Britain is stronger untied

If ever we wanted confirmation that the LibDems don't have the first clue about the way the European Union works, we need look no further than this story in today's Scotsman:

Scotland in EU weaker than Greece, say Lib Dems

An independent Scotland would be allocated less voting power in the European Union than Greece, according to information extracted by the Lib Dems from the European Commission.

The United Kingdom currently has 29 votes within the Council of Ministers – the same number as France, Germany and Italy. This would fall to 27 votes, based on population size, if Scotland were to become independent. Scotland itself would be allocated seven votes as an independent nation – the same number as Denmark, Slovakia, Finland, Ireland and Lithuania.

George Lyon, the Lib Dem MEP, said such a small number of votes would mean Scotland would have to rely on building “shaky alliances” with other member states to pass any motion, or block any proposal.

Scotsman, 28 December 2011

This story is just plain wrong on so many levels.

First is the idea that the LibDems had to "extract" this information from the EU Commission. The information is common knowledge, and all the details of the voting weights in the Council of the EU are here.

Second, why should it be any surprise that Greece, with a population of 11.1m people, should have a greater voting weight under the current system than Scotland, with a population of 5.2m people? Of course it should.

But third, and rather more seriously, if the LibDems had actually asked the EU Commission they would have been told that the current system of voting weights in the Council of the EU is going to be replaced with a new system of qualified majority voting (QMV) from November 2014 anyway.


When this is introduced, it means that decisions taken in the Council of the EU will need to be approved by a 55% majority of member states and that these states have at least 65% of the EU's population. 55% means at least 16 out of 28 member states, for Croatia is set to join in 2013.

So let's imagine a situation where the UK wants to either get through a proposal which it considers to be in the interests of Britain or block a proposal that it considers not to be in the interests of Britain. It will no longer be able to rely on its current veto for a whole range of policy areas (there's a table of them here) and so will have to find at least 15 other like-minded countries in order to get something through or 12 to block it.

But when Scotland and Wales become independent members of the EU, the interests of Britain—and it is right to acknowledge that there are many areas where we do share a common interest—will be represented by three member states rather than just one, so we will not need to get support from as many other countries on any issue on which we can agree. Therefore Britain as a whole will have a stronger voice in the Council of the EU when England, Scotland and we in Wales can represent ourselves directly. The same will also be true in the European Parliament, although the maths is slightly different.

All three unionist parties like to tell us that Britain is stronger united, but they couldn't be more wrong. Britain isn't stronger united; Britain is stronger untied.

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Anonymous said...

I believe QMV will come to "The Council" (the ex council of ministers) not "Council of EU" or "European Council". And really out of what I've read it probably helps France/Ger out more than anybody else. But finally will give a bigger voice to some smaller nations (to help reach the 55% quota).

But I agree; on the matters that Eng, Scot, Wal agree on- "Great Britain's" voice would be stronger post independence. However, one agrees that if Eng disagreed with Scot on an issue; Scotland's voice would be diminished NO ONE can deny this. However the counter argument to this is; do you believe that the UK is currently carrying Scots voice anyway!! Regardless of this; it's interesting to see the concessions that Ireland has been given compared to the UK recently- in particular as Ireland has much less of a "voice" in Europe..... some Brits needs to remember that the number of votes doesn't necessarily mean you have a big voice!

Out of interest; if Scotland became independent today it would have a right to remain in the EU. However do you know would it all be under the current terms the UK is under (inc the vast veto's?).

Anonymous said...

Perhaps one of the best pro-independence slogans I have seen is from SNP strategist Stephen Noon's blog: Stronger Together as Equals. This would seem to be a prime example of that, and we could do a lot worse than borrow that slogan.

Anonymous said...

It'd also be advantageous at the Eurovision song contest! Three or four countries voting for each another's songs like the Scandinavians do for each another!

Other plus - three countries for the price of one for tourists.

On a more serious note, unlike our current set up, independence, like Jill Evans argues on the click on wales blog, would allow us to set our own interests in the EU.


Anonymous said...

On the point that the UK is representing Scotland/Wales' interest.

As far as I can see, Cameron's 'veto' was to protect the financial sector in the City of London.

How can it be in Scotland and Wales' interests for the UK to be isolated as one out of twenty-six members for the sake of an 'industry' which creates nothing but money by sophisticated forms of gambling and which is based in London.

It is short-termism in the extreme. It's bound to collapse like a house of cards sooner or later, and the lack of balance in the UK economy leaves nothing to fall back on.

The UK is in terminal decline, and it's going to take Wales and Scotland down with it. Let's hope the people of Wales wake up in time to act before that happens. Plaid needs to get its act together.

I was comparing Plaid Cymru's and the SNP's websites earlier. Sad to say, Plaid's is poor in comparison. The party really needs a wake up call.

MH said...

It is the Council of the EU, Anon 14:22. But it does seem to be rebranding itself as the Consilium, which seems like a good idea, if only to clear up the confusion.

And you also seem confused when you say that "NO-ONE can deny" that Scotland's voice would be diminished if England and Scotland disagreed on something. Think more clearly. If England and Scotland disagree on something within the UK now, then it is always England's voice that will prevail because England has 85% of the UK's population. Having a small voice is an improvement on having no voice at all. Exactly the same is true for Wales.


The general rule with regard to international treaties is that when one of the states that signed it breaks up, both new states will be bound by the terms of the treaty unless they choose not to be. In the case of there being a successor state and a new state it would be very difficult for the successor state to choose not to be bound by an existing treaty, but the new state would be free to choose. So Wales and Scotland would probably keep the current UK vetos unless we choose not to. But we need to realize that the EU is a political organization, so citing "rules" will be a lot less relevant than what can be achieved by political agreement. Sometimes getting something you want comes at the price of being prepared to make compromises elsewhere.

At present, other member states might be totally unaware that Wales and Scotland disagree with the view presented by UK ministers in the Council of the EU because we don't even have a seat at the table. So the only people who would lose out by independence for Wales and Scotland would be those who that think Wales and Scotland's national interests are irrelevant in comparison with those of England. That isn't much of a loss.


Thanks for reminding us that Europe's raison d'être is in fact to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest, M. It is all too easy to lose sight of what Europe is really for ;-)

Gwalchmei said...

Sorry...wrong strand... this is it
My experience of dealing with the Liberals (as they were) in Wales was like trying to talk to people with an ever shifting point of view, depending on who they wished to influence. In Llanelli they were viewed as nothing more than the right wing under a different guise, perhaps with a slightly kinder face. I am not sure how much political analysis they undertook but, albeit that the report you cite may be nothing more than a journalistic interpretation of confirms my views. These liberals are nice question about that but, they come across as being pretty shallow when it comes to nuts and be it, maybe they will be destined to the dustbin of someone, whose name I seem to forget, said.

MH said...

No problem, Gwalchmei. I've already had a go at dealing with some of your Slovenia points on the other thread, so I'll delete your comment from this one.

As for the LibDems, they are an easy target. Too easy, really. But for the party that claims to be most positive about Europe, the ignorance is remarkable ... especially from an MEP.

The irony is that the policies of the nationalist parties in Wales and Scotland will actually do more to strengthen Britain's influence in Europe by advocating independence for Wales and Scotland than any of the unionist parties will achieve by advocating that the United Kingdom remains a single state.

Anonymous said...

As someone who is proud to describe myself as 'Welsh, not British' I don't like the idea of 'Britain's influence' and 'Britain's interests'. Britain is what we should be trying to consign to the dustbin of history that has just been mentioned above.

Cibwr said...

I have never understood how having no influence in how 29/27 votes are cast is some how more power and influence than directly controlling how our 4/7 votes are cast.

Gwalchmei said...

Unfortunately, like it or not, our destiny is going to be bound up with that of our near neighbours, at least in the period immediately after independence. I have no wish to support any of the actions of the British state when it meddles in the affairs of other countries and would not wish Wales to be identified with these actions, but, we will be obliged to trade with, and to some extent share the same economic interests.
On the down side of ‘Britain Untied’, have a thought for the many good, honest hard working people of England who will be marooned in a right wing dominated political landscape. I hope that an independent Wales and Scotland will make many think again about English devolution. We will have the scope to provide an example of what could and should be done. There would indubitably be left a Tory rump in the home-counties, but we don’t live in a perfect world.

Pads said...

Were the LibDem figures presented in one of their infamous graphs?

Junius said...

"good, honest hard working people of England who will be marooned in a right wing dominated political landscape." - you obviously haven't checked the voting patterns of the last GE.

Rather than being 'marooned' England is a Conservative fortress with the left wing pontificating on the side lines. You don't like the government we voted for? ... tough.

Rather than England opting for a devolved parliament, you will probably find that now the heartland is stirring we will chose independence from both of you. We need no lessons about Socialist Labour we have just turfed them out after 13 years of mismanagement. You may not agree .. that's you option but don't try and foist your choice on us.

Lyndon said...

England is a "Conservative fortress" where the Tories won 39% of the vote.

But if you really want to go, by all means feel free. Don't let the door hit you on the arse on the way out.

Gwalchmei said...

Maybe England is not ready for self government yet, but I think we might be. How about having an evidence based debate rather than venting spleen?

Anonymous said...

Alan Trench mentions in his blog, Devolution Matters, the forthcoming publication of the IPPR's recent survey into public attitudes to devolution and self-government in England.

Its report is to be published early in 2012 and entitled, ‘The English dog that finally barked: Understanding the new politics of Englishness’.

I read somewhere else about the conflation of 'British' and 'English' in the minds of many English people, which isn't true of those of us who are Scottish or Welsh.

It's unfortunate that the Labour government went for what I think was a cock-eyed, lop-sided, form of devolution which has left a legacy difficult to overcome. Devolution on the back of a fag packet.

England has remained 'undevolved' although in practice it has its own parliament at Westminster with all the sovereign powers available to it, containing a huge majority of English MPs. It has left the West Lothian question unaddressed.

One of the principal aims of devolving powers, albeit severely limited powers particularly in the case of Wales, was to kill off the national movements which had been steadily growing since the 1960s. It plainly hasn't worked in Scotland, but hindered it to an extent in Wales.

Devolution took place for the wrong motives - that is, not for the benefit of the Scots and the Welsh, but to safeguard the union - and far too much power was retained at Westminster, which has deeply frustrated the Scots.

Not enough of us in Wales have woken up to that fact yet - but it is likely to happen, driven in all probability by what the Scots decide.

These tensions have to be resolved. The debates over the Scotland Bill indicate the UK government isn't prepared to devolve real fiscal power to Scotland, and unless that happens I'm confident that the Scots will vote out.

I think that Devo Max is a profoundly difficult option for the unionists because it will inevitably lead to federalism, with perhaps only defence and foreign affairs in the hands of a federal parliament.

It would mean dismantling the Westminster and Whitehall edifice and the destruction of a decades old power elite based on a corrupt undemocratic political and electoral system. Unpalatable and unacceptable to Tories and Labour alike, because it means an end to their comfortable century of alternate periods in power. In all probability it would require a written constitution.

An English unicameral parliament with the same powers and structure as that in Scotland would have to be created, together with a new federal legislature.

The fate of Wales would remain to be decided. In a new federal set-up, where and how would Wales fit in? I can only envisage Wales getting the same powers as Scotland or assimilation into England - not a practical option. The former is the only workable solution.

How long would a federal UK remain in existence? The Scots and the Welsh would be consistently outvoted on defence and foreign policy, and would have to participate in military adventures such as a war against Iran, or support for Zionist Israel, and the renewal of a nuclear deterrent.

It wouldn't work. Neither would a veto, as the English would be frustrated time and time again.

If the Scots vote for outright independence, that will again pose problems for Wales and the rump UK, leaving Wales with some five percent of the representation at Westminster and the prospects of a permanent Tory government there.

That would be unacceptable to Labour and Plaid voters in Wales and there is likely to be a radical change in political thinking among Labour voters (and their elected representatives here). It will probably lead to a demand for far more power to be devolved.

If an independent Scotland is a success, then that will have an effect on political thinking in Wales in the medium term. It could mean that Wales too will take the plunge in due course.

I've not considered Northern Ireland, as the demographics there are likely to lead to eventual unification.

MH said...

Lots of points, some of which deserve a whole book rather than a comment, but I'll touch on some.

Anon 03:26, I think is key is to be more precise about what "Britain" is. At its simplest, Britain is a big island surrounded by a lot of small islands. That geographic reality exists irrespective of the peoples and nations that have made it their home, what they call themselves, and how they're governed. In addition to that, living together for thousands of years means that the people and nations on this island share many things in common.

So I've got nothing against using the word "British", but would never describe my nationality as British. In just the same way, I'm sure nobody from Barbados would object to being described as Caribbean or somebody from Denmark would object to being described as Scandinavian in either geographic or broad cultural terms. But they would never say that their nationality was Caribbean or Scandinavian. So the question to ask is what people mean when they say in response to the surveys that are asked every year or so that they are British. The unionists are all too quick to assume that this means that people think their nationality is British. That isn't necessarily true.

If we are to increase support for Welsh independence to the point where the majority of us want it (for in a democracy, that is the only way of becoming independent) I think we'll find that it is better not to criticize people that think of themselves as British, but be happy to celebrate what we in Wales have in common with the other nations on this island we call Britain. But that definitely does not require us to, or imply that we should, be part of a state called the United Kingdom. Our relationships with the other nations on this island are not exclusive, for we also have much in common with Ireland, the other nations of Europe and many nations across the world.

MH said...

Both Gwalchmei and Junius have (in their different ways) highlighted that despite the many things that people in Wales and England have in common (even if for some that is primarily a mutual rivalry ;-) we also have many differences. In political terms Wales and Scotland are left-leaning nations, and England leans to the right.

Over the past twelve years we have been able to express those differences in the way we have chosen to run things like education and health. The point that I would make is that this difference isn't a difference between Labour and Conservative, it is a national difference. To illustrate this, we just need to look at the Labour Party. Things like privatization of the health service and the move to take schools out of the hands of local authorities were ideas that Labour implemented in England. At the beginning of devolution, Labour in Wales went along with them, but they've since found their feet and reversed them.

The twenty two local health boards were introduced in order to create an internal market in the health service, but when they finally realized that they were just creating wasteful duplication rather than the promised competitive market that would drive down costs, we reverted back to something not dissimilar to what we had before. The catalyst for this was the One Wales Government, because Plaid insisted the internal market model be scrapped ... but Labour in Wales were happy tag along because they weren't really happy with what Labour in England were doing. Similarly with schools. Foundation schools were set up by Labour in England as a way of taking schools out of a framework of local democratic accountability. We got a few of them in Wales because Labour in Wales was initially happy to follow Labour in England, but they realized that this was not a good idea in Wales, and so we've ended up with very few of them, and now have committed Wales not to have any of the next wave of school privatizations in the form of Free Schools.

So the political difference between Wales and England is much deeper than a Labour v. Tory difference. It is the increasing difference between a Labour party that has become very much more right wing in England than it is in Wales. It had to shift to the right as the only way to win the votes of middle England. This is a much more profound change than the normal swing between left and right in general elections. Labour, to their credit, are finally beginning to realize that what is in our national interest is different from what is in the UK's (in this context, England's) national interest. As this realization grows, the arguments in favour of an independent Wales will win over the hearts and minds of more and more people in Wales.

Home Rule for England said...

Gwalchmei said:

"There would indubitably be left a Tory rump in the home-counties"

You clearly haven't looked at the results of the 2010 Westminster election! The Tories had plenty of support in the north of England and London returned a lot of Labour MPs!

MH said...

It would take a long while to address all of Anon 16:52's points, but I agree with a lot of them.

One point I would like to address is whether devo-max will in fact be a referendum option in Scotland. Not only have the Tories and LibDems ruled out making any concrete, implementable proposals beyond what will eventually be in the new Scotland Act, but Labour's new Scottish leader seems to have done the same, saying she won't even consider devo-max until after the independence referendum has been held.

So although it sounds reasonable to talk about a federal UK and how it might work, the reality is that none of the unionist parties wants to make it happen. It's the same old problem: inertia. The UK political system is incapable of making the radical changes that would be necessary to hold the UK together (which is why we got Anon's "cock-eyed, lop-sided, form of devolution" designed "on the back of a fag packet" in the first place). Rather than come up with proposals for change that would persuade the Scots to stay in the UK, Westminster will do nothing more than a bit of tinkering with the Scotland Bill and passively wait for the Scots to either leave or not leave.

They'll vote to leave. Westminster will then breathe a huge sigh of relief because they will no longer have to think about the West Lothian Question or an English Parliament. A few voices will shout out, "Hey, what about the West Clwyd Question?" But if Scotland with all its oil wasn't enough to get Westminster off its collective backside to work out a way of keeping Scotland in the UK, does anyone think they'll bother over Wales?

In short, Westminster will not adapt to suit us. So the only option for us will be to accept being part of a new Greater England, or decide to become independent.

Unknown said...

Part of Salmond's great genius is that by introducing Devo-Max into the equation (and at the same time challenging the unionists to define what it would mean, which they all appear unwilling to do), he has basically reduced the argument to 'Do we want Nuclear Weapons in Glasgow'?. No guessing which way Glaswegians will go on that, really, is there?

It will probably take Scotland 5 years to disengage from the UK, and that is a time when Plaid has to be ruthless in spelling out to the Welsh electorate what exactly are the choices before them. Become an impoverished part of England, or stand on our own feet?

Anonymous said...

"I've not considered Northern Ireland, as the demographics there are likely to lead to eventual unification."

You could say the same for Wales and England. There English and their descendents make up around half of our population and the old Anglo-Welsh identity is dying out. Welsh identity is becoming even more tied to our language.

In the last few decades people in south Wales are either sending their kids to Welsh language schools or turning their back on Welsh identity altogether.

Although 'English Wales' has come round to the idea of a Welsh identity and devolution in the last few years but they still view themselves through the prism of the London media and I don't doubt that their true allegiance lies with England(andwales). Our culture and society is becoming more like Anglicised by the day and that's true of all parts of Wales.

We'd be better off raising as much capital as we can before pooling our resorces and creating a new Welsh-speaking colony in the Pacific or something. At least we could then stand a chance of qualifying for a football world cup!

MH said...

Here we go again. It's never long before someone tries to bring in the idea of race.

Being Welsh is a matter of nationality, and we are a nation entirely made up of those who have settled here, whether whether ten years ago, a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago or ten thousand years ago. It doesn't matter who our parents or grandparents are. It doesn't matter if we have brown skin or white skin. It doesn't matter if we have a Welsh or English sounding surname. We have an equal right to call ourselves Welsh.

And as for language, anyone can learn to speak Welsh, and before too long every child who grows up in Wales will be able to speak Welsh.

Ditch the victim mentality and fight to make the Wales we are now into a better Wales, rather than trying to isolate us behind some baracade or running off to create some "pure" version of Wales somewhere else.

Gwalchmei said...

I’m glad that the above point has been made (MH 03.24). I happen to have Welsh identity but live in Brittany along my Breton partner. Many friends are Bretons, Welsh, French and indeed English. It is easy to identify all the English with their ruling elite, but this appears to be nothing more than lazy thinking.
If I ask my English friends about their identity the first answer is often ‘Oh I’m a Yorkshire man, a Geordie etc.’ There are, of course, those ( not friends of mine)who identify with their elite or those who might vote for the right through self-interest or mere misguidedness, but many in England dislike this elitism as much as we do. They have nowhere to go politically unless they seek some sort of devolution as well.

Anonymous said...

"Here we go again. It's never long before someone tries to bring in the idea of race."

It's not about race. A person born to Pakistani or English parents in an overwhelmingly Welsh community such as the Rhondda will end up becoming Welsh. I'm not sure that would happen in Barmouth or Llandrindod Wells.

MH said...

So Barmouth and Llandrindod Wells aren't Welsh enough for the likes of you? Stop digging.

Anonymous said...

"So Barmouth and Llandrindod Wells aren't Welsh enough for the likes of you?"

Yes, basically. What is the point of Welsh nationalism if it doesn't put the Welsh interest (i.e speakers of the Welsh language and Welsh English) first? I don't like English culture and I don't want to live in what is becoming a western province of England complete with bilingual road signs and the token red dragon.

MH said...

Then I wish you well in finding that small uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. If it's possible for someone with as many prejudices as you to be happy, I'm sure you'll be happier there.

Anonymous said...

Thats why Plaid will never get anywhere, too timid to stick up for the Welsh interest. A fully developed civic Welsh identity doesn't exist, Welsh people are the majority ethnic group (for now) residing in a devolved province of England.

The vast majority of English people who move here have no interest in Wales or becoming Welsh (they never will). The uniquely Welsh element of our society is under threat and Plaid doesn't give a damn.

Efrogwr said...

Anon 20:11 and 13:28 may be trolling about the Pacific islands but it still seems to me, MH, that, given the population flows in Wales over the last decades, your rather black and white civic nationalism (e.g. at 3:24) contains a dose of wishful thinking and is all a bit too easy. You say above that "The unionists are all too quick to assume that this means that people think their nationality is British." Maybe not for the smaller nationalities in the UK, but I think the argument can be run that for a majority of English, the UK is the English nation-state and that there is no distinction between the UK/Britian/England in this context. Many identify with that and will, in significant numbers, continue to do so when they move to Wales (and continue to consume Anglo-centric) media. Indeed, for some, a sense of superior difference on moving to Wales may increase their loyalties to the UK as their nation-state.
You're right that it doesn't matter what colour our skin is, but, contrary to what you argue, it can matter a lot when we moved to Wales (i.e. did our grandparents/parents move into an area when it was still Welsh-speaking and pick up the language). It can also matter a lot who our grandparents are (was there a Welsh speaker among them, are we part of a kinship network with family links, memories and a history linked to a particular locality and landscape - I need to go back to my JR Jones on this). It can matter what our names are. These things will - on average - help determine whether we identify as Welsh, want our children to learn Welsh, and whether we want to be part of a "new greater England" or not. None of them are decisive and none of them of course mean that monoglot English speaker John Smith from Guildford(of Nigerian parentage) who moved to Llantwit Major yesterday can't be Welsh, but they are real for all that. Anon 20:11 did not mention "race" - you did that in your response at 3.24. Concerns about racism are to be taken seriously but should not be allowed to silence concerns about the massive cultural shifts that have and are taken place in Wales, the role of population movements in them and the consequences for the national project.

Anonymous said...

"You could say the same for Wales and England. There English and their descendents make up around half of our population and the old Anglo-Welsh identity is dying out. Welsh identity is becoming even more tied to our language."

Not so sure about this. In the south of Wales those people descended from the English tend to class themselves as Welsh first, British second (if at all).

"In the last few decades people in south Wales are either sending their kids to Welsh language schools or turning their back on Welsh identity altogether."

Those are not the only two choices! Many of those in the south who don't send their kids fo Welsh medium are still very much Welsh-identifiers.

The issue of Welsh-speaking communities is different, of course.

Anonymous said...

MH - not wanting to sound too flippant, but to take your hypothesis to its conclusion Wales would be 'just as Welsh' and would it be just as likely to vote for independence if it meant a better standard of living, if Wales included nobody of Welsh decent, reading Welsh press (... or blog!), speaking no Welsh, unaware and mostly disinterested in Welsh history or basic geography beyond their immediate locality?

If nationality/ethnicity/culture etc isn't a difining decision in people's decision to vote for independence why doesn't Plaid ever make Deeside it's number one target seat? Why not Monmouth or Brechnock? Why do Plaid never target these seats? May I just suggest there are strong cultural and historical and yes, ultimately, demographic reasons too. So, if we accept this, then we also have to accept that the angliciasation of rural Wales will also have an effect on our voting habits and the chances of Wales voting yes to independence.


Gwalchmei said...

With regard to the anonymous comment (12.36), can I say that I was not implying that race was an issue, though anon might have inferred that. I was simply pointing out that not everyone in England identifies with the ruling clique and may seek some way out. Okay, it may be said that it’s their problem and not ours, but maybe if we can do things differently here as an example, some in England may reconsider the devolution for England.
Some settlers do make an effort to integrate. They go to Welsh lessons and send their children to Welsh medium schools. Look at any Ulpan course and probably a good proportion the students aren’t of Welsh origin. We should welcome incomers if they embrace our culture and attitudes, as I’m sure you would agree.
Barmouth and Llandrindod Wells? I assumed initially that this was a wind up. Perhaps you are having a joke, perhaps not. If not it is a little sad.
P.S. A question to MH. I’m new to this blog and am not sure whether anonymous is always the same person. Sometimes s/he is thoughtful and analytical and other times s/he is a total twpsen.

Anonymous said...


That's sexist.

Anonymous said...

You need to visit some places in Ceredigion like somebody mentioned a few days ago eg N C Emlyn or Tregaron and see for yourself how most of the English who are moving in are throwing themselves at our language and culture....not. If Wales were playing football at the same time as England, I think you'd find it difficult to find a pub in many if not most parts of Ceredigion which would show the Welsh game.

Gwalchmei said...

Mae'n ddrwg da fi...twpsen/yn ..wrthcwrs

Anonymous said... have to have a managed migration. I don't think most people want a pure Welsh island in the pacific. They just don't want to see their country disappearing which is happening....despite the existence of the Assembly and a language Act and more signs etc.

Are you English then?

MH said...

My response to you is going to be tempered by the fact that I know you personally, Efrogwr, but I don't have much sympathy for what you've said in your comment.

Anyone who categorizes a group of people according to who they are descended from is being racist.

While I accept that a person's attitude might be influenced by the attitude of their parents and their parents' parents before them, I believe that each individual has to take their own responsibility for what they think. They decide what papers to read or programmes to watch and listen to, not their forefathers.

The core of the matter is what it means to be Welsh. For me, it is vitally important that we define this solely in terms of civic nationalism and citizenship. We cannot mix this with even the slightest degree of defining Welshness based on who we are descended or not descended from. If we do, then the inevitable result is to start grading people according to how Welsh they are.

Now I accept that nationality is primarily a matter of how a person identifies themself. But if we who call ourselves Welsh grade others in this way, then it makes it all but impossible for someone who doesn't come up to our standard of being "Welsh enough" to feel that they can call themselves Welsh. In other words, we would shut ourselves off and become an ever-diminishing group; always on the back foot, always on the defensive and always looking back to what we were. This attitude is self-defeating. It will get us nowhere.


Turning now to M, he's just asked why Plaid doesn't ever make Deeside its number one target seat, or Monmouth or Brechnock? To me, that seems to fit in perfectly with Anon's assertion that Barmouth and Llandrindod Wells aren't Welsh enough for him. So not only do we have a whole section of our own population written off on the basis of who they are descended from, we also have whole areas of our own country written off because too many of the wrong sort of people live there.

Hasn't the penny dropped? Plaid Cymru will only get anywhere if it is a party that offers something to the whole of Wales and to everyone who lives in Wales. And Plaid Cymru is that sort of party, otherwise the trolls would not telling us that we will get nowhere as a party unless we stick up for one particular ethnic group.


The undercurrent of both comments seems to be that people are more likely to vote for Plaid now, or vote for an independent Wales in the future primarily on the basis of Welsh identity. This is so wrong. First, it is unbelievably insulting to those in other political parties who are just as Welsh as those who are in Plaid Cymru. Second it ignores a point I made before about immigrants to Wales coming live to here because they prefer Wales to the place they used to live before. We must fight our political battle for votes on the basis of what is best for Wales as a whole and for everyone who has chosen to make Wales their home. It is by doing precisely this that Plaid has made breakthroughs in places like Wrecsam and Torfaen, and it is only by continuing to do this that we will go on to make headway in places like Deeside, Monmouth and Brechnock.

If Wales is going to become independent we need to break out of the comfort zone of our heartlands and persuade people all over Wales that independence will benefit the whole nation, not just bits of it.

MH said...

Gwalchmei, not all Anons are the same person. I do have the advantage of being able to look up the log details of everyone who leaves a comment, but most of the time I can't be bothered. I don't mind anonymous comments at all, for I'm more interested in what people say than who they are ... and very often people will feel able to say things anonymously that they wouldn't say to anyone who knew them. However my advice is that it's always best for people to give themselves some name, especially when there a lots of comments. It's easiest to use the "Name/URL" option, but leave the URL blank.

Anonymous said...

For somebody who seems to revel in your own seem remarcably.....intolerant.

Gwalchmei said...

Okay, anon, maybe you’re genuine.
Football is not so fashionable in the South and West.... if it were a game of rugby there would be very little else on the widescreen in Wales.
I came back to Cardiff a year or two back with some Breton friends, to the Cayo Arms, and it was in the middle of the Wales-Italy match...the atmosphere was brilliant, and my friends were greeted as fellow Celts...cousins from across the sea ...but after we won, in the following match England were playing France and everyone in the pub started singing ‘La Marseillaise’. Well, I got the joke but my Breton friends were totally baffled ... ‘Why are our cousins across the sea supporting France, our oppressors? Every time we come to Cardiff it is to support Wales against France...etc...etc..
The point I am trying to make is things can get very silly. Let’s work carefully towards a sensible plan for independence,. Let’s not go down the road of simple vilification of those who are not pure Celts. As far as I am concerned if you embrace our values, make some effort to learn our language and enjoy our’re in.
Ps Why do you choose to stay anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Racism this...racism that. I think the Tibettans should welcome with open arms the plantation that's occurring there. In a perfect world, MH would be correct. But it isn't. They even have to cull grey squirrels to save the red. And before MH gets on his high horse, I don't advocate culling anybody.

Anonymous said...

Cytunaf bod 'Anyone who categorizes a group of people according to who they are descended from is being racist', ac felly dylai'r blaid ceisio argyhoeddi pawb ym mhob rhan o Gymru i bleidleisio drosti heb feddwl amdana'u gwreiddiau neu hil neu beth bynnag. Ond un problem rwy'n gweld gyda'r holl fusnes "civic nationalism" 'ma yw nad yw'r iaith mor bwysig ac a dylai hi bod. Byswn i wrth wrth fy modd swn i'n medru cytuno bod 'before too long every child who grows up in Wales will be able to speak Welsh', ond sai'n gweld unrhyw dystiolaeth dros hynny. Mae'r niferoedd sy'n mynd i'r ysgolion Cymraeg yn cynyddu yn wir, ond mae mwyafrif mawr o blant yn dal i fynd i ysgolion Saesneg (hyd yn oed yn rhywle fel Bangor, mae'r mwyafrif o bobl dwi'n nabod yno yn ddi-Gymraeg achos mae nhw 'di mynd i Ffriars neu un o'r ddwy ysgol fonedd Saesneg sydd 'na). Dwi'n methu gweld Haberdashers School Monmouth neu rhywle felly byth yn troi'n ysgol gyfrwng Gymraeg (ond dwi'n gobeithio'n arw mod i'n cael fy mhrofi'n anghywir). Os dan ni'n dweud bod civic nationalism yn unig sy'n bwysig, heb ddweud bod 'na unrhyw seiliau diwyllianol i'n cenedligrwydd ni, fe all hyn fod yn ergyd mawr i'r Gymraeg. Felly rwy'n credu dylen ni bod mor inclusive a phosib, ac yn brwydro dros Sir Fynwy yr un mor galed a dan ni'n brywdro dros Gwynedd, ond dylen ni wneud yn glir bod ni moyn ein cenedl gyfan i siarad Cymraeg. Dylen ni pwysleisio bod rhieni sy'n anfon eu plant i ysgolion Cymraeg sy'n gwneud y penderfyniad cywir a (sy'n anoddach i ddweud) bod rhieni sy'n anfon eu plant i ysgolion Saesneg yn gwneud y penderfyniad anghywir (os oes ysgol Gymraeg gyfleus ar gael). Os mae'r blaid yn clymbleidio gyda Llafur eto, credaf y dylen ni mynd i afael a'r sefyllfa ieithyddol mwy nac unrhyw beth arall, ac yn gwneud yn siwr bod pob plentyn a phawb sy'n symud i Gymru yn cael eu hannog i ddysgu'r Gymraeg fel rhan hanfodol o ddiwylliant Cymreig.
Rwy'n cydymdeilo gyda ac yn cefnogi'r "achos cenedlaethol" ond rwy'n ofni bod yr un peth yn mynd i ddigwydd yma ac sydd wedi digwydd yn Iwerddon, sef bod pobl 'di cael eu rhyddid ond 'di colli eu hiaith. Bydd rhai'n gweld y ffaith mod i 'di gadael sylw yn Gymraeg fel safiad gwleidyddiol, a dyna sefyllfa bod ni angen newid.

Gwalchmei said...

Dwi’n meddwl bod ‘Efrogwr’ ydy ‘anon’nawr...dim ots da fi ond maen anodd acos dai ‘anon’ ydyn ar yr blog.
The revival of the Welsh language and it’s omnipresence in Wales, when compared to other Celtic nations, is seen as a beacon and a cornerstone of Welsh identity, certainly here in Llydaw. I suppose it works differently in other smaller nations seeking independence. It doesn’t appear to feature so prominently in Scotland’s growing strength.
Many in Brittany are also fighting for further devolution of powers with the ultimate aim of independence and here, for a number of historical reasons which I won’t go into now, the language is still at a relatively early stage of revival. Many here look to Wales and its successful promotion of the Welsh language as a glowing beacon. Here, whilst most will happily say demat (sut mae), yec’had mat ( iechyd da) etc along with another ten of so words few, they will use the language on an everyday basis (but things are getting better and the language base is growing). People here do feel proudly about their identity but this is more focused on the traditions of music and dance expressed through their frequently-held festoù –noz (music and dance parties), and the presence of Celtic and Breton symbols everywhere.
I think the point is that whilst language is probably key to social cohesion in Wales it’s not necessarily the case for all the Celtic and smaller national groups seeking independence. I totally support the revival of Breton here and have made every effort to learn it but I think degrees of devolution may come about without it playing such a major role as it is in Wales.

Gwalchmei said...

correction...typoMany here look to Wales and its successful promotion of the Welsh language as a glowing beacon. Here, whilst most will happily say demat (sut mae), yec’had mat ( iechyd da) etc along with another ten of so words few, they will NOT use the language on an everyday basis (but things are getting better and the language base is growing). People here do feel proudly about their identity but this is more focused on the traditions of music and dance expressed through their frequently-held festoù –noz (music and dance parties), and the presence of Celtic and Breton symbols everywhere.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with MH that the civic model is the only rational way, although I accept that individuals espouse nationalism for a broad spectrum of reasons.

Plaid Cymru's policy, as I understand it, embodies the civic nationalist approach, seeking self-determination or independence for Wales to the benefit of all those who live here, regardless of ethnicity, language or country of origin.

The difficulty lies in public perception, partly due to the party's history. It is often perceived as the party of the Welsh language, rather than as 'The Party of Wales' which is how it identifies itself, but is widely referred to as 'Plaid' in the media and by the public at large.

It has to dispel once and for all the notion that it is the party of language and cultural interests if it is to gain wider electoral support. It will not be an easy task, and won't be achieved overnight, and undoubtedly will be opposed by some interest groups from within.

To my mind it must address this basic issue if it is to have a real chance of emulating the electoral success of the SNP. It has to become a party which can appeal to all the people of Wales.

As a first step Plaid has to elect a leader who has the potential to transcend that public mis-perception. Historically it has been led by individuals who were native Welsh speakers. Now may be the time to break with that tradition.

If it misses the opportunity, then the direction which politics take in Wales will depend much on external factors, such as what happens in Scotland over the next five years or so.

Plaid will lose the opportunity of being proactive, and uable to break out of the limited areas of success which it has enjoyed in recent decades. At worst it will face further decline and an increasing irrelevancy on the Welsh political scene, becoming what it once was, little more than a pressure group.

It is ironic that the Welsh language has been both a great asset and a handicap in the development of the national movement in Wales. The SNP has not had a language issue to deal with and has been successful in portraying its civic national image to the Scottish electorate

It will not be easy for Plaid to follow suit. I really hope it does, because the fate of Wales and its people, its future prosperity, will depend on it. I can say that with a measure of certainty, for the unionist parties have failed Wales in just about every way imaginable, and thay offer us no hope for the future.

Anonymous said...

MH at 20:05 on 29.12.11 you seem to suggest that the foundation schools we have in Wales were established in the early stages of devolution because the Welsh Labour party was tagging along with what was happening in England. There are 13 such schools Wales, 12 of which were previously grant maintained schools which became foundation schools in 1998 at the point when grant maintained status was abolished by the UK parliament, i.e. before devolution. A further school became a foundation school earlier this year because, in effect, there was no way in which the Welsh Government could prevent it. However, legislation has subsequently been put in place which will prevent any further foundation schools becoming established (and 'free schools' or more properly 'academies' cannot be established). Throughout the period of devolution, the various administrations, irrespective of whether they were Lab/Lib Dem, Lab/Plaid or Lab alone, have all had a policy which supported an education system based on local authority maintained, comprehensive, community schools. The Conservatives in Wales are in favour of free schools and presumably foundation schools, but interestingly, one of the foundation secondary schools in the Conservative led Vale of Glam will, at the LA's insistance, become a communtity school if plans to rebuild it come to fruition.

Anonymous said...

I can't for the life of me understand why anyone who believes in an independent Wales or Scotland should want to belong to the EU. Any American state indeed any Swiss canton has more fiscal independence than that which is currently being imposed on the countries of the EZ.

The EU is well on the way to corporate fascism and is in bed with the criminal banksters of Goldman Sachs and the rest. Is this what we want for Wales. having to send our budget to the centre for approval?

It seems to me that the pro-EU sentiments in Plaid are nothing to do with the realities, but everything to do with a blind support for anything the Tory right might dislike.

Perhaps the German constitutional lawyers and the Bundesbank might be able to call a halt to this anti-democratic, centralist nonsense but I doubt it.

MH said...

On the language first, in response to Anon 23:45. I think the first thing to emphasize is that nearly everyone in Wales, and certainly every elected political party in Wales, supports the language. Iaith Pawb set the aim of Wales becoming a truly bilingual country, and before that we had embarked on a programme of making the teaching of Welsh a compulsory part of the school curriculum.

Now although progress has been slow, it has been steady. In terms of Welsh-medium education things are generally going well, and the biggest problem is meeting the demand. The teaching of Welsh in EM schools has been a much bigger problem; too few of our teachers are able to speak Welsh, and therefore teachers who can't themselves speak Welsh are put in the position of having to teach it. But there is a general recognition of the problem and cross-party agreement that this needs to be addressed, even though it doesn't seem that any party has yet grasped what is obvious to me: that we should from now on ensure that every new teacher trained in Wales is fully able to teach in both Welsh and English, particularly at primary level.

Two things are happening: the first is that WM education is continuing to expand, requiring more EM schools to close and be converted into WM schools; the second is that what are currently EM schools are gradually increasing the amount that is taught in Welsh on a continuum. The two will eventually meet somewhere in the middle, and we will end up with the situation in Gwynedd, where there is no official distinction between WM and EM education, (even though there are areas in Gwynedd where the reality doesn't quite match the policy).

Things will progress at different rates in different parts of Wales, but I fully agree that we must ensure that every child who grows up in any part of Wales is competent in both Welsh and English. At present, more than half our children leave school able to speak Welsh, though not necessarily fluently. The figures are here. I believe we should be able to get this to over 95% within about ten years.

As the percentage that speaks Welsh increases, the pressure to ensure that every child learns to speak Welsh competently (I think "fluent" is too subjective a term) increases too. A child who leaves school in Gwynedd unable to speak Welsh is at a very substantial disadvantage when it comes to finding work or playing a full part in society. In the more Anglicized parts of Wales the disadvantage is currently less, but will get to unacceptable levels as the percentage that speaks Welsh grows. It is this, more than anything else, that will act as the catalyst to ensure that every child who grows up in Wales is able to speak both Welsh and English competently.

As for your final point, Ireland has provided us with a lesson on what to avoid, although they now seem to be following our example with their gaelscoileanna and gaelcholáistí. I argue with my friends about whether language or independence is more important for Wales. If forced to make that choice, I think language is more important than independence; but that the language is something that takes a generation or two and is already happening. Independence, however, is more urgent.

MH said...

Anon 11:21, makes a very good point in saying, "although I accept that individuals espouse nationalism for a broad spectrum of reasons." That's something I'd have liked to have said myself.

I don't want to in any way denigrate people's reasons for identifying with Wales, being proud to be Welsh or wanting Wales to be an independent country. I can fully accept that for some people, the reason might well be that they can trace their ancestors back for centuries and their DNA for millennial, so that this is the corner of the earth they "belong" to. But as a nation (and for Plaid Cymru as a political party that aims to be the government of this nation) we cannot let factors like this define what it is to be Welsh. We must accept that someone who has settled here just because they think Wales is a beautiful place has an equal right to call themselves Welsh.

Equally, we would rightly criticize the attitudes of someone who comes to settle in Wales and shows no inclination to get involved in the community in which they have settled. But what about the attitudes of the curmudgeonly old bugger who's lived all his life just down the road and has never got involved in the community either? We cannot define who can and can't live in Wales on the basis of their attitude.


But I might disagree with 11:21 when s/he says Plaid Cymru "has to dispel once and for all the notion that it is the party of language and cultural interests if it is to gain wider electoral support".

It all depends on what s/he meant by the word "the". As I said in the comment just before this, all parties in Wales are committed to the language. The big things that have made such a difference to the language were introduced by parties other than Plaid Cymru. It was the Tories who gave us the 1993 Welsh Language Act which set up Bwrdd yr Iaith, who made Welsh a compulsory subject in the curriculum, and who set up S4C ... even if they did need a little, how shall we put it, persuasion to go through with what they'd promised. It was Labour and the LibDems who gave us Iaith Pawb with its core aim of creating a truly bilingual Wales and of mainstreaming Welsh into every aspect of government, and we now have Labour's Leighton Andrews doing a pretty decent job with Welsh in education. So we are certainly not the party of language and cultural interests, we are simply one of them.

So it's not as if Plaid Cymru needs to "backpedal" on the language. But we do need to put more emphasis on our other policies so as to present a balanced picture of what we stand for. As Anon said, it is a "public mis-perception", and I agree that electing Leanne as leader would do a lot to transcend that misperception.

MH said...

Anon 11:30 is right about foundation schools. I forgot that most of the ones we have in Wales used to be grant maintained schools, and so remained essentially what they were before. On education, it is a case of Labour in Wales never following the policies of Labour in England, rather than of starting down the road and then backtracking as they did with health. So thank you, I stand corrected.

Gwalchmei said...

I am not sure that we need to worry too much about the language issue. I think that things are progressing well on this front in Wales, and, providing we continue to keep Welsh as a compulsory subject in the bulk of our schools, I’m not too concerned about what happens with in the few schools outside the system. Perhaps the children coming out of these few non-LEA schools are not going to be big players in the future of Wales.
As far as MH’s suggestion that all trainee teachers in Wales should take a course in Welsh, I totally agree. In my day, in spite of the fact that most of the English speaking PGCE students studying at a certain Welsh University were from the Irish Republic, nearly all of them opted to learn the language. It’s good for the brain to learn another language, and, so I would maintain that it’s worth the investment, if only for educational purposes.
In Wales I think that the language is the cornerstone of our identity. We are more than just a rugby team. Welsh icons are great as calling cards but we have an advantage of having a big identifier. A level of competency, albeit at a relatively low level, is worth gaining. It doesn’t take that much effort to go to the occasional Ulpan course and, of course, there’s always a chance of finding new friends, or even new partners. Let’s push the idea of learning Welsh just for the fun of doing it.
In Brittany there is a group called ‘Aita’ who promote the language through comedy and silly stunts. They all wear the same T-shirts and do silly things in Breton...a bit of street theatre. For instance they held a ‘die in’ in Guingamp (Gwengamp) railway station in support of bilingual signs...50 of them arrived at the station and revealed their T-shirts and then all fainted in unison...there was nothing the authorities could do. The trains came to a standstill and nobody had committed an offence. It was also funny and got the press interested. They also do other things like fun-teaching on the beach in the summer ...they teach just five or ten words in Breton to families with tiny prizes for the does work.
Notwithstanding what I’ve said above, I would disagree with MH regarding priorities... for me independence comes first, over and above our language. We are winning anyway ...the Welsh language is thriving and is certainly the envy of other Celtic nations lower down on the revival curve.

Anonymous said...

Further to my comment @ 11:21 above, I agree with Gwalchmei that independence should take priority over language and culture at this point in the development of the national movement.

Although the crisis over the language continues, it no longer faces extinction as many thought half a century ago, despite the ongoing serious threat to its heartlands in the north and west.

Fify years ago a Welsh legislature let alone independence seemed the dream of a few zealots, but the latter is now more than a real possibility.

With independence or significant further devolution of powers to the Welsh Government, I consider that the future of the language would be strengethened, and that the political prospects are better in the timescale as compared to the development of bilingual education, which will take a generation or two at least to significantly improve the position of the language. Independence could be achieved much sooner.

I agree with MH that the language is not the preserve of one political party, and it is heartening to see the support given it across the political spectrum in Wales, and by large numbers of parents, many of them monoglot, who want their children to be bilingual, with all the attendant advantages it brings.

My point about Plaid is about the common mis-perception by non-Welsh speakers that it is wedded to the language, and I should have made that abundantly clear throughout the comment.

In my opinion, to overcome that it has to project its civic national image in much the same way as the SNP has done. That will not be easy given the history of the development of the movement which brought about the mis-percetion in the public mind in the first place, especially bearing in mind that it is almost always referred to by its Welsh name, rather than the Party of Wales. The SNP has no such difficulty.

To stress its civic credentials will not be an abandonment of the language, on the contrary, as Plaid's stance on that is quite clear. It's a question of projecting the correct image, which I believe it has hitherto failed to do to a sufficient extent.

It poses a dilemma for the party, but one of the first and easiest steps it can take is to elect a leader who is not in the mould of the party's founders, which would be a strong public statement that it is a party for all of Wales' inhabitants, regardless of feelings and attitudes towards the language.

Unknown said...

What a heart-warming and useful debate.

I will only take up a couple of points - The language or Independence? Frankly - it has to be independence, because without that, the language is farked anyway! There has been a huge resurgence in Scotland in the Gallic language, which seems to to have followed rather than led the SNP surge.

Plaid realised the majority of their modest aims in March, with the referendum, which means that we have been effectively left without a purpose. We need a leader now to reinvigorate the party, give it a new purpose, focused on independence - and I agree with MH that only Leanne can do that.

The disarray of the unionist parties is Scotland, combined with the complete meltdown in the UK economy makes a YES in the Scottish referendum a racing certainty in my book - and even Carwyn is beginning to position himself for that event - a seismic shift, and one which Plaid could benefit from if we play it properly.

Blwyddyn newydd da i chi, a phawb yn y tŷ.

Anonymous said...

A big part of Leanne's likely support will want more action in linguistic policies, rather than less. But the public perception of the party as a whole could be changed by her, especially as she is a learner. That would be positive and hopefully would be about rephrasing Plaid's existing views, not abandonding them.

I must admit despite being a huge optimist that I truly shudder at the way our side sometimes argues "independence is inevitable". More devolution is inevitable but actual nation state status, not necessarily.

Anonymous said...

You can forgett Wales being an economic success until it has it's own currency and able to set it's own interest rates and tax rates.

Anonymous said...

I am a long way from Wales at the moment - but my heart never leaves - we must push for independence first - then the language - otherwise we will become nothing more than a Celtic Disneyland - populated by English migrants who are happy to state that they are proud of the Wales they live in - but not willing to be part of it - a bit like Cornwall (unfortunately).


Anonymous said...

Oh dear oh dear Penddu. You just havn't got it have you? These who have settled here.....even though they are proud of being English and don't bother learning our language (there are exceptions of course) are in actual fact.....'Welsh'. Look! This is what MH has proclaimed:
"Being Welsh is a matter of nationality, and we are a nation entirely made up of those who have settled here,..." So those proudly English people who settle here are Welsh. :-)

MH said...

You're really not very good at reading, Anon. Anyone who looks back will see that I finished that paragraph with, "We have an equal right to call ourselves Welsh." Some people might not want to.

Your prejudice prevents you from seeing any difference between a person's nationality and where that person, or their ancestors before them, might have come from.

Anonymous said...

So, if I move to Japan tomorrow, I then become Japanese? I've lived in Belgium, but I was always Welsh....even when living there. Your head in the sand one eyed-ness prevents you from seeing what colonisation is and how Wales will find it very difficult to keep it's own identity and gain independence if it continues. In-fact, you are in support of it. And don't give the the label of 'racist' since I've no problem with people settling here, as long as it's managed and not too the detriment of Welsh identity.

MH said...

You seem determined to dig your way to that small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Anon.

Of course someone who moves to Japan doesn't automatically become Japanese. However someone who settles there will probably have the right to become Japanese after, say, a period of naturalization or because they've married a Japanese citizen. They would then be as Japanese as any other citizen of that country.

Anyone who moves to another country could, to use Penddu's words, choose "to be part of it", or they could equally just live there without ever being willing to be part of it. That should be obvious to anyone, even to someone like you.

But instead of acknowledging that you were wrong (or just having the sense to know when to shut up after I'd pointed out what I actually did say in my earlier comment) you wanted to justify yourself. This makes it clear to me that it wasn't just an innocent mistake, but a deliberate attempt to misrepresent what I'd said.

So take this as a final warning. If you do it again, any further comments you make will be deleted.

Gwalchmei said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gwalchmei said...

Anon, if you moved to Japan and decided to take up Japanese nationality then your passport would be a Japanese one.
I identify myself as being Welsh, my passport tells me I’m a UK citizen, my residency is in France, my wife is not French, she identifies herself as a Breton....who cares? As long as you embrace the culture of where you choose to live, and providing you share their values and make an effort to learn the language(s) then you’re home and dry.
I also call myself a Celt, but would welcome anyone of any culture, ethnic background, creed etc as an honorary Celt as long as they are left leaning in their values and principles, are not racist, are kind to animals and children, embrace the language and culture of their host country, and use their brain occasionally.
By the way, the bombard and the folk dancing are not compulsory over here.... unless you come from England, of course....

Gwalchmei said...

I've just been thinking about the 'Coal Gasification' pilot studies going on in Swansea bay. Could this be our equivalent of Scottish Oil? 17 other studies are licensed around the English coast (channel 4). Maybe a new incentive for English devolution? Lots of complex green issues surrounding the technology. Worth looking into?

Översätt svensk engelsk said...

EU needs Britain and Britain needs EU - we will not be stronger on the outside. Being outside is being out of control!

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