Current Affairs Politics

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 ear of right-wing British journalists but are strangely deaf to anyone else, and now an English-speaking Santa Claus being pressured into resigning from his job because he was unable to speak to the children he was meeting – that is Welsh-speaking children in a Welsh-speaking region of Wales.

According to claims made in the Daily Mail:

“With his authentic bushy beard and red suit, Richard Burnell appeared the obvious choice to inhabit the Christmas grotto at his local museum.

But that wasn’t enough for parents on the Isle of Anglesey.

Because when they learned that Father Christmas could not speak Welsh they mounted a revolt to oust him.

Yesterday the 72-year-old retired housing officer admitted he had stepped aside after complaints that he wouldn’t be able to listen to children’s wish lists in their native tongue.

Mr Burnell, who belongs to an American organisation called the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, was due to don his red suit for the opening of the Christmas grotto at Oriel Ynys Mon, the island’s history and culture museum, in Langefni, on December 9.

But when parents realised he wasn’t bilingual they lodged complaints with the local council.

‘I think it is a disgrace that you have an English-only Father Christmas coming to Oriel Ynys Mon,’ one mother said.

‘It’s going to cost £6 a child to meet him, so I’d expect they could find one who can speak Welsh.

‘I have young children who are still not that confident when speaking English, I think it is a shame they won’t be able to chat to Father Christmas in their own language.’”


Would you hire a man to portray the figure of Santa Claus who could only speak Welsh for children who could only speak English in an English-speaking region of England? Of course not. So why on earth would it be justifiable the other way around?

2 comments on “Language Wars In Wales

  1. Disgraceful, Why is there parants teaching them a dead langwidge insted of propa English like wot is everyone speakin now? They shood go to jale for child abyoos.

    (And that’s parody, in case anyone’s wondering, but I suspect we’ll see similar sentiments expressed for real in a moment….)


    • Very likely. The Comments underneath the original Daily Mail article were choice, to say the least. There have been three other Welsh-focused articles since then, all in the Mail, all hostile.
      Sad… 😦


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: