Rali S4C

The picture should say it all. Not least because of the impressive number of organizations that have joined Cymdeithas in this protest to keep an independent, securely-funded S4C.


Bookmark and Share


Anonymous said...

What it also says, as a subtext, is "if you don't speak Welsh, this isn't your battle". I'm normally all for all-Welsh interactions as much as possible (a minority language can of course be undermined by too much bilingualism) but when you are trying to mobilize as many supporters as possible surely a bi-lingual poster would help? The size of Cymdeithas language demos compared with what you might see in Galicia or the Basque Country is, as a rule, pathetic, which is one reason the London govt. is able to have a go at S4C. It seems to me there is a real need to draw in the large numbers of English-speaking supporters of the language, for example many parents with children in Welsh-medium schools.

Anonymous said...

Cytuno hefo'r uchod- Sianel Cymru yw hwn, gyda lot fawr or ddi-Gymraeg yn edrych arno (megis y Rygbi, Jonathon a Byd ar Bedwar). Felly dylai y rali groeso y Gymraeg, ar ddi-Gymraeg os mai rali S4C yw hwn.

A hefyd pam galw fo'n "hen swyddfa gymraeg" pam ddim bod yn onesd a deud- tu allan i Swyddfeydd Llywodraeth y Cynulliad?!

Ian Titherington said...

Anon no. 1,

No it doesn't!
I am learning Welsh but do not speak it and am a steward at the rally this morning.
Get off your high horse and be there.

Anonymous said...

Efrogwr writes "What it also says, as a subtext, is "if you don't speak Welsh, this isn't your battle".....

he makes makes a good point i think...and one which all those rightly campaigning to preserve s4c as a independent welsh language tv channel might do well to reflect on i think.

ive been quite surprised to find people at work who i should stress are not welsh speakers..and who only probably watch s4c for the rugby...but who are still nevertheless concerned at the way in which the british govt is treating the channel. So i think one positive by product of the condem's clumsy approach to s4c is that there is a lot more goodwill to the channel across wales than probably existed even a few months ago.

It is important that this goodwill is harnessed in defence of the channel's existence....and not squandered....as the battle to preserve s4c is of course one which should concern everyone in wales..welsh speakers and non welsh speakers alike.

That said Cymdeithas's call for a mass boycott of the the tv license would clearly appear to be premature...if the channel's very existence was a cast on certainty such actions might well be justified....but it has to be said we are clearly not at that stage yet....further the bbc in wales is not responsible for the position s4c currently finds itself in...the responsibility for this lies firmly with the british govt's laughingly entitled 'dept of culture'....and also with some pretty incompetent management at s4c in recent times!

Leigh Richards

Anonymous said...

@ Ian Titherington: what an agressive response to my initial post! Sorry if I came to you as "on my high horse" but my criticism is meant constructively. It seems to me to be such an obvious campaigning point. There is nothing on Cymdeithas' website homepage in English plugging this demo. It's great that you are stewarding but as a Plaid activist (like myself, although I have only been a foot soldier, I'm afraid), who's learning Welsh (like me) you are probably more aware of politics in general and the issues in this case than the average citizen. Some people who would not themselves be up for learning Welsh but who would be generally supportive, won't be able to understand the poster. There will be fewer people at the demo than could have been the case and so it won't be as politically effective as it could have been. Simples.

neil wyn said...

'Cymdeithas' have included a bit of English on the poster to be fair! 11am, just in case anyone turned up at night!!

Anonymous said...

Neil Wyn, AM stands for 'ante meridiem'. That's not English - it's Latin. I sympathise with those who criticise Cymdeithas here for their exclusory rally ad campaign. There are plenty of English monoglots in Wales who support S4C (which unlike Cymdeithas, comes with a digibox subtitles facility) as well as the Welsh language that who, through Cymdeithas' discourtesy or restricted scope, were plainly not invited to this rally.

Ceri Y.

MH said...

I think Cymdeithas are a vital part of Welsh Society and it is surely obvious that they would take a lead role in defending S4C. And it would be equally obvious that they would do it in their way. That's probably why the poster is in Welsh (and Latin, Ceri ;-) rather than bilingual. But what is remarkable is that it they have since been joined by the other organizations listed at the bottom of what was originally a plain poster.

Within the next few weeks it should begin to become clear whether the Westminster government is going to respond to the criticism of the DCMS/BBC agreement. The response may be immediate and positive, or it may be negative. What supporters of Welsh language broadcasting do next will depend on that response. In my view,

• if we get a firm commitment that money from the TV Licence Fee will be top sliced directly to the S4C Authority, rather than being given at the discretion of the BBC;
• if there is a mechanism that guarantees this funding for future years;
• if the management of the channel is completely independent of the BBC;
• and if the level of cuts is reduced from 24% to 16% so that it is no greater than the cuts the BBC have agreed to

... we will then have achieved what it is reasonable to expect in a time when public spending is being cut back.

But if it becomes clear that the Westminster government are not minded to change their decision, we need to set up a broader body to continue putting pressure on the Westminster government until they do.

The ones that have put their names to this rally form an obvious core membership. Cymdeithas will be one of the main organizations in such a group, but it must not be a Cymdeithas led group. Cymdeithas have adopted their own policy, and they are perfectly entitled to do so, but I think it would be unwise for the broader body to adopt the same policies just because Cymdeithas have done so.

As others have said, this body must appeal to the broadest spectrum of opinion in Wales, so it must be bilingual. Many people who do not speak Welsh support S4C, and the vast majority of people in Wales think it important that our children grow up being able to speak the language, even though most do not speak it themselves. Welsh language broadcasting is an essential part of the way we achieve that aim. For this reason alone, we should be confident that the same vast majority will not allow S4C to be subsumed into the BBC, so we must not make it difficult for them to join this broader body.

In terms of tactics, I think Cymdeithas' decision to call for a TV Licence Fee boycott was ill-judged, and I agree with Leigh that it was premature. The first thing to do is build up a mass movement to protest within the law. Only if/when our protests have been ignored should anyone consider taking the matter further. I believe that civil disobedience is justified, but not as a first resort.

I also think that the current membership of S4C Authority—although it has done well to stand up for its independence and the independence of its funding—does carry too much baggage. It would not be right for its members to stand down now, because the big fight is to secure its continued independence and control over the programming it is mandated to provide. But it would be wise for them to indicate that they will stand down when the future of the S4C Authority and the way it provides its programmes has been secured.

MH said...

Let me add one thing. The Westminster government has not yet indicated that it will change this. There are hints, but nothing definite. Therefore we must set up this broader body to fight for S4C now.

I shouldn't have implied that we should wait a few weeks to see what happens. Setting up this body will in itself put pressure on Westminster.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that neither Cymdeithas nor the supporting organisations were sending out an anti-non-Welsh-speaker subtext.

The question is, how is Welsh to thrive as a community language if all written and spoken Welsh must perforce be rendered into English as well. Surely bilingualism entails all understanding each other's language, and being affirmed to communicate in their language of choice?

On another point, I agree with MH et al. that Cymdeithas was premature in calling for non-payment of the TV licence. When Angharad Tomos asked the crowd how many would be prepared to take this stance, the volunteers were few! Best to wait until (g-d forbid) the day when S4/C's very existence is threatened before pressing the nuclear button.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 18.19: I agree with your point about the danger to minority languages of excessive bilingualism, as I said in my first comment, but wasn't the point of the demo to mobilise mass support? I am sure that no deliberate exclusion was intented by CyG, my point was how do you get the largest crowd of supporters for a mass demonstration?
Polls show a large, maybe more passive majority of Welsh people support the language (S4C, consumer rights, official status, access to WM educuation etc) yet at the moment their pressure is not felt as effectively as it might be. Perhaps it is time to revive Cynog Davis' idea of a broader, more mainstream pressure group in favour of the language which would have wider appeal than CyG. This is in no way meant as disrespect or criticism of CyG's philosophy and achievements in themselves, or of the need for a strong CyG in the future. Perhaps such a movement could grow out of the broader coalition MH envisages on the specific S4C issue.

Anonymous said...

One of the most impressive contributions at the rally was made almost entirely in English by David Donavan, the BECTU official.

e linked the attack on S4C funding very skilfully to the general attack on the public sector by the London Government.

We should not forget that the cuts are not just about getting the public finances right, they are also about fulfilling an ideoogical goal of minimising the role of the public sector in the UK polity.

It is slowly dawning on the ideologues that there are certain things that only the public sector can deliver / fund, and that you need them in order to ensure a civilised and peaceful society. S4C and minority language rights are among tose things.

Emrys Weil

Anonymous said...

"if it becomes clear that the Westminster government are not minded to change their decision, we need to set up a broader body to continue putting pressure on the Westminster government until they do".....

excellent point MH.....please keep us all posted on any such development via your blog please...

Leigh Richards.

Hendre said...

As the RFU has sold its soul to the Evil Murdoch Empire BBC cameras will once again be fixed on the Millennium Stadium next Saturday. Is it too late to start organising some sort of ‘I - heart - S4C campaign amongst Welsh rugby supporters? It may be a bit naff (and an exaggeration at the moment!) but a bit of good-natured public support wouldn’t go amiss at this stage as a follow-up to the rally.

Post a Comment