The (international edition) of the Guardian newspaper published a bizarre article on the 29th of August entitled “Welsh fear that incomers will threaten their language” by Steven Morris.
Read this illuminating article against mass immigration and the resulting multiculturalism.
Well, in my opinion, it’s totally bizarre for the Guardian to publish an article with that title.
Personally, I rather sympathise with ethnic Welsh concerns about their language and culture.
But what is the Guardian doing publishing an article which feels sympathy with those trying to preserve their national culture and identity?
I thought the Guardian (along with all overtly liberal/left Politically Correct organisations) was in favour of multiculturalism: which can be defined as the eventual swamping of national and regional identities and cultures by incoming cultures which results in something entirely different taking their place.
For example, if you object to the Islamisation of England, you are a xenophobe or ‘racist’ or worse in the eyes of the political left (including the Guardian!)
So – do we now take it that it is acceptable to defend national identities and cultures?
Furthermore, in the second paragraph of the article, the Welsh language is described as a form of “vibrancy”! I have always thought that that daft word was reserved for all aspects of multiculturalism rather than an indigenous language of the British Isles? Obviously, the journalist writing that article has lost his NUJ handbook while on his jaunt across rural Wales!
So what’s going on here? I’ve always suspected that the political left doesn’t give a hoot for matters cultural: that is, I suspect their motive for advocating multiculturalism is simply to stir things up by advocating the destruction of their OWN culture.
Another bit of evidence pointing in the same direction is the total silence by the advocates of multiculturalism on the subject of relatively non-multicultural countries, for example, China and Japan. At least the two latter are non-multicultural in the sense that people from the other side of the world (Europeans, Africans and Muslim Arabs, etc) form about 0.001% of their populations and the culture of the ethnic Chinese and Japanese is robustly defended by their respective governments (unlike the situation in England or even Wales!)
Why doesn’t our political left make a song and dance about the above two disgracefully non-multicultural countries? In my opinion, it is because the advocates of multiculturalism don’t really give a toss about multiculturalism. Their main concern, to repeat, is to stir things up, attract attention to themselves and build a base of support amongst the newcomers, I suspect.
Moreover, if our political left went to China and Japan as modern day secular missionaries, preaching the virtues of multiculturalism, they’d probably get a two fingered salute from both the Chinese and Japanese people. And that would pose a horrendous dilemma for the preachers of self-loathing and self-destruction!
People with non-white skins are almost beyond reproach according to the politically correct. But if a non-white person gave multiculturalism the two fingered salute, well, what a conundrum that would deliver. That would pose a truly dreadful dilemma for UK advocates of multiculturalism.
So better not to go there. Better sweep that one under the carpet. Unless you live in Wales, of course, and the immigrants are English!
The article by Steven Morris first appeared in the 29 Aug 2011 issue of The Guardian International Edition
Concern that thousands of new homes will bring those who speak only in English
Stroll around Carmarthen market and it quickly becomes clear how important the Welsh language is in this historic town. A young woman is discussing the price of lamb with a butcher in animated Welsh while a teenager in a hoodie is in the bookshop choosing a greetings card in the same language. At the cafe’s busy tables there is little evidence of any English at all being spoken.
But language campaigners and many Welsh-speaking residents are warning such vibrancy could be lost if proposals to build thousands of new homes in Carmarthenshire go ahead.
The county council’s local development plan makes the case that projected increases in population mean more than 11,000 new homes are needed in this corner of south-west Wales, including 1,200 on the edge of Carmarthen.
The fear among many locals is that the majority of those moving in will not speak Welsh, a change that would pose a “huge threat” to the language.
Town councillor and sheriff Alun Lenny said the language was a fundamental part of Carmarthen life. “Thousands of people live their lives through the medium of Welsh,” he said. “It’s part of our being. People use Welsh when they shop, when they worship, when they socialise. Much of civic life is carried out in Welsh. It’s not a superficial, quirky element.”
Carmarthen has a wonderfully rich history. It claims to be the oldest town in Wales and the birthplace of Merlin (Myrddin in Welsh), the legendary Welsh prophet and wizard.
The Romans and Normans built fortifications here and the Black Book of Carmarthen, a collection of poetry, is one of the earliest surviving manuscripts written solely in Welsh. Just over 50% of the county’s population speak Welsh.
In the 1980s there was an influx of people looking to break away from English and Welsh cities, but they tended to be younger people with families who, if anything, gave the language a boost because they put children into the local schools, where they learned Welsh.
The fear is that the next wave of new arrivals will be older, retiring to Carmarthenshire attracted by the relatively low property prices and the proximity of lovely countryside and beaches. But, it is felt, many of them will not bother to learn the language.
Sioned Elin, the Carmarthenshire chair of the Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, called for the development to be scrapped, claiming no thorough assessments had been made on the impact of housing developments on the language. “Such assessments would have almost certainly shown a huge threat,” she said.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg says what is happening in Carmarthenshire is just one example of a “national crisis”. Similar protests against developments are taking place in other areas, including Denbighshire in north-east Wales, where councillors have approved proposals for thousands of new homes. The fear is they will be grabbed by commuters from Cheshire and Liverpool.
Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has raised concerns with the European parliament about the Denbighshire plans and is backing the launch of a national movement – calling itself Waking the Dragon – against such developments.
Over the summer, the Welsh assembly government has consulted over new proposals to specify how the language issue should be included in the local planning process. It accepts the impact of “demographic change” ought to be taken into account. The results are being analysed and members will examine them in the autumn. • Welsh is a Celtic language, closely related to Cornish and Breton and directly descended from the language of the sixth century. • The 1536 and 1542 Acts of Union made English the language of law and administration of government. Although the Welsh language was not banned, it lost its status. • Until the mid-19th century, the majority of the population could speak Welsh – more than 80%. • The 2001 census showed that 20.8% of the population could speak Welsh, an increase on 1991’s figure of 18.7%. • Welsh-speaking heartlands include Carmarthenshire in the south-west, Gwynedd, Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire and Ceredigion. • Migration has had a profound effect, with many Welsh-speaking young people moving to urban areas to work, coupled with the arrival of people unable to speak Welsh. Sources: Welsh Language Board; Welsh assembly government
In its development plan, Carmarthenshire insists any proposals will have to take the language issue into account. If problems are anticipated, “mitigation measures” such as making sure a number of homes are affordable to local people should be established.
But the plan says it has to identify new sites for housing and businesses for the good of Carmarthenshire.
Back in Carmarthen market, Llio Silyn, who runs the Welsh bookshop, said she was worried that young people would not be able to afford the new homes and be squeezed out.