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Sunday, December 30, 2012

An occasional round-up of Welsh blogposts Part Six

This is the sixth in a series of reviews of Welsh blog posts that have caught my eye over the last month. In fact it was 25th October when I last did this so this series has been more occasional that I had envisaged.

I thought I would start with an intriguing post from A Change of Personnel concerning the fate of the DotCym campaign and in particular a statement from the individuals concerned, which blames Minister’s, Political Party’s and lobbyists for their fate:

With only two volunteer working in their spare time with dotCYM, it was possible to run the enterprise but impossible to fight against Nominet, the Welsh civil servants, the Welsh Government, Darran Hill and his PR company, and Ieuan Evans and other members of Nominet’s Wales Advisory Group.

According to Maredudd ap Gwyndaf, “We would meet with Welsh politicians in Cardiff and London and Nominet and a member of the Wales Advisory Group had already met with all of them lying about dotCYM by saying that we only wanted to create a domain for Welsh speaker, ignoring the rest of the Welsh people and businesses. This was a complete lie and they knew this, but with only enough time to meet a handful of politicians and no money to fight Nominet with the law it was impossible to stop their lies and PR machine. Every politician which I met supported us after they became aware of the truth but I didn’t have the time to meet enough of them.

Actually I don't recognise this scenario at all. I had a number of meetings with Nominet and at no time was this line used with me. Like many Cardiff Bay politicians I had also met with DotCym on a number of occasions so would have known better if such views were expressed in my presence. What is interesting though is this:

It didn’t take Nominet long to show their lack of respect to Wales. They created a website for their .cymru and .wales domains and used Google Translate to tranlate the English content to Wales. The news story can be seen here.

If this is true then it is very worrying. If Nominet want to win the confidence of the Welsh-speaking community then they need to sort this out.

Glyn Davies MP has a view on a recent row in  a Pwllheli shop over the use of the Welsh language:

Former Archdruid of the Gorsedd of Bards, 83yr old Dr Robyn Lewis collected up goods worth |£58. 62p from the shelves of the Spar shop. At the till he was asked by a cashier in the English Language for the money. Dr Lewis insisted on being asked for "Pum deg wyth punt, chwedeg dau". There must have been a bit of a stand-off because store manager, Mr Conrad Davies decided to call in the police to sort out the disturbance. To make the situation worse, the first police officer on the scene was a monoglot English speaker - so a bilingual back-up was called to sort things out. It seems all was settled in the end when another cashier, who could speak Welsh asked Dr Lewis for the money in the way he demanded.

On one level this is no more than an amusing little story. I rather like stubborn principled people like Dr Robyn Lewis. He has a reputation for this sort of thing, and took it upon himself to make a point. He wanted to be spoken to in his own language, in his own country, and why not. He would have been completely stuck in Berriew though,unless I happened to be picking up my Telegraph and in a position to help him out. The point he was making is that retail units should, wherever possible, ensure customers who want to be served in Welsh can be.

Glyn's final point is a valid one. He says that the bigger issue is that Welsh speakers are being mocked and laughed at in the UK media. He is not at all sure that this type of story is helpful to the Welsh Language.

Inside Out have a unique perspective on many Welsh issues, their view on the Caerphilly Council Chief Officer wages scandal appears to be no exception, written, it seems with bitter experience in mind:

Incoming cabinets fresh to office are distracted from remembering sleights they suffered in opposition by the prospect of mould-breaking proposals which, they are told, have been allowed to gather dust by their tired, unimaginative predecessors.

It's an irresistible opportunity for the new crowd to show that they are not afraid of making "the tough decisions" - or some such equally fatuous sound bite - and the outcome is inevitably an unplanned expense that skews the budget, sinks the manifesto and makes for unwelcome headlines.

You get the feeling that something of this ilk happened in Caerphilly where the chief executive has received a tidy pay rise since May for services yet to be rendered. The suspicion is that the Plaid opposition were laying in wait for the Labour newbies to drop this particular bollock as it was something they had themselves rejected when in office.

Syniadau has been reflecting on those census results that show the Welsh language to be losing ground across Wales. What is particularly helpful is a speadsheet he has devised that produces a more detailed breakdown and comparison between the two sets of data on an age band and county-by-county basis.

Over at the Bevan Foundation Blog, the Managing Director if Positif Politics, Daran Hill takes a look back at the political year that was 2012. It has been very much Labour's year:

Labour in Wales is now governing alone, though from to time it makes deals with either Plaid or the Liberal Democrats to secure key items on the floor of the Assembly.

The first practical demonstration of this pragmatism came just before last Christmas when negotiations with the Lib Dems proved to be the first significant demonstration of effective horse-trading within the new administration and a forerunner of what is to come. No formal coalitions are likely but both parties are keen to work with Labour on key issues, not least Plaid under its new and radically left wing leader Leanne Wood.

Finally, Paul Flynn MP gives 23 reasons why the UK honours system is discredited. Here are two of them:

3. The present architecture of the honours system institutionalises snobbery and privilege and cements class divisions. Those who are already over-privileged by wealth, birth, fame or fortune are further rewarded with titles and medals.

4. Knighthoods and peerages are freely distributed in abundance to the tax-avoiding comedians, overpaid bankers or dreary political time-servers. Dedicated charity workers who have inspired and innovated are less fortunate. Teachers, local authority workers, nurses or postmen appear amongst the awards with demeaning minor gongs. Michael Winner famously refused to accept an OBE because that was what he said should be offered to a 'toilet cleaner at King’s Cross Station'. His comment is accurate. The Honours are distributed, not of meritorious service, but on the ranking of the recipient in the social ladder of snobbery.

Never mind, you might get an honour next time, Paul.
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