During the week leading up to a big rugby match the Wasting Mule fills countless pages with increasingly hysterical pieces. Then, on the day of the game, the dam breaks to release a tide of bullshit that sweeps up all the hyperbole, ludicrous allusions, tenuous linkages and absurd analogies in its path to fill the pages of Saturday’s edition. And so it was before the England game.
Nowhere better than on pages 2 and 3, where one might normally expect to find news. Instead, on Saturday, we were treated to, ‘Seven Welsh icons to inspire us to a 7-point win’. A strange, beyond eclectic, choice of ‘icons’. For those of you who missed this contribution to national arousal here are the seven ‘icons’, with a few comments.
1 Jade Jones: Don’t know much about the girl, or her ‘sport’, taekwondo. I think she won something in last year’s Olympics (none of which I watched). Probably chosen because she’ll be fresh in people’s minds due to Boris’s Olympics. As for being an ‘icon’, surely it’s too early to tell. How many will remember her in 30 years?
2 Owain Glyndŵr: (Spelled without the accent in the Mule.) Described, yet again, as “self-styled Prince of Wales”. Curious. Owain was – and still is – accepted by the Welsh people in a way that Charles Windsor is not. So why is Glyndŵr depicted as the pretender, or the usurper, while we are asked to accept Carlo as the real thing?
3 Aneurin Bevan: Many of my socialist friends would applaud Nye’s inclusion. Which might be to miss the point of this article. For the Bevan section contained a passage of unadulterated bollocks that exemplifies perfectly what I’m saying here. Consider this: “Wales could be feeling the pressure of a Six Nations decider at home versus England. In fairness, anyone would. But Nye Bevan is a lesson of the things that can be achieved through sheer determination and adherence to their values”. This reminds me of that scene in Little Big Man where the old Indian recalls meeting the Great White Chief, and being told to ‘strive to endeavour to persevere’, or similarly patronising drivel.
4 Barry John: What a surprise! A figure from the recent past who might actually have been an influence on some of those taking the field on Saturday. Or possibly their fathers. No complaints here. But plenty with the next one.
5 Our Regiments: ” . . . there can be no greater embodiment of Welsh pride, of commitment and professionalism than those serving in the Welsh regiments”. No greater embodiment of pride and commitment . . . to Britain, which, essentially, means England. So here, on the morn of the big game against England, the Wasting Mule seeks to whip up Welsh patriotism by urging loyalty to England, and her monarch, her army and her other institutions! A perfect example of what I discussed in the previous post: Welsh patriotism confined to sport, to be turned off once the celebrations are over, and always subordinate to an over-arching British loyalty. Eighty-minute ‘patriotism’.
6 Shirley Bassey: Now, with the best will in the world, I can’t quite figure out how Shirl gets on this list of inspirational Welsh icons. We all love her, but I cannot imagine Gethin Jenkins in the dressing room before kick-off working his men up into a frenzy with, ‘We goin’ out there to hammer them English, right – an’ we gonna do it for Shirl!’ I can only conclude that with no one else on the list from Cardiff the Cardiff-centric Mule had to find someone, anyone; it might as well have been Ivor Novello Davies.
7 Henry VII: This section made the inevitable comparison between the ‘Welsh’ victory at Bosworth over a larger English army and our rugby team facing an unbeaten and much fancied England. Fair enough. But then it also highlighted one of the Mule‘s many failings. For to believe whoever wrote this, our ancestors followed Henry to Bosworth because he’d been born in Pembroke. Wrong. The Welsh supported Henry because he was one of the Tudors of Penmynydd. It wouldn’t have mattered if he’d been born in Paisley or Paris, he was a Tudor, the Welsh regarded him as one of their own, and that’s what mattered. What this shows is complete ignorance of how important lineage was to our forefathers and how much emphasis, even today, we Welsh place on who ‘your people’ are, and to whom, you ‘belong’.
There was more; page after unrelenting bloody page of it; but as many of you will be suffering from hangovers I’ll spare you. Trouble is, tomorrow could be even worse. So adjust your woggle and Be Prepared! Or buy another paper.