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 history” while 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.