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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Plaid's language woe

One of the problems with being a campaigning party, in opposition for eighty years is that when you acquire power expectations are often too high to meet. No doubt the Liberal Democrats will reach that stage at some point, but in the meantime Plaid Cymru are almost certainly there now on the Welsh Language Measure.

Despite publishing over 100 amendments yesterday, they have still not satisfied Welsh Langauge campaigners, who have formed part of their core vote for decades, or the opposition for that matter, that they have delivered everything required of them.

According to the Western Mail, there is much grumbling in the ranks:

Cardiff-based lawyer Emyr Lewis said: “There are 140 proposed amendments which will need to be looked at carefully and in detail. My first impressions on two important issues are: One, the Legislation Committee showed that there was all-party support to having a statement in the Measure that Welsh and English are the official languages of Wales and have equal status.

“It is a shame that the Government has not adopted this approach. It is an opportunity missed. Instead, there is a declaration that Welsh is an official language, followed by some complex wording which is intended, as far as I can see, to ensure that that apparently bold declaration has no independent force in law.

“Two, there has been much criticism of the fact that the complex enforcement system of the new language standards gives very little space to the citizen who has been let down, and no right of appeal to the citizen against decisions of the language Commissioner.

“While the citizen is given a bit more space by the proposed changes, there is still no formal role for the citizen, and no right of appeal. This contrasts with the extensive rights of appeal given to the bodies who are subject to decisions by the Commissioner. This seems inequitable, and unnecessarily distances citizens from processes designed to protect their interests.”

Will the Minister go back to the drawing board again? We will have to see.
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