That Chippy in Chepstow

The ability to pass legislation regarding the Welsh language already exists!

The willingness to pass such legislation also exists - Westminster has passed decenial Welsh Language Laws since the 1930's.

The Welsh Language LCO has sod all to do with whether the Chippy in Chepstow should be subject to Welsh Language Legislation - it is all to do with who should decide whether or not said chippy should be subject to said legislation!

The Welsh Language LCO has nothing to do with the rights or the wrongs of Welsh language provision, it's to do with which institution is best placed to decide linguistic issues: Westminster or the Bay?

Those of us who want competence for the language to be decided in the Assembly, rather than at Westminster, are actually taking a gamble. Any Assembly language measures are going to be scrutinised a damn site more closely than Westminster measures are.

In Westminster the Welsh Language is always a side issue. Something that an enthusiastic Minister or Civil Servant can get away with.

The Education Act of 1993 insists that all pupils in Wales (including the Chippy in Chepstow's kids) are educated up to key stage three in Welsh! I doubt if such legislation could ever have passed through a Welsh Assembly given the competence to debate it!

There is one thing that worries me about the language LCO, which relates to the whole LCO process, and may be relevant to other LCO's.

If partial legislative responsibility is given to the Assembly, and partial legislative responsibility is left with Westminster then substantial responsibility can be left in limbo with neither body taking responsibility for it - the worst of both worlds.

Even if you couldn't give a fig about the Language, imagine the distress that limiting an LCO could cause in child protection legislation, leaving the differences between the Bay and Westminster in limbo!

The housing LCO compromise leaves neither Cardiff nor Westminster fully responsible for social housing - social housing will slip between both stools now - and probably die!

The worst thing that could happen to the language is Westminster giving 25% of language protection responsibility to the Assembly, and using that 25% as an excuse to do nothing with the 75% retained responsibility.

My personal attitude is either Wales gets 100% responsibility over Welsh Language issues, which common sense says that Wales should have, or we tell Westminster to stick the LCO where the sun don't shine!


  1. Alwyn, I agree that the WAG should be legislating on the Welsh Language (although they have conveniently ducked S4C, quite happy for that extortion to be left ‘on the side’ in the UK’s Department for Culture. The reply to the letter I sent the Minister confirm that they have no plans to devolve S4C – it does show some inconsistency, do you agree?

    Also, and I think you are misrepresenting many people’s views on this, there is a clear pathway to how the measure will be proposed prior to it being debated. Alun Fred has also made it clear that this is the first step – I would imagine this first step is going to include more compulsion going further down the business food chain.

    The location of the Governance of the matter we agree on, but the reason for that competence to be requested is about more compulsion, it is about a pre determined policy position prior to the request for competency. Hence my point about S4C…

  2. As native-born English speaker, living in London, I am so glad that, at least potentially, the Welsh language will gain equal status with English, in Wales.

    As the "International Year of Languages" comes to an end on 21st February, you may be interested in the contribution, made by the World Esperanto Association, to UNESCO's campaign for the protection of endangered languages.

    The following declaration was made in favour of Esperanto, by UNESCO at its Paris HQ in December 2008. http://portal.unesco.org/culture/en/ev.php-URL_ID=38420&URL_DO=DO_PRINTPAGE&URL_SECTION=201.html

    The commitment to the campaign to save endangered languages was made, by the World Esperanto Association at the United Nations' Geneva HQ in September.
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eR7vD9kChBA&feature=related or http://www.lernu.net

  3. Thanks for your comments Marcus, my comments neither represent or misrepresent any other persons views. The views expressed here are my own.

    I agree with your comments about S4C. Broadcasting in Wales seems to be a an area that by definition should be devolved. The fact is, of course, that the Assembly would find it difficult to justify the £100 million a year cost of running the channel. So a number of people who are devolutionists in all other things prefer the channel to be ignored by Westminster rather than to be scrutinised by the Assembly.

    I accept your point that the LCO is being driven by what the Assembly wishes to do with the powers. This is one of the weaknesses of the LCO system competence can only be granted to the Assembly in order to do "something". Most governments have the responsibility to do nothing, but nothing is not a competence that the LCO system allows the Assemblt to do, unfortunatly.

  4. Alwyn,

    I can assure you that i am 100% behind any moves to move towards a full welsh parliament, and i deplore the WSC holding the WAG over the barrel of a gun.

    But i just think the policy flavour tastes very good. Surely, as a man of the right, you see the folly in a clunky statist approach?

  5. That is an important don't, Marcus.

    As a man of the right, I do see the folly of a clunky statist approach.

    I like governments that do nothing!

    But I want the Assembly to be the last word in doing nothing about the Welsh language.

    And it is not just a pedantic difference.

    Where nothing should be done the Assembly will choose to do nothing

    Westminster will do nothing because it can't be arsed to do anything!