One Wales - Un Byd

The One Wales Agreement contained a commitment to funding a Welsh Language daily newspaper. It was an unequivocal commitment:

We will expand the funding and support for Welsh-medium magazines and newspapers, including the establishment of a Welsh-language daily newspaper.

There is no way that either party to the One Wales Agreement can wiggle their way out of the fact that Rhodri Glyn Thomas' announcement on funding the Welsh Press, which sounded the death knell to establishing a Welsh language daily in the near future, is a broken promise.

The harm that this decision has caused to Plaid is loud and clear. Many of those who support Plaid Cymru for its defence of the language are bitterly disappointed. The harm to the Labour Party may not be as acute, but it adds to the perception that Cymdeithas Cledwyn noted in Llandudno last week that Labour is seen to be anti-Welsh.

In the long term, however, the decision not to fund Y Byd may prove to be a godsend to the future of the language. As long a go as the early eighties Emyr Llywelyn, in his book Adfer a'r Fro Gymraeg, noted that too many supporters of the language rely too heavily on government intervention as the only means of safeguarding Welsh. Little is done to gain support for the language from within the Welsh speaking community itself and little is done to fund language initiatives from non-governmental sources.

Since the idea of a Welsh language newspaper was first suggested some three years or so ago I have not been directly approached by anybody canvassing my support for the publication. All I know about the issue has come through third parties such as messages on Maes E. Most of my Welsh reading acquaintances in the local community first heard of Y Byd when they were told of its demise last week! Pathetic.

The paper wanted £600K per year grant for the publication plus a £200K guarantee of advertising revenue from the Assembly. But have they sought any long-term advertising or sponsorship deals from other sources such as Tesco or HSBC? Apparently not! It has been a policy of government or bust.

One Wales was wrong to make and brake a promise, but the lesson that not even a government with Plaid support can guarantee everything that supporters of the language want, might be a valuable lesson learned. A lesson that encourages those of us who wish to see the language flourish to stop being over dependent on the state for everything.


  1. Miserable highlights the contradiction that Plaid claim to want to defend our cultures and the Welsh language but in power have gone on the rampage against the very people who voted for them.

    While they might have good intentions to defend Welsh language, culture etc. Plaid essentially embrace the neoliberal consensus that has dominated global politics since the late 70s so they end up turning on the very people and cultures they claim to represent because neoliberalism means the rich get richer and public services are cut.

    Plaid and the wider nationalist movement ultimately cannot defend the Welsh language or traditional cultures in Wales because they are wedded to the very forces and processes that are actually driving through the destruction, namely corporate globalisation and the same cuts and privatisation agenda that all the mainstream parties have embraced post-1979.

    Only a broad socialist movement can adequately defend this.

    Who is attacking the welsh language and rural culture in Wales at present? Is it not, Plaid in Gwynedd ripping the heart out of local communities with largest school closure programme in Wales? Is it not Plaid backtracking on their agreement on a Welsh language newspaper.

    At bottom, it is the process of globalisation and neoliberalism that are eradicating local cultures and languages.

    This has always been the case.

    Under a society run on - driven by - profit, local culture is always going to be destroyed to create a uniform world.

    Only socialist politics can defend local culture and language, as is seen in the case of Plaid who when in power - because they are a neoliberal party - ultimately support the very forces that are destroying local cultures and language

    The paradox of nationalism is it's lack of politics that will seize the power and wealth of the rich to rebuild our society, it is woefully inadequate to confront th forces that are destroying our diverse local cultures, languages and communities. But worse, once in power it ends up siding with those forces. As seen in Cardiff Bay and Gwynedd.

    Let's be clear, there is no lack of resources in our society to keep schools open, hospitals open, subsidise a Welsh newspaper, it's just that the mainstream parties no longer will tax the rich and waste money on things like war or the St Athan's Military Academy (£14 billion being spent there).

    The fundamental issue driving the closure of hospitals, schools, post offices is not shortage of funds but politics. Britain is the 4th richest economy in the world but that wealth is not spread out evenly. Two-thirds to three-quarters of the wealth in our society is owned by only ten per cent of our society, until we have a movement that is prepared to challenge this inequality head-on and reclaim that wealth to fund public services we are going to have more of the same. Plaid have made it clear that they don't have the will for such a fight

    How do we get more funds from Central Government? Well actually their are examples in Britain of socialist councils who have defied budgets and even the law (some councillors going to prison) to defend public services. South Wales once had one of the most militant socialist movements in Europe.

    To adequately defend our cultures and the Welsh language requires a very different party to Plaid based on building a broader movement in wider society based on methods of mass struggle.


  2. Much as I hate to say it I agree with a large part of this analysis - but I think we have a problem and the problem is party politics. It creates a false dichotomy between people who may otherwise be able to have a constructive dialogue on all sorts of things.

    There is a Neoliberal consensus - and I think Plaid have gradually bought into it. Just take a look at the career of Dafydd Elis Thomas over the last 20 years. It symbolises to me the transformation in Plaid.

    On the other hand, I don't think "Socialism" as it's traditionally been concieved is the answer to our problems. "Socialism" in Wales has given the dependency mentality in Wales a new lease of life - and state dependence has become a tool of social control.

    I agree with Miserable Old Fart that people in Wales look too much to the state for solutions - ultimately it reflects a lack of confidence which is endemic in the Welsh psyche.

    Breaking that dependency mentality will allow us to break the hold of the Labour Party on the Welsh psyche - and that will take us in the direction that we need to be going - towards an independent Welsh Republic.

  3. Socialism is dead, the begging bowl mentality is very much alive. Just forget about all that claptrap, it isn't going to happen.

    No reason at all why a Welsh language paper shouldn't flourish, if enough people want it.

  4. Trotskyite drivel

  5. I thought that the One Wales agreement was until 2011, so there is still time.....

  6. I recently interviewed some of the people at the sharp end of Plaid's massive school closure programme in Wales:

    Let's be honest, do you seriously believe that Plaid in power in an independent Wales would be radically different to New Labour? New Wales - New Plaid . . .

    "Meet the new boss - same as the old boss"

  7. Plaid in power, Tories in power, Labour in power .... anything's better than the Trotskyites of Respect

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  9. "Let's be honest, do you seriously believe that Plaid in power in an independent Wales would be radically different to New Labour? New Wales - New Plaid . . ."

    Plaid Cymru and the movement for Welsh independence are not necessarily the same thing...