the proposals.

          If the real Michaela is not a bully, perhaps she will stand up, resign from the committee and condemn this increasingly out of control campaign.

          How about it?

          1. I have to reply yet again, I am proud to stand up for what I believe in, I also respect other people’s opinions even when I do not agree with them, I put my name and face to what I believe in, I do not go round anonymously writing hate blogs regarding people I do not know or situations that I was not at to comment, if you stand by your comments tell us your name, you know mine, you seem to have stalked my facebook account to get what you can and twist it to your own use, anyone can write a blog and not put a name or face to it, I call that intimidating and bullying of the very worse nature, am I afraid of your comments? Certainly not. Was I a bit upset by them? Yes I was but then I realised take it where it comes from, a saddo keyboard warrior without an ounce of courage who can only pick on women who are fighting for what they believe, whether right or wrong, I think I can safely say I am not a bully but you my love, most certainly are.

            1. Guest Writer

              Your outpourings on Facebook weren’t twisted for anyone’s use – they were republished in full.

              So you stand by all the rubbish that’s been appearing on the ‘Dual Stream’ website?

            2. still not stating your name ‘guest writer’ by rubbish in the dual stream website you mean the facts that we have got from carmarthenshire county council websites and estyn reports, if they are rubbish then blame our source not our page. Why are you so afraid to say who you are, you know who I am, so come on it is easy to write and insult people on here without them knowing your name, grow a pair and state your name, or are you too afraid.

            3. In fairness to my guest writer you are no shrinking violet, you make sure everybody knows who you are. Not everyone is so, er, ‘outgoing’, is that the word I’m looking for?

            4. I agree not everyone is as er “outgoing” as I am – but if you are going to slate someone on a er “blog” of a er “journalist” then have the courage to state your name or shut the hell up, it is easy to slate people hiding in your little house on your little keyboards, why are you all so afraid to say who you are, you know who I am, so do me the courtesy of sharing your names also.

            5. My name is Royston Jones, my name can be found in countless places on this blog and elsewhere. You can find it in my latest post, in the letter from Hugh James; or here in a post from last month. You really should check your facts before jumping in and making yourself look silly.

        2. Stan

          Actually considering the flaming that you gave the store staff of Morrisons on your Facebook pages, I don’t think either the writer of the Llangennech article or Jac has done you an injustice. I’d say you have pretty much brought it onto your own head. I shall try and explain why. Most people who provide us service in our shops and restaurants and even many of our public services work damned hard and often for little reward. They have to do their best under trying circumstances, dealing with their managers who probably want blood out of a stone, but also members of the public, who cross their paths throughout their shift, some cheerful and trying to make life bearable for all, others less so, being even churlish through to bloody impossible. You, madam, clearly fall into the latter definition. As you mature as you go through life you will hopefully count to ten before losing it big time as you did in that store. With the gift of hindsight which all of us possess, if you can’t see you should have dealt with the situation in-store and on your Facebook pages more reasonably, then there isn’t much hope for you, I fear.

          I append a link to some official guidance relating to the sale of medicines that are painkillers that I hope you will find useful. You will see it refers to selling medicines relating to pain relief in packs of no more than two. It does not specify such medicines as being paracetamol based exclusively. Now I don’t particularly care if Calpol should or should not fall into the offending category. The staff thought it should have – they may have been wrong. But having a wobbly does not make the situation any the better for any of the parties involved, I reckon the poor checkout girl and the rest of the staff you insulted so grievously deserve an apology from you, not to be called silly and insulting names for doing their jobs – and MAYBE making a mistake. Or are you perfect?

          https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/407287/Appendix_4_-_Blue_Guide.pdf

          1. Stan, I am usually a very nice person, if |I am complaining about something, I am always polite and never ever take it out on the person dealing with my complaint. With regard to what happened in Morrisons, I had two very sick chlidren in the car, I hadn’t slept for two nights and jjust needed medicine for them both, now the fact that I couldn’t buy the medicine was not my reason for being angry, my reason was the way i was treated by the staff, the lady in the queue behind me couldn’t believe their attitude and rudeness either, and to be smirked and laughed at by a so called manager was the very last straw, now I am the sort of person who will always try and see the best in people and to sort out situations through talking, but the rudeness I was treated with was not something I will ever tolerate. I have worked at a checkout, in a pub/restaurant, have been a secretary and am generally very good with people, I also understand some people have a load of crap with their job, management etc, but after working in these environments I also know that you should always treat your customers with respect, especially when they are visibly upset as may i add i was that day. By the way no I am certainly not perfect and no I do not accept that any of the staff there that day deserve an appology from me, if I did I would have done so by now.

            1. Stan

              Michaela – these are your words, not mine.

              “my biggest complaint is the attitude of the staff in Morrisons, the checkout operator was a complete and utter jobsworth, no personality and pretty gormless, the Till Manager was arrogant, cocky and downright rude, obviously being a till manager has gone to her pretty vacant head – and the Manager of the store was a bumbling buffoon who should grow a pair of balls….”

              “I can only suggest that Morrisons starts employing people with an ounce of commence sense and compassion”.

              I have read again your Facebook post in full and for what it’s worth the staff were following precisely the guidelines on the sale of multiple packets of painkillers. Would you have been happier if the till operator had turned a blind eye and been sacked for her pains? It may well be that for the store and customers’ protection it is not possible to check through 3 painkiller items? It was you and you alone that was responsible for depriving your kids of medication that evening. You could have bought any two of those three items but you bit off your nose to spite your face, then had the gall to try and belittle the staff of Morrisons. If anyone is a “bumbling buffoon” in this story I respectfully suggest it was definitely not the store manager.

            2. Brychan

              Ms Beddows…

              The reason why all retailers of over-the-counter medication have a limit on purchase of paracetamol is because it is hepatoxic (liver damage) in overdose. It can be fatal.

              Assuming the staff at Morrisons checkout do not know your medical condition relating to pregnancy status, any existing liver damage, whether you are an alcoholic, a history of mental illness leading to self harm or whether you use it as an amplification in opioid (heroin) consumption, any reasonable person would conclude the person at the checkout is merely doing their job according to clinical guidelines set out for all retailers licensed as a pharmacy.

              Of course, you can absolve the retailer of responsibility by conducting two transactions at different times, or multiple buy at different stores. This would absolve the staff member conducting the sale from vicarious liability should you subsequently self-harm using the product, intentionally or unintentionally. You should also understand that another person at the same checkout at the same time couldn’t collude with your purchase, for the same reason.

              It is evident in your explanation of events, that the paracetamol was for a child, and you made this fact known to the retail staff at Morrisons. Any responsible parent would welcome that a store is correctly enforcing the licensing guidelines, especially when protection of a juvenile is involved.

              You owe the staff at Morrisons an apology. I suggest on your next visit to the Trostre Retail Park, a bunch of flowers can be purchased on the next roundabout at Tesco’s, who incidentally also sell paracetamol under the same guidelines, and return to Morrisions with such a gift of thanks to the staff who acted in your best interest, and the best interest of your children.

            3. Red Flag

              I hope they bar you. Morrisons round here bar customers who have a go at their staff.

            4. Red Flag

              And may I also add, next time you visit a supermarket I hope they sell you as much of a dangerous substance as you want irrespective of guidelnes.

              And please – if you are so good-mannered, could you get someone to film you taking it, upload it to youtube and post a link on here.

              It’s the least you could do and you sound a good sport.

    2. Richard

      Michaela, I think readers of this blog will respect you for getting in touch. I’d like to address a couple of points you make.

      Firstly, the term “special needs” is an extremely wide one, and most children assessed with additional needs will have no problem coping with Welsh medium education. In the case of children with severe learning difficulties, children such as your daughter are assessed and provided with appropriate support. In any event, it is the individual child’s needs that come first, and I am sure that the staff and governors of the school would make sure that every child could be accommodated, irrespective of language.

      As for dual stream, the chair of governors is right. Having two streams creates an “us and them” culture, and it also undermines all the good work done in the Welsh stream. Because all the children can communicate in English, English will always come to dominate in such settings.

      1. Hi Richard, I have been told my several professionals who work with children with moderate to severe learning difficulties that learning in a language other than that spoken at home is both needless and cruel and puts additional stress on an already struggling child, the staff at this school were amazing with my daughter and I will always tell people how wonderful they were.

        As for dual stream, it is the choice of parents in the Welsh stream to put them in a dual stream, there are two brand new purpose built Welsh stream schools with spaces for children in them not far from out school, so if they wish for an all welsh education then that is where they could be sending their children, not changing our school to suit their needs. Our school is a green band school and has been dual stream for the last 60 years, our village is a lovely village where all the children know each other and socialise together regardless of which language they are learning in my argument is why change what is obviously working, I love our school, the teachers are lovely, the head is approachable and a genuinely nice bloke, yes we have had our disagreements but wouldn’t this world be a dull place if we all agreed and thought the same things, – we certainly wouldn’t be talking like this now would we lol x

  12. Anonymous

    Well done Michaela. Very well constructed posts. What is not being looked is why the County Councillor of Llangennech is ignoring and being directly hostile to his own constituents? As a CC one should represent all the community. Being a governor also means you should keep your own political preferences and do what is right for the children and parents rather then pursue his own personal ideology which is apparent in this case. It is rumoured that he was very angry when it didn’t happen a few years ago and when he thought he had got his way this time said to some parents ‘I have got you now’. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know. Maybe if he had enabled better communication with the parents before trying to get this through the back door and the parents being faced with a ‘fete accompli’ things may have been different but then I can’t see that happening given his track record.

    1. The county councillor you refer to obviously has political views of which you disapprove. And while you believe his political stance influences him you seem oblivious to the fact that your own political views colour your opposition to Welsh language education.

      He “should represent all the community”, you whine. How exactly is he supposed to do that. No politician, anywhere, at any time, has ever represented ALL his constituents. And it’s impossible in Llangennech where the embittered crew you belong to has succeeded in dividing the area.

      Politicians are elected to make decisions. Every decision they make will upset someone. So get real. Do you people read what you write? Worse, perhaps, do you believe it?

      And the term is fait accompli. Nothing to with a carnival.

      1. So do you agree that the councillor should represent the view of the majority of the village or insist on pushing forward his own agenda, regardless of whether the community he supposedly represents wishes it or not??? The majority of our village wish the school to stay as it is, how do I know this? Because we have physically gone out and asked people their opinions, we are not forcing our opinion onto anyone we are simply acting on what we have been told by the people actually living in our village. Maybe the people pushing this agenda should get off their lazy behinds and actually find out what the people they should represent actually want. It is very easy to sit where you are, letting people attack other people anonymously, I suggest before you let people write blogs in your name you make them state their name too, cowardice is the only word for this work and page.

        1. ‘We are the majority’, and we know this because “we have physically gone out and asked people their opinions”. Another interpretation could be that if you and friends go knocking on someone’s door, or stop them in the street, many of those approached in this way will find it intimidating, and ‘agree’ with you just to get rid of you. But you’d be mad to take that for sincere support.

          As for the Morrisons episode. We only have your word that you had two sick children in the car, and that you hadn’t slept for two nights. What you put out on Facebook was a self-congratulatory account of an ugly incident intended to impress your friends. Outside of that circle most people will have found your behaviour bullying and offensive.

          Maybe that’s how you get people to ‘agree’ with you.

          This debate is now getting sterile, so unless you and your supporter have something new to contribute this debate is closed.

  13. Anonymous

    Indeed not. I have no problem at all with the Welsh language where there is a demand for it. Why say ‘whine’ – why be so aggressive? I have no problems with his political views – he is perfectly entitled to them but not in the seemingly devious way he has used them in this instance. I don’t belong to any embittered crew but I do support people who want to stand up for their rights and freedom of speech. Do you support somebody who has declared ‘an interest’ in a council matter being able to vote in it? Usually you are all over Carms CC but not in this instance. Why do you keep saying Welsh Labour are behind all this? Are the parent’s at the school so gullible as to used as a political tool? They have a right to be heard as have all the parents at the school but I do not see anybody stating that that they want it to change from dual stream apart from a few. The meetings were public and anyone whatever their beliefs in the matter were welcome. You obviously condone the County Councillors attitude in attacking these parents in the press and not even having the courtesy to meet them despite being their Councillor and a governor of the school. I agree that no politician has ever represented all their constituents but surely this should at least be an aim. Something this councillor should perhaps appreciate after all this. Yes, decisions are made. Not eveyone will like them but at least they have stood up to be counted and have their views heard something I would have thought you would praise. They should be applauded whether you agree with them or not as it is democracy in action. You like to stand up for what you believe in. Why should they be any different?

  14. until you know all the facts Jac, maybe you shouldn’t comment either, you have a one track mind and it is set to attack me no matter what I say or do, people like yourself are bigots, at least I stand up for what i believe in and stand up for myself too, for your information people come up to me and talk regarding the school, and I chat with people in general regarding it, I am not a bully or intimidating, if you met me you would find that I am a really nice person, I will always defend a weaker person, I am always the first to help out if I see anyone needing help, and I will never stand for bullying in any shape or form, but your mind is made up and I couldn’t care less what you think of me, at least I am not a keyboard warrior to afraid to put my name and face to things I believe in. Sad that people like you and your supporters exist on sad blogs like this, Never mind we all need a hobby.

    1. “I am a really nice person”! Hang on, who else said that, just a week or so ago, and from the same area – why it was Rosemary Emery!

      1. I don’t even know who Rosemary Emery is, Jac, if that is your real name???? I am bored of all this pathetic one sided rubbish, you call yourself a “journalist” but a real journalist would look at both sides, however that doesn’t suit your need to feel important to a few nutjobs who think the welsh language should be forced on people whether they like it or not. May I just say, the fact that the welsh language is in decline, is not the fault or problem of the english speaking welsh people of this country, we haven’t let it decline it is the welsh speaking community who are responsible for this, and because this is now happening, they feel it is ok to enforce it on communities who do not want or need it. Welsh is a beautiful language, and to speak it is indeed a priviledge, I would NEVER try and stop people speaking or learning in welsh and expect the same tolerance back. Now I have a campaign to organise and important council meetings to prepare for, so if you don’t have anything constructive to say, I shall leave this “blog” and your many “followers” and do something constructive with my time. Would like to say it has been nice chatting but I hand on heart I can’t .

        1. Listen, anyone who comes here seeking objectivity is going to be disappointed. There’s a clue in my masthead, ‘Interpreting Wales from a Right of Centre Nationalist Perspective’, or my Twitter account, ‘Unreconstructed Nationalist with a capital U and a capital N’.

          I report on issues from an unashamedly nationalist perspective, but I’m perfectly open about it, WYSIWYG. Isn’t that better than those who pretend to be impartial but have secret agendas?

          I’m inclined to agree that it’s best we sever, and so, sans fond kiss, I bid you adieu.

        2. Anonymous

          Nearly a complete set of clichés there
          1. nutjobs;
          2. welsh language forced on people;
          3. decline is the fault of the welsh speaking community;
          4. Welsh is a beautiful language;
          5. would NEVER try and stop people speaking or learning in welsh;
          6; and expect the same tolerance back.
          One that usually accompanies them is – some of my best friends speak Welsh ….and they agree with me.

          And they’re all bogus
          1. “nutjobs” – interesting choice for those you disagree with.
          2. The only people Welsh is being “forced” on are the children in the Welsh Medium school whose parents chose that for them. It’s their choice and it’s nothing to do with you.
          3. That’s no doubt an attractive idea to you but do you realize that it’s akin to choosing the -victim is to blame – as an explanation for events.
          4….. But I don’t want it in my life unless it’s a choir on TV – go Only Men Aloud go.
          5. But you ARE trying to stop people learning Welsh. The children referred to in 2. The result of you having your way would be those children have a much reduced opportunity to use and learn Welsh socially, out of class while at school.
          6. No 5. explains to you why you aren’t tolerant on this issue so you’re hardly in a position to cry foul.

          It looks to me that if you cut through the proverbial what you get is a group of parents who aren’t at all happy about the prospect of a longer school run within which is a smaller group who either see it as an opportunity to put the boot into the Welsh language or are willing to generate divisions in the community if it avoids them the extra hassle of a longer school run.

          1. Good summary there, Mr/Ms Dienw, I might well use it sometime.

            At the root of all this there is a sort of blindness, accidental or deliberate, I wouldn´t like to judge. But the point is that anyone living full-time in a Welsh-speaking community without learning or speaking Welsh is exhibiting a sort of passive aggression. That is, given the circumstances that prevail in such places, their inaction is damaging the language.

            Choice of everyday language is quite different from other ¨freedom of choice¨ issues like which church or none you attend, or how you dress or what type of music you enjoy. It´s different because language is the glue that holds society and communities together. It cuts across all the other lesser divisions to a large degree.

            But to the monoglot English-speaking mentality, in a world where everyone pretty well seems to be able to speak your language, learning another language is simply seen as a lifestyle choice, a hobby like any other. Hence the blindness, a source of perpetual friction and misunderstanding.

  15. Ruth Price

    Reading this article and its comments, I can’t help thinking of the various circumstances which meant my parents, both Welsh-speakers from Llanelli, didn’t bring me up in Welsh in the sixties. .

    While it didn’t help that I was brought up in Newport, where Welsh was not taught in schools in those days, and was relatively rarely heard, one of the main reasons my parents chose not to bring me up bilingually, was because I had an older brother with learning difficulties. Apparently, the experts in the Special School he attended as a boarder, Ysgol Erw’r Delyn, had recommended speaking to him in English only so as not to confuse him, and my parents extended this to his younger siblings “so he wouldn’t be jealous”.

    I’m not blaming my parents – this would have been a common belief held by the medical and educational profession at the time and they absolutely thought they were doing the best thing. The irony was, my eldest brother, seven years older than me, was brought up in Llanelli until secondary school age, while my middle brother and I grew up in the ‘Port. As a kid I always thought of our Richard as being so “Welshy”. I remember going to one of Richard’s school concerts in which he sang a solo rendition of Dacw Nghariad. All memorised – he couldn’t read. He understood the words, I did not. He was quite able to communicate in Welsh as well as English – he had acquired both languages through exposure. Did it hold him back? I don’t think so. I was proud of him and a little envious too (well, I was very young and unversed in ethics!).

    Since those times, there has been so much research into how the brain acquires language, and the optimum time to acquire language without effort. Essentially, learning multiple languages is so much easier for children before they reach six or seven. While I have achieved a level of competence in Welsh as an adult, it’s not my first language. It would have been so much easier to have acquired it at home and in my early schooling. Playing Scrabble in Welsh will never be my shining hour, alas.

    As has been mentioned in several comments, I regret that the many positive arguments for bilingualism are not always adequately made, but it seems to me that many of those objecting to Welsh-medium education use spurious arguments to hide their agenda which is — in broad strokes – they wish they didn’t have to have that pesky Welsh on the curriculum and why doesn’t it just go away and die already – but they know it’s not PC to actually say that. I find it offensive that fifty years on from the professional opinion that deprived me of a bilingual education, children with special needs are still being used as justification for an English-only education. Each child with special needs has special talents and abilities too, and it may just be that learning more than language is something a child who has difficulties elsewhere is able to do, with flying colours.

    Beth wyf nes heb gael ei meddwl? Ffa-la-la-la-la. Far from.

    .

  16. Ianto Phillips

    “a saddo keyboard warrior without an ounce of courage who can only pick on women”??
    What’s her being a woman got to do with it? If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, this sort of nonsense is the last refuge of a frustrated bully.
    I’ve no idea where she gets that nonsense from – you take all sorts of people to task!

    And for someone who is so eager to claim the benefit of Fairer Sex, she seems remarkably obsessed with men’s balls.

  17. Guest Writer

    A brief update. The BBC has issued a second, partial apology for the lack of balance in its recent broadcast of Week In Week Out – The Cost of Saving the Welsh Language. The apology can be found here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complaint/WeekInWeekOut/

    Unusually, the programme has not been made available on iPlayer, but can be viewed here:

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

    Bearing in mind that the programme was supposed to be about the cost of implementing the new language standards, it took time out to travel down to Llangennech to interview Michaela Beddows in her garden. Beddows was, of course, the only person interviewed from the village. Her “I’m all for the Welsh language and that, I just don’t want it forced on us and our children” contribution can be viewed from 16 minutes in.

    The semi-literate, aggressive and anonymous articles attacking the school are still proudly displayed on the website produced by the “dual stream committee” of which Beddows is a prominent member. The articles claim that parents have been lied to and that there is “corruption surrounding the school”, in addition to claims that children have been forced to apologise to parents for giving them Easter cards in Welsh, and much more in the same vein.

    Beddows has consistently refused to distance herself from this hate-filled nonsense, even claiming that the information was taken from council documents.

    Members of school staff and governors have been vilified by Beddows’ supporters on social media, and she is now boasting of her exploits in stirring up controversy.

    It is difficult to come to any other conclusion than that there are two Michaela Beddows – the “I’m a nice person, honest” Beddows who tried to portray herself as a victim on this blog, and the loud-mouthed Beddows and her campaign of hate and ignorance.

    .

  18. Jennifer Brown (@JenGwenBrown)

    Jac I thought I’d made a comment to your Blog but cannot see it! Maybe it got lost in the ether or was not worth putting in ( that does happen). I explained that my understanding was that the parents wanted the school to remain dual stream which seemed to support everyone learning Welsh (did I put that?) anyway the community seemed not to want the children deliberately separated during school hours unnecessarily (meaning break times I presume) The children played together made friends with each other uncaring of how much Welsh or English each spoke. Why segregate this way when the children were learning Welsh anyway; without needing to start making judgements regarding how Welshy or Saes their friends are. There seems no need to bring this change about in Llangennech when Welsh is being learnt without the need of a fully segregated Welsh medium school. Children need to mix together in a non judgemental way; best to keep political & nationalist dogma out of their lives; that’ll come soon enough in adulthood as our political servants vi with each other to gain power. Whether Welsh is a first or second language each child is of equal importance to a community’s cohesion. If it’s working why change it?

  19. Big Gee

    I’ve read some of the past comments with increasing incredulity. It never ceases to amaze me, the number of ignorant, under educated and basically stupid but arrogant people that insist on making comments, and engaging on subjects that they know next to nothing about. If you haven’t done the in-depth research, or have had absolutely no historical experience of the subject material, but you insist on commenting like self professed experts, then PLEASE for everyone’s sake SHUT UP fand save your embarrassment – if indeed you are capable of being embarrassed, after all self awareness takes a bit of intelligence.. All you do is confuse the equally stupid amongst us who might learn something if they didn’t have this incessant background of crap in their ears.

    Wales is NOT bilingual – it never has been, and I doubt if it ever will be fully. It has been monolingual – up to the end of the nineteenth century (Welsh only). ALL children from Welsh speaking homes are bilingual (that is the bilingual element in Wales). Virtually all those from English only speaking homes (whether from immigrant families or not) aren’t as a rule, so overall the population of Wales is not bilingual, the only citizens who are forced to be truly bilingual are the traditionally Welsh speaking portion of the population. Sure English monoglot children get taught Welsh words ‘parrot fashion’ in a so called ‘bi-lingual’ school, but it ends there. Two children in a playground, one is bilingual, the other is a monoglot. Which language do you think they communicate in? The result? The dominant language takes precedence, this forces the lesser language into further isolation and eventual extinction.

    This false bilingual form of teaching does two things. 1. It erodes the ‘mother’ language of the Welsh speaking child. Research shows that most young children’s command and quality of their language decreases with exposure to dominant English language children in bilingual schools, because the language of the school yard and later in social and work place environments is the dominant language – English. It also holds them back, because they have to develop at the rate of the poor children who have first got to learn a new language in their midst. They land up speaking a mish-mash ‘Wenglish’ dialect when called on to speak their own language. 2. The children from English only backgrounds are impeded in their development in other subjects, because they are spoon-fed a language that has no meaning, culturally, linguistically or historically for them.It leads to resentment and opposition. The Welsh language becomes a source of hatred for them.

    As I keep on pointing out, this is a conundrum that cannot be solved, until we change the education system in Wales from top to bottom.

    The problem at present is that we have a rag tag bunch of ignoramuses (some dressed as a medieval Batman) that see the problem from such a superficial and shallow angle. At face value, spouting that a bilingual system is fairer to all concerned, is the indicator that those responsible are in a situation where their mouth is far more powerful than their brain. The problem is far deeper and more complex.

    So PLEASE go away and do a bit of reading or just sit down and listen carefully before you get another bout of verbal diarrhoea. Some, who are beyond being taught, could of course entertain themselves by being rude to their local Morrison staff!

    1. Perhaps a few links to proposed solutions from those who *have* thought deeply about the problem? (Otherwise, I fear, your sensible comment will just get dismissed as ¨Isn´t it all terrible!¨)

      1. Big Gee

        “. . . . . . this is a conundrum that cannot be solved, until we change the education system in Wales from top to bottom.

        The background and key to the top to bottom solution is here:

        http://sccambria.com/essays/erth-add_saesneg.htm

        Don’t just read the words, think about it and digest the contents.

        If we were a ‘normal’ country we would have a Welsh citizen arrangement where anyone who wishes to be a citizen of Wales needs to swear an oath of allegiance (as they do in other countries). They would have to have an accepted command of the language and a proven knowledge of our history and culture.

        Most are in agreement that immigrants into the UK should have a proven command of the English language – we hear this from English politicians from Westminster almost daily these days – especially when it comes to the victimization of the Muslim community. Mention that in the Welsh context and you’re immediately labelled as a xenophobic racist, Nazi or worse. What’s good for the goose should obviously be good enough for the gander.

        Such a system would certainly thin out the colonisers and the ignorant/ arrogant parents of children who believe their children have a God given right to have access to English schools (or so called ‘bilingual’ but English dominated schools) wherever they may live.

  20. Jennifer Brown (@JenGwenBrown)

    Surely if it’s felt children mixing at break time will so drastically destroy the Welsh language and this must be prevented at all costs what else will have to take place to safeguard the true Welsh language. Encouraging Welsh speaking parents to demonise the English speaking parents and their offspring to their own children to prevent them playing together outside school? In this day and age you cannot get away from the English speaking media; there’s no way of preventing children hearing the English language or Welsh that’s not up to the standard the Welsh language lobby would like us all to learn. To have an opinion on a subject people need not be experts in it. Experience counts for a lot. Nationalism is on the rise it seems in Wales and other countries by way separating people off from one another by religion, race, color or as here language. Children are like sponges and ripe for indoctrination as happened in Germany and China where they were turned against parents even if they did not follow the “party” philosophy. I am no expert in this but have a right to express an opinion and have witnessed anti English actions by some who classed themselves as Welsh while others made no judgements based on nationality alone. One thing I know is power is gained by pitting people against each other, making scapegoats to carry the blame for all the ills affecting a country. Llangennech community seems to be pretty integrated from what I can tell so why stir up problems where none existed before. Most languages change and develop and should not be controlled by dogma as a means to a political end. Live and let live! I left school at 15 but have not stopped learning from my own and other people’s experiences.

  21. Big Gee

    You, Jennifer, I’m sorry to say, are only examining and passing comments on a small area of canvas (in a highly emotive but inaccurate way) in an otherwise much larger picture. You need to view the larger picture in the correct context – it has nothing to do with being an ‘expert’. However before going off on a tangent and posting assumptions, you should make yourself ‘properly informed’ THEN make your comments.

    Have you read the information that I linked to at http://sccambria.com/essays/erth-add_saesneg.htm ?

    The education system in Wales from 1870 to the present day is based on assimilation and linguistic/ cultural genocide – in a slow but very determined way. It is a very well documented process that can also be seen today in places like Tibet, (I’m sure you would immediately jump to the Tibetan cause without batting an eyelid). It has been the weapon of assimilation and control by other empires, more specifically the English/ Russian/ Spanish/ Dutch/ American etc. empires for centuries. Break down the colonised country’s culture, language and history by superseding it with your own. Then wipe out all traces of the nation you have assimilated. Refer to Indigenous North American tribes, Australian Aboriginies, Polynesian tribes (esp. the Maori) etc. etc. etc. Usually in the name of civilisation and progress. Is what we see today in a ‘civilised’ world based on the good works of those empires? Decide on which side you should be on from a moral, just and fair point of view.

    You are viewing the basic nuts and bolts of a current situation in Llangennech, which you are attributing to some kind of nationalistic plot – that’s what I mean when I say you are just judging on your blinkered vision of a postage sized area of canvas. Other idiots on this blog have even suggested that WE are the bigoted lot that are deliberately making ourselves the victim in a modern age where no one is suffering.

    It is not as simplistic as you are lead to believe. What your protest group is trying to do is provide a simplistic answer to a very complex question which is far above your heads, and dates back to the end of the nineteenth century, when it comes to the educating of our children.

    You are trying to defend the indefensible, and instead of seeing the plight of the victims, you are blindly running with the victimisers through ignorance and arrogance.

  22. Anonymous

    One worrying aspect here is that a very small group of like- minded and, to be frank, deeply unpleasant individuals, have, thanks to social media,been given the platform to post personal, unsubstantiated and, in a number of cases, litigious claims against a group of professionals whose hard work, committment and integrity should never have been called into question. Let’s hope that the children whose so- called ” cause” they are espousing grow up to have more dignity and self- discipline. Social media has many advantages, but like most other things, when used by foolish people, it can cause much unnecessary damage.

  23. Big Gee

    Blah, blah, blah . . .

    I suppose you’d prefer a world where everyone’s thoughts and speech are controlled & monitored – where everyone “knows their place”. A world where only the privileged have the luxury of a platform to express their views – usually to the detriment of the majority

    Freedom of speech is the right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation or censorship. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

    Governments restrict speech with varying limitations (usually by the imposition of laws suited to their goals). Common limitations on speech relate to libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, right to privacy, right to be forgotten, political correctness, public security, public order, public nuisance, campaign finance reform, perjury, and oppression. Whether these limitations can be justified under the harm principle depends upon whether influencing a third party’s opinions or actions adversely to the second party constitutes such harm or not. Governmental and other compulsory organizations often have policies restricting the freedom of speech for political reasons, for example, speech codes in schools.

    The term “offense principle” is also used to expand the range of free speech limitations to prohibit forms of expression where they are considered offensive to society, special interest groups or individuals. For example, freedom of speech is limited in many jurisdictions to widely differing degrees by religious legal systems, religious offense or incitement to ethnic or racial hatred laws.

    The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that “everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference” and “everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice“.

    But I suppose you wouldn’t agree with that would you?

  24. Anonymous

    Learning Welsh is not the Key to employment. Just look at the CCC and other organisations on their employment record with regard to the ability to communicate in Welsh

  25. According to her LinkedIn profile, Michaela Beddows lives in Dafen, not Llangennech. Dafen is on the edge of Llanelli where I imagine there is a choice of other schools in any case.

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