On Dragons and Tongues

There is a typically Guardianista debate taking place on the Comment is Free site about intellectual clichés:

"We've all been there. You're in the middle of a heated discussion – debating the news over a pint in the pub, or firing off comments below an article on Comment is free. Suddenly, you remember that someone famous once put your argument in a much pithier way than you ever could. It might be an old canard like "Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" from the Old Testament, or trendy economist-speak such as Malcolm Gladwell's well-worn phrase "the tipping point". The point is: you didn't really read the original text, and you're not all that sure what the author was really going on about in the first place. But you quote it anyway. Everyone – commenters, commentators, yes, even editors – sometimes resorts to intellectual clichés."
As if by magic our own Wales Home came up with a perfect example "The Dragon Has Two Tongues", a debate about whether or not Wales Home should publish posts in Welsh without translating them into English, a theme picked up by John Tyler.

In the Context of the CiF debate the cliché's origins are not in a debate just about the language, but in a book by Glyn Jones and a HTV series where Prof Gwyn Alf Williams debated with Wynford Vaughan Thomas, not so much about language, but about conservatism and radicalism. Both Wynford and Glyn were fluent Welsh speakers the tongues that divided their dragon wasn't linguistic but cultural; it wasn't can speak Welsh v can't speak Welsh but right v left.

In the intervening 30 odd years since the programme was made, only one party has successfully taken on the lessons learned from the programme - the Conservative Party - The only party that doesn't really mind the language that you use as long as the message is right in both senses of the word. Unfortunately the Tories oppose national self determination for Wales, so I can't support them!

Plaid Cymru, a party that one would expect to unite all Welsh speakers and all who have an abiding interest in Welsh culture and history cuts us Wynford types out, because we are not Gwyn Alf's disciples who believe that the Gresford disaster and Streic y Penrhyn are the be all and end all of North Wales' history, because we are not all left wing. Plaid treats our Dragon's Tongue with opposition, opprobrium and derision.

Unless and until a national movement unites all who want Welsh independence, left and right, cultural and practical, Welsh speaking or not, one of the dragon's tongues will remain very, very wilted!


Time to disqualify the disqualifications

I have refrained from commenting on the Lib Dem two, because I feel that it would have been unfair to do so before the legal advice was available. It has now been published.

From what I understand, John Dixon has fallen on his sword and Aled Roberts will challenge any motion to dismiss him in the courts.

The thing that has caused me the most disquiet about this saga isn't about whether the rules were broken or not but whether the rules are fair!

Unlike Mr Dixon I have consulted the list of disqualified people, and unlike Mr Roberts I have looked at the list in Welsh and English. My impression is that it is a big list for a small country, and that many of the people most likely to want to represent their area in our National Assembly are the sort of people who have already served Wales well by giving their services to these sorts of bodies.

Disqualifying hundreds of citizens who have already proven their willingness to serve the nation by being members of public bodies from being AMs is bloody stupid!

Rather than sacking Mr Dixon and Mr Roberts the Assembly should change the rules.

I can understand why you can't be an AM and a member of some (but not all) of the prohibited bodies. But surely a rule that says you can stand for election as a member of a public body and if elected you resign your membership of the body before taking up your Assembly seat through the oath would enable more people who are committed to Welsh civic life to stand for election!

Barring so many contributors to Welsh civic life (in all parties) can't be democratic or good for Welsh Governance!

Here is the banned from our democratic process list:

You are not allowed to be an Assembly member if you are also a member of:

A committee established by the Pensions Regulator under section 9 of the Pensions Act 2004;
A National Park authority for a National Park in Wales;
A panel, established under Schedule 10 to the Rent Act 1977, of persons to act as chairmen and other members of rent assessment committees for an area or areas every part of which is in Wales;
A tribunal constituted under section 27 of, and Schedule 3 to the Education Act 2005;
A tribunal referred to in paragraph 10 of Schedule 26 to the Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998(4);
Adjudication Panel for Wales or Panel Dyfarnu Cymru;
Agricultural Land Tribunal;
An urban development corporation for an urban development area wholly in Wales;
Anglesey Recovery Board;
Any member of the Big Lottery Fund appointed under paragraph 1 of Schedule 4A to the National Lottery Etc. Act 1993(5) or of a committee established under paragraph 7(1)(b) of that Schedule;
Arts Council of Wales;
Board of Trustees of the National Library of Wales appointed by the Welsh Ministers;
Board of Trustees of the National Museum of Wales appointed by the Welsh Ministers;
Board of the Pension Protection Fund;
British Waterways Board;
Board of Medical Referees appointed by the Welsh Ministers);
British Broadcasting Corporation Trust;
British Transport Police Authority;
Care Council for Wales or Cyngor Gofal Cymru;
Care Quality Commission;
Central Arbitration Committee;
Channel Four Television Corporation;
Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission;
Commission for Equality and Human Rights;
Competition Appeal Tribunal;
Competition Commission;
Competition Service;
Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence;
Council of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service;
Countryside Council for Wales;
Electoral Commission or Comisiwn Etholiadol;
Environment Agency or Asiantaeth yr Amgylchedd;
First-tier tribunal;
Food & Drink Advisory Partnership;
Food Standards Agency or yr Asiantaeth Safonau Bwyd;
Food Standards Agency Advisory Committee for Wales;
Gas and Electricity Markets Authority;
General Teaching Council for Wales or Cyngor Addysgu Cyffredinol Cymru;
Health and Safety Executive;
Health Protection Agency or yr Asiantaeth Diogelu Iechyd;
Higher Education Funding Council for Wales other than a member who is also an employee of the Council;
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority;
Human Tissue Authority;
Independent Appeal Panel for Farmers;
Independent Police Complaints Commission;
Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales;
Independent Social Services Complaints Panel;
Joint Nature Conservation Committee;
Local Better Regulation Office;
Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales;
Meat Promotions Wales or Hybu Cig Cymru;
Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales;
National Employment Savings Trust Corporation;
Office of Communications;
Office of Fair Trading;
Pensions Regulator;
Postal Services Commission;
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales;
Sianel Pedwar Cymru;
Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee;
Sports Council for Wales;
Statistics Board or Bwrdd Ystadegau established by the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007;
Upper Tribunal;
Valuation Tribunal for Wales;
Welsh Industrial Development Advisory Board;
Welsh Language Board or Bwrdd yr Iaith Gymraeg;
Welsh Levy Board or Bwrdd Ardollau Cymru.
A person appointed by the Welsh Ministers under section 3(1) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989
An auditor appointed under section 13(2) of the Public Audit (Wales) Act 2004;
Ambassador or Permanent Representative to an international organization representing Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom;
Auditor General for Wales and members of his or her staff;
Certification officer and any assistant certification officer having functions under the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992;
Chair of Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee;
Chair and members of the Marine Management Organisation;
Chair and members of the Welsh Committee of the Administrative Justice & Tribunals Council;
Chair and Chief Executive of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills or a Director or a Commissioner of that Commission appointed by the First Minister for Wales;
Chairman and Chief Executive of the Student Loans Company Limited;
Chairman and Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board;
Chairman and deputy chairman of the Civil Service Appeal Board;
Chairman and vice chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission;
Chairman and any other member of the Passengers’ Council in receipt of remuneration;
Chairman and any member, not being also an employee, of a Local Health Board for an area in Wales;
Chairman and any member, not being also an employee, of a Special Health Authority performing functions partly or wholly in respect of Wales;
Chairman and Director General of the British Council;
Chairman and non-executive director of a National Health Service Trust all or some of whose hospitals, establishments or other facilities are situated in Wales;
Chairman of the Beef Assurance Scheme Panel;
Children’s Commissioner for Wales or Comisiyndd Plant Cymru, Deputy Children’s Commissioner and members of his or her staff;
Civil Service Commissioner;
Commissioner for Older People in Wales or Comisiyndd Pobl hŷn Cymru, Deputy Commissioner and members of his or her staff;
Commissioner for Public Appointments;
Commissioner and assistant Commissioner of the Boundary Commission for England;
Commissioner and assistant Commissioner of the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland;
Commissioner and assistant Commissioner of the Boundary Commission for Scotland;
Commissioner and assistant Commissioner of the Boundary Commission for Wales;
Comptroller and Auditor General;
Director of Finance Wales Public Limited Company or any wholly owned subsidiary of Finance Wales Public Limited Company;
Director of the Pensions Advisory Service Limited;
Director of the Post Office company (within the meaning of Part 4 of the Postal Services Act 2000(12)) being a director nominated or appointed by a Minister of the Crown or by a person acting on behalf of the Crown;
Forestry Commissioners and member of their staff;
Governor or Administrator of a British overseas territory within the meaning of section 50(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981;
Health Service Commissioner;
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales or Prif Arolygydd Ei Mawrhydi dros Addysg a Hyfforddiant yng Nghymru;
High Commissioner representing Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom;
Independent Case Examiner for the Department for Work and Pensions;
Independent Groundwater Complaints Administrator appointed under section 21 of and paragraph 27 of Schedule 7 to the Cardiff Bay Barrage Act 1993;
Ombudsman for the Board of the Pension Protection Fund appointed under section 209 of the Pensions Act 2004(15) and any deputy to that Ombudsman appointed under section 210 of that Act;
Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration;
Pensions Ombudsman appointed under section 145 of the Pensions Schemes Act 1993 and any deputy to that Ombudsman appointed under section 145A of that Act;
Person holding a politically restricted post, within the meaning of Part 1 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989(17), under—
(a)a local authority in Wales, within the meaning of that Part,
(b)a National Park Authority for a National Park in Wales;
President of the Special Educational Needs Tribunal for Wales, or member of a panel of persons appointed to act as chairman or other member of that Tribunal;
Returning officer for a constituency or an electoral region of the National Assembly for Wales;
Social Fund Commissioner;
Trustee of the Independent Living Fund (2006).