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 leaflet because it contains a resident’s comment that they “can’t apply for most jobs in Wales because you need to speak Welsh”.
Last night an angry row erupted between Plaid Cymru and Labour, with Plaid’s deputy council leader Neil McEvoy accusing Labour of seeking to inflame the language issue. The four-page Labour leaflet, which has not been distributed by the party, was intended for the residents of Ely. It includes a column with pictures of a number of people explaining why they are voting Labour.
As well as First Minister Carwyn Jones and former MEP Baroness Eluned Morgan of Ely, it features a local resident named only as “David” who is quoted as saying: “I’m a graduate looking for a job but thanks to Plaid I can’t apply for most jobs in Wales because you need to speak Welsh.”
Coun McEvoy said: “Carwyn Jones should order an investigation into how this leaflet came to be produced in the first place. Labour has a history in Cardiff of trying to divide people over the Welsh language. …I don’t believe Labour has withdrawn this leaflet out of principle – they’ve done so out of embarrassment.”
A Welsh Labour spokesman said: “Following external production of a leaflet for the Ely ward in Cardiff, the local party identified a small paragraph which contained words from a local resident that clearly ran contrary to Welsh Labour’s policy position and core beliefs.
“The obvious decision was immediately taken by Ely branch Labour Party and Welsh Labour to not distribute the leaflet, and to destroy the 5000 copies. To suggest that Welsh Labour would ever condone, enable or facilitate the distribution of the sentiments contained in the endorsement is as offensive as it is absurd.”
This story comes hot on the heels of an attack on Welsh-speaking parents and schoolchildren in the indigenous-speaking region of Cardigan by a group of anglophone business leaders who claimed that the use of the Welsh language in Wales was threatening the local economy and their business-interests.
Meanwhile the right-wing British nationalist newspaper, the Daily Express, has carried an attack on the Scottish language with a “scare-story” about discussions to use bilingual signs and emblems in hospitals in Scotland. A quick read of the article proves that the claims in it simply fail to stand up to scrutiny and it is nothing more than crude anti-Scottish, Greater Englander spin.
“DOCTORS and nurses could be forced to wear bilingual badges as part of the SNP Government’s drive to promote Gaelic, it emerged yesterday.
Hospital and doctors’ surgery signs, letterheads, and health board logos may also include the language under a five-year action plan drafted by ministers.
Those seeking an NHS job would be quizzed “about their Gaelic skills” the document states.
Bosses would have to encourage medical and administrative staff to learn Gaelic and use it in their everyday jobs.
Opposition parties and public spending campaigners yesterday described the proposals as an “expensive rebranding exercise”.
Scottish Tory health spokesman Jackson Carlaw said: “It’s not the job of Government to insist on Gaelic on nurses’ uniforms any more than it should be a condition of the ScotRail franchise that they post station names in Gaelic where a Gaelic-speaking tradition has never existed.”
Labour’s Jackie Baillie said: “At a time elderly patients can’t even get a blanket, I hardly think this sort of expensive re-branding is a priority.”
The Government’s document says it wants to explore “potential use of dual branding throughout NHS communication channels in Scotland so the public recognise the equal status of Gaelic and English in the day-to-day activities of NHS Scotland.”
It says: “We’ll also consider use of Gaelic in uniforms. During the course of this plan we’ll liaise with all of NHS Scotland’s health boards on potential development and use of bilingual logos. We will ask job applicants about their Gaelic skills.”
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said it was a matter for individual health boards.”
She added: “The plan commits to undertaking an assessment of the value of dual language branding of the NHS Scotland logo, which will take into account financial cost, acceptability and what impact this would have on Gaelic language promotion.
“The recommendations will have minimal cost implications and are built on the use of existing resources.”
In other words it is a story about nothing. Except, perhaps, a sign of the growing strength and status of the indigenous Celtic languages of the island of Britain and the continued hostility and bigotry of the anglophone supremacists in the British Nationalist camp and their ideological defence of “Greater England”.
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