Equal In Any Language

We Are 42% - Gaeilge Anois!

In yesterday’s Guardian newspaper the journalist and political activist Ellie Mae O’Hagan argues that the Welsh language should be part of the school curriculum not just in Wales but in other parts of the island of Britain too. Since “England and Wales” are essentially treated as one constitutional and legal entity under British law it … Continue reading

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Ras Yr Iaith 2014

Another quick post, this time to highlight the success of June’s “Ras yr Iaith”, a symbolic relay race organised by Welsh-speakers to celebrate their community and publicise their demands for greater equality in Wales. Inspired by similar events held here in Ireland, Brittany and the Basque Country (the latter for many years) one thousand runners … Continue reading

Cardiff, Edinburgh, Sydney

Activists fighting for Welsh language rights have set up a symbolic Occupy camp outside the Senedd, the offices of the national assembly or Cynulliad in Cardiff. Wales Online reports that the young people are: “…insisting that the Government change six language policies including Welsh-medium education for all. The action by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg is part of … Continue reading

Three Welsh Rights Activists Arrested

Three activists fighting for Welsh language rights, two women and a man in their twenties, were arrested today by police in Wales after they painted slogans on a local government building demanding greater equality for Welsh-speaking citizens from the devolved government in Cardiff. From the Daily Post newspaper: “Three campaigners have spray painted the Welsh Government offices … Continue reading

Doctor Orders Child And Parent Not To Speak In Welsh

From a report by the Daily Post newspaper in Wales: “A hospital has apologised after a doctor asked a mum and her daughter to stop speaking Welsh. The North Wales mum had taken her 15-year-old daughter to the emergency department at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd,  Bodelwyddan on Tuesday. She said the doctor had made the comment … Continue reading

Welsh, A Foreign Language In Britain

Substitute “Ireland” for “Wales” and “Irish” for “Welsh” and the discrimination revealed below would be pretty much the same. From a report in the Daily Post newspaper: “After receiving a form in English from National Savings and Investments, 72-year-old Arfon Rhys sent it back and requested either a Welsh or bilingual form. The letter he then received from … Continue reading

Culture Wars In Ireland And Britain

Hot on the heels of my post discussing the urgent need for the reform of public service broadcasting in Ireland comes news of a veritable revolt by journalists within RTÉ’s normally quiescent ranks as reported by the Irish Times: “Almost 50 staff members in RTÉ have written to Director General, Mr. Noel Curran, to express their … Continue reading

Second-Class Service For Second-Class Citizens

Given the news yesterday about a group of young people from Ireland being subject to racial abuse by a taxi driver in the city of Glasgow for speaking in their native Irish instead of English here comes another disgraceful story about speakers of an indigenous Celtic tongue being subject to discrimination for not using the … Continue reading

Viva La Revolución!

Rarely have I agreed with an article more than this opinion piece by Tom Law featured on the Sabotage Times examining the cultural subjugation of the Welsh language and the Welsh-speaking citizens and communities of Wales. He articulates for many the frustration and anger of a new, younger generation of activists in the Celtic nations … Continue reading

Education In Britain – Cultural Conditioning?

In the 2011 census on the island of Britain large numbers of people living in Scotland, Wales and England rejected the nationality of “British”, a majority in all three countries preferring to describe themselves instead as solely Scottish (62.4%), Welsh (57.5%) or English (60.4%). Which makes the BBC News article claim that Britishness is “…an … Continue reading

21st Century British

From the website “Welsh Not British” the 2011 census on the island of Britain summed up in one easy graph. Say’s it all really. Some more excellent analysis can be found on Syniadau examining the figures in Wales, Scotland and England.

Struggling With The Language

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the progressive language rights’ organisation in Wales, has proposed a radical shift in the teaching of the language in Welsh schools. From Wales Online: “A row has blown up over a plan by language activists that would see all pupils in Wales having at least a third of the school curriculum … Continue reading

Pobl Caerdydd

Didn’t get a chance to post this over the weekend but the best of luck to Pobl Caerdydd, the new multi-media network for Cardiff’s Welsh-speaking population. From Roy Greenslade in the Guardian: “A new Welsh language service, PoblCaerdydd, is being launched today in Cardiff to serve the city’s estimated 36,000 Welsh speakers. The digital news and networking service … Continue reading

Language Wars – Coming To A Sign Near You Soon

More new from the Pax Anglia, via the Dunfermline Press: “… councillor Dave Dempsey is proposing that road signs in Fife be in English-only. His motion, “Council agrees that there is no need, point or advantage in road signs in Fife being in any other language or languages than English” went before fellow councillors yesterday … Continue reading

Mixed Results For Plaid Cymru In New Poll

A new poll of 1007 voters from across Wales by ITV Cymru / YouGov continues to reflect the so-so fortunes of Plaid Cymru, the Welsh Nationalist party. After a decade of mediocre election results, and an unexpectedly dire performance at the 2011 polls under charismatic new leader Leanne Wood, the Welsh Nationalists were seen as … Continue reading

Angloban – The Anglophone Fundamentalists Of Britain And Ireland

We all know that the internet is the mother of all lies. The world wide web of falsehoods. Which is why I so rarely let anything I read or see on it get to me. However every now and again something comes along to turn even the mildest of us into something resembling a keyboard-chewing … Continue reading

Language Wars In Wales

Here we go again. The obsessive Anglophone supremacism of the right-wing news media in Britain is becoming something of a running joke here on An Sionnach Fionn. We’ve had conveniently anonymous internet claims of English-speaking children being “discriminated” against in Welsh-speaking schools (not once but twice), mysterious anti-Welsh websites that have managed to find the … Continue reading

Anglophone Propaganda And The British Press

Well that didn’t take long. Barely a week has passed since the right-wing British news media carried a series of anonymous and unverifiable claims about a Welsh-medium school in Wales acting in a discriminatory manner towards English-speaking pupils when we now have yet another fantastical allegation of “anti-English bias” in the Welsh education system. Is there an anglophone black propaganda unit turning this nonsense … Continue reading

The Mystery Of The BiLingo Website

A follow-up on my post yesterday about BiLingo, a website in Wales behind a series of claims alleging that Anglophone children in the majority Welsh-speaking region of Ceredigion were being victimised in local schools. I expressed my scepticism about the allegations, as did many who contributed comments of their own, and concern over the anonymous … Continue reading

The Culture War In Wales Hots Up

The nationalistic press in Britain is currently lathering itself up into paroxysms of anglophone outrage over alleged “discrimination” against English-speaking children attending schools in Wales. According to several right wing newspapers pupils attending classes in the majority Welsh-speaking region of Ceredigion – a “Welsh-speaking stronghold” in the militarised language of the Daily Mail – have been instructed to speak solely in the Welsh language by their … Continue reading

Speak Welsh? Get Out!

Imagine moving to France or Germany, taking over the management of a local bar, and then demanding that all the customers speak English in the bar or get out? Outrageous no? Such seems to be the situation in a court case being reported in Wales where an English landlord is on trial after threatening and … Continue reading

A Double-Win For Wales In The Vale Of Glamorgan

As normal in the first week of August (and Lúghnasa didn’t pass unnoticed, either, despite my crazy work commitments) a big welcome for the return of the most important cultural festival in Wales, the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru or National Eisteddfod. From WalesOnline: “The National Eisteddfod will be a “huge boost” to the Welsh language in the Vale of Glamorgan, according to First … Continue reading

Better Apart

Quick post on two articles. One is an interview in the British left-wing magazine Red Pepper with Plaid Cymru’s progressive new leader Leanne Wood. She gets a fair degree of space to discuss her vision for Plaid and Wales. Normally the British Left is every bit as nationalistic as its right-wing opponents and quite dismissive … Continue reading

So You Think You Know What It Means To Be Irish? Think Again…

During the revival of the French language and culture in Québec in the 1970s and ‘80s it became noticeable that the stronger, and more widespread, the language became the stronger and more widespread the opposition from English-speakers. It’s was almost an inverse law of language revival in a bilingual context. As the minority community increases, … Continue reading


Two disheartening news items from Celtic Britain, one from Cornwall and one from Wales, both making the headlines. In Cornwall, in the run-up to the London Olympics and the “jubilee” celebrations for the British head of state, the famous tourist attraction of Penn an Wlas or Land’s End, the picturesque peninsula that juts out into … Continue reading

Wales, Scotland And Manifestations Of Greater England

Wales Online is reporting on what some critics are claiming was an attempt by a local branch of the British Labour Party in Cardiff to stir up “ethnic” tensions between Welsh-speaking and English-speaking residents in the city in the run-up to local government elections in Wales. “Labour has pulped 5,000 copies of a Cardiff council election … Continue reading

Speak English! Or Else…

On Tuesday I discussed the slow but steady linguistic change currently taking place in Wales, with increasing numbers of Welsh people returning to their native language, largely due to a positive political environment in which equality legislation and clearly defined language policies have shaped the cultural landscape of the nation. Over the last two decades … Continue reading

If It’s Good Enough For The Welsh, Why Is It Not Good Enough For The Irish?

In Ireland, after eight centuries of foreign colonial rule and despite nearly a century of independence, some of the population have been so thoroughly anglicised in their language, culture and thinking that an Anglophone minority continue to believe that it is their absolute right to hold undisputed sway over this country. This small but militant … Continue reading

Leanne Wood And A Brave New World For Plaid Cymru

Very positive news for the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru, and in my opinion for Wales too, as Leanne Wood has been elected to the leadership of the party. From the Guardian: “Leanne Wood, a former probation officer from the Welsh valleys, has become the new leader of the Welsh nationalist party, Plaid Cymru. Wood will take over from Ieuan Wyn Jones, who announced he … Continue reading

Language Revival – Getting It Right

Fascinating article in the Washington Post featuring the Sami people of Scandinavia and the many lessons to be learned from the nation of Israel on language protection and revival. Lessons that we in Ireland need to take to heart. “Norway’s Sami people, an indigenous community with roots as reindeer herders in the northern reaches of … Continue reading

Teilifís na Life?

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the high-profile Welsh Language Society, is to launch a new web-based television service, initially operating for two hours a week. From the BBC: “Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg will transmit Sianel 62 via the web to mark the 50th anniversary of the society. Describing it as the first new Welsh language channel for … Continue reading

Contrasting Attitudes – Ireland And Wales

Earlier I talked about the hostility of many in the Irish civil service to the Irish language, and in particular the wilful misinterpretations or disregarding of the law in relation to the Official Languages Act of 2003 that has been commonplace over the last ten years. With a culture of institutional discrimination towards Irish speaking citizens the anglophone core of officials at the heart of the Irish state have now found a ready ally in the Fine … Continue reading

Wales – Exit Stage Left?

There is a surprisingly sympathetic article looking at Welsh nationalism, Plaid Cymru and the Plaid leadership candidate Leanne Wood in the Guardian newspaper: “Leanne Wood is rather different from most of the UK’s politicians. Forty years old and a mother of one, she still lives in the same street in the Rhondda Valley where she was born and brought … Continue reading

Plaid Cymru On The Up

Plaid Cymru has reported a 23% increase in membership over the last four months as the party’s leadership contest has stirred up new interest in the future direction of the Welsh nationalist movement. The possibility that it may move away from its traditional regionalist policy towards a more progressive form of nationalism, influenced by the electoral successes of the SNP in Scotland, seems to be a … Continue reading

Plaid Cymru – Time For Progressive Nationalism?

In an article for WalesOnline former Plaid Cymru minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas asks the question that hangs over the Welsh nationalist party as it faces a new leadership election and demands that it embrace a new form of progressive nationalism: “PLAID Cymru has gone backwards since 1999 and desperately needs to find a new way of talking to the voters, … Continue reading

  • blog awards ireland Nominated: Best Politics Blog 2013, Best Personal Blog 2013, Best Blog Post 2013
  • blog awards ireland

    Nominated: Best News/Current Affairs/Political Blog 2014, Best Mobile Blog 2014, Best Blog Post 2014