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I've just found out about this e-Petiton to the National Assembly:

The Welsh Language in our Assembly

"We call upon the Assembly Commission to accept the recommendation of the Official Languages Bill scrutiny committee to include an assurance on the face of the Bill that a fully bilingual Record of all Assembly proceedings be published."

Its recommendations reflect the wishes of the people of Wales to see the Welsh language being treated equally and to prevent discrimination against the Welsh language and its use.

Click here to view and sign the e-Petition

Perhaps a couple of things need a word of explanation.

•  First, the term "all Assembly proceedings" means not just plenary sessions but also the proceedings of committees and sub-committees of the Assembly, as officially defined in Part 1, Section 1(5) of the GoWA 2006.

•  Second, putting it on the "face of the Bill" – i.e. as opposed to putting it in the Official Languages Scheme that the Bill requires the Assembly Commission to produce and review on a regular basis – will make it impossible to renege on that commitment, as the Assembly Commission did in 2009, unless the primary legislation is re-enacted or amended. This will be a much more difficult thing to do than to simply change the OLS.

There are 590 signatures so far, and I'm sure most people reading this will want to add their names.

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MH said...

I'll put this as a comment so as not to distract from the main point, but I liked this statement from Cymdeithas when the Assembly Commission decided to renege on its previous Welsh Language Scheme in 2009:

"It is also a matter of great sadness that Dafydd Ellis-Thomas the Presiding Officer has actively backed this decision since it shows a churlish, colonialist attitude utterly alien for a nation that is striving to create a bilingual future for itself."

In the end, the Welsh Language Board did find that the Assembly Commission had broken the WLS it had signed up to, but it couldn't do anything about it because it had no powers of enforcement against either the Assembly Commission or any other body.

The Assembly Commission has a bad track record when it comes to treating Welsh and English equally, and that's what makes it so important for the new legislation to prevent a similar thing happening in future.

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