Friday, May 04, 2007

Cymru am Byth

I'm not into memes, so I've never done any where where I tell readers things they don't know about me.

But high on the list would certainly be my support for Welsh independence.

This support doesn't amount to much. My Welsh pronunciation is probably better than yours, but it's not good. I would know less than fifty welsh words, and could probably only produce one sentence: Nos da, cariad bach.* Now I live on the other side of the world. While I could probably get together a Welsh solidarity group in Wellington, I don't think it's on anyone's priority list.

I care because of my family. Mum's cousins fought for Welsh hard. Back when Welsh street signs were only in English one of Mum's cousins was part of a group that spray-painted Welsh language everywhere. My grandmother compared me to her; Welsh language and Welsh independence are part of a much wider set of values within my family. It's the Welsh side of my family who have resisted every war since World War 1.

So I checked the UK elections today, I wanted to know how the Plaid had done. The Plaid is the party of Wales - whose basic principles include Welsh independence, support for the Welsh language and socialism. The elections that were held yesterday in the UK included voting on a new Welsh Assembly, and the Plaid gained seats. While I'm not particularly into elections I was glad, and I'd have probably voted for them.

What I thought was particularly awesome was that Mohammad Ashgar, the first Assembly Member from an ethnic minority (obviously that's a whole 'nother problem) was from the Plaid.

It's really awful that the fascist BNP gained so many votes in North Wales. So awful that I have to take a moment to make fun of the whole thing. Nationalism makes limited sense at the best of times, but even less sense when you're not sure what language to be nationalist in. I'm fairly sure no-one has ever translated 'Rule Britannia' into Welsh

The support for the BNP is what makes it so important that the Plaid is not just a party for white people. Combining anti-racism, welsh independence and socialism** seems the best way of offering a real alternative to the BNP.

I don't know enough about Welsh politics to know what relationship there is between the Plaid and out of parliament activism. If winning those seats was the focus of Welsh progressive activism then it probably won't achieve anything, but if it's a demonstration of the level of support and activism for those goals then the land of my mothers might be in pretty good stead.

* Night night love

** a basic plank of the Plaid, although they're not necessarily very good at it, since they wanted to cut business rates by 50%. Which is why you should never trust electoral parties


  1. Anonymous3:55 pm

    Wales is a wonderful place, and Welsh nationalism is fascinating, especially if you're a romantic, because it is made so often on cultural grounds, and alludes so often to myth, and literature - very different to the economism pedalled by the SNP.

    Of course, one of the arguments from the left against Welsh and Scottish nationalism is that fuels the rise of English nationalism. How fair that is I'm not sure.

    The real tragedy of these elections was the wipeout of the Scottish Socialist Party - down from 6.6% to 0.5%.

  2. I talk about independence rather than nationalism, deliberately. Independence as a goal, is obviously the primary difference between Welsh Nationalism and English Nationalism. So I don't think any link is particularly fair.

    As you say, for my family, the fight for Wales is about the language and history as much as it is independence.

    I haven't found a good source of information on what happened to the SSP, the MSM say infighting.

  3. I agree that "capitalism" and "commercialisation" and "materialism" are destroying the fabric of life in Wales.
    Yes, trees are far more dignified.

    Check out my blogs and pls leave a comment. Possibly you will agree?
    Diolch, Alan