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Monday, June 26, 2006

Mock the English stunt condemned

Today's Western Mail reports that an "anti-English" stunt prompted by England football supporters displaying the Cross of St George in Wales has been condemned as "absolutely crazy."

The outcry developed after "anti-colonisation movement" Cymuned paraded a mock St George through the Gwynedd town of Abersoch to protest their view that because of the proliferation of St. George flags that Wales is starting to look more like England all the time.

Clwyd West Conservative MP David Jones said that English visitors would be at best confused, at worst insulted by Cymuned's stunt. Labour AM Leighton Andrews said, "Silly stunts like this are damaging to the Welsh tourist industry. They send out the message that English people are not welcome in Wales." Even Plaid Cymru AM Owen John Thomas, said that he could not support anything that involved abuse.

What a lot of fuss about nothing much at all. People are entitled to express their point of view. Although I do not share Cymuned's view, I would rather that we had witty, peaceful and lawful protests such as this than the sort of vandalism that we have seen against Giles Sports in Aberystwyth or even violence as has happened elsewhere. Some politicians just need to chill out a bit.
You make a good point.
I find their protest offensive, however, that is no reason for them not to do it.
There is no reason politicians should not criticise the views they hold, but the protest seems to have been orderly and non-violent, so nothing to criticise there.

I have to try and be consistent, if I am offended then I can say why and argue against the views, but I have to stand up for their right to express the views.

When it comes to damage to the tourist industry we enter the murky world of neighbourhood effects, but there is no action I can think of to measure or redress any damage done, which is likely to be minimal anyway, and freedom of speech and association trump minor damage to the tourist industry. (Violence is much more likely to be damaging of course, for which there are suitable penalties)
Glad to see it's not just our personal English friends who've seen how deliberately light-hearted this was. 'Some politicians just need to chill out a bit' is the best comment on politics I've seen in a good few years...;-)

Tristan, I'm very sorry you found the stunt offensive - have you had a look at English-in-Wales.com, the website we were promoting? We're confident that there is nothing on the site but completely reasonable requests and suggestions, expressed in as warm a way as possible. Perhaps you've misinterpreted the point of the stunt, partly because of the somewhat hysterical coverage?

If any of the views expressed on the site strike you as needing to be challenged, we'd be delighted to hear from you, and to have that discussion.

God for Harry, England and St George!...;-)
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