Thursday 17 January 2013

Rali'r Cyfrif - Not whinging but celebrating

It is fair to say that Cllr Siân Caiach does not have a huge fan base in County Hall, but she is always worth listening to, whether you agree with what she says or not.

Earlier today Cllr Caiach wrote the following comment in response to the piece in English about this Saturday's Rally in Carmarthen. It deserves to be reproduced in its own right.

For the record, the Rally on Saturday is intended to be a positive, affirming event. Although the County Council and the Welsh Government can expect to come in for criticism, don't expect to hear much whinging. Equally, in just one and a half hours and with some 20 speakers getting a minute each, don't expect it to be a debate about detailed proposals on the future of the language.

Anyone interested in ideas and details of some of the work already going on should take a look at Cymdeithas yr Iaith's Maniffesto Byw and the new Cynghrair Cymunedau Cymraeg, as well as Mudiad Dyfodol i'r Iaith.


The sad fact is that without a proper national economy the Welsh Language is likely to be in trouble in a recession. In County Hall Plaid and other nationalist leaning councillors have been effectively sidelined by being bought off by concessions in Welsh education, much needed, but undermined themselves by supporting for the past decade a policy of building homes for incomers, commuters, second home owners and retirees, while not putting in the infrstructure for jobs for young people.

This has led to an unfortunate rise in English speakers [many deliberately imported] and loss of Welsh speakers [discouraged from staying by no employment].

As long as we allow ourselves to be a marginal and unimportant area of the UK this will not change. Only real political change will save the language, and there is no point in politely asking the puppets of the British state to save it, whether in County Council, Assembly or Westminster. They are all in it together, and not on our side, however profuse the crocodile tears.

It's not just about the ease or otherwise of learning Welsh, irritating snooty Welsh speakers and poor funding. Its about real nation building. A Welsh speaker may or may not be committed to that and there have been many willing to take the easy life. Possibly, often the same irritating people who destroy the self confidence of learners efforts in Welsh by correcting, rather than replying.

The language has been more difficult to destroy than the economy and infrastructure of the geographical nation of Wales,but can't survive for ever living on fresh air.

On Saturday I want to hear some real proposals for how we, ourselves can forge the changes, not just whingeing about how awful it is and asking someone else, somewhere else to save us.

Cllr Sian Caiach


Jac o' the North, said...

Another problem is that building houses, holiday complexes, retirement homes, etc., is passed off as economic activity, which, to some extent, it is. But there is a massive and unrecognised problem.

A factory produces goods and they are transported to customers, then more of the same are produced; same factory, same staff. Retail outlets sell goods and bring in more stock; same store, same staff. Employment and economy sustained within the same physical environment.

But with building, once you have built up the workforce and the small local companies, you have to keep on building NEW or risk unemployment and a lot of unhappy people. Worse, you have people like Dai Lloyd Evans reminding you that if local builders aren’t putting up new estates of four- and five-bedroomed houses then local youngsters will have nowhere to live.

Local demand, and priority for local people, have to be the watchwords in housing, employment, grant aid, and every other field. Should be simple enough to frame the required legislation, and will be easy enough to understand.

Anonymous said...

1. Stop talking about the Welsh language
2. Start talking about the English language and how essential for modern day life it is
3. Make teaching through the medium of English compulsory throughout
4. Ban everyone and anyone over the age of fifty from ever speaking Welsh again.

And then just watch as all the kids decide that English isn't hip anymore, the new language for the younger generation is WELSH!

Anonymous said...

Is there going to be Tea and Coffee available and for free.

Anonymous said...

Some ridiclulous band-wagonning going on her I fear. Spain's economy is in a pretty parlous stae, but is Catalan in decline? I think not! And since when has Councillor .Caiach shown such an interest in the Welsh language? Another example of her self- publicising......?

Anna Mosity said...

Sian Caiach and Jac o’ the North are right in saying that forced house building using the blackmail of jobs is has undermined the language within communities, forcing locals out as they can’t afford the houses and encouraging outsiders in. Not all incomers are a bad– many immerse themselves in the community and culture – but many do not and instead soon become a drain on already stretched resources.

In Llanelli there has been a huge amount of house building on the coast, but few of the homes are in the price range of locals and are retirement homes and second homes. At Stradey there are 355 homes being built, but not one of those will be an “affordable home” after Mark James agreed that the Scarlets S106 contribution from the site would go to… the Scarlets themselves to build the new stadium. This also made the value of the land higher of course.

I seem to recall that when the Chief Exec post at CCC was advertised in 2002 there was a caveat that the post holder would either be able to speak Welsh or would commit to learning Welsh. I haven’t seen any evidence of this and his CBE for “services to Welsh local government “clearly doesn’t include the language.

In Llanelli there has been a huge increase in children undertaking Welsh language education, but it seems to me that it has become a language of education only. Recently my children had friends over and they were all speaking English to each other despite all attending Welsh language schools. When I asked why one of their friends said quite openly “we are on holiday”.

I notice that one commenter has a dig a Sian Caiach’s commitment to Welsh language education, probably referring to her objection to the new Ysgol Ffwrnes. It would be wise to look beyond what CCC is saying she is saying and read what she wrote herself about it. While local Plaid members were siding with Mark James and demanding she withdrew her objection to the 480 pupil monster school, Cllr Caiach was calling for 2 smaller schools to be built – one at Ffwrnes and one at Machynys where all the “posh” houses are being built, so that it was easier for parents to get their children to a Welsh language school. She suggested that by putting all their Welsh education eggs in one huge basket it could actually undermine Welsh language education in Llanelli, especially when the location of the new school is so difficult to reach due to existing traffic problems.

How do Plaid expect to be taken seriously about the closure of small schools while supporting huge schools such as this? It has since been confirmed that this new Ysgol Ffwrnes is expected to take the excess demand in places from Burry Port to Llangennech.

I don’t know how we solve the problem of Welsh only being used in schools by young people, but as Sian Caiach and Jac o the North have said we need to stop building houses for outsiders and concentrate on jobs and homes for local people instead.

Anonymous said...

The comment above of children not speaking Welsh because they are on holiday reflects a policy where Welsh Education primary schools are the preferred choice for in comer parents .the children speak Welsh in school but thats it . The welsh medium School have a perceived better education , better class of parent .It may be an urban myth but one parent was overheard saying that she selected XXX because there are more 4X4 in the car park . When my nephews and nieces went to Bro Myrddin speaking Welsh was cool , watching welsh bands super cool now it is sadly the language of education . Where are my nephews and nieces - working in East Wales -teaching at Welsh Schools We need to make Welsh cool and yes we need jobs for them in West Wales

Anonymous said...

Oh my word, you have a fight on your hands; to build houses for locals and not for the richer incomers. Of course, you are completely correct. What other people on earth would choose to colonize themselves out of existence?

Anonymous said...

Few weeks ago they stopped houses been built in Ammanford ,because of the language, they need to get a life ,young people in WALES need houses jobs etc i think they want to take us backwards, we need to move forward there are people here from all over the world and they are all welcome in Carmarthen. , Go to Glangwili Hospital and the people working there from all over the world and to say its going to effect the language is a load of rubbish if your ill you will be glad to see them all , because they are all there to get you better