Census 2011: Variations, Anomalies, Worries


A great deal has already been written about the findings of the 2011 Census; some bloggers have dug deep into the data and burned the midnight oil analysing and collating said data. Among those deserving of special mention are Oggy Bloggy Ogwr, Syniadau and Welsh Not British. I’ve even had a go once or twice myself, despite an aversion to numbers and figuring.Welsh born

(Left click on images to enlarge.)

In addition to those on the side of the angels we have also seen desperate attempts to put a positive gloss on some pretty damning and disheartening findings. You know just how desperate, when some are reduced to suggesting that large numbers of elderly English people moving to Wales is to be welcomed. Or that Ceredigion on the point of becoming an English county is somehow compensated for by a couple of Welsh schools in Cardiff, or the Welsh Government being given power over yellow lines.

Over the past few days I’ve done a bit of fresh delving into the findings of the 2011 census, specifically into these two tables: QS203EW Country of Birth and KS202EW National Identity. (Download to open in Excel.) They have provided me with some interesting facts, one of which I have not previously read mentioned anywhere else. In fact, a statistic I find rather disturbing.

Welsh only

Anyway, to begin with, here are three maps showing, by local authority unit, and percentages those, 1/ Welsh born, 2/ Welsh identifying, 3/ Rejecting all Welsh identity. Click to enlarge on all three. Two more things need to be said. Yes, the maps are hand drawn, by me, but they aren’t that bad. (I had thought of blaming the grandchildren, but they would probably have done a better job!) I’ve already confessed to not being enamoured of figures so I ask you to check with the original table if you’re in any doubt about my interpretations. I could have made a mistake (it’s not unknown). I have also tried to present the figures in table form. My attempt can be found below right. (Again, click to enlarge.)

Now a lot has been made of the number choosing to describe themselves in 2011 as ‘Welsh only’, rejecting other identities including British. Up to a point, I can agree, this is encouraging . . . but only up to a point. I say that because looking at the bigger picture, nationally, or even more so, locally, tends to take the gloss off the fact that the vast majority of our people describe themselves as ‘Welsh only’. For example, in Table 1, there’s the fact that only 49.8% of Powys’s population is Welsh born. Yes, I know it’s a border county, with no major hospital, and many locals are born over the border. But even so . . . And what about Ceredigion? Even allowing for the large numbers of students –No Welsh and even the recent activities of Dai Lloyd Evans’ gang – only 55.3% Welsh born is frightening.

The local authority area with the highest percentage of Welsh born is Blaenau Gwent, with 90.3%. Which looks good . . . but only when compared to the other Welsh local authorities. Blaenau Gwent’s figure is just normal, or even low, when set against roughly comparable English local authorities. For example, 95.2% of Barnsley’s population was born in England; St Helens’ (Merseyside) figure is 95.9%; even the figure for Sunderland, in the Tyne-Wear conurbation, is 94.4%. For a deprived, post-industrial, high unemployment area like Blaenau Gwent, 90.3% born in Wales is, in reality, remarkably low. For despite there being little employment in the area it seems people are still moving – or being moved – in to Blaenau Gwent. Going back to the worrying anomaly I mentioned earlier, it was Blaenau Gwent that first alerted me.

For if we look more closely at the figures for Blaenau Gwent we see that while 90.3% of the population is Welsh born we see the following figures for identification: Welsh only 72.4, Welsh and British 8.2, Welsh Combined – e.g. Welsh-Russian if your Mam is from Omsk (or even Tomsk) – 0.8. If we total up these three it gives us 81.4%. Deduct that from 90.3 and we are left with 8.9% . . . that was born in Wales, lives in Wales, but does not regard itself as being in any way Welsh! Struck by this figure I decided to look at the national picture. I soon Full Tablefound that Blaenau Gwent is not unique.

The national picture tells us that out of a total population of 3,063,456 only 2,226,005 is Welsh born. Of this Welsh-born population 1,761,673 (79.1% of Welsh born) considers itself to be Welsh only. A further 217,880 (9.8%) Welsh and British. With a final 38,128 (1.7%) of ‘combined’ identity. Total up the three designations and deduct them from the total Welsh born and we are left with 208,324 people who were born in Wales, live in Wales, but reject any Welsh identification. How do we explain this?

I can understand someone born to Chinese parents describing themselves as Chinese. This could apply to other non-European groups with a strong sense of cultural or religious identity. But there are relatively few members of such groups in Wales. The vast majority of the non-Welsh in Wales are English. So does this anomaly mean that we have over two hundred thousand people living among us, born in our country, who have chosen to reject any identification with us or our country? If so, what a worryingly colonialist or racist attitude this suggests.

The more I look at the Census 2011 findings the more I see a divided country. Due entirely to Wales being systematically and deliberately colonised. To realise the truth of this one only needs to study the recent activities of the Planning Inspectorate, council chief executives and other senior officers, the Third Sector, assorted civil servants (supposedly answering to the Welsh Government), social housing providers, etc., etc.

A policy of colonisation so pervasive and successful that we might already be living alongside an entrenched and growing colonist population, our own Anglo-Irish or pieds-noirs. While we Welsh become poorer and more marginalised. Leading us to reject in ever increasing numbers any political or national label other than ‘Welsh’. How long will it be before this growing resentment and polarisation finds expression beyond the census form, the Eisteddfod Maes, and the rugby stadium?

Time To Get Real

Yesterday I tried to submit a petition to the Notional Assembly asking it to dissolve itself, seeing as it serves no useful purpose. My petition was refused, “As the Assembly does not have the power to dissolve itself, and matters relating to the devolution settlement in Wales remain the responsibility of the UK Government and Westminster, your petition is inadmissible.” The civil servant dealing with my petition went on to suggest that I might wish to submit a similar petition to the UK government. Though when I checked the relevant website I found someone had beaten me to it. PetitionWhile this petition also calls for the Assembly to be “abolished” I suspect the petitioner (see left, click to enlarge) is coming from the opposite direction to me. For my thwarted petition to the Assembly said: It is now clear that devolution has failed to improve the lives of the vast majority of Welsh people. Wales is becoming poorer year on year. In addition, successive Welsh Governments have done nothing to end the exploitation of Wales or challenge the colonisation programme. We therefore call on the Welsh Government to approach the UK government with a view to putting an end to the National Assembly for Wales.”

So why would I want to do away with the Assembly? First off, it’s obviously a waste of space and money, not least because it takes its orders from London. So it hardly matters that it is filled with drunks, deadbeats and dilettantes. This results in Wales now being a worse place for the Welsh than in the days before devolution: We are poorer, more marginalised, more heavily colonised, more exploited, even insulted with more vitriol and ridiculed with greater frequency than before. Yet, because the Assembly exists, it lulls too many into believing Wales is a better place because we have control over our own affairs! Only by removing the Assembly will the stark reality of our position become clear.

Of course there will be those, even those who should know better, who will argue that having an Assembly – even one run by Labour – is better than no devolution at all. Is it? These people tend to be on the Left, often Plaid members and supporters, dreaming of the day when Plaid will again be in coalition with Labour, acting as a restraining, Welshifying influence. (Yes, just think Clegg and his gang.) The harsh truth is that the next UK elections in May 2015 may return a Labour government, which will still be enjoying its ‘honeymoon period’ when the Assembly elections are held a year later. Result: a Labour ‘government’ in Cardiff. Alternatively, if the coalition gets returned in 2015, or the Tories win an outright majority, this scenario will see Welsh voters urged to ‘send a message’ to the Tories in London (by voting Labour in Assembly elections). Too many of us will. Result: a Labour ‘government’ in Cardiff. So, and assuming that Assembly elections return to their four-year term, the earliest chance of Plaid Cymru even getting into coalition with Labour down Cardiff docks is May 2020. Now ain’t that something to look forward to?

So we are lumbered with a Labour ‘Welsh Government’ until at least 2020 and a ‘national’ party that has no ambition beyond being a very junior partner in coalition with Labour. Further, this ‘national’ party is unable to accept – due to some twisted variant of socialist solidarity – that the Labour Party is the real obstacle to its progress and the well-being of this nation, preferring to conjure up all sorts of demons rather than think badly of fellow socialists.

‘But wait’ I hear you cry, ‘what about the influence of the Scottish referendum?’ Well, what about it? Our beloved and energetic First Minister has made a number of recent pronouncements on this very subject. Bizarrely arguing that if Scotland votes for independence in 2014 England might leave the Union! (That’s how I read it anyhow.) But whatever Carwyn Jones says, be assured of one thing: his – and his party’s – reaction to the Scottish referendum will be influenced by what is in the best interests of the Labour Party, not Wales. Also remember that with Scotland gone the Englandandwales Labour Party will need Welsh MPs more than ever. So forget any wet dreams about the party of George Thomas and Neil Kinnock, Don Touhig and Llew Smith, putting Welsh interests first.

Not only is the Assembly discredited but also, and by inevitable extension, so is the confidence trick of electoral politics. For we Welsh live in a one-party State that relies on the most deracinated and poorly educated members of the nation, and the most deprived areas of the country, to guarantee Labour’s hegemony – and they do it from fear of something worse!  ‘Uncle Joe’ would have been in awe of such brain-washing. I’m not sure how to describe this system, but it is not democracy. So it’s time we stopped pretending to believe it is democracy.

The priority from now on must be the defence of the nation from the obvious and increasing threats, not least colonisation and explotation. Make life as uncomfortable as possible for those who claim to run Wales, and for those who actually run Wales. Make Wales difficult to govern. Do this well enough and then, a few years down the line, we will be in a position to achieve far more than from a political game increasingly rigged against us. As great-aunt Gwladys used to say (drunk or sober): Politicians! boy bach – have nothing to do with the bastards unless you’ve got your hand on your wallet and your foot on their neck.

God bless you, great-aunt Gwladys. For you understood that politics is about power and influence, however exerted. Elections are for little people; silly little people who believe that elections change things.