By Liam Ketcher
The BBC have only gone and done it again, their anti-Welsh language antics resumed during the summer. Putting a knife to the heart of every Welsh language speaker in the Nation. This time it comes from an item of Newsnight, where the discussion was whether people are ‘Keen on Welsh’. Now not only the topic of debate was just by far an insult to all Welsh speakers, but what also made it worse is that this debate was unbalanced, unfair and completely unnecessary.
Speaking was the editor of the Welsh Conversation Ruth Dawson (who doesn’t speak Welsh), and novelist and all-round knob head Julian Ruck (who also, doesn’t speak Welsh). Ruth who is described by Evan Davis on the program as someone who feels “strongly about Welsh”, can only speak the basics. “Bore da” (Good morning), the colours and the numbers is about as far as her Welsh understanding goes. She shows no sign of passion or desire to speak the language, she even laughs at the fact that she wishes she could speak a bit more of the language. Yet this woman is meant to be representing the Welsh language community. On the other hand, Julian Ruck, who I despise by the way, compares the funding that the Welsh language receives as basically the cause of the waiting times that the NHS provide here in Wales. This however is something that we have seen before, with Radio 5 live earlier this year searching for people to speak on why the government should let the Welsh language die out. What was needed here was a strong Welsh language representative, for example the Welsh language commissioner Meri Huws, or Heledd Gwyndaf, Chair of the Welsh language society. Either of these individuals could’ve presented a stronger voice for the Welsh language thus creating a well-rounded debate which would’ve angered people far less.
Julian Ruck argued during the item that “you can go to a Welsh medium school and come out of it and you cannot speak Welsh.” Let me just tell you, that this is simply not true. Having gone through Welsh medium education from the age of 4 right through to today, I have always and will always be a fluent Welsh speaker. Of course I have many friends who I went to school with who don’t use the language as much anymore, because they aren’t studying through the medium of Welsh. They’re parents don’t speak Welsh therefore they are not using it at home, yet they are still fluent in the language. As well as this many Welsh speaking students at Cardiff University and Universities across Wales live their lives through the medium of Welsh, therefore you cannot say that people come out of Welsh medium education unable to speak Welsh.
Newsnight was not the only anti-Welsh language campaign to voice opinion of the Welsh language over the summer. Sports Direct in Bangor actually banned staff from speaking the language during their shifts, and The Week Junior published an article discussing why we should let minority languages die, using the Welsh language as their prime example. It’s clear to see that the media at the moment is presenting itself as anti-Welsh, and just pro English. To me this is narrow-minded and stuck up.
The Welsh language has also been a debate at Cardiff University over the years, with the students voting against having a Welsh language sabbatical officer in 2015. Also ex-assistant editor of the Tab Oli Dugmore and his mocking of the Welsh language with students standing beneath bilingual signs and questioning what the Welsh meant. Little tip for you freshers, it says the same as the English, but in Welsh. Wow, how clever is that? But seriously though if you’re coming to Cardiff from outside of Wales and you have similar views on the Welsh language, firstly no-one cares, and secondly your opinion doesn’t matter so keep it to yourself. Embrace the Welsh language and its culture, after all you chose to come here no one made you.
We should be
celebrating the different cultures and languages that Britain has, let’s also
be proud to be a bilingual nation. The English language is here to stay, but
Welsh is too so get over it!