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Saturday, March 13, 2004

Racist or Patriot

Former AM and MP Cynog Dafis speaks out on the big issue of the day. According to Cynog identity is the key to solving the problems of the Welsh nation. Actually, the problem lies in his analysis. You do not have to be a nationalist or a racist to recognise the dangers posed by a brain drain of the brightest and finest from our communities. That is because it is an economic problem. Equally, the vitality and sustainability of communities is a social and cultural issue, particularly where this poses a threat to the Welsh Language in that area. There are practical measures that can be taken to address all of these problems if there is political will and resources. What the problem does not need is voodoo culturalism thrown in for good measure.

If Plaid are going to couch the debate on the future of Wales and its communities in the language of identity and propose measures to ring-fence communities so as to preserve their purity then it is unsurprising that words like racist are bandied about. What we need are solutions that recognise the inter-dependence of communities in Wales with those in England and Europe, that acknowledges that we are a mobile, multi-cultural, multi-lingual society and that offers an equality of opportunity to all citizens. In other words we need to enable people to make their own decisions not impose an agenda of identity and nationhood upon them.

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