Posts Tagged ‘ Roger Lewis ’

‘Welsh’ Personalities Back Lewis the Hatemonger.

 Well, as a few days passed since I wrote about the dangers of being complacent in the wake of Roger Lewis’ hate article, we have new offerings from the Independent now, and some truly insightful stuff from Matthew Bell. Have a look at it here if you like: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/welsh-tell-mp-to-lighten-up-over-race-slur-2345252.html. It would seem from Bell’s commentary that the only person to have taken any degree of offence from Lewis’ tirade against Welsh culture, was a single Welsh nationalist MP, that the rest of the country, represented in his article by those he describes as being ‘Welsh personalities’, are suggesting that Jonathan Edwards should just lighten up, get over it, and stop showing up the Welsh people as being a whiney bunch of children.

No doubt Matthew Bell will pay little to no attention to the many Welsh voices who have posted comments on his contribution that would largely fly in the face of his ‘one man campaign’ theory, and go back to relying on his own handpicked voice of the people. So perhaps we should consider his evidence platform in a little more detail, taking each Welsh ‘personality’ one at a time.

Rhondda MP Chris Bryant is first up, a man best known for taking on Rupert Murdoch, and of course making up a load of gibberish about the Royal Families involvement in the whole affair. Bryant is the classic Welsh Labour politician, earning his pay from a Welsh community, while enjoying his life in London. Were he to spend a little more time with his constituents rather than chasing down personal vendettas against wealthy Australians, he might find that the voice of opinion is actually one of annoyance at the very least, with anger being more common.

Next up, Lembit Opik, the man who is so committed to working within the Welsh political spectrum, that having been thrown out by his constituents, rather than pursue another position in his ‘home’ country’, he instead ran off to London to become mayor. No doubt looking to support the London Welsh Society when he gets elected…

Carol Vorderman is next up in the ‘Welsh’ category, her upbringing being cited as reason enough for her views to be considered. However, one must hope that the occasional appearance on ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ is not all that one must do to maintain an active sense of Welsh identity, or be able to speak on behalf of the nation…one hopes at least.

Finally, despite citing that Lewis ‘had been inundated with messages of support from Welsh and English people’, Bell can only name Stephen Fry and Giles Brandreth in his list of examples. I may be mistaken but Fry and Brandreth both, if memory serves, act as clear illustrations of the English elitist system, that has about as much interesting in protecting Welsh interests, as they are in giving away all of their collective assets to set up a finishing school for leprous goat herders (which, given track record, is probably how they perceive the simple minded over reactionaries of the Welsh nation to be).

When I wrote a few days ago about avoiding complacency in Wales regarding such issues, it was with the dangers of such written responses that I had in mind. Our single representative voice on this issue is being shot down, according to some distant London based writers, by the ‘voice of the Welsh nation’, made up of stay away MPs, failing London mayoral candidates, math teachers who might have visited the country two or three times in their adult life, an English comic who loves the states more than he has any affection for the little land to the side of his favored England, and a blue through and through Tory who would struggle to point at Wales on a map where Wales was the only country on display.

We cannot let the London media rely on such people to speak on our behalf. Let’s get this clear, Roger Lewis did not write a comedy article, he wrote several paragraphs of hatred. The people cited who support him do not represent the Welsh people, some are barely capable of representing themselves. If you want to see how people feel about this issue, look at the message boards, there you will find the true ire, not in the ‘keep the Welsh quiet’ columns of the English national media.

As for anyone in Wales who felt that Lewis’ article was indeed out of order, and an affront to the nation and its cultural heritage – do not let it lie, let people know how you feel, and don’t let the English media whitewash this abuse into oblivion!

Don’t Get Complacent – Saving Wales.

The title, ‘saving Wales’, might seem a little redundant for some, surely with our strengthened Assembly, or Government as we are now calling it, in Cardiff, we are better placed now than we ever have been in the modern political era, to stamp our authority on the British Isles, and ensure that the Welsh brand is one that remains alive and well, and centred in the public consciousness. Yet there are plenty of signs that indicate that all is not well. It is easy enough to point at politicians for not having made most of the powers afforded to them, the sickly state of the health service in Wales, and the seemingly flat lining employment scene here as well, but there are other indicators that we should treat as flag points for concern.

Plenty was written about Roger Lewis’ diatribe against Welsh culture when it was first published in the Daily Mail, and his near racist vitriol was covered in this column as well. But following the initial outcry, with phone calls to the police, and letters sent to the PCC, the story went quiet very quickly. For many, a shared viewpoint on Lewis’ hatred was one of ‘let it go’, ‘just ignore it’ and ‘why are the Welsh getting so wound up about it’, a view expressed by as many people claiming to be Welsh as much it might have been by clear cut English commentators. The very fact that this story went quiet so quickly largely points to the voices of the ‘let it go’ brigade outnumbering those who were willing to get up and do something about it.

This might well point to some sense of growing political maturity in Wales, that we have somehow grown to a point where we are above the need to rise to such jibes. If this is the case, it is something we in Wales need to be very careful about in terms of how far we are willing to embrace such an attitude. The current state of growth of the Welsh language, and in relation, the state of preservation for Welsh culture, and the growing sense of political independence afforded to Wales today, was born out of a mindset which is completely opposed to that expressed by many in the wake of the Lewis tirade. We have not got Wales to where it is today by overlooking slurs against the nation and letting them go by the way side. Time was, such words would be a platform for rising up in a united national voice of outrage. Today, it offers a banner which only a few were willing to carry.

Wales has not been saved. With the current economic climate and general disregard for Welsh language services from the still looming London based authority, Wales remains precarious. If we reach a point of comfort with slurs against what makes Wales Welsh, however clichéd the categorisations might be, then we will never find ourselves in a position to tackle the economic issues which currently grip Wales. The recovery required in this country will only start with a sense of pride in the land. If this is a county in which there is a population that is vocal and loud about how it feels about its home, then it will become a far more attractive proposition to investors. Take an attitude that says ‘people knock us, and we don’t really do anything about it’, and any sense of respect and a subsequent desire to support those who express such opinions, will not be forthcoming.

The very lack of a widespread public outcry regarding the opinions of Lewis, is symptomatic of a decline in Wales. The formation of the Welsh Assembly/Government was a starting point in rebuilding this country, but complacency cannot be allowed to set in, as the journey that must be travelled for Wales is much much longer. It is imperative that Wales holds on to its anger, its burn. There might be a time in the future when we will be secure enough in ourselves, on social, political and economic levels, to be able to ignore such damaging remarks, but we are not there yet. And we will not reach that point while we are comfortable with people publishing such hurtful comments across the border.

Do not let us become complacent, do not let the hate that bubbles in many for Wales be ignored, get angry, get vocal, and keep fighting to save Wales.