Monday, October 01, 2012

Welsh Language vital issue for Tories

There are many good reasons why the Conservative Party should become full-blooded champions of the Welsh Language. The main reason is that its the right thing to do. Another (less honourable perhaps) is that it would be a big electoral plus for us. More so than any other political party in my opinion. We are still sometimes dismissed as being 'English', which offends me hugely - something to do with pit owners 100 yrs ago I think! Lord Roberts of Conwy challenged this perception brilliantly for many years, but I do think we need to take it more seriously again.

I don't mean token bilingualism. The odd "Bori Da" by non-Welsh speakers making a laudable effort is not enough. I mean standing up proud for a full-blooded bilingual nation named Wales. No leaflets produced by the central party anything but fully bilingual. All advertising material produced centrally fully bilingual. Major meetings equipped for translation. Constituency offices offering callers a bilingual service, transferring to a central bilingual contact if no Welsh speaker available. We must never force anyone to listen, or join in. That does more harm than good - breeding resentment. But the Welsh Language must be really special to us, and everyone should know its special to us.

Perhaps this is not going to happen. Perhaps its just my imagination on fire again. Anyway that's not the point. My point is that dreaming this dream, and shouting it from the tops of Snowdon and Plynlumon is what we Tories should be doing - not despite us being Tories but because we're Tories. And it will make us more popular, and morev people in Wales will vote for us.

Across the world, it is parties of the centre/right which support 'regional' government, and minority rights. Its a centre/right philosophy to accept freedom of minorities to live as they wish. Its libertarian right to respect people's right to diversity rather than forced compliance to the usual. Its the Welsh Language that makes Wales different. Sure, we have mountains - but so does Scotland. Better bigger mountains. We have a lovely coastline. So does Cornwall. But we are the only part of Britain which has a significantly used and living language. Its a great USP. We should build on it.

When it comes to it, its always been the Conservative Party that took the decisive steps which stopped the remorseless decline of the Welsh Language over the last 40 yrs. When I won a bardic chair for an essay on the future of the Welsh Language in the 1960s I concluded it would wither to academic use only within a century. Not now. Its been a dramatic turnaround, which the Tories can take a big part of the credit for. But sometimes we seem almost embarrassed about what we have achieved. I want to see the Tories loved by the Welsh people. I want to see the Tories admired and voted into power by the Welsh people. Let us become full-blooded champions of our unique language and it could happen.


bonetired said...

"But we are the only part of Britain which has a significantly used and living language."

Er Doesn't English count? (Only joking - I take your point!)

Glyn Davies said...

Thanks bonetired - edited the post!

Anonymous said...

glyn you could talk the leg off a chair. you had me believing it for a minute

Anonymous said...

The reason Wales does not the Tories is unrelated to the Welsh language. It is much more to do with your economic policies.

Jac o' the North, said...

If the Conservative and Unionist Party was a Tory party, and believed in a Union of equal nations, each treated with respect, then you wouldn't need to be posting this, Glyn. It would be established and normal behaviour for such a party, and such a State.

And the reason your party is regarded as 'English' isn't due to the coal-owners of the 19th century. It's due to the background of too many of your supporters in Wales.

Anonymous said...

Glyn is on the ball because Owen Smith has said that more devolution to Wales could be needed. Where do the Tories stand? What are they saying about the Welsh nation?

I'm sceptical because Cheryl Gillan said there was "no need" for a Welsh legal jurisdiction, and turned down the request for some very modest Welsh powers over energy, even though it was in the Welsh conservative manifesto. And it was a request that was extremely tame.

Is David Jones any different? You have to at least keep up with Labour on devolution.

Anonymous said...

Pumlumon* ;)

I agree with Jac, having been part of the union for hundreds of years, where is the incredible inherited wealth the people of wales mined and produced...I just dont see it.

We have youth unemployment as a resource though and that not been helped by Labour

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