North Wales's chief constable: We should ALL be learning Welsh
North Wales’s chief constable Richard Brunstrom addressed a campaign group’s conference and called on everyone living in Wales or moving here to learn Welsh.
In a speech which won him a standing ovation, the controversial chief made no apologies for sticking his neck out at Cymuned’s annual conference in Penrhyndeudraeth.
Speaking confidently in Welsh, which he’s learned as a second language, Mr Brunstrom said how much the language had enabled him to learn about Wales, its people, culture and history.
Referring to himself as a “converted immigrant” Mr Brunstrom said it should be “acceptable” for everybody to learn Welsh and for Wales to become a confident and bilingual country.
Since moving to live in Wales, Mr Brunstrom said he understood Welsh people’s fears for the language’s future.
He urged politicians to update the present Welsh Language Act and for the Assembly to bring about measures to safeguard and promote Welsh.
He said the Government of Wales Act 2006 gave Welsh people the powers to carry out more than just creating a strategy to ensure the language’s survival.
Mr Brunstrom suggested that the newly-empowered Assembly should pass measures to promote and safeguard the language allowing speakers full powers to use it with public and private organisations.
He said: “I believe I have a legal duty as a senior public servant to promote the use of Welsh.”
He also called for Welsh to become a more “normalised” language used both in everyday life and business in Wales.
“Wales is a country of its own and doesn’t correspond to a region of England. The huge majority of English people including politicians can’t accept this.”
He referred to “imperialist” attitudes of his fellow countrymen who “place Wales on some far horizon.”
His speech, included references to the Welsh Not, the drowning of Tryweryn, and his admiration of poet T H Parry-Williams’ poem Hon about Wales which he found “thrillingly relevant” as well as the long struggle by Welsh communities to survive, got a standing ovation and endeared him to the 50 delegates present.
Labour MP for Alyn and Deeside Mark Tami had previously suggested it was “inappropriate” for Mr Brunstrom to have attended Cymuned’s conference while he said it was important for him to “interact” with all sections of the community in North Wales.
Afterwards, Mr Brunstrom made no apologies for making recommendations and suggestions to elected politicians about policies which would lead to “more cohesion and less tension within communities.”
Also speaking at the conference was director of the Race Equality Council Chris Myant.
Cymuned chief Aran Jones, himself a Welsh-learner, urged politicians to hold talks at the Assembly on the need for a housing market where houses are only built if there is a local need.
Source: Daily Post, April 16, 2007