A United Kingdom to be proud of

3 02 2006
Rant#1

There are some fundamental problems that I just don’t like about the U.K, that I think should be changed. Most of this rant i’m just going to talk about my part of the U.K (since it would make sense) rather than talk generically.


Equal Sum of Parts

I’m totally all for complete devolution, Wales should get a parliament akin to Scotland. I can’t abide hypocrisy pertaining to the whole “Wales is a principality”, since Wales was de-annexed from England in 1955.. Further, both the English and Welsh populace by majority have never deemed Wales a principality rather, we both regard Wales as a country, having it’s own language customs and traditions different than our neighbouring England. So what exactly does this mean? Does this infact mean that the centralist’s are going against what the vast majority of people believe, and instead wish to decide what should be regarded as a principality and what shouldn’t?

Additionally, Northern Ireland should be given back to the Irish, the days of claiming lands as yours are over. This is the 21st century after all.

I also mentioned earlier that Wales should get it’s own parliament, currently the assembly cannot make it’s own laws, just discuss them and then propose that to Westminster. WTF?! Why should issues and concerns pertaining to Wales go to England? If the situation were reversed, that would be equally unpalatable. The excuse that: “The Welsh wouldn’t know what to do with a parliament if it had one” is completely irrelevant for the following reasons.We did have a parliament once, set up by Owain Glyndŵr in 1404. It operated completely independently from Westminster and was freely able to issue it’s own laws and policies. Additionally it was planned that two major universities would be set up in Wales, one in the south and one in the north. Unfortunately this did not come to pass as English forces invaded. Also, to further stake claim to the fact that the Welsh are more than capable of handling a parliament, it should be noted that the Welsh parliament of 1404 was set up after the major Welsh rebellion led by Owain Glyndŵr, after more than 100 years of English occupation in Wales (hence why there are so many castles in Wales). This goes to prove that even though a period of independence was lost to a people, they are still more than capable of ruling themselves.

Welsh Language

“and also from henceforth no person or persons that use Welsh speech or language shall have or enjoy and manner office or fees within this realm of England, Wales or other king’s Dominions upon pain of forfeiting the same offices or fees, unless he or they use and exercise the English speech or tongue.” -Act Of Union 1536
I’m not fluent in Welsh, I’m open enough to say that this is in my part my fault. But then i never grew up in a Welsh speaking environment, the whole south east of Wales, is largely Anglacised. Combined with the fact, the Welsh language was effectively banned until the late 1960’s, it is no surprise that the language was given one hell of a blow. Until that is, the British government decided that it was wrong to do so. Well, it only took 424 years for them to realise that. The damage to the language was a hard blow to Welsh identity, there were instances of the infamous Welsh Knott, where children were forced to wear a rope with a sign around their neck if they were seen conversing in Welsh. This method of discouraging the native language was employed around Wales to actively discourage the Welsh language. It worked.Imagine for one second that the only way you could survive, (getting a job, getting a wage, feeding and clothing yourself) is to speak English, and that your native language is no longer “valid” for employment, or representation in any court of law. Effectively your own language is killed off.

Thankfully this has not happened and Welsh language is on the increase, in my part of Wales (Gwent) the number of Welsh speakers has increased from a mere 1% to 10% over the course of ten years. It’s getting better in some areas and worse in others, but there does appear to be a general consensus that it’s back on the increase. Which cannot be said for Scottish Alba or Irish Gaelic sadly.

Incredibly, the very fact that the Welsh are much quieter than our Celtic cousins, may have infact helped secure our traditions and culture more so than Scotland or Ireland. Case-point: The National Eisteddfod. One of Europe’s oldest and largest cultural events.


Welsh History

A particular point of importance to me, and one that derives most of my frustration. Is that next to no Welsh children are educated Welsh history in schools. Doesn’t anyone see a major problem there? We have an incredibly rich and ancient history, which just isn’t taught in our schools because the curriculum across the UK is devoted and based on English history. Sure knowing about the “Great fire of London” and the “Battle of 1066” is important but, I believe knowing your own roots is much more important in the long run. What I would propose is a region specific history teaching policy, where the curriculum is flexible and location specific, where you would learn about your hometown in your early years of school, and gradually as you get older you learn more and more about the U.K. Or where you would learn about your part of the U.K and then when you have “options” in high school, you can then choose to take classes on more broader historical events. It ROYALLY pisses me off when someone (around here) asks: “Who is Owain Glyndŵr?” or “There were Welsh Rebellions?” or “We had an alliance with France?” This is OUR history, and there should bloody well be efforts made to preserve it and pass it onto our children.


/\\/ Owain Glyndŵr

Prince of Wales, my arse!

Prince Charles, prince of Wales? My F*ing arse, Is he Welsh? No. Is he descendant from the Welsh princes of the North? No. So what exactly is your claim to the Welsh Charles? Sweet FA thats what. How in the hell can a “Prince” be given to another country, and then proclaimed as being somehow your head of state? It’s a goddamn travesty. No-one here asked for him to be our prince, and it’ll be a cold day in hell before I recognise him as the Welsh Prince. had the English government not consistently butchered our Welsh Kings and princes, not to mention locking our last princess in a covenant for 53 years (she was one year old at the time she was taken), maybe we would have had OUR OWN prince or princess, instead of having one imposed on us.


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5 responses

7 02 2006
Rhys

Excellent post Gareth. The fact that you have written this shows that 100’s of years of state sponsored campaign, some obvious, some hidden to make us forget our own heritage has failed.

7 02 2006
sixu

Indeed, It bothers me that our history still isn’t taught. For starters, I had to go out and actively search for my own history!! Shouldn’t that be taught to me in school? I’m not sure if the same predicament also applies to Scotland either. It would be interesting to see if there are any parallels.

Lastly, where in the hell is that statue of Owain Glyndŵr?! I know it’s either on City hall or near it, but I just couldn’t see it anywhere the last time I was there. Wanted to add it to my photo collection😉

“Glyndŵr through the seasons” *lol*

9 02 2006
Rhys

It’s inside city hall.

18 05 2008
Nicholette Guttillo

Hello, I’m from the United States (Chicago), and have been reading a lot about Wales, and past history. Just wanted to say that since the Welsh people are so different than English, it is sad that you are governed by them. Hopefully you will become independent. I would love to see a Prince of Wales, who is actually Welsh. Good luck to you.

26 10 2009
Roger

I can remember being taught about the Welsh Knott in school in Cardiff. There are very few mentions of it on the web. All I that I have spoken about it have never heard of the practice.

It is vital that our history and tradition should be taught at school!

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