It’s nearly 10 years since the Welsh Labour Government introduced its vision and policies for the ‘Bilingual Wales’ and since 2003 we have seen a deluge of Welsh Language measures introduced onto the Welsh statute and most of them without any public debate or detailed assessment of any implications that such measures may bring about and we find the media silence on this issue exceptionally eerie and against best interests of Welsh people at large.
BBC Wales is effectively applying censorship on wider public awareness upon the language issues and closely followed by ITV’s Wales stance on silencing the language debate and the only conclusion we can draw is that the political correspondents and higher management in both organisations must be supporters of the Welsh Nationalist Agenda!?
Each and every Welsh language measure put before the Welsh Senate had a statement ‘Public demands it and public at large wants it’ and Welsh AM’s dutifully supported them all, with no apparent due diligence carried out to check language demand claims and their validity by any of them, meaning Labour, Tory and Liberal AM’s.
It would not be unreasonable to expect a thriving Welsh language media if we believed everything Welsh Government tells us about the language demand and public’s expectations but the reality is different and hardly anyone watches the S4C and it has ZERO Viewing Figures (Less than a thousand for most of their broadcasts).
We, as taxpayers fund S4C at some £100 Million each year, plus at least another £100 Million for Welsh language support via the Assembly Government and in the process depriving Health, Education and other key services of adequate funding.
For anyone capable of rational thinking it’s abundantly obvious that the only purpose of this huge and disproportionate public purse funding is there to silence vociferous language activists for nothing and is still going to do nothing to improve uptake or interest in the Welsh language by the vast majority of Welsh people.
The money involved is huge and over the last 10 years we estimate minimum of two Billion Pounds was spent on Welsh language Initiatives alone and other than creating social divisions and apartheid situation in Wales it has done nothing to help the language as simply compulsion into something majority of people living in Wales are not prepared to accept is never going to work.
Wales does not have a National Newspaper, Welsh or English and regional English language newspapers are struggling to maintain readership and their advertising revenues.
There are no Welsh language news papers of any significance and huge subsidies given to them over the years and in MILLIONS of Pounds by Labour led Welsh Government brought nothing other than a dismal failure time after time as there was simply no public support or demand for them and that is a fact even today.
Welsh people at large read and support the English newsprint especially the tabloids and the ‘broad sheets’ in either format. Sadly for Wales the Welsh issues hardly ever feature in any of them but Welsh people must be reasonably happy as they keep buying them.
This alone tells a big storey about Welsh people’s true identity and their allegiance to the UK and Westminster but Welsh Nationalists are not prepared to listen and uttering’s of recent by Carwyn Jones and Plaid Cymru of a possible road to Welsh Independence in the event of Scots going that route is an unrealistic pipe dream at best and politicians should take heed that vast majority of Welsh people would never support any independence initiative.
So nearly 10 years later the implications of Welsh language measures are here for everyone to see and in the public domain. Welsh education is crumbling and is producing generation after a generation of children with hardly any literacy or for that matter numeracy (Welsh children’s educational performance is worst than any other part of the UK and worst in the entire EU).
Furthermore children are refusing to accept the Welsh language and majority of them drop it the minute they are outside a classroom. The social language of Welsh children is English and this is supported by a recent study carried out by Bangor University and in the so called ‘heartland’ of the Welsh speaking regions.
With all this said perhaps it should be of no surprise that Wales has lowest uptake of important Global languages and again than any other part of the UK and the answer coming from those who work in Welsh education is simply ‘children had enough of Welsh language compulsion and have lost interest in languages’.
The Welsh language imposition has not only damaged most of Welsh children socially and academically, but has equally destroyed any opportunity for Wales to attract inward investment and create a business environment welcoming to outsiders.
Global investors are seeking stability, skilled and literate labour, good infrastructure in terms of roads, transport and so on and a financial climate with foreseeable stability and they will find none of these in Wales. Add to this Labour’s endeavours in getting fiscal and taxation powers via the Silk commission which is deliberating this very issue at present, then anyone can see there is only despair left to look forward to under Welsh Labour Government with more poverty, more unemployment and missed opportunities that should have not been lost.
With Bilingual Wales strategy and unprecedented minority language measures already in place including the Language Police then how one can ever expect the ‘Golden Age of Inward Investment’ ever to be repeated again?
Welsh Affairs Select Committee in Westminster longs for reinstatement of now defunct Welsh Development Agency which in its hay days was a true Ambassadors of Wales on international level and who were able to bring in Billions to Welsh economy via the inward investment route.
Labour Welsh Assembly Minister, Edwina Hart is infuriated with Westminster’s ‘interference’ and she arrogantly stated a week or so ago ‘I am responsible for Welsh Economy’ therefore keep out and as expected applauded for such a stance by Plaid Cymru but this level of arrogance is not going to save Wales from inevitable and perhaps perpetual demise into a third world status.
The Establishment should take a stock and perhaps pause to stop and think if the Nation can be forced to accept a language policy which is imposed with no choices or options, or even can the nation afford to fund a social engineering experiment on the scale that is doing at present without apparent mandate from its people? Having said this, the Welsh Labour Government is not stopping and is determined to destroy Welsh educational standards for a long time to come.
The White Paper titled ‘School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Bill’ is ‘upon us’ intended to force all Educational Authorities throughout Wales to adopt bilingual education irrespective if people want it or not. People of Wales need to wake up and act to stop this latest proposal in its tracks and if the Bill goes ahead as it stands now especially the section 4 we’ll be assigning majority of our children to the proverbial dustbins with no future whatsoever.
Welsh language measures have created a Ruling Elite drawn from the Welsh Nationalist element that represents a fraction of Welsh population. These people have taken disproportionate level of public jobs by simply imposing Welsh language as an essential job requirement and again we can find no mandate in the hands of the governing political party or satisfactory grounds to justify this situation and one which is unprecedented on international level.
We could find nothing in Labour party’s manifesto’s that ever suggested prior to elections that Wales will become a Bilingual Nation and that public jobs will gradually only be available to Welsh speakers and this something we are exploring further and also looking into the legality of these measures based on the current laws of England & Wales.
If Welsh people wanted Welsh Language above Anything Else they would have supported and elected Plaid Cymru to govern Wales as Plaid Cymru, who if nothing else are consistent, relatively transparent and open where they stand and we all know they want Independent Wales with Welsh being the first language of this nation and for that very reason Plaid Cymru is largely politically irrelevant and marginalised by the Welsh electorate.
A typical Welsh Labour party supporter would have never dreamt that the party they helped elect would in Government act on behalf of Plaid Cymru’s agenda and equally the same analogy applies to Tories & Liberal AM’s who have let down their supporters by not standing up to the Welsh Language onslaught.
The closet nationalists, who have hijacked mainstream Welsh political parties for their own ends should do the ‘ethical’, resign and stand for a party and agenda that they truly cherish and be open to admit their Plaid Cymru support.
By doing so, they would allow honest and dedicated Welsh people to stand for the main stream parties in accordance with the long standing ethos and principles that they understand and value but no longer have in many Welsh constituencies, but sadly ETHICS is something that does not always go hand in hand in contemporary Welsh politics.
We now have an absurd situation in many parts of Wales where Local Governments and schools who are almost entirely staffed by Welsh speakers who hold protected jobs and are there to support and uphold unacceptable dominance over the rest of us. These people speak Welsh to each other till the ‘proverbial cows come home’ but are dealing with the public in English as English is the first language of Wales and this fact will not change ever.
The large private institutions as Banks and Utilities have been compelled to provide bilingual services too but when examining the extent of the Welsh language services they provide the result is insignificant and in the order of 1% of all transactions they carry out for the Welsh public.
On a final note and as we have said it before, we have the utmost respect for Welsh language speakers and their rights to use their language and educate their children in it, but equally we expect freedom of choice for the English speakers in Wales to educate their children in their first language and to have equal opportunities in the public employment sector.
Editor – Glasnost.Org.UK
© February 2012.