Letter from Wales: How much taxpayers’ money is the Welsh Language Commission spending on its legal battles?

by Julian Ruck

I must draw readers’ attention to the Welsh Language Commission quango which was set up in 2012 to enforce the Welsh Language Act 1993.

Its Crachach supremo is one Meri Huws (for you English readers that’s Mary Hughes, everything in Wales has to be translated into Welsh so I don’t see why I can’t translate Welsh into English, what’s sauce for the goose…) and before one goes any further it needs to be pointed out that the lady Commissioner is yet another Welsh schooled, Welsh university madrassa alumnus.

Now readers may well be thinking here we go again, but Meri is a Commissioner with a difference.

She was chair of the Welsh Language Society in the 1980’s, an organisation whose purpose is the imposition of the Welsh language on the Wales, regardless of what the Welsh might want.

Meri’s recently been on a high court crusade to overturn a decision by NS&I in its attempt to dump its Welsh language service (because no-one used it). You can imagine my interest and the prospect of an interview became somewhat irresistible – such an act of unbridled coercion legal or otherwise, will have cost the taxpayer a great deal of money.

There were also the other tantalising issues of Welsh medium schools (teaching a nationalist agenda, corrupting history eg changing the names of historical figures, Guy Fawkes to Gito Fawkes), and recent wholesale English GCSE failure, not to mention the more general question of how the Welsh language is affecting the Welsh economy.

I duly contacted Meinir Jones (the Commissioner’s Press and Public Affairs Officer) and requested a chat with the learned Meri and what an experience this turned out to be.

According to Meinir, Welsh medium schools are nothing to do with the Commissioner, nor  indeed is the Welsh economy and the Welsh language impact on it? And yet the Welsh Language Commission was set up to enforce the language on both the private and public business sectors?

Back in 2013 Leighton Andrews, the then Education Minister was clear and unequivocal in his condemnation of the Commissioner’s attempts to force Welsh language services on private sector companies.

He said:

“My decision not to accept the proposed standards [developed by Meri Huw’s Welsh Language Commission) is based on policy considerations as well as legal advice. These standards are complex and I have concerns over their reasonableness and proportionality.”

And what did Meri’s erstwhile Welsh Language Society have to say?

“It leads one to the conclusion that the Government has decided that the interests of organisations and the profit of large companies, like BT, British Gas and Arriva, are more important than the Welsh language…As more and more children receive Welsh medium education we must ensure the Welsh language goes beyond the school gates.”

So one can conclude from the above, that it is fine for the Commissioner to stick her Welsh language oar  into the Welsh economy and private sector business not to mention education, but not fine for her policies and diktats to be scrutinised and challenged by anyone who doesn’t belong to her cosy little Crachach and nationalist club?

Meinir Jones emailed me a number of prescriptive denials (procrastination being the Crachach name of the game, naturally) which I refused to accept.

It was clear to me that the Commissioner, a public servant whose generous salary and no doubt bomb-proof pension provision is paid for by the taxpayer, was refusing outright to be interviewed.

A final email requesting an interview (including deadline) and cost details of the Commissioner’s High Court litigation was ignored – a FoI request has now been made to the Commission to obtain this information. It will be interesting to observe if the Commissioner, as head of a publicly funded organisation, tries to dodge this request too.

Surly Crachach cowardice time again and avoid challenging questions at all costs. The Commissioner is fully aware that I do not adopt the passive and deferential cloth cap doffing of the Welsh media, so if nothing else Uncut has managed to rattle her.

Why else won’t she be interviewed?

These people are nothing more than an absolute, unmitigated disgrace and a profound insult to democratic process and oversight.

Before I go, readers will be delighted to know that one Welsh madrassa ie Aberystwyth university (which our Meri attended), has gone all international. The madrassa is setting up a base in Mauritius. If this were one of the rapidly industrialising rising powers, like India or China, I could see the logic. But Mauritius? No doubt, staff can sun themselves and get walloped on the local brew while discussing yet another translation of the Mabinogion, what do you think? The weather certainly beats North Wales?

Julian Ruck is a novelist, columnist and broadcaster. His latest novel “The Silver Songsters” (Pub. 18.4.14) is to be WH Smith’s book of the month in May.


Tags: , , , ,


22 Responses to “Letter from Wales: How much taxpayers’ money is the Welsh Language Commission spending on its legal battles?”

  1. Cai says:

    If it were written by a reasonable author, this article might stand a chance of being considered in the ongoing dialogue about how to ensure the Welsh language is preserved, whilst keeping in line with the cuts and public sector streamlining across the board.

    But the author’s barely concealed disdain for the Welsh language is nothing to do with taxpayers’ money. There isn’t an argument to be seen here, even if you manage to wade through the pitifully written and xenophobic rhetoric of the piece.

    Labour Uncut should be ashamed.

  2. To Cai,

    Well, you managed ‘to wade through the pitifully written’ column, so there’s hope for me yet!

    Best wishes,

    JR

  3. E.M Davies says:

    I’m not at all surprised they declined an interview. No public servant in his or her right mind would ever give the time of day to a blogger with such xenophobic views and what appears to be abusive tone.

  4. dave rodway says:

    Ah, Labour Uncut giving their platform to minority-bashers.

  5. Tafia says:

    These people are nothing more than an absolute, unmitigated disgrace

    No Julian, that’s you. You are an utter disgrace – something that it is to Wales’s great shame that you are somehow connected.

    You know where the border is – use it. You serve no purpose here. In fact you serve no purpose.

    Quick challenge for you. Being as Cymraeg is such a big issue with you you obviously would not be hypocritical enough to vote for any party that supports it.

    So that means you either don’t vote – in which case you don’t count, or you vote BNP.

  6. Tafia says:

    Why else won’t she be interviewed?

    Why should she be interviewed by a nondescript tosser like you? She probably thinks (and quite correctly), that scratching her arsehole is infinately more intellectual and a greater contribution to society than an interview by you

  7. To E M Davies,

    Not quite just a ‘blogger’.

    I have interviewed many public servants and politicians as my columns clearly evidence.

    Perhaps one of these days you Welsh language enthusiasts will actually address the issues I raise, instead of indulging in boo-hoo playground fury?

    Uncut’s readership is predominantly English, you do nothing for any sophisticated quality of Welsh political debate.

    Indeed, you merely denigrate both it and yourselves to a baseline of amusing ridicule.

    JR

  8. Tafia says:

    you do nothing for any sophisticated quality of Welsh political debate.

    Pot calling the kettle black. Ju;lian you are a pompous arrogant buffooon who struggles to accept that bar being a target for ridicule and derision there is little reason for your existance. You are a not very good author, an arrogant poor columnist in a bit part minor local rag and you hate your own country and it’s people.

    Get it through your head, the big three at Westminster not only support devolution – including Cymraeg – but they all intend to increase it and expand it (funnily, the Tories intend to do it faster). Add into that Plaid & the Greens and support for faster and increased devolution is utterly overwhelming at Cynulliad Cenedlaethol level (National Assembly).

    You obviously are not Labour, you obviously are not Plaid, you obviously are not a Tory and you obviously are not Lib Dem – so exactly whose message are you attempting to piggy-back into this site as some sort of vox pop when in fact it’s subversive deliberately misleading clap-trap. You aren’t Jacques Protic* in disguise are you?

    It is not going to be undone just because poor little Jules wants to be English and is ashamed of his roots.

    (for the uninitiated, there is/was a website in North Wales called GogWatch that expressed views similar to Julian’s and tried to push them as the views of a so-called silent majority and the genuine welsh people. Turned out that it was in fact a front run by a Serb who classes himself as English. He actually stood as a County Council candidate on Ynys Mon last year on a ticket of stopping the bilingual policy etc etc – he polled less than 50 votes on a very very good turnout for a council election – over 50%. Like Julian he has an over-exagerated sense of his own importance. Funnily enough he also comments under other names supporting his position. Now he is ‘outed’ no one in the press pays any attention to him anymore, not evenbit-part rags in the valleys. The tit is still on twitter though he claims it isn’t him weven though everyone knows it is. http://tinyurl.com/oudcdjd )

  9. Tafia says:

    My mistake, he polled between 100-200 votes last year, in an area heavily inhabited by retirees from England, most of whom voted Plaid Cymru or for the Welsh independent.

  10. bob says:

    Maybe this mornings revelations on the state of the NHS in Wales they should be more involved with improving the service rather than trying to intellectually and vocally ethnically cleanse English from the language.

  11. Mr Akira Origami says:

    “You know where the border is – use it.” Is this North Wales’ pathetic attempt at ethnic cleansing. So funny Tafia!

    The “border”will exist when Wales votes for independence. Then perhaps your aspirations for ethnic cleansing will come to fruition. Good luck in persuading the electorate in the Principality for a yes vote on independence. You should be careful what you wish for or we might end up with the dregs of Marxist- Socialist dross in Wales.

    Meantime we really do need an English Language Commissioner to protect the rights of the Anglo- Welsh community.

  12. To Tafia,

    Well, I suppose one can only hope that her ‘arsehole’ is not as cavernous and as loquacious as your own.

    JR

  13. Oliver says:

    I am a non-Welsh reader of this blog.

    ‘Well, you managed to wade through ‘the pity fully written’ column, so there’s hope for me yet.’

    How are you to know if you agree or disagree with something if you don’t read the full post?

    If you want only people who are in support of you on this site to read and comment on your Letters from Wales may I suggest a weekly mail shot instead of posting them online. Wouldn’t cost you much – £1.20 a week by my calculations for 2 letters sent first class post. Unless, of course, Mr Origami has returned to Japan in which case you would have to pay an additional airmail charge.

    I really don’t understand how anyone can take anything Julian Ruck writes seriously.

    As far as I am concerned his FOI campaign has nothing to do with any concern for what the taxpayers’ money is being spent on. He is just using this website to draw as much attention to himself as possible.

  14. “Perhaps one of these days you Welsh language enthusiasts will actually address the issues I raise, instead of indulging in boo-hoo playground fury?”

    Absolute nonsense, Julian. I have challenged you twice since Christmas and proven you wrong. You did not respond to me either time, probably as you had no counter-argument. You can read both here:

    http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2014/01/31/letter-from-wales-revealed-scale-of-extra-spending-on-pupils-in-welsh-medium-schools/

    http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2014/02/07/letter-from-wales-this-is-not-the-way-to-show-labour-will-only-spend-carefully/

    “Its Crachach supremo is one Meri Huws (for you English readers that’s Mary Hughes, everything in Wales has to be translated into Welsh so I don’t see why I can’t translate Welsh into English, what’s sauce for the goose…)”

    Meri Huws has the right to be called whatever she wants. To call a public figure, in a public forum, something other than what they want to be known as is just plain rude. What would you call Michael Caine if you ever met him? Would it be his actual name, Maurice Micklewhite? How about Tom Jones, whose name is Thomas Woodward?

    “…and before one goes any further it needs to be pointed out that the lady Commissioner is yet another Welsh schooled, Welsh university madrassa alumnus.”

    This really does not matter. Neither did you have to point out that she was a *lady* Commissioner. Speaks volumes. So what if she was educated wholly in Wales? She’s hardly a special case. Reading through that entire paragraph can only lead to the conclusion that you exercise nothing but extreme prejudice when it comes to the Welsh and the Welsh language.

    “She was chair of the Welsh Language Society in the 1980’s, an organisation whose purpose is the imposition of the Welsh language on the Wales, regardless of what the Welsh might want.”

    Again, prejudice (and poor grammar). You would not use the word ‘imposition’ for any other reason. WLS is a pressure group which operates through non-violent direct action. Their successes have not been great – though they have undoubtedly played a part in one weak Welsh Language Act and one weak ‘Measure’, bilingual road signs, and the establishing of S4C – hardly imposing Cymraeg on the people of Wales.

    “Meri’s recently been on a high court crusade to overturn a decision by NS&I in its attempt to dump its Welsh language service…”

    NS & I is state owned, and was deemed unlawful by a judicial review in its decision to revoke its Welsh service. Perhaps you should have pointed this out, Julian.

    “There were also the other tantalising issues of Welsh medium schools (teaching a nationalist agenda, corrupting history eg changing the names of historical figures, Guy Fawkes to Gito Fawkes)…”

    1. Welsh medium schools teach the school curriculum set forth by the Welsh Government, who incidentally set the same school curriculum for English language schools in Wales. The examinations and assessments of this curriculum is implemented by the WJEC… the same examination board that sets the exams in Wales’s English language schools, too. Last time I checked they didn’t teach a ‘nationalist agenda’ anywhere.

    2. Guy Fawkes became infamous when Welsh was spoken by 95%+ of the Welsh population. The name just happened to stick, and that is what he has always been known as. You cannot blame teachers in the 21st century as he has been called Guto Ffowc in Cymraeg Wales (not ‘Gito Fawkes’) since 1605. in a similar vein, King Philip II of Spain, who died a few years before Fawkes, is not known in Britain by his real name, which is Felipe II, Rey de España. If you want Guy Fawkes to be called Guy Fawkes in Welsh Schools, then you also must want King Philip II to be known as Felipe II, Rey de España too, no?

    “…and recent wholesale English GCSE failure…”

    If you’d followed the debacle you would have known that you cannot compare results this year to any previous year. Normally, Welsh schools put forward a number of pupils to sit the English GCSE in January, so that they have more time to concentrate on other exams later in the year. The average number is 18,000. this year, it was 22,000. It’s not something that is suitable for everyone (so much so that the scheme is being scrapped next year). That’s an extra 4000 pupils who would not normally be put forward for the January exam, as they would normally be expected to need more time to prepare. It does not take much cognitive ability to see why the figures were different compared to previous years.

    “…not to mention the more general question of how the Welsh language is affecting the Welsh economy.”

    Yet absolutely unsubstantiated, I see.

    “Meinir Jones emailed me a number of prescriptive denials (procrastination being the Crachach name of the game, naturally) which I refused to accept.”

    First rule of writing: ***Show don’t tell***. What were these ‘prescriptive denials’ which you refused to accept? You have to show us first. Only then can you tell us that you refuse to accept them, Julian: otherwise, we’ll just have to assume that you don’t want us to see because you have no real answer to them.

    “Why else won’t she be interviewed?”

    Further to earlier answers, maybe it’s because your interviews follow a familiar pattern: you explain that you interviewed someone, and then you tell us whether you agreed with what they had to say or not. Then the interview ends. That’s your ‘style’. You don’t tell us what they said in their own words or offer any kind of critical analysis of what they said.

  15. Tafia says:

    Guy Fawkes wasn’t his name anyway – that’s an English corruption. His real name was Guye Faux , then corrupted to Guy Fawkes via several other wrong names.

  16. Mr Akira Origami says:

    Oliver! For the record, I have never been to Japan. I am from the Anglo Welsh community here in South Wales. I am a British citizen born here.

    Perhaps my pseudonym has confused you?

  17. WaveyDavey says:

    I hope to God the Scottish don’t vote Yes to independence. The Welsh Taliban will be unbearable. I can imagine it, “well the Scottish have got it – why can’t we?”. My God, they will be like hormonal teenagers playing up in front of their friends. The Welsh language is all lovely and romantic, and all that, but lets be honest it is totally useless. Dylan Thomas did not speak Welsh. It clearly did not bother him and he became the best known Welsh writer that put pen to paper. Imagine if he did write only in Welsh? Total obscurity. What if the English wanted to bring back Ye Olde Englifh? It is the same argument. There would be no point. Study it as an academic/romantic exercise, all very lovely, but do not try to force it down my throat.

    These idiots will be the ruin of Wales.

  18. Llap Goch says:

    I attended an briefing from the Welsh Language Commissioner today. I’m English, although grew up in west Wales. I’m in favour of promoting the Welsh language and am proud to see my son now bettering my pidgin Welsh (yn anffodus). I wanted to be welcomed and enthused in order to start helping my organisation to be compliant with the emerging standards. Surprisingly, what I experienced was a cold, humourless proclamation. No warmth in the room, (including Meri’s opening address) and I felt alien and self aware, something I haven’t felt in years. No one shook my hand. It smacked of self importance and finger wagging. What’s more, I was expected to conduct a 4 hour found trip for an hour’s presentation. No briefings of this kind have been offered any further west than Llandrindod. Presumably this decision was taken because the costs were too high, which is ironic given many people’s only issue with complying with the standards is cost. Today, I arrived with a willingness to do my bit and left with little desire to do anything beyond the bare minimum. Nice charm offensive Meri.

  19. William R Wheeler says:

    I am Welsh, born and bred in Cardiff 81 years ago. I do not speak Welsh and have no desire to do so. I have no objection about people speaking and using Welsh as long as they pay for it themselves. I have just received my renewed Disabled Badge and the Welsh Language is the prominent one used. I have objected strongly about this to the Vale of Glamorgan and the Welsh Assembly and told them I was going to the USA in October and if I had to show this to some Deputy Sheriff he would laugh and think I was winding him up and wonder what Country I came from. I admit there is an English Translation but that is not prominent at all.

  20. Nic Daniels says:

    “Welsh medium schools (teaching a nationalist agenda, corrupting history eg changing the names of historical figures, Guy Fawkes to Gito Fawkes)”. Actually It’s Guto Ffowc in Welsh. We changed it because Welsh is a different language, you know, like the English did with Tudur, their changed it to Tudor because (I’m assuming) they can’t say the letter ‘u’?

    The usual dross from failed author and hated local figure Julian Ruck of Cydweli (not Kidwelly).

  21. Nic Daniels says:

    WaveyDavey:

    What has Welsh got to do with Ye Olde ye Englifh? All your comment has done is highlight your own lack of knowledge and total ignorance on the subject.

    William R Wheeler:

    You said “I have no objection about people speaking and using Welsh as long as they pay for it themselves. I have just received my renewed Disabled Badge and the Welsh Language is the prominent one used.”

    What if all non-disabled people said “I don’t mind disabled people having special badges, special access into public buildings, letters in braille etc as long as they pay for it themselves”.

    The fact that your badge is bilingual shouldn’t be a problem – I’m sure that American policeman are used to seeing badges from all over the world… some in unfamiliar languages like Romanian, German and Welsh! Imagine that!

  22. Garmon says:

    What a poorly-written and badly-researched article. Why is it such an issue for some people that Welsh exists, and is recognised as both an official, national language and a language in need of support? It has been abused, downtrodden and royally dumped-on from high by people like Julian for centuries, and still they try and destroy it. Welsh isn’t going anywhere, and thanks to dedicated support from its speakers, is finally getting something close to parity with English in Wales. My only advice to anyone who reads this is to ignore it – people like Julian thrive on being the center of attention, because their egoes can’t take it when they’re not. That’s why they stoop to spouting vacuous, hate-filled articles like the above, attacking vulnerable minorities, which are almost exclusively based on nothing but their own insecurities and prejudices. A joke of an article, written by a joke of a man.

Leave a Reply