Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Establishing Clear Water

Wales and England have become so inextricably linked in so many areas, not only by the bridges over the Severn, that I feel it is a necessity, for the sake of establishing a clear separate national identity for Wales, to distinguish the two countries apart. It is an affirmation of existence for both.

We are aware of the considerable differences in culture, in attitude and in mentality between the two nations, but it is important to make people aware, especially on the eastern side of the border that Wales is, and always has been a distinct entity, with its own customs and rituals, in social and cultural activities and in sport. It is not enough to say that there are separate policies in existence with regard to medical prescriptions and hospital car-parking charges. These are minor examples, and I am saying that we need to emphasise the real differences, and not to think of trifles. For too long, the people of Wales have suffered from an inferiority complex vis-a-vis its neighbour, and have doffed their hats to a perceived superior and gentrified society. This accounts for the migration of proud and highfalutin' Welsh gentry - we call them "crachach " - to the south-east of England in seek of fame, fortune and adulation. Furthermore, we can have no doubt about the fact that their haughty presence is still among us.

A similar phenomenon occurred in Scotland with the absconding of the Scottish gentry south to London, not a question of "I'll be in Scotland afore ye..." but "I'll be in London afore ye....". Since then talented Scots have roamed the world far and wide and set up Scottish Societies in foreign capitals overseas. In Indonesia, when I was there in the Eighties there was a thriving Scottish Society which organised an annual Highland Gathering in Jakarta, a hugely spectacular event. The Scottish gentry forsook Scotland, as did the Welsh, and left the nation to its own devices, and to suffer the field enclosures which deprived the ordinary country folk of their sustenance and condemned them to poverty. They were even banned from wearing the tartan of their clan, unless they were perhaps from the defecting clans which threw in their lot with the English. Their natural leaders had disappeared, seduced by the high life of the English capital.

It is interesting to note that even today many Scots make up the UK Labour government, and to a man they are unionist in their convictions, starting at the very top and working down through the ranks. The difference between them and the growing nationalist sentiment in their own native country cannot be over-emphasised.
The loyal Scots at home are from a different ilk and they bear allegiance to an Alex and not a Gordon. It is encouraging that support is growing for them across the land and the old guard are being rejected, and hopefully ejected, as were the Scottish Labour leaders in the Scottish Parliament in very recent times.

Without a doubt Scotland has distanced itself from England (or Britain) in many ways, and the Union flag is now flown on only 18 occasions in the year. In the Irish Republic it has been banished entirely, and not without reason. Let us make an effort in Wales to establish this clear water so that people henceforth will not be confused between what is Britain, what is England, and more than anything, let them know of CYMRU.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good points. The aristocracy in Scotland and Wales didn't even speak English with Scottish/Welsh accents, although that's changed.