Giving Up Without A
No, I don’t mean that one of our MPs is
quitting. (Who said “Wish they all
The giving up of Welsh heritage is what I
want you to learn. This story comes
from a friend of mine who I’ll call Dave.
Dave lives in the Welsh-speaking heartland
of our nation. Like me, he came here
from another country and has learned Welsh pretty well (I’m still struggling).
There are, of course, many people who have
come to live here over the years;
indeed, over the centuries. Most
of them, though, have never even attempted to learn the language – and some of
‘em have kept themselves well away from the local communities.
Recently, Dave met a friend who he hadn’t
seen for a while. He knew his friend
had lived in Welsh-speaking Wales for many years, so greeted him in
The friend – a nice, easy-going Englishman
– asked him to repeat what he’d said in English. Dave was a bit surprised. His friend had lived in the middle of so
much Welsh culture and hears the Welsh language spoken all round him every day.
“Haven’t you picked up any Welsh, then,
Hugh?” Dave asked.
“When I was in Spain, I learned a lot of Spanish,”
replied Hugh. “And, of course, I’m
pretty good in French.” To prove it, he
went into French-mode.
“Well, living here in Welsh Wales, I would
have thought you’d have picked a little of it up,” said a surprised Dave.
“I’ve never had to,” came the reply. “Everybody here speaks English.”
And that, my Welsh-first-language friends,
is why I say you are giving up without a fight. Your natural politeness means you switch to
English as soon as you meet a monoglot English person.
As a learner, I hit the same
obstacle. If I struggle to remember a
Welsh word – or if I substitute an English one – you immediately stop using
your own language.
And that is how the Welsh language – the
heritage of this nation – may fade and die.
Please give we who come to live in your communities the opportunity of
When working-class folk – whoops, sorry, I
must use Tony Blair’s phrase “ordinary people” these days – stood together and
demanded a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, the establishment had to find
ways of curbing the workers’ ideals.
Dismissal for breaking the boss’s rules
was common. “Faulty work” was often a
reason for one losing one’s job.
Artificially created “financial crises” was another ploy.
Eventually, British businesses were helped
to set up in countries where labour was cheaper than here. Wales has suffered from that situation,
as you will know from all the factory closures of recent years.
Now, here in our land, the price of petrol
is rising at a ridiculous rate. In
rural areas of Wales – and there are many of those! –
the use of cars is often a necessity, for bus services are pathetic.
So our people become poorer in their
struggle to keep abreast with rising fuel prices and the increasing costs in
local shops due to those rises.
The question is “How can we ‘ordinary
people’ fight the situation?”
The remains of the Bishop’s Palace near
St. David’s Cathedral, is hoping to receive a European conservation award.
love the little town of St. David’s:
a stroll round the place is to step back into history. However, when I think of the simple life
which Dewi Sant is said to have lived, and remember that the Bible says that
“The Son of Man has no place to rest his head”, I wonder how any organisation
calling itself “Christian” can sport such opulence.