It was with mixed feelings I waded through Rob Davies’s ‘Why this law won’t help the language’ (Daily Post, 23/3/2010). On the one hand I was very much encouraged that a self identified English immigrant had such a healthy attitude towards the Welsh language. If only more English immigrants were like Rob. Especially worth noting was his refreshing attitude towards the need to keep funding important Welsh language services such as BBC Radio Cymru and S4C.
But it was with sadness that I found out also that he was against the idea of having a new Language Mesure that could, potentially, advance the rights of Welsh speakers. A Mesure, you must understand, wouldn’t elevate the Welsh language to a dominant position; it would only allow Welsh speakers, like myself, to enjoy the rights English speakers in Wales already have. So far this morning I’ve received my phone bill from O2 through the post in English only, and I’ve checked my bank balance with HSBC online in English only. There you have two little day to day examples, and two companies who, let’s face it, could easily afford to comply to a strong mesure if it were to come into place. Rob, unfortunately, is just scare mongering when he implies that such companies would leave their operations in Wales if a strong Language Mesure came to being.
I guess the difference between Rob and myself is the fact that although Rob has a healthy attitude towards the language, the Welsh language, as he said so himself, is the beautiful language of ‘poetry, singing, literature, and the wonderful eisteddfodau.’ That indeed it is, but to most of us it is more than those tired cliches – we will it to be a vibrant living language also. I will it to be the language of my iPhone in additional to the language of my poetry. I will it to be the language of my commerce not only the language of my singing. And I will it to be visible across retail parks and not only across the maes of the Eisteddfod. The sad thing is that as things stand Rob has nothing to worry about as it seems that Plaid Cymru and Welsh Labour are dancing to the tune of the CBI because the draft of the Mesure does not deliver on the promise of equal rights to Welsh speakers in all walks of life unfortunately.
Rhys Llwyd, Deiniolen