According to the Daily Mail, the population density of Wales is "expected" to be 258/km² by 2015.

As the area of Wales is 20,779km², this means that our population will rise to 5,360,982 in just two years ... a relatively modest increase on the 2011 census figure of 3,063,456 or 148/km².

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Anonymous said...

Yes 11:02. I suppose England is in Europe.

Welsh not British said...

Hahaha that just shows they pull numbers out of their behinds.

If you look at the 1911 census figures then you'll see the following populations.

England - 33.5 million
Scotland - 4.7 million
Wales - 2.4 million

In just over a century England's has increased by almost 60% where as Wales' has increased by almost 30% and Scotland's by almost 20%.

Yet only now their 'growth' is a problem?

The problem for Wales though is that 90% of our 'growth' from 2001 to 2011 is a result of people coming mainly from England. Yet when we complain about this we are branded as narrow insular racists.

Anonymous said...

this incrrease will all be down to migration from England. Not natural increase because our young people are moving out, It's the further anglicisation of Wales. Partly white flight, partly people moving / retiring for a cheaper place to buy a house / partly large cities sending people to sign on in Wales.

No matter what laws and status Welsh now has it all totally ineffective when where up against the huge movement of people. We're like the Tibetians. The English people aren't bad or nasty or particularly anti-Welsh, but they speak the state language they're not going to speak Welsh and they're not going to vote for Welsh independence.

It's game over for Wales.

Anonymous said...

There should be a requirement for immigrants from England or other countries further afield to be able to have a level of Welsh language competency before being able to move into what remains of 'Y Fro'. This would be no different to what the British state expects of immigrants into the UK but of course, with competency in English.

MH said...

Congratulations to Stu for being the only one to realize that these figures are obviously wrong. If I were asked to guess, I'd say that the 258/km² is a misprint for 158/km² ... which would be an increase of just over 200,000. Being charitable, the other comments must be by people whose minds are still somewhat the worse for wear after the Christmas festivities.

I suppose it is telling that the Mail should cry "shock horror" that England's population density might rise by a very marginal 8/km² from 411/km² to 419/km² but not even notice that according to their figures Wales' population density was set to rise by 110/km² ... about 38 times greater. Nor that the current population density of Scotland is 68/km², and therefore that a figure of 40/km² in 2015 represents a depopulation roughly equivalent to the aftermath of the Black Death. It must fit in with their narrative of a mass exodus following a Yes vote in 2014. But let's look on the bright side ... that makes them the first mainstream unionist paper to predict a Yes vote in September.

Anonymous said...

So MH,

You don't agree that immigrants should have to learn Welsh wehn moving into Welsh speaking areas?

Anonymous said...

17:46, Why so?

If you moved to an arabic speaking area (in Wales) would you feel compelled to learn arabic? Or polish in a Polish community? If you buy a holiday home in France do you feel compelled to learn french? Similarly so, if you go to live in Spain or Italy, is language suddenly your major consideration. Of course not, it is just one of many trivial matters to muse upon whilst you enjoy a new lifestyle.

The 'national' language'(s) of any European country is by and large irrelevant (except for the purpose of reading). The concern for the 'smaller languages' has taught us this. Use any method you choose, just find an effective way of communicating (with others)!

(As for learning English when moving to England, this is all just hot air ............... free training courses for those that wish to learn the language, nothing more ...... the rest is political sabre rattling)

Anonymous said...

"From 28 October 2013, applicants in both categories will be required to pass the Life in the UK Test and to hold a B1 (intermediate) level English language speaking and listening qualification. "


Anonymous said...

11.43, this applies to non-EU citizens and those wishing to apply for citizenship.

If you want more people to speak Welsh, create more 'private sector' jobs for Welsh speakers. Catalan Spain creates the most private sector jobs and people are encouraged to speak Catalan in order to find work, incomers or otherwise.

And how to create more private sector jobs ....... improve the education system here in Wales!

Anonymous said...

Catalonia has higher in-migration even than Wales, both of Spaniards and people from outside Spain. At least that's what I think.

Nobody can be "forced" to learn anything. No areas can be completely isolated. We live next door to the home country of the worlds most powerful language. However Wales and Welsh are not finished. We need to retain more of our own people. We need constructive ideas not ideas that can never be implemented.

Welsh urban areas also desperately need skilled immigration as we have an ageing population.

Anonymous said...

So it seems none of us agree that immigrants should have to learn Welsh when moving to Welsh speaking areas!

Progress at last!

Tarian said...

OK, the figures are wrong but the direction of travel is clear enough. We are catering for England's overspill and the consequences for the future of Wales are serious: large scale population shifts on top of those we have seen already will have dramatic consequences for our survival as a distinct nation rather than as a region of England. The ludicrous house building targets being pushed should alarm everyone -
this is no renewal or replacement of housing stock, there are no slum clearances, there is no massive Welsh baby boom. The vast majority of us support an inclusive civic nationalism but it shouldn't blind us to policies which (by design or coincidence) undermine our viability as a nation in political, cultural or linguistic terms. How many other countries with a weak economy experience comparable levels of in-migration? But let's not talk about the elephant in the room because it would upset people and make us look like beastly racists. When you allow your 'enemies' to dictate the terms of discourse you have already lost the war. There is far too much complacency and wishful thinking on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Adam Price has published work on the issue of Welsh communities that is practical and realistic. People should read his ideas and discuss them.

MH said...

Quite right. I don't agree, 17:46.

Encouraged to learn Welsh? Certainly. Given help to learn Welsh? Definitely. Expected to learn Welsh? Probably ... though as a social pressure rather than as an official obligation. But no adults moving to Wales should have to learn Welsh. Children moving to Wales will have to, of course, through the school system as with every other compulsory subject.

When we are an independent country, we could make adequate knowledge of Welsh a condition of gaining citizenship. Many other countries do. But I wouldn't want to stop the free movement of people from the EU to live and work in Wales or anywhere else in the EU ... just as none of us would want other countries to prevent our citizens from living and working anywhere else in the EU.


I'll leave our anonymous fantasist to his world of Arabic-speaking areas in Wales. His inability to think clearly is obviously more permanent than could be explained by the excesses of Christmas.


No, I don't think the "direction of travel" is clear, Tarian. Nor do I think that immigration is, in itself, something to fear. I certainly don't agree with 13:07 that immigrants will be less likely to vote for independence. By definition, immigrants settle in Wales because they think Wales is better than the country they used to live in and better than any other country they could move to. People with such a high regard for Wales (and especially those with a higher regard for Wales than England) are in fact more likely to vote for independence, as it will help ensure we do not get dragged along the same path as England wants to go down.

But I do agree with you that the planning requirements for new housing should reflect local, demonstrable needs.


On a slightly wider note, Stu was right to point out the Wales' population growth over the last century or so has been very low compared with other countries.

13:55 mentioned Catalunya, which a century ago had a population of about 2m, and now has a population of 7.5m.

This population growth came about as a result of industrialization and the prosperity which it brought. But it did not destroy Catalunya as a nation, even though most of the immigrants spoke Castilian. So why should immigration from England "undermine our viability as a nation", as Tarian puts it?

Catalunya shows that a nation can flourish politically, culturally and linguistically even in the face of dominant language immigration if it is healthy and self-confident. So, by the same token, our problem in Wales is not immigration, but a lack of healthy self-confidence as a nation.

I could also point to Switzerland, which also had a population not too disimilar to that of Wales a century ago, but is now just short of 8m. It doesn't have any great natural advantages over Wales that would support a greater population density. Their mountains get in the way of transport and communications in the same way as ours do ... but they have overcome it, and become very prosperous.

If we expect Wales to become a prosperous country, then we—like Catalunya and Switzerland—should expect to see our population rise too.


For those who don't know what 11:18 is talking about, Adam Price's proposal is here.

Anonymous said...

Oh MH, have you over imbibed this Christmas? I find myself in agreement with much of what you have written. And yet, although I too am a supporter of independence, I am most certainly not a Welsh socialist. Nor indeed anything Welsh whatsoever. But I do live in Wales because I like what God made in Wales. The coastline and the rugged scenery.

Indeed, I can only take issue with two points you make. The first relates to, 'Expected to learn Welsh? Probably ... though as a social pressure rather than as an official obligation.' Quite so, but only if you intend to be a recipient of state aid. If you intend to be an employer then expect your employees to speak whatever language you so wish them to speak and only employ accordingly. This is your right!

The second matter upon which I disagree and disagree most strongly is upon the matter of education through the medium of Welsh. We should care not one jot about the language when it comes to education, we should only care to ensure that our kids are educated just as well, if not better, than those in neighbouring countries throughout the UE. But I won't stress this point again because ........

Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

Nations are quite flexible things. Saunders once said that industrialisation, which he generally disliked, saved the Welsh language. It's up to us to build the Welsh nation. The foreseeable future sees a large chunk of English people being part of that nation. That is something we have to accommodate, deal with and adapt to. It is not something that can be stopped or reversed through any policy or act of the state.

Anonymous said...

"The foreseeable future sees a large chunk of English people being part of that nation. That is something we have to accommodate, deal with and adapt to. It is not something that can be stopped or reversed through any policy or act of the state."

Nonsense, most of the English moving here don't want to become Welsh and we have no obligation to accomodate them either. An independent Welsh state outside the EU could quite easily establish an anti-English immigration policy.

Anonymous said...

Bit betweem a cemtury ago and now iw quite different to what we are facing today. If you move not say west Wales now, you can live a live which is totally divorced from Wales. I went to Carmarthen Tescos and Morrison and Lidl.....and there were not Welsh signs. No Welsh service counters. English music in the stores. And at home, they can watch English language programmes and even Englsih game when Wales are playing rugby or football. Comparing Wales today to Catalunia over the last century is nosense. Apples and oranges. You MH are using points in history from other nations to unerpin your ideological beliefs. And your belief put Wales and it's language and culture as being secondary if not uniportant. You are no friend of Wales.

Anonymous said...

Anon 19:59, you are right. The vast majority of English people are quite happy to call themselves English, no matter where they live. The French too. And the Germans. And the Italians and the Spanish and so on. But then you get the Swiss who like to make a differentiation, the Catalans and Basques, the Flemish, the Irish and so on who wish for even further differentiation.

No complaints. Everyone is trying to work matters through.

You don't have to change nationality just because you move to a different country or a different region within a country? They've just got to obey the laws of the land; nothing more, nothing less.

Look at it this way and you really do get to see how thoroughly fantastic modern day life is for us Europeans!

Anonymous said...

The idea MH is no friend of Wales on this issue is nuts. There is no prospect of a) Wales outside the EU or b) an "anti-English" immigration policy. It's the 21st century for goodness sake. Have some confidence in Wales and how attractive Welshness is. Develop solutions for retaining Welsh speaking communities. By the way, "leave the EU" isn't a solution it's a fig leaf!

If I choose to move somewhere later in life I'm not going to stop being Welsh.

Do I think Wales should be "more Welsh" though? Yes. I also think Wales should be less "unspoilt". We should have more wind farms in rural areas. We should have more factories including ones which make noise!

Anonymous said...

"Encouraged to learn Welsh? Certainly. Given help to learn Welsh? Definitely. Expected to learn Welsh? Probably ... though as a social pressure rather than as an official obligation. But no adults moving to Wales should have to learn Welsh. Children moving to Wales will have to, of course, through the school system as with every other compulsory subject."

The only social pressure is for the Welsh to speak English. Adults who are immigrants to the UK (non-EU) are expected to learn English to a certain level of proficiency. I suppose you disagree with this? If you do agree with it, then shouldn't the same apply to immigrants who move to Welsh speaking Wales having to learn Welsh to a certain level? (I know it's a different case for EU workers.)

Anonymous said...


"... But I wouldn't want to stop the free movement of people from the EU to live and work in Wales or anywhere else in the EU ... just as none of us would want other countries to prevent our citizens from living and working anywhere else in the EU."

Sorry, MH, that sounds very liberal. I'd like to live in Denmark which looks like a decent country but I effectively can't because i can't speak Danish. The free movement of people isn't some neutral thing. Europeans moving to Wales are not going to learn Welsh unless we make it a requirement. I'm constantly shocked and insulted by the attitude of many migrants to Wales towards the Welsh language. You'd think that Poles which their history with German and Russian would be sympathetic to Welsh. Some are, but most take a totally anglophone attitute from my experience. Free movement of people istn't always the great thing its made out to be.

About English people moving here to Wales - I'm sorry you're just not dealing with reality here. As anon 16.52 says - he moved here because of the geography. He has no interest in Welsh. People move here for many reasons - cheap housing is a big one, places to ride horses, take dogs for walks, climb mountains. The idea they would then vote to become a part of a state where their 'norms' (English language as default) maybe questioned is just not going to happen - if that was so, why aren't you ever advocating Plaid target Flint East or Monmouthshire? We know the reason - there is an ingraned anti-Welsh racism and people aren't going to vote for a party which questions the god given right of English langauge Lebensraum.

They mostly want Wales ... just a Wales without the Welsh language.

MH said...

To 19:59. I'd agree that many, if not most people, from England would not want to become Welsh. But that doesn't make them any less a part of Welsh society, or of the communities they live in, or prevent them playing a full part in the life of the nation.

I'm not sure what you mean by "we have no obligation to accommodate them". From your next sentence it appears you mean that we shouldn't let them live in Wales ... which is completely stupid.


To 20:48. Of course I'm using the experience of other nations to inform my opinions. There is a lot we can learn: both how to do things well, and how not to do things badly.

Getting an orange tree to flourish and bear fruit is, of course, different from getting an apple tree to flourish and bear fruit ... but not very different. The same basic principles of horticulture apply to both.


To 11:53. You are using very sloppy language if you equate "expected to" with "having to". Be more precise. As for social pressure, that rather depends on us as a society. I think Welsh speakers should be much more assertive about speaking Welsh and not conform to pressure to speak English, and that we should put more pressure on others to speak Welsh. We need to change public attitudes about what is and isn't acceptable.


To 13:01. You might think being liberal is something to be sorry about, but I think exactly the opposite.

As for Denmark, the point is that there is absolutely no legal impediment to EU citizens living in Denmark. You are free to do it if you want to. There may be practical difficulties if you expect to do certain things, but there is nothing to stop you giving it a try, and nor should there be. The same is true everywhere else in the EU, including Wales.

If someone like 16:52 actually exists, why should he be forced to have an interest in Welsh? And be careful about using "we know" when you daub people with the brush of "ingrained anti-Welsh racism" ... just speak for yourself.

As for "Flint East" and Monmouthshire, I think it is very sad that Plaid have made so little headway. One of the things I have often criticized Plaid for is that it remains far too focused on its heartlands at the expense of other areas of the country. Perhaps that will change under Leanne's leadership, but there are many in the party who aren't prepared to do what it takes to be a party for the whole of Wales.

Anonymous said...

All schools who receive Welsh government money (funding in any form) should become Welsh medium schools (i.e. ALL subjects taught through the medium of Welsh).

Anonymous said...

There aren't enough teachers to make all schools Welsh-medium but gradually expanding provision is the way forward. I don't see why all schools won't eventually be Welsh-medium, although this requires political will. A much harder task is having more and better jobs in Wales to retain (more of) our young people.

Anonymous said...

Better jobs means better paying jobs. And better paying jobs requires higher education skills.

If this can be achieved through Welsh medium education then all well and good. If not, I suggest you give matters a re-think.

Anonymous said...

Adam Price's proposal is interesting. Do you know MH (or anyone else, obvs!) if there has been any response to this from the Welsh government?

MH said...

I don't think there has been any specific response, Anon. As I'm sure you'll know, the Welsh Government's response to any proposals for rearrangement of local government has been to say, "Wait for the Williams Report." Well, now we have it.

I'd say this. Over the past few years there have been all sorts of proposals for rearranging local government. One of them, which seemed to be gaining some traction, was to create only a small handful of "superauthorities", specifically, for there to be one authority for the whole of north Wales.

If implemented, this would clearly have been disastrous for the language, for there would be no hope of it being able to operate in Welsh. I saw Adam's proposal as essentially saying, "If there are going to be "superauthorities", it would be much better for Welsh if one of them were to stretch along the west coast of Wales rather than the north coast of Wales.

Anonymous said...

Thanks MH.

I agree with spreading along the west rather than north, obviously. I was also heartened to see some of the other ideas in Adam's report, specifically infrastructure (again, obviously) and developing the towns. I would very much like to see eg Caernarfon developed into a city, with a very heavy emphasis on the Welsh language.

Of course, it will never happen.

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