Daily Mail, the Welsh Taliban and the Rants of a Hate-Filled Journalist

The Daily Mail. Or the Daily Fail if one prefers to use the epithet by which it has become labelled amongst those whom view its ridiculous and worryingly regular sentiments of unsourced xenophobia a consistent outrage. A national newspaper with a right-wing stance which would be nothing more than a comedic caricature if it wasn’t for the simple fact that it has somehow attained a readership in its millions amongst its middle class target audience, a section of society that undoubtedly ingests these articles as the gospel truth of the world they live in.

You know the types of stories? The Left wing are the great unwashed, all Muslims are terrorists and and asylum seekers are not victims of oppressing regimes but grasping thieves of the benefits system. This is the paper that proclaimed that 61 members of the 2012 Olympics Team GB were not actually British but “plastic Brits” including heroes Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins, which naturally caused much offence. They then went a step further by lambasting the representation of Multiculturalism at the Olympic opening ceremony and scoffing at the idea of mixed marriages, of which I personally am the product of. The opinion piece included the lines “it was the absurdly unrealistic scene showing a mixed-race middle-class family in a detached new-build surburban home” before quickly following it up with “it is likely to be a challenge for the organisers to find an educated white middle-aged mother and black father living together with a happy family in such a set-up“. Ridiculous.

On Monday 26th November another target was attacked by this pitiful publication and that was the Welsh Language and by proxy the Welsh people whom utilise this language. The article was run with the headline “Tyranny of the Welsh Taliban”. What? The Welsh Taliban? I’m sorry, but I didn’t realise that there was the equivalent of the extreme Afghani fundamentalist sect prospering within Wales. Barely a day goes by that I see a plethora of executions on the Millennium Stadium pitch and suicide bomb attacks around the town centre of Aberystwyth. Ridiculous comparison before even reading the article, and indicative of the Daily Mail’s propensity to insert any negative connotation that relates to the Muslim world into their stories. Whilst I can how it can confuse those wonderful people over at the Daily Mail, what with Wales being a mountainous region with a history of military invasion from the English, to make the sudden leap to Taliban-based comparisons seems extreme in the least. Of course I suppose we should be thankful to their stupidity for it has helped initiate on of the Twitter highlights of the year in the #WelshTaliban hashtag that highlights the best of Welsh humour.

The article professes to have been written by Roger Lewis, who opens his diatribe by highlighting his Welsh credentials. Nicely played Daily Mail, it can’t be a racist or offensive article if written by one of their own can it? All this proves is that Mr Lewis clearly has an element of self-hate regarding his Welsh background and probably has longed for acceptance into the English establishment. He states he knows that “popty-ping” is the Welsh word for microwave. No its not. Its slang. He then goes on to state;

“In South Wales, where I am from, there was never any tradition of Welsh speaking. And at the turn of the last century, though my great-grandparents spoke Welsh to each other…”

Wait…what? There was not tradition of Welsh speaking you state, but then highlight a perfectly good example of Welsh speaking. It takes an incredible skill to contradict oneself in the same paragraph. Mr Lewis stated that he had been raised in Monmouthshire, an area of Wales with a low quota of Welsh speakers. He seems to use this as his basis for stating there is no tradition of Welsh speakers. He has clearly never travelled further West into Wales, into areas like the Amman Valley or other parts of Carmarthenshire which have regularly posted above 50% Welsh Language users in official census’. Last time I checked, this is still South Wales.

For Welsh has become a political and divisive weapon in the principality – and the stories one hears are like those tales of oppression that used to seep out from behind the Iron Curtain

Another scaremongering story from the Daily Mail, this time a subtle dig at socialists and the left-wing, attempting to compare a couple of people speaking Welsh to each other to the regime of Stalin. They do love an overreaction don’t they, these Daily Mail types? As for divisive and political? I’m sure Plaid Cymru, that bastion of Welsh Nationalism, have only recently appointed a non-first language speaker as their Party Chairman and I do know personally having never been excluded from the friendships of those who speak better Welsh than myself. Ridiculous line from Mr Lewis.

Now we learn that one school in Ceredigion – which used to be quite happily Cardiganshire when I was a lad – the children are not allowed to use the toilet unless they ask the teacher in Welsh. Furthermore, one mother is said to have been urged not to read her child English bedtime books, and at another school, a child was admonished for speaking English in the playground

Ah yes, Mr Lewis’ desire for anglicisation. How dare the Welsh, recently empowered to reverse centuries of imposed Anglicisation from Westminster, proudly rename their country Ceredigion. Is Mr Lewis aware of the history? Yes it might have been Cardiganshire when he was a kid, but 1000 years ago it was Ceredigion. So surely it is irrelevant if it was ok when 50 years ago, or is he that self-important that his own memory is more important than history? I’m sure a Welsh school might urge a parent to help improve a child’s usage of Welsh through ideal teaching practices like bedtime reading, but it is up to the mother to act on this. I’m sure she could just say no? Its hardly being demanded to at gunpoint. Why have these schools and teachers remained nameless? Is this yet another Daily Mail story without source. Name and shame these schools if you are going to stand behind this story, otherwise I have to admit I don’t quite believe you. Remember those yearly rumours that a Muslim has cancelled christmas or refuses to sell Poppy’s in his store…always without source. One may even consider a sourceless story to merely be lies, fiction, conjured up from a hateful mind to further ones agenda.

“Some children are, it seems, too frightened to speak English, even at home. This sort of thing would have done the Warsaw Pact proud

I find this hard to believe. Are children who are made solely to converse in French or German during high school language classes too afraid to speak their native language at home? No. More fiction I believe, again without sourced material. As for the Warsaw Pact, merely the second reference to Communism. In a story about Wales. Go figure dear reader.

Mr Lewis then goes on to lament that many employers request applicants to be proficient in Welsh. How dare employers advertise for a Welsh speaker for a job in Wales. God forbid that an English employer in England want an English-speaker in the role, or a French employer in France want a French-speaker and so on. Mr Lewis may never have considered the fact that many people, contrary to his claims, expect services to be done in Wales through the medium of their first language of Welsh and thus there is a duty to these people to offer such services. His desire to outlaw this ironically paints him as the fascist and not this “Welsh Taliban”. Not surprising considering the Daily Mail’s history of supporting Fascism during the pre-World War II days. He also claims that such Welsh speakers are ill-equipped with the world at large and would be confined to Wales or Patagonia, completely ignoring the fact that every Welsh speaker is also a fluent English speaker as well. Don’t let facts get in the way a good scaremonger however.

Roger Lewis also refers to a former colleague of his at Oxford whom backs up his views that Welsh is a dying language, although again without a name or source it is impossible to verify such quotes. Does this former colleague exist? Can he corroborate this? What exactly is his role at Oxford? He also states there is no Welsh Shakespeare. How would he know, he has shunned the Welsh language. Although I am not a fluent Welsh speaker or reader, I am not so ignorant as to not accept there is a plethora of great Welsh literature on the market, both modern and historical. He then cites the Welsh Language Society as the equivalent of the Taliban. This comparison deserves no further comment, such is the patheticness of such a mentality.

Mr Lewis finishes his hatchet job of an article by lamenting that Tenby was always Tenby until only a few years ago when it suddenly became Dynbych-y-Pysgod. Displaying his incredible sense of ignorance and lack of research, he would be keen to note that it is not “Dynbych” but rather Dinbych and the name is an historical reference and not suddenly dreamt up by the Taliban in the last decade. He then refers to YET ANOTHER story about a Welshman refusing a taxi and preferring to walk home because the said-vehicle didn’t have the Welsh variation of “tacsi” on it. I say story because surely this is a work of fiction. I’d be interested to know where he heard about this story or did he create it?

I hope that the millions of Daily Mail readers are able to treat this article with the cynical contempt that it deserves, a rabblerousing piece of racist rubbish against the Welsh Language. Mr Lewis has previous on his attacks against the Welsh Language. On 12th August 2011, in a review on Jasper Rees’ brilliant book “Bred of Heaven”, the journalist, and I use the word loosely, states “not many people in full possession of their faculties would find it appealing or necessary to try to turn themselves into a ‘real Welshman’. He also states “I abhor the appalling and moribund monkey language myself“. He claims to be a Proud Welshman. I suggest the hateful Mr Lewis look up the definition of the word Proud in the Dictionary, an English language one if he prefers, and stop aiding in the incitement of racial hatred against the people of the Land of his Fathers.

Categories: Media | Tags: , , , , , | 26 Comments

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26 thoughts on “Daily Mail, the Welsh Taliban and the Rants of a Hate-Filled Journalist

  1. Giles llewelyn-griffith ap tarquin

    “stop aiding in the incitement of racial hatred against the people of the Land of his Fathers”
    What absolute tosh! Did you attend the Alf Garnet school of social understanding and twisted logic?

  2. Irish-language-speaker

    Brilliant article, amazing the kind of rubbish that gets published. I hope your article gets plenty of publicity! Go néirí leat a mhic.

  3. Brilliant article, enjoyed your blog on this. When it comes to Monmouthshire however there is a long tradition of Welsh speaking ( Gwent County History Vol.1 , Sian Rhiannol Thomas The Welsh before the Industrial Revolution (Social History of the Welsh Language Series, UWP) , Mary. A Williams in the Welsh language and Community ( Social History of the Welsh Language Series, UWP), A History of Wales, Johh Davies. The place names make it obvious as well. I live in the northern part of Gwent, and I and most of my friends speak Welsh.

    • Intiguing sources, i’ll need to check some of those out, have already read John Davies’ work, brilliant book which every Welshman should have on their book shelves

  4. Giles llewelyn-griffith ap tarquin

    Twlltyn bob armadillo. No Welshman derides the English for he would be flogged from pillar to post I am sure such actions would would see him arrested. You are a sad parochial man that cannot see past his trwyn. There is a world beyond the parish of Tycroes or indeed Llandybie, When I was a child I behaved as a child and I campaigned for Gwynfor now I am grown up I realize what an idiot I was.

    • i am aware there is a world beyond Tycroes and Llandybie thank you, I have lived across the border for one. I appreciate your condescending sentiments my friend.

    • Whatever you political affiliations are, the content of the article by Roger Lewis was bigoted, wrong and without any base at all. I do not understand why on earth you’ve brought up Gwynfor or called us parachial all for defending the language.

    • Anglophone Scotsman

      Yep, there are lands beyond the border. Such as France, where they speak French. And Germany, where they speak German. And Peru, where they speak Spanish, Quetchua, Aymara and a couple of other languages besides. There is no language called “Modern”, and English isn’t the key to the planet. What’s wrong with having Welsh *as* *well*???

  5. M Owen

    Superb piece Nathen. Why is racism against Welsh is still seem acceptable? If that wally had written what he had about Jews and Hebrew, or Polish, I suspect the police would have been called to investigate.

    • Anglophone Scotsman

      It’s not racism though, is it? Because you can choose what language to speak, whereas you can’t choose where you’re born, what your skin colour is etc.

      If you want to combat the problem, you’ve got to understand the complainers’ mindset. YOU are not born different, you CHOOSE to be different.

      They’re not being racist, they’re not against your birth, but your choice. Comparing it to anti-black/white/Irish/whatever racism won’t therefore engage them in the debate — they’ll genuinely believe you’re being extremist. (And yes, I know it’s difficult to take that seriously when they call you a “Taliban” for wanting your council tax bill yng Ghymraeg.)

      However, it takes patience to teach (as I’m finding out every day in my current job teaching English overseas) and you have to be the bigger person.

      So here’s the argument that takes the notion of “choice” (their argument) and binds it to the notion of “identity”:

      Why should anyone choose to support Haverfordwest County when they could be supporting a proper, successful team like Arsenal or Manchester United?

      Would anyone deride someone so vehemently for daring to support a small team? I’ve heard plenty of football banter, but it’s never like the language abuse….

  6. Excellent, nice work.

    • M Owen

      Scotsman – I beg to differ, I do think that someone abuses a Welsh speaker simply for speaking Welsh that is racism, attacking someone for their colour or language comes from the same dark place. Under the law, verbal abuse with regard to colour, sexuality and ethnicity is a race hate act. And ethnicity covers language groups.

      • Anglophone Scotsman

        So if a Welsh-born black man of French and Jamaican parentage abuses a Pakistani who moved to Wales at the age of 3 for speaking Welsh, that would be anti-Welsh racism, would it?

        Culture is not in-bred — culture is not race.

        But even if I cannot convince you of that, you have to remember that the people who attack Welsh language use don’t see themselves as racist, and calling them racist will do nothing to change their views, but only increase their intransigence. More so if they are Welsh themselves, because they take it as an attempt to undermine their own identity, and people tend to reject any arguments by default if they undermine their own identity.

  7. David Terry

    I have to say, I never did like Welsh GCSE being mandatory (far better to have something useful like a Continental language or Home Economics mandatory, just think, 20 years hence and all of Britain bows to Welsh chefs; never again is welsh rarebit derided as cheese on toast etc….), but the Fail, as ever, takes it to ludicrous lengths.

    David Terry, from Carmarthenshire.

    • David I’ve lived in Wales all my life and a continental language has been totally usless to me. I hear people speaking Welsh and the fact I speak German as well is not going to help my understand my own people who speak Welsh is it? Anyway, R.E and P.E is compulsory, why pick on Welsh?

  8. Giles llewelyn-griffith ap tarquin is a made up name with a made up story about campaigning with Gwynfor Evans

    UK nationalist troll

  9. Giles llewelyn-griffith ap tarquin

    What utter poppycock my dear boy I was born Giles Llewellyn Griffith Remarque Smyth but when I fell under the influence of Cayo Evans at my English public school. I decided to do what he did.l Ho Ho Tally Ho. I became a Cymro with a Cymraeg name

  10. tarquin ap guppie

    GOSH how things have changed – when I stood on the top step of the Miners Welfare Hall in Brynamman and asked people to vote for GWYNFOR we were derided as TORIES because we were middle class professionals who could not bring ourselves to vote LABOUR. How thuigs have changed – HAD MAGGIE BEEN THERE WE WELSH NATS WOULD HAVE VOTED TORY

  11. Marianne

    It makes me furious to see this racist rubbish. As I grew up in Llanelli in the 1970s, I was very interested to hear that there has never been any history of Welsh speaking in South Wales. It doesn’t accord with my memory. The article is, of course, entirely truth free. As for kids not being allowed to go to the toilet if they couldn’t ask in Welsh, this myth started in the late 1970s. A team from Cardiff University searched for this school at the time. It did not exist.

    It’s an ironic reversal of reality. We know our language was driven out by terrorising children in school. It’s very interesting that the self-hating Roger Lewis refers to Cymraeg as a ‘monkey language’. I saw on ‘See Hear’, a deaf woman describing how she was humiliated and punished for speaking sign language at school. The teacher scoffed ”Gloria’s a monkey! She talks with her hands!” This is just a mindless slur on oppressed people. Any language could be jeered at as a monkey language. It’s just abuse, not a statement based on evidence.. I’m afraid that most Daily Mail readers will take this poison on board uncritically.

  12. Marianne

    I’ve just read the comments of the Anglophone Scotsman and I have to disagree. It’s not a whimsical decision which language we speak. There are few families where the father speaks Zulu, the mother speaks Tagalog and the three children make informed choices that their first languages will be Swiss-German, Esperanto and Choctaw respectively.

    Language and ethnicity are entwined. An awful old encyclopaedia from the thirties derides Bushmen:’ They have scarcely any culture; their language being very deficient’. Is this really not a racist remark? We know now that there are no primitive languages. Well, some of us do.

    An unpleasant woman told me that her native tongue Chakma was not a written language and that it would be impossible to invent a script for it which can’t be right. Yet she said to me with supercilious contempt ”You haven’t got a word for television, have you?” She meant in Welsh.

    I said ”Of course, we have. It’s ‘teledu’. She said ”Oh well, that doesn’t count because it’s a twentieth century invention!” And so is the word for television in every language in the world. But we are singled out for derision.

    Another idiot said to me ”Don’t you think that if Welsh was a proper language, it would have a word for orgasm?” I said ”Don’t you think that if English was a proper language it would have a word for orgasm? Orgasm is Greek!” It went over his head.

    Yet a third idiot told me that the Welsh were the only people in the world who had no culture. He was supremely confident of this ignorant statement. It is racism. If people convince themselves that you don’t have a ‘proper’ language, they must believe that you can’t think. Most of us think in language.

    Another point is that race is a bit of a myth. People from different parts of the world look different but there are few real racial differences and the ones that do exist -sticky versus dry ear wax – are unimportant. So a sophist like Anglophone Scotsman could say that as race is not real, no abuse of someone for being different is ever racist. But this is not right as race is perceived to exist.

    Furthermore, since when does defining bullying as not being racist make it acceptable? Aren’t other forms of bigotry equally hurtful? Are sexism, snobbery and disablism things we must accept because they are not racism?

    It’s ok to criticise anyone’s culture if the criticism is fair and factually based. We shouldn’t be too coy about criticising atrocities in other countries. But what has been outlined above is unfactual and unthinking abuse.

  13. Anon

    ‘Roger Lewis’ is just another pseudonym of Jacques Protic

    As are the anonymous commentators here, listed below:

    tarquin ap guppie
    Giles llewelyn-griffith ap tarquin
    David Terry

    • Marianne

      I could just about believe that some of these identities are sock puppets for Jacques Protic – or that they might be. But not Roger Lewis. He is a known Daily Mail journalist.

      I’m afraid this idea probably arose in the perennially suspicious mind of Jac o’ the North. He is just as much of a bigot as Protic as he dislikes Serbs and English people and he has problems with Paralympic athletes.

      • David Terry

        Most unusual as it is to be reminded of a 4 year old Internet comment, I have to deny being anyone’s sock puppet. I was just no good at languages, so that plus the nationalism of most Welsh teachers left me with a permanent bad taste for it. Not so with PE and RE, although I can sympathise with anyone who had a bad experience with PE too.

  14. Marianne

    Oh David, I hope you’re not feeling as if you don’t exist. I didn’t say I thought you were definitely a sock puppet. I was just trying to meet the previous person half way while denying that Roger Lewis was one.

    It’s awful to feel you don’t exist. I’ve had bad experiences with PE too. I do sympathise. Languages of all sorts are badly taught in UK schools. But that’s not the fault of the languages themselves. Maybe most subjects are badly taught and leave kids traumatised. This needs to be addressed.

    I think of those poor monoglot Welsh children who had Welsh battered out of them in Victorian times. That wasn’t a great experience. I have positive memories of Welsh because of the area where I grew up, and because my grandfather spoke it. I would be heartbroken if it died finally.

    According to Phil Parry, Jacques Protic is a person of Serbian descent who thinks Welsh shouldn’t be taught in schools. A certain nationalist Jac o the North, real name Royston Jones has stirred up feeling against him. Protic has now had his car damaged and has received death threats in front of his nine year old daughter who was traumatised.

    I am of course ashamed and upset that people on ‘my’ side as it were, have resorted to these unacceptable methods. Jac and some of his followers make paranoid and unfounded accusations all the time. They seem to think that you and Roger Lewis are assumed identities of Protic.

    The problem with Jac o’ the North is that he is even more of a bigot himself. He dislikes Protic for being a Serb and resents his own neighbour for being English. As my children are a quarter Serbian and a bit English too, I’m not greatly impressed.

    Jac also objected to Wales being represented at the Paralympics. He thought we were being shown up rather than represented, and that a disabled athlete was an ‘oxymoron.’

    He aggressively demanded to know what I objected to, after I expressed disagreement. I told him. He then accused me of obsessively persecuting him and also deluged me in disablist abuse as I had mentioned en passant that I was myself slightly disabled.

    It is not the fault of our dear mother tongue that she has champions like this. But I do wish they would do us a favour and go into a Trappist monastery.

    Jac has also said that a bilingual education scheme called ‘bilingo’ is a plot by Mi5. He has accused Phil Parry of being a police spy. He has also said ‘our masters’ our hiding behind the maimed and disabled, and will be hiding behind the maimed and the dead on Poppy Day. I think the sock puppet idea was his originally. I hope this clears the subject up.

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