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The Welsh Language Banned From The British Parliament

Yesterday’s sight of the former British prime ministers, toothsome Tony Blair and dour John Major, proclaiming the United Kingdom of Great Britain the “…most successful union in world historywhile standing in the colonially-occupied Irish city of Derry must have struck more than one or two observers as particularly bizarre. How do the great and the good of Britain’s political establishment calculate their nation-state’s historical standing? The expansion of the hegemony of Greater England across the island’s three smaller countries, Cornwall, Wales and Scotland? The invasion, occupation and colonisation of Ireland, which was the first overseas step in the establishment of a global empire? The creation of a lucrative international human trafficking and narcotics’ enterprise through the trading of slaves and opium? And what of other “successful” unions, from the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Germany?

There is some irony then that on the very same day as the patronising speeches in Derry, the myth of the voluntary and benevolent union, of multicultural Britain, was proved false in London. Wales may be part of the United Kingdom, it’s language may be one of the indigenous Celtic vernaculars of the island of Britain, it may have some official legal standing, but it has absolutely no place whatsoever in the UK’s unionist parliament. From the BBC:

“House of Commons leader Chris Grayling has rejected calls from MPs to overturn a ban on speaking Welsh at Westminster.

Mr Grayling said it would not be “sensible” to spend taxpayers money on translation facilities.

He said ministers might review the ban if a new MP could not speak English.

Mr Grayling was responding to a call from his Labour shadow, Chris Bryant, who suggested MPs could be allowed to speak Welsh during meetings of the Welshgrand committee.

Mr Bryant asked him: “I understand that the language of this House is English, but Welsh is the mother tongue of many of my compatriots and constituents so is it not time we allowed Welsh in the Welsh grand committee?”

Mr Grayling’s comments annoyed Cynon Valley Labour MP Ann Clwyd, who told him: “Some of us did not speak English until we were aged five and most of us are now bilingual – but nevertheless the Welsh language and its status is very important.”

He told Ms Clwyd: “My question to you really is: at a time of financial pressure, is it really sensible for us to be spending taxpayers’ money in a House where the prime language, the main language, the official language is English…””

No Welsh, please, we’re Greater English.




28 comments on “The Welsh Language Banned From The British Parliament

  1. You mean the British language banned from English parliament!

  2. Bernard Maegraith

    Grayling’s comment is indicative of English insecurity. Their union is fracturing.

  3. Sharon Douglas

    I could not get past your opening paragraph….I had to go vomit. Ugh!

  4. You’re right Sharon, throwing Cornwall in there is a reach, in fairness.

    • Not to Cornish nationalists, as they are quick to point out to me. Being the “forgotten” Celtic nation is something which continuously irks them when they read these kinds of articles or conversations. Which is why I have tried to make more effort to highlight their position, a recognised cultural group within the UK but without regional administrative power.

      • Cornwall is odd. There´s not much ´nationalist consciousness´ in the political sense, yet you´ll see the flag flying everywhere, often from private houses etc.

      • Robert Matthias

        Cornwall is not forgotten but we need to remind each other more often we are celts

  5. Ara they’re only “hobbyists” really, they just don’t like other English people.

  6. If I lived in the UK I’d be in a real quandary over Brexit. I could never bring myself to vote for the corrupt banker dominated EU, but nor would I be happy voting to endorse the British jingoists and Neocon Shock Doctrine imperialists like Grayling who increasingly dominate the Brexit side. I notice many in the so called alternative media are portraying this referendum as a David and Goliath contest between “the establishment” and the noble underdog brexiteers. It doesn’t look that way to me I have to say – Murdoch supports Brexit, the Telegraph supports Brexit, the Express supports it, the Mail supports it, the neo-liberal Heritage Foundation supports it, and even the Financial Times is printing anti-EU stories in the run-up to the vote. All the hardcore Neocon warmongers and Unionist jingoists – Michael Gove, Julie Burchill, Julia Hartley Brewer, Liam Fox, Charles Moore, Bruce Anderson et al are on the Brexit side, so it’s one of those votes where I reckon the sensible option is to stay at home.

  7. john cronin

    “The colonially occupied city of Derry” Yup, where the locals were perfectly happy to accept British unemployment benefit, British child benefit, British housing benefit, British invalidity benefit, the British NHS, live in Housing Executive houses built with British taxpayer’s money: those howibble Brits, eh.

    • In a city occupied by a foreign power. You do realise that the German Reich did similar things in the territories they occupied, not just strip them bare of their native resources? The Germans administered northern France, and through Vichy the rest of the country. Houses, roads and railway lines were built and maintained, factories were kept busy, people continued to pay tax and benefit from tax. Occupations simply absorb or build upon existing structures. In Derry, unlike Dublin or Cork, the occupation never ended.

      • Yeah, but at a practical everyday level the analogy fails. Prisoners don´t get to vote on who´s to be their warders, and anyone in Derry is free to stroll over into the idyllic freedom of the RoI any time they like, and to stay as long as they like and immediately be recognised as full citizens (?) afaik. What continues to puzzle me is why after several generations of partition there are any republicians left in the North. Do they somehow enjoy being second-class citizens? Maybe the ¨Brave Loser¨ syndrome?

        • “What continues to puzzle me is why after several generations of partition there are any republicians left in the North. Do they somehow enjoy being second-class citizens? Maybe the ¨Brave Loser¨ syndrome?”

          Or maybe it’s their own country syndrome, Irish people living in Ireland who decline to voluntarily cleanse themselves from part of their own country? You might as well ask why did people in German Occupied northern France not move to Vichy administered southern France, or people in Vichy administered southern France not move to neutral Spain? Why did a majority of Poles or Latvians not leave Soviet-controlled Poland or Latvia? Why do a majority of Palestinians decline to leave the Occupied Territories? And why do the exiled desire to return?

          Why do Welsh-speakers born and living in southern English-speaking Wales not migrate to the north-west and Welsh-speaking Wales? Do they enjoy being a casually discriminated against linguistic minority?

          • ASF: I see I more or less replicated your reply to Marconatix, in different words – which was a bit superfluous of me. I should have read your reply before I started typing my own!

          • I can´t speak for France in WWII, but many East Europeans certainly did ´escape´ from Soviet dominated territories. They had to build a wall to stop them IIRC.

            As for the Welsh, many areas in the South East were still majority Welsh-speaking well into the C20th. You might just as well ask why Irish language enthusiasts have never supported a ¨Back to the Gaeltacht¨ policy. In fact the Adfer (´restoration´) movement of the 1970s did in fact urge Welsh-speakers to move back to the Y Fro Gymraeg from the anglicised areas, contributing their skills, leadership and political awareness to the development and if possible (semi?) autonomy of these regions. It´s probably too late by now.

            • The Pogroms by the unionists, culminating in the actions of the regime at Stormont during 1922-23, saw tens of thousands of people disperse across Ireland (as well as into Scotland, northern England and the US) from 1914-1925. As pointed out by Oz that was repeated again in 1966-1976, the greatest mass movement of people in Europe between the end of WWII and the Yugoslav Wars of 1991 to 2001. My own family, through my grandmother, were part of the Porgroms’ generation of the 1920s. They were Fermanagh Protestants forced to leave extended family, their homes and property, by their unionist neighbours.

              Why should should Irish people leave part of the Irish nation to live under Irish rule when they desire it where they already live?

              • You´ve mentioned the year 1966 before and I wonder what exactly was going on at that date. This side of the water Ireland only became an issue when widespread disturbances broke out in the summer of 1969 (I´m quite certain of the year).

              • 1964 was the first riots with Ian Paisley at the epicentre of it, making his name and reputation. It was also the year that the civil rights movement began to emerge. However it was in 1966 that the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in Belfast, led by former British soldiers, killed three and wounded several others in a number of gun and arson attacks. Paisley’s shadowy Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV) was also active from this point onwards. There was minor skirmishing in 1967 with the foundation of the Northern Irish Civil Rights Association (NICRA), erupting into violence in 1968. It may have only impinged on the consciousness of people in the UK in 1969 but it was already three years in the making by then.

              • Now I think about it, I do recall the odd mention of Paisley and the Civil Rights Movement from around 1968, but that was at a time when there were massive riots and student protests in France, anti-Vietnam bust-ups in London and a whole variety of anti-establishment demos and suchlike. Seemed like the Revolution might be at hand. In short, the NI business must have got lost in the noise, or at least seemed part of something much wider. I don´t anyone here (mainland Britain) really understood the position in Ireland. Indeed I may well have been the case that some (many?) or the Civil Rights people were simply copycat-ing what was going on abroad without realising the powder keg they were about to ignite? All the other protests soon faded out as the rebellious young either grew up or moved on to the next ´flavour of the month´ focus, probably it nuclear power plants, and the Powers-that-Be carried on with business as usual. Not in Ireland of course. Since the Civil Rights Movement was modelled on the American movement, it might be interesting to examine why it turned out so differently. But that is clearly a topic in itself.

        • They Did.. Lots of them. Nationalists fleeing loyalist violence was the biggest Mass Movement of a civilian population in post war Europe until the Balkans erupted in the 1990’s.
          So the Sick Counties… It has “that” going for it.
          Also the Catholic Birth rate in the 1960’s and 1970’s FAR outstripped the Protestant one.
          If it wasn’t for discrimination.. They would be no need to wait until 2016 for Catholic pluarilty.
          There would have been a large Catholic majority by now. and a long time ago to boot.
          In fact. looked at from that Point Of View.. Unionism has won.

        • Why precisely should people leave their own country, if they believe it’s occupied? If you don’t like my previous analogy, here’s another one for you: Should those who lived in occupied German territories simply have vacated their lands en masse? Or would most people have regarded that as handing complete victory to the enemy, by engaging in a form of auto-ethnic cleansing? Ditto Soviet occupied territories, ditto Tibet, ditto Palestine, and so on.

          I’d reverse your rhetorical question. If Unionists feel so British, why don’t they all go and live in Britain? Because, one thing is for sure, whatever else it is or isn’t, Northern Ireland is not British – not even in name – The official name of the UK is the United Kingdom of Great Britain AND Northern Ireland.

          • Notwithstanding the current surge in anti-EU xenophobia, I doubt if many in Britain beyond the most extreme right-wing fringe would have much sympathy for Ulster-style Unionism. Any more than for the white racists of Rhodesia and S. Africa of the recent colonial past.

            In a situation such as that of the Palestinians, Gaza in particular, I can really see no future for them, and they would indeed be better off in some other arab country. Their current position seems analogous to that of the Jews in the Nazi ghettos during WWII. A chilling irony?

  8. John Cronin: If I’m not mistaken most British POWs during World War II were only too happy to accept meals, beds, washing facilities, even leisure facilities etc., from the howibble Germans – by your logic that suggests that they weren’t really prisoners at all.

  9. Toni Davies

    Ahhhhhhhhhh, I see. They spend millions on producing leaflets etc in OTHER languages in the UK, (most of which are languages spoken by immigrants who can’t be BOTHERED to learn English), yet once again, native cultural languages are deemed to be irrelevant. Sounds about right. The “English” have always had a sense of superiority over the ‘lesser mortals’ who live in Scotland, Wales and Ireland (north and south), and Cornwall.

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