Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Welsh Dragon - a Satanic Symbol?

A new party in Wales is about to launch a campaign to replace Y Ddraig Goch as the national flag of Wales ... because it's the symbol of the devil.

Party manifesto coordinator Rev David P Griffiths from The new Welsh Christian Party declared it an “outrage” that various government, housing and tourism bodies in North Wales associate themselves with a symbol of defeat and Satan – the dragon.

And I always thought they were associating themselves with the national flag of Wales. Silly me. May I suggest that it's only religious nuts like the Rev Griffith who associate the Welsh Dragon with Satanism?

Tom Bodden tells the full story.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

No St. David's Day holiday - A lame response from the Government

Calls from over 11,000 people who petitioned the PM to proclaim March 1st a Bank Holiday in Wales have been, predictably, rejected. The response from the Government was:
"Whilst the Government is pleased that so many people are interested, as you can imagine it is not possible to please everyone as to who or what should be celebrated. Unlike Northern Ireland, where St Patrick's Day is a bank holiday, bank and public holidays in Great Britain do not, by tradition commemorate particular individuals, events, or institutions, other than those associated with Christmas and Easter. Moreover, many individuals and communities in Wales already celebrate St David's Day in a way they consider more suitable. The present pattern of bank holidays in the United Kingdom is well established and accepted, and the Government has no current plans to change the arrangements."
Ahhh, I see. So it's perfectly OK that everyone in the UK - which is largely secular - has bank holidays to remember the day when Jesus was crucified on a cross (Good Friday), when he was resurrected (Easter) and the date on which he was born (if he existed at all, of course.)

But it's not OK to celebrate and remember something actually meaningful - our cultural hertitage and what it means to be a part of Wales (whether you're Welsh or not)? Perhaps it's just me but I can't see the logic in the Government's argument. Or perhaps that is their logic.

I had a debate with someone - a British nationalist - on this issue a few days ago. It went something like this (my opponents' comments are in italics):

"I can't see the point in it. It's just an excuse to have a day off. Businesses are already being squeezed."

"But", I piped up, "you still think it's fine to have the other bank holidays off?"

"Well, yes".

"So you think it's OK to take days off to acknowledge Christian events, which may be completely mythical and are certainly distorted, even though you proclaim yourself to be non religious?"

"It's not ideal but I don't mind. We all need some days off. And nobody really acknowledges the religious aspect anyway."

"So what's wrong with the idea of a day off for everyone in Wales to celebrate all things Welsh on the day of our patron saint?"

"It's an OK idea but I just don't think it's necessary. People are free to celerbate it if they wish anyway. They don't need another day off."

"Yes, but they can't celebrate much if they're working until 5pm, can they?"

"No, but... I just don't think they need the day off. Like I said, businesses are already being squeezed."

"Well, you could swap one of the bank holidays for St. David's Day then?"

"... I suppose, but ... if you do that, everyone will be demanding days off for this event, for that event. It'll be never ending."

"Look, it surely can't be a bad idea to have just one day off a year to celebrate something meaningful and useful to the people of Wales? It's something everyone in Wales could join in with. It's not that you're against the idea of Bank Holidays because you're quite happy to celebrate days which are, to you as a non-religious person, completely meaningless. You don't complain about businesses being squeezed then, do you? It's just that you don't like the idea of having another day, or swaping a Bank Holiday, to celebrate St. David's Day because you're a British nationalist and, like the government, you don't like the idea of the seperate nations of the UK celebrating their unique cultural and historical identities."

"Yeah, but I still maintain that we don't need to take the day off just because it's St. David Day. There's no need for it."

At this point we decided to agree to disagree but I think the conversation highlighted an important point: the underlying tendancy for British nationalists to resist any idea of the separate nations of the UK celebrating their unique identities. They would rather we all melted into a UK-wide, Union Jack-waving culture, and forget what makes us different and unique. Thankfully, that's just not going to happen.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Olympic Disaster for Wales

Aside from the obvious fact that Wales will gain little if anything from the London Olympics it now seems that we'll actually be worse off! This is because we'll be losing out on £29m of lottery money which will have to be raided as a result of rising costs. Doubtless that number will increase even further by 2012. And they say Wales couldn't survive without handouts from London?

For the full depressing story see Hywel Trewyn's article in the Daily Post.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

English Support in Wales

Taffia Don’s blog about English support for Scotland in yesterday’s 6 Nations match against Wales has got me thinking … why, in certain parts of North East Wales, is there more support and interest in English sporting teams than Welsh sporting teams?

Even some Welsh people seem far more clued-up about the goings-on of the English teams than the Welsh teams. They’ll know, for instance, when England are playing, who they’re playing, who‘s in the team, etc. But ask them about the Welsh team and they’ll either look at you blankly or mutter “Oh, I don’t really know.”

This is amply demonstrated at my local snooker hall whenever there is an English football match on the TV. Most of the time you’ll find a sizeable gathering for the English games with lots of support and cheering, etc, but for the Welsh matches … hardly any support at all.

Perhaps it has to do with geography. The place in question, although in Wales, is very close to the border. Even those brought up in the area were probably born in an English hospital and perhaps one or more parents are either from or were born in England. Consequently, they probably identify themselves as English, and it is only natural to support the team you identify with.

But that doesn’t explain everything. I mean, do the Welsh supporters (I assume there are a few somewhere) simply hide indoors whenever the Welsh teams play? Do they not take an interest? Or are English fans generally rowdier and more vocal? Maybe there’s simply more of them?

Whatever the answer, it certainly seems as if there’s more support for English teams than Welsh teams in parts of Wales.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Stop Colonising Our Villages

Here's a interesting letter from the North-East Wales paper, Evening Leader, published January 15th 2007. Comments are welcomed:
For several years now, the inefficient planning guidelines have been followed and carried out by welsh authorities including Wrecsam Council. Planning decisions have done a superb job in solving the housing crisis of Cheshire, Wirral & beyond.

They need to be congratulated for accelerating the anglicisation of our village communities.

Where Cymraeg has filtered out as a first language over the past generation, the English speaking Welsh communities are now at a point of imminent extinction as their children are unable to afford to live in villages occupied by their families for generations.

It is now only a matter of time before our once individual village accents are gone to be replaced by (*) English accents (* edited - brummie & scouse drawl).

New housing estates should only be built in communities where they are needed by that community and priced for that community.

The greed of property developers, setting such house prices out of reach of our own but within reach of affluent English has to stop.

Only a change in planning law can stop this effect from continuing.

A new policy stating that any such new development must be priced accordingly with local earnings, and criteria built into the deeds of such land and dwellings to ensure continuation of such.

What is important to these "wannabe city councillors"? More council tax payers or losing our identity?

We have every right to say we don't want our communities anglicised - colonisation is wrong, as the United Nations has declared. We love being Welsh, we love our culture, our heritage, our language, our history, and we want to stay that way.