Unionists aren't the problem – apathy is!

Since I started blogging some 5 years ago I have crossed swords with the likes of John the Stonemason, Adam Higgitt aka Normal Mouth; O'Neil and Kezia Duggdale, and have suffered trolling comments from the infamous KP.

It would be easy to think of these as the anti nationalists; as the enemy – people who deserved to be shouted down, kicked in the tender parts and ridiculed. They are not our enemy, they are almost our best friends. They are the people with whom we can argue the national cause, people who are interested in the concept of nationalism, despite opposing it.

In Wales, the problem that nationalist face isn't opposition to nationalism; it's just downright indifference to nationalism!

The vast majority of Welsh people belong to the "don't care – couldn't care less" spectrum as far as the national cause is concerned, it is they; not those who have thought about nationalism and decided to oppose it, who are the real challenge.

Whether we see the future of the national cause as one of reinvigorating Plaid Cymru or one of creating new nationalist movements (or a bit of both) - to succeed we must realise that those who are opposed to the national cause are not the problem; fellow nationalists with whom we have differences are absolutely not the problem; the problem is indifference and apathy.

Our main task isn't one of opposing Unionism or pissing off other nationalist (despite the fact that doing so is fun). Our main task should be one of enthusing the uncommitted into support for the National Cause


The Cost of English in a bilingual Wales

One of the things that I have found interesting about the Western Mail's attack week feature on the Welsh Language is how they conflate bilingualism with excessive support for the Welsh Language.

A perfect example of this can be found in the support for the paper's anti Welsh attitude garnered from Paul Murphy: who warns against 'excessive' spending on Welsh language schemes!

The very word bilingual suggests something to do with TWO languages so any perceived cost of bilingualism should, surely, be shared between BOTH languages. A monolingual transcript of Assembly proceedings, in either language, would have a price tag attached. So how much of the £400K bilingual waste of money is actually being spent on JUST the Welsh Language?

Does English come free of charge?

However I am willing to agree with the Western Mail, translation costs money and in these straightened times money is short. When witnesses appear before committees of the Assembly and present their evidence in Welsh, or when members address those committees in Welsh, translations are a waste of money; they are unneeded and cost too much; after all those of us who can understand Welsh can sacrifice that wasteful spending on English in order to put that wasted money into more worthy pots! Translating those contributions into English is expensive, a waste of money and shouldn't be allowed!

I have attended many hundreds of bilingual meetings in Wales during the past forty years, without ever using any translation facility – as a fluent user of both Welsh and English I don't need translators – those who need the translation facilities are the mono-linguist English, not us bilingual Welsh speakers!

Translation, in Wales, is primarily, spending on the English Language!


Unopposed - WHY?

I have had some interesting responses by phone and e-mail to the newspaper article that appeared in the Weekly News mentioned in my last post. People are always welcome to e-mail me or to phone me to express their views, however there is a comments form at the bottom of every post on this blog; and the newspaper article specifically asks for a debate in its letters page.

90% of the 300+personal responses that I have had so far have been personal, mostly jocular, many supportive and a handful abusive. About 10% have been constructive and would be better made in a public forum rather than in private! I would encourage that 10% to make their comments known to the letters editors of their local papers, on blog comment forms, on twitter etc. This is an important public issue – so don't tell me personally what you think in private – tell the public what you think in public!

With 93 Welsh county councillors being elected unopposed, one county ward not even having a single candidate stand and more than 6,000 Welsh Community Councillors elected without contest, there is something wrong with the democratic process that demands that community reps are elected by the community! What's going wrong is, surely, a matter for serious debate amongst all of us who respect the democratic process!

Some of those who have contacted me have been other councillors who were elected unopposed in their various communities who feel, somehow, that my comments were a criticism of them. That, of course, is rubbish!

All of us who put our names forward for election did so knowing that an election was, at least, a possibility so we entered the fray honestly and it's not our fault that others couldn't be bothered to stand against us; but it must also be part of our responsibility, as representatives of our communities, to ask why there is such disinterest in membership of our county and community councils.


Community Councillor Needs to Buy New Shirt!

Damn and Blast! I should have made sure that I was wearing a decent shirt before allowing the North Wales Weekly News to photograph me for their article on my non-election to the community council! I hadn't noticed the frayed collar until I saw the picture in the paper - very embarrassing!

The tie is of my Betton family tartan, a sept of Clan MacBeth, which does not (of necessity) signify Hubble Bubble Toil and Trouble for the Community Council!


Plaid – for the first time – offering hope in my lifetime

One of the reasons for my Love / Hate attitude towards Plaid Cymru is Plaid's ambivalence about the I word!

I support INDEPENDENCE for Wales unequivocally. Plaid, at times has appeared rather uncertain about independence claiming that it has "never ever" been a party aim, perhaps a long term desire, something that may happen a long time after all current party voters are dead and buried etc.

I was pleased, therefore, to see that Elfyn Llwyd, who has often been as ambivalent as others on the I issue has stated that he will see Wales independent in his lifetime.

Elfyn is a few years older than I am, so Elfyn's statement is the first time EVER that I have heard a Plaid Politician predicting that I could live in an independent Wales!

Diolch Elfyn


Any info about Counts?

Conwy Council is counting all borough and community votes between 9am and 4pm on Friday centrally at Venue Cymru, a horrible decision!

We are electing local councillors and locals should know the results locally after a local count. The final results may not be available until Tuesday or Wednesday on the Council's website! Not good enough!

In the good old days we use to be able to toast our new councillor in the local pub at last orders on election night – that is how it should be!

How are other councils counting? Are they all centralising on Friday or will some results become available on Thursday night / the early hours of Friday morning?