Imagine if someone telephoned you, out of the blue, and asked you to choose four people, dead or alive, fictional even, that you would like to invite to join you for dinner. Who would you choose? Actually, I'd prefer to have dinner with family and friends, but I don't think that was what Radio Cymru had in mind. This was the format for the 30 minutes I did yesterday, in discussion with Hywel a Nia. So when I had the call, a fair bit of head scratching was needed.
Now where do I start. First thing was to decide what I wanted to talk about. Well, yesterday saw confirmation of the 100th death of one of our paratroopers in Afghanistan. I was debating (with myself) whether we should be there at all, when the phone rang. So the issue that immediately came to mind was what justification is needed to turn to violence to achieve political objectives. Who has made major decisions about resorting to violence - or not - in the twentieth century. That was the basis on which I chose my guests.
First up was David Lloyd George, a man generally thought to have pacifist leanings, who became a great wartime leader. And I would like to ask him just how on earth a radical Welsh Liberal, committed to taking shedloads of money from the landed gentry to pay for social benefits managed to become the de facto leader of the Tories for 6 years. No wonder he was nicknamed 'Wizard'.
Second up was Aung San Suu Kyi, the incredibly brave leader of the opposition to the Generals in Burma - a woman of such beauty and poise, that I would have to insist on sitting between her and Lloyd George for her protection from his attentions - if Ffion Hague's new book is anything to go by. I could have invited Mahahatma Gandhi, whom she is often compared with, but I needed to invite at least one woman, and she is very much in the news at present.
Third up was Churchill, partly because he is reputed to be the only politician who enjoyed a good and trusting relationship with Lloyd George. Churchill was a great war hero, who I think of as being the first exponent of 'total war'. But we must not forget that he joined the Liberals to begin with when his mate, Lloyd George hadn't donned his post pacifist clothes - so even this is not straight forward. I might have been better inviting Hitler, but that would have been too controversial.
And finally Saunders Lewis. Odd choice you might think. And I admit that I've not read much about Lewis. But I think of him as the main instigator behind the decision to invoke violence to win support for Welsh identity and the Welsh Language, an issue of consuming interest to me. Not sure how he would have got along with my other guests and I wouldn't have let him anywhere near the flambe pan. I would like to discuss with him whether he thinks that violence, and the threat thereof was a help or a hindrance to his basic objectives. Bearing in mind how little actual violence there was (as opposed to law breaking), it had a disproportionate impact on the perception of the Welsh as being a nation ready to use violence. I really do not know whether it was a help or a hindrance as far as Welsh identity is concerned..
I wonder whether anyone else who reads my blog would like to have joined this fivesome if there had been an extra chair - or which four guests they would have chosen and why if they had been a guest of Hywel and Nia.