Independent review call after BBC ‘make fools of themselves’ over Welsh language

BBC Newsnight

A petition calling for an independent review into how the BBC portrays the Welsh language has been set up after Newsnight were accused of making “journalistic fools” of themselves on the issue.

Newsnight ran a segment asking “is the Welsh language a help or hindrance to the nation” and invited author Julian Ruck, who has published a number of articles attacking funding for the Welsh language, to contribute.

No Welsh speakers took part in the discussion.

Ynys Môn’s Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth said that Newsnight has “just made journalistic fools of yourselves getting this man [Julian Ruck] on to speak about Welsh language. He just hates it. End of”.

The petition, begun by digital business consultant Huw Marshall, says that a review would be able to establish if there was an issue with regards to how the Welsh language is portrayed, and to “assess what editorial systems are in place to ensure editorial fairness”.

Concerns have been growing about the BBC’s attitude to the Welsh language following a number of critical articles before the National Eisteddfod over the past few years.

The Welsh language has also recently come under attack in articles in the Guardian and the Times.

The petition can be signed here.

Articles via Email

Get instant updates to your inbox

38 Comments

  1. Sais media attacks Welsh language …… nothing new there, is there ? Indeed it legitimises ( if any is needed) any similar attacks on those who promote an Anglo Brit centred view of life in Wales. Whole list of shabby adherents of that dependency driven view that can be picked on. Wouldn’t bother with Ruck though, an out and out nobody. And Evan Davis as champion of such thought, and a self professed liberal ! Tosser more like.

  2. Possibly the most pathetic piece I have ever seen on newsnight – gobsmackingly dismal

  3. No waste on bankers bailouts, illegal wars, nuclear arms, olympics, hs2, rehousing problem families.
    Am I living in a parallel universe when the DUP get a billion pounds, but spending 0.002% of the welsh gov budget is questioned on a smutty britnat show. Whatvis tge purpose of the welsh gov if it’s not there for welsh speakers? Are we meant to disappear back to where welsh originated from?

    • on the contrary I suspect the English fear that they will be told to buzz off back whence they came !!! Serious complex afoot there, but whether it’s inferiority or superiority, or something else, is beyond me.

  4. Some facts;
    Welsh speakers don’t smoke and don’t drink alcohol
    As our billingualism offsets alzheimers longer, we cost the welsh nhs £1.2bn less than monoglots. We’re also more active, have lower blood pressure and better lung capacity.
    100% of Welsh speakers are in employment, meaning we contribute more than 80% of wales’ tax base.
    The language is such a power house, it contributes £21.5bn to the economy each year.
    Welsh speakers are 24.5 times happier than their monoglot counterparts – this results in some people always lookin bemused as to why this is the case. It’s because we are your masters.

  5. Fel Americanwr gyda gwreiddiau yngh Nghymru, rwy wedi bod yn gweithio dros yr iaith ers fy nhaith cyntaf i Gymru ym 1987. Mae’n siom mawr imi ddarllen bod pobl yn gwrthwynebu’r Gymraeg ar y teledu.

  6. I recently moved to Ynys Mon and am fast learning Welsh. It is a vibrant growing language which is a joy to speak and hear. I never cease to be shocked by English people who refuse to learn even the most elementary Welsh and so miss out on full integration into the life and culture of this wonderful land. It is disgusting that the BBC, who claim to represent the UK with its varied cultures, should show something so biased and offensive.

  7. When there is only a small minority of people who actually speak Welsh(19%), with even less being able to read and write in it, why should it be forced on the whole of Wales? 80% of the country do not speak Welsh yet 100% speak, read and write in English. Now I am not saying people shouldn’t be allowed to speak Welsh or live their daily lives through the medium of Welsh, what concerns me is the bully boy tactics being used to instead of promoting the language, enforcing it. Our education system is in a right mess we are bottom of the tables in the UK and not doing very well globally and what is the answer to this, MORE WELSH!!! There has to be a balance and there has to be fairness and the attitude on a lot of Welsh language advocates is neither balanced nor fair. Parental choice should come before political beliefs and personal agendas, English and Welsh language have equal status in Wales but that is being ignored regarding education. I support the cause to have more people speaking Welsh but it has to be done sensibly and this is not happening now. I truly hope that the Welsh Assembly will stop the bully boy tactics and start making amends for the hurt it has already caused a lot of children via their education.

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      If you were in any way in support of Wales or the Welsh language you’d not have even thought of consorting with Neil Hamilton. So don’t pretend you’re on side, and don’t try to excuse yourself all your views. We all know what you are about… and your friend up north. We all know the traction that message gets too… how many votes did he get again?

    • Only 19% of schools are welsh medium Strachen – and they’re the best performing. So clearly there’s problems elsewhere. Wales has spoken Welsh for 1400 years, but Michaela thinks she can turn up in the Country and reverse this – saviour of the English language in Wales, who knew it needed somebody? Where’s my choice as a welsh speaker to never have to see a piece of English language in Wales? Or have to speak English in shops, restaurants, petrol stations, cafes? Of course, I wouldn’t limit myself, as I love languages and love the fact that I know that the more I practice,the more advanced my brain and my sense of place in the world. But by 2017 I can now use Cymraeg in the supermarket, cash machine, iphone, widnows, apple mac, mcdonalds even! Someone appreciates us enough.

      Fortunately, the Welsh gov realise that the rights of the 560,000 (+ 300,00 others around the world) native welsh speakers have been denied for centuries, and as Article 8 of the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples –

      1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture. Now if we can agree that this happened, we can start to move on.

      Article 13 – Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions,philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.

      Article 14 – 1. Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.

      3. States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children,including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.

      Now, tell me – with our rights enshrined in UN declarations – how would do you advise that we develop a Country that is respectful of both languages, that English speakers are taught Welsh history from a Welsh perspective, how do English speaking Welsh people connect with our ancient literature? Do they remain indifferent and apathetic for eternity? Otherwise we’re living in this parallel universe that sees native Welsh speakers appear like aliens in their own country. See that’s where the problem with your argument is, Welsh medium education will have children speaking Welsh and English by 5 years old – truly bilingual, just like the majority of the world. Yours will almost certainly lead to us continuing living in a parallel universe, and English speakers being left with a limited knowledge of the country they live in, with little respect and little regard for the country’s oldest language.

      I highly doubt you can drop your pre-loaded prejudices to have a sensible conversation on this topic. You’ve really let yourself down on this issue. If you could have articulated your argument better, you might have been able to escape looking like a huge bigot and a big loopy.

      You’re against 1400 years here. No army, no policy, no King or Queen has succeeded – keep up the good fight though.

    • Michaela do us all a favour [please keep things civil and respond to each other in a constructive manner – Ed].

      • michaela beddows

        may I ask in which way my comment was uncivil, I haven’t responded to any replies as I don’t want to start a slanging match, all I did was state my opinion, obviously you don’t want any opinions apart from those with which you all agree with.

        • Hi Michela. The comment about uncivility was aimed at Jos, whose comment I had edited to remove some content.

          Other commentators are free to respond to your comments, as Tal Mac has done, as long as it does not descend in to personal attacks.

        • Knew you wouldn’t have a reply. Your prejudices limit you.

          • I have no prejudices, I am not the one fighting for the rights of one language, I simply think that both languages should be respected and they are not, I am not going to start a war of words with you as we are both on opposite sides of the argument, I however do respect that the rights of Welsh speakers should be respected I simply ask the same courtesy especially where education and employment are concerned. Will not be commenting further as no doubt my answer will be twisted to suit other agendas. Wish we could all just sit down and discuss this civilly over a drink in a pub – I have no doubt that we have far more in common than we all think x

  8. Robert Williams

    It seems English monoglotism – an anomaly in global terms- is so strong that even educated, liberal English people just can’t comprehend that people in at least one of the constituent nations of the UK actually speak and live through Nother language. Sa

  9. leigh richards

    Yet another reason why broadcasting should be devolved to wales

  10. Paul Richards

    What is it with those we share this island with. They fall over backwards for every other part of the population. Yet when it comes to Cymru it’s all negative. I have actually met people who hate Welsh. Why? I don’t know.. All we ever want is our own space. I’m starting to think of myself as one of those ‘native chappies’ that should not be trusted and certainly kept in place by the over lords.

  11. Only 25% of Welsh people speak Welsh. That’s despite teaching the language being part of the schools curriculum for years. Speaking it was forbidden many years ago by the horrible Sais….. not any more. Today, the only people to blame for it becoming almost a dead language, are the Welsh.

    • Yes Frank – that’s why 22,000 people visited in the Esiteddfod yesterday. 22,000 dead corpses speaking welsh. There are x 2.27 more welsh speakers than icelandic speakers – Icelandic is thriving – they’re not attached to one of the most jingoistic countries in the world. Bell emoji END emoji.

  12. Rwy wedi anfon neges i’r BBC, ond mae wir angen cael corff darlledu I Gymru.
    Dyma’r neges:–
    The BBC, and the usually more balanced part of the English Press, such as The Guardian and Times, seem to have a blind spot about the significance of the Welsh Language, in relation to the heritage of the British Isles as a whole.
    It is important to note that the fore-runner of Welsh, namely Brythonic, was spoken from Glasgow to Kent before the regime change that occurred with the coming of germanic speaking groups in the 5th Century.
    This ignorance was once more in evidence during a poor quality dicussion on Newsnight yesterday, when a minor author with a chip on his shoulder, Julian Ruck, was invited to give a air his grievances, which are out of touch with a modern-day bilingual Wales in a global multilingual world. Most international companies operate in many countries through many languages, with monoglot English speakers being rather handicapped in their appreciation of other cultures. We can only hope that the staff of the BBC pay heed to J.R.Tolkiens advice on the Welsh language, and perhaps start learning it themselves!
    Tudor Wms Rees

  13. Vivian Parry Williams

    Just ignore the ignorant English nationalist attitude the Welsh are well used to over the years. Julian Ruck and his monoglot English type should be ashamed of themselves. The Welsh language was spoken when their ancestors were swinging from tree to tree.

  14. Brian ap Francis.

    The language is kept alive by the few that speak it naturally and whose rights we should defend. Apart from that it’s just a nuisance to the majority of British people who are not extremists or fanatics who happen to reside in Wales. It includes me. Now that will set the cat amongst the pigeons.

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      In what way would you consider it a nuisance? Clearly being patronising with your usage of the patronymic naming style.

      • Brian ap Francis

        It’s a nuisance because I have no wish to speak it see it or hear it yet is being hurled at me and a majority of others of similar view – against our wishes – because the extremists achieve their selfish ambitions over and above moderates.

    • Yes Brian, sorry that you changed our religion, plantated our land, murdered our forefathers, tried to kill our language, socially excluded us from daily life. ‘Who happen to reside in Wales’ – so you’ve moved here to retire, bringing your prejudices, probably bringing your ill-health that’ll be a burden on our services. I wouldn’t describe you as a nuisance though, that wouldn’t be in keeping with your friendly nature. However, I would definitely say you’re probably trailer trash that doesn’t deserve to live here. Probably wanting to live by the sea as you’ve always lived in the smog – well there’s plenty of canals in Birmingham, and the Manchester shipping canal should be a lovely spot to take your boat.

      • Brian ap Francis

        Actually my grandparents were born in Swansea and parents in Cardiff which is where I was born. But I would expect a response like that from insular people who think they not part of the U K and predominantly British and proud of it and it’s culture.

        • Yes Brian, so insular that the Welsh speaking areas voted to remain the EU. 2 languages opens your mind Brian, it does not narrow it.
          Let me know how that UK malarkey is working out, last time I heard, you had to go to Poland to get a poorer region some parts of Wales. Congratufukinlations. Clap clap. Whilst the children were starving, they still thought the queen was charming.

        • Hilarious, English/British Culture consisted of occupying countries, playing clans off one another, making beggars of the people, expropriating all the wealth, destroying culture, livelihoods, languages, social fabric, tearing families apart….cue 150 years later waffling on about fair play, how minority language rights are all very fine but don’t start getting uppity etc etc…self-awareness would be a wonderful thing…an rud is annamh is iontach…(the rare thing is wonderful)

  15. An Bhreatan Bheag go brách! Cymru am Byth!

  16. Though the number of Welsh speakers is not as great as I’d like, there are still enough of 3us to be much more than a nuisance. We need to be more stubborn, aggressive even. No more apologising and deference.I’r gad!

  17. Is é an rud ceanna céanna in Éirinn – same thing here in Ire. – do chaitheamar na billiúin ar na bainc – billions on banks here – ach má chaitheamar airgead ar an teanga bíonn daoine ag déanamh gearán – billions wasted on banks but people complain about money spent protecting/enhancing Irish language services….

  18. We all know the language has been supressed but to me speaking the language is not a measure of how welsh you are, given the past, mainly down to where you grew up or if you went to Welsh school.

    The language will grow again I hope, I think education will do this and I myself send my children to welsh school and am trying to learn it. However, passing laws that force institutions to make everything bilingual with no extra resource will only do two things 1) Make institutions poorer with the cuts they already have 3) create more division and resentment in the recruitment market in Wales. I just think they should do it through schools and education ..over time or resource it properly.

Leave a Reply