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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Welsh Language Measure

The long-drawn out saga of the Government's Welsh Language Measure reaches its climax today with a four hour plus debate and 71 individual amendments, many of which have come from the Government itself. The measure is being trailed as the most complex yet, but I suspect the reason for that is because the Government has made such a hash of it rather than anything in the legislation itself.

The key outstanding issue is the status of the Welsh Language and I was fascinated to see in this morning's Western Mail that one Plaid Cymru AM has broken ranks and tabled her own amendments. Whether this signals a splintering of the Plaid Cymru group is yet to be seen, though I suspect that they will not want to abandon their own Minister, no matter how much he has messed up.

What galls is the way that Bethan Jenkins' amendment is getting so much publicity as if nobody else had done anything on this issue. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have consistently tabled amendments to clarify the status of the language and indeed, have the first amendemnt down for today which seeks to insert the words:

"English and Welsh are the official languages of Wales and have equal validity and status."

We are as committed to this cause as much as anybody but we understand that it is the right of those campaigning on this issue not to give us any credit if that is their wish.
Does the UK actually has a "official language"? I know the US doe not (though US states have introduced it separately usually as a defence against being swamped by Spanish)
I think this issue for Plaid Cymru is very similar to the position of the Liberal's on Tuition Fee's. And will, I am sure put it's AM's in a difficult position.

However they are lucky that their Government hasn't done the "opposite" of what the L.D's did in Westminster. I.e they haven't gone and said they'll cut funding to Welsh Language, make it an illegal language etc.
What they have done is 95% of what they have said they would do, and I commend them for doing that.

However they haven't done what they said they would do. I don't know why, I really don't understand the problem of making Eng and Welsh "official languages". If it is legal problems, why cant the Minister give us the full facts rather than hide behind closed doors? If there was a Plaid Gov in Westminster I'd understand- but there isn't!?

In terms of having 'official status' I'm not bothered about it. I'm confident about the language's future however I do recognise the reasons as to why others want it official.

Apart from this (small imho) but significant issue to others. This measure does go a long way to satifying what language campaigners have asked for [although I don't particlarly agree that 'law' is needed, I think co-operation has worked and should remain].

Finally a question to you Peter:
what was the Assembly's findings on the Welsh Language Board. I've heard nothing but praise about them, and found them very helpful. OR have I missed something?

if it works why fix it?
Not sure about the context of your question but of course the Measure abolishes the Welsh Language Board.
I am not sure how giving Welsh (or any other language) would benefit it?

Irish was the official language of the Irish Free State and its successor, and it did not help it much.
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