Saturday, 26th February, 2011.

The Touching Of Forelocks

Wales enjoyed the company of “royal” visitors this week.   William Windsor and his fiancée went to Anglesey to launch a new lifeboat for the RNLI.

There was, of course, a lot of bowing and scraping involved.   But it is good that the new boat is now, officially, in service.   Those volunteers who form her crew will be able to do their jobs better.

Miss Middleton – William’s fiancée – has had some sort of lessons to learn Welsh.   She was praised for singing our National Anthem in Welsh.   At least, even though some would call that patronising, it is recognised that here we are a bilingual community.

William Windsor is, of course, an RAF officer based at Valley on Anglesey, so he probably knows the locals pretty well: socialises at their local pubs and goes to jumble-sales and suchlike.

He will know, then, that times are hard for the ordinary working-folk up there.   He will understand their difficulties as our economy in Wales becomes worse and worse.

He will be glad that his “royal” job does not hold the threat of redundancy, and that the only qualification he has to his “royal” post is that he was born.

Former Glories

There were redundancies at Llanwern Steelworks down in Newport not so long ago.     Now the closed site is to be “developed”.

Lots of new houses are to be built where steel was produced.   They will be lovely places, too – far removed from the grime of the old works.

“Far removed” is a good phrase.   For not even the name of the old works will be used.   The “development” will be called “Glan Llyn” – there’s posh.   And lots more houses will be built around there as time goes by – I think they call them “desirable residences”.

And at tiny Talgarth, there used to be a hospital.   It closed over ten years ago.   Now they’re going to build “a satellite village” where it once was.

All this “development” would seem to imply that the houses will be available for local people – the ones who are struggling to make ends meet.   They are the ones who can’t afford mortgages, even if they have jobs.

So the question is:  “Who will be able to afford all this new housing?”   And, sneakily, the answer creeps in:  “People from away . . . “

Culture Confidence

In Wales, it’s often said, we have less confidence in our own way of life than in other Celtic lands.

As an incomer to this special land, I can understand the reasons for that opinion.   But that is not a criticism on my part:  Wales has always been a “junior partner” to our Eastern neighbour, and there are many, many families from England who have moved here over the years, bringing their own views on life with them.

Indeed, one often finds little pockets of the English class-system in Wales, usually in the rural areas.   Our own classless society must be affected by that.

So on the 3rd of March – that’s next week – we who love Wales and the Welsh way of life have a chance to give our communities more of that culture confidence with is said to be lacking.

We already have the right to make laws within certain areas of the legal framework.  All that a YES vote will bring is a widening of that right in those same areas.

A YES vote means that we won’t need to go, cap in hand, to Wasteminster for approval to run our own lives.   Don’t sit on your cushions on Thursday – get out and make it a vote for Wales!

Final Questions

The gorgeous and talented Catherine Zeta Jones has been honoured for her services to the film industry.   And rightly so!

However, she is now a Companion of the British Empire.   The British Empire is now non-existent.

Should the UK not invent a new honour in the light of that fact?   And should not our Assembly Government create something like “The Order of the Red Dragon” to honour our own people?


About Archie Lowe

Though not born in Wales, I have lived and worked here for many years now. I love the place and love that mercurial thing "Welshness". I have been accused of being "a Taffophile" - which is pretty near the truth. The question I ask whenever some idea comes up for the whole of the UK is: "What's in it for Wales". I believe in an independent Wales and am so pleased that our Assembly is a big step on that road.
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