How does Plaid Cymru appeal to an incomer like me?

Nathan Abrams

Nathan Abrams

I have made Arfon my home. I have lived in Wales for 11 years. I have researched into and written about its history.

I am raising two kids here both of whom will be fully bilingual. My wife and I are endeavouring to learn Welsh. I have no objection to Welsh independence.

So I’m a natural Plaid Cymru voter, right?

I’m not sure. I have flirted on and off with them for years, at a local, national and Westminster level but I’m far from committing. Why?

Firstly, I don’t like its name. It shouldn’t the ‘Party of Wales’ but the ‘Party for Wales’. This is a crucial difference and one which I will outline below.

The Party of Wales implies an ethnic or cultural nationalism. Such nationalisms are never simply benign, no matter how oppressed those nationalists might feel and be.

At some point, as recent history testifies, this kind of nationalism will turn on those who somehow don’t belong.

Secondly, such nationalisms tend to be – and here Wales is no exception – backward looking. They look to a mythic pre-industrial, pre-modern idyll, uncorrupted by the forces of modernisation which itself is just a code word for immigration.

Look at Jerusalem – ironically a reference to a city full of the sort of people that most Little Englanders would loathe having in their own country – with its references to ‘England’s green and pleasant land’ tainted by those ‘dark satanic mills’.

Wales’ national anthem is also illustrative on this front. ‘The Ancient Land of My Fathers’ looks backwards to a past of bards, singers, fighters and famous men.

Gender politics aside, it mourns a time when Wales was not crushed by the foreign foe, one in which the Welsh language survives and thrives.

I certainly support the latter points but how does that anthem speak to an incomer like me? Where am I, as a Jew from north London, to fit into this picture, one which probably doesn’t include me anyway? (Historical note: we were excluded from Wales before the expulsion from England in 1290.)

This is exacerbated by recent debates about housing and schools which – as Dyfrig Jones points out – at heart seem to be about the perils of immigration. I am one of those very immigrants.

So, for me, the solution is to reshape the vision of Welsh nationalism to one of citizenship. It is not about one of belonging or retrospectivity – a nationalism that looks backwards.

It is about a civic vision that looks forwards, not one that mourns loss, but one that embraces the future, that encourages everyone living in Wales to unite in a national project to make it a better country, to overcome the obstacles imposed on us by Westminster (and Cardiff).

To this end, let’s not sing about an ancient land of my fathers but to celebrate a current land that we will build for our children.

And for that reason, therefore Plaid Cymru should be not the Party of Wales but the Party for Wales. And then I will commit. Faithfully.

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  1. 1. Stop banging on about the Welsh Language (it is important to many but not to all)
    2. Stop banging on about the Wales Bill or reserved powers, Joe Public doesn’t understand or care.
    3. Stop criticising the SoS for encouraging economic growth between Cardiff, Newport and Bristol (just because Bristol is in England)

  2. Why does he say the Jews were expelled from Wales before they were in England? What evidence is there for Jews being expelled from Wales before Edward the first (king of England, of course) expelled them? I’ll be very interested in any proof of such expulsions, and I can of course be wrong in thinking there is none, but that is an odd thing to say if there is no evidence for it.

    • I should have said ‘excluded’ from Wales as there are charters excluding Jews from various boroughs. They were all expelled in 1290.

      • Did that happen under Welsh kingdoms or the Norman ones?

        Welsh law systems were far from perfect…but miles more progressive than Norman law, which evolved into English law (British law has never existed on a side note)

        • Michael Matthews

          There were no Welsh Kingdoms, they were principalities.
          Try Looking up the Laws of Howell Dda considered one of the most progressive legal systems in Europe at the time.

        • Nathan Abrams

          While one can blame the Anglo-Norman overlords for the exclusion and eventual expulsion of the Jews, these moves had the other desired effect of feeding into the local populace’s Judeophobia.

          • Michael Matthews

            Must disagree with you on this Nathan. The laws of Howell Dda were considered the one of the most progressive throughout Europe at the time that Henry Vlll passed his Laws in Wales Acts 1534 & 1542.

      • Yes. You should have. It’s a different thing. If it did happen. Under what laws? Norman? I know of no Welsh laws expelling the Jews. And was this done before it was in England? And yes, I know what happened in 1290, thank you, that was done in England by an English King. The effect it had in Wales at the time, even under the marcher lordships, seems to be unrecorded. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I can trust what you say on this very important matter. The idea of Jews being expelled is a very powerful image. The idea of Jews being expelled from Wales before England is a very powerful image. Not one to be bandied about lightly with no evidence.

        • more important is to note that Jews are welcome in Wales today. All the jew-haters sign up for the likes of BNP, NF, UKIP(maybe), Britain First, National Action. If any of those thrive in Wales their members will be far more focussed on a Brit agenda rather than on Wales which is commonly regarded by them as the fagend of the Englandandwales entity. Of course the bit we need to watch out for is the growth of jewbaiting and hatred among those in the Labour party – some party of brothers and sisters !

          • That is important to note. But it is also very important to note that what he says in the article is untrue. Saying such things on matters which have a powerful impression on people’s minds can have a powerful effect on our views of history and our country in the present day. Not to mention the fact it is good to have correct facts on any subject.

            • Nathan Abrams

              And it’s far too simplistic to lay the blame for this instance of Judeophobia or anti-Judaism at the hands of the English overlords. Anti-Jewish sentiment was rife in the medieval period and it is doubtful that Wales was exempt from it.

              • You are missing – or at least not addressing- the point. I am not saying that Judeophobia was absent from Wales. I am saying that your initial statement saying that Jews were expelled from Wales before England (why bring England into it?) was incorrect. And that your alteration to saying Jews were “excluded from Wales before they were expelled from England” is misleading – at best. They were excluded from English townships before they were excluded from the colonial towns in Wales, and were expelled at the same time as in England- (though the presence of the Marcher Lordships as opposed to the principality after the conquest continued to mean we are not sure exactly what happened [see my comments below] – though of course Judeophobia existed in Wales.) It is the bizarre, at best badly worded comparison with England your statement makes which is misleading.

            • Michael Matthews

              You left out the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbin.

        • Nathan Abrams

          Excluding and expelling Jews was a symptom of wider Judeophobia which the local populace surely shared.

          • Is there a reason why you’ve decided to stir this up?

            You can’t deny you’re being provocative.

            • My problem is that I see there is no one to vote for at present. The Jewishness is not a red herring. It’s more important than what you refer to as my Englishness. Your reduction of my Jewishness to a mere red herring is in itself a form of colonialist imperialist thinking that reduces ethnic/religious difference to the dominant Anglo norms. So it’s not an English article written from an English point of view; it’s a Jewish article written from a Jewish point of view. Your attempt to deny that is an attempt to deny my difference and hence why I have a problem with nationalisms of any stripe.

              • What and who is this a reply to? I cant see anyone referring to your Englishness or Jewishness in what you reply to here, let alone anyone trying to “deny your difference”. But you are still avoiding the point about the inaccuracy in the article.

              • “My problem is that I see there is no one to vote for at present.”
                That’s not the prémis for the article you submitted though.
                Now it comes out “in the wash” that you have a problem with every political party not just Plaid Cymru. Every one of them except Plaid Cymru being a British Nationalist party!

                You chose to identify yourself in large part by your religion. That was your choice as is your decision to base your views on Welsh nationality on how you personally interact with and relate to it.
                But as you say it’s “a Jewish point of view” and not THE Jewish point of view. For myself I think I have views as a person who is Welsh rather than having Welsh views. I’m reminded of this daily in discussions (arguments) with Welsh people who have different views to mine.

                A Jewish person who moved to Arfon from a home they’d grown up in, in Brittany or Catalunya or Scotland might be expected to have a different perspective on and affinity for Welsh Nationalism than one who moved from England. You’re welcome to make the argment if you think that’s not the case.

            • Well the article was meant to provoke discussion hence why I published it.

              • I do get that and I guess it has succeeded I suppose. I haven’t actually said anything about you personally, your chosen nationality or religion etc. I am not a believer myself in the melting pot idea and don’t think that people should have to adopt the customs and cultures of countries that they move to, but simply be respectful of them and hopefully a desire to not have a negative effect on them – something which I can see you have more than done yourself and have never questioned.

                I would describe myself as Welsh and also have difficulties with being able to associate with Plaid Cymru or any of the political parties to be honest – not because of the names, but simply down to their impotence, waffling on about issues that really don’t interest me and general lack of spark and bite.

                My concern with the article was the questioning of the anthem and also trying to raise the link that our historic figures were more than probably anti-semitic, based only on a presumption that we must have been doing what everyone at the time was doing. You may well be right – it was a tough, nasty world back then and we will simply never know, hence I don’t understand why you brought it up.

                My simplistic understanding of history could also suggest that Jews who maybe came over to these islands with the Normans might subsequently have fallen out with the Anglo-Normans and were expelled by the Anglo-Normans. Equally if Jews were associated with the demonic Anglo-Normans, I doubt that would make the Jews popular in Wales and then of course your proposition might be correct. I could hypothesise till the cows come home and it would lead no-where, because we simply don’t know and probably never will.

                Anyway – I guess you certainly hit some buttons.

          • I refer you to my above comment.

  3. And make it a land of our mothers, sisters and daughters too!

  4. Thank you for this thoughtful post Nathan. If we want to realise our ambition of a self governing Wales then we have to take as many people as possible with us on that journey – and winning the support of people like yourself who have come to live in Wales will be vital to achieving that aim. Have to say i don’t think there’s anything in Plaid’s vision of a self governing Wales that is backward looking, indeed Plaid’s current leader Leanne Wood is as outward looking and progressive a politician as you could wish to find. Your hope for a future Wales in which we are all citizens sounds good to me.

  5. Red Dragon Jim

    The usual shtick is that Plaid Cymru isn’t Welsh enough! Nice to have a reminder that there are voters who think the opposite.

    Changing the national anthem is a big ask though! Not to belittle the valid point about anti-semitism, but is projecting that onto Plaid fair? It’s a song and a badge of identity.

    Changing “of” to “for” in the party name? Why can’t “of” include everyone who lives here?

    Boiled down, has the author a Plaid councillor, MP and AM, and have they welcomed his support or made him feel excluded? Can more be done beyond the anthem and party name?

  6. I find this a very interesting and worthwhile contribution — for the questions that it poses, if not for the propositions that it presents. The author is to be commended for this contribution.

    The first proposition that I would challenge is that there should be greater hurdles for a Jew from North London to connect with Welsh history and culture, and with the Welsh language, than any other newer arrival in our communities. The Welsh and the Jews share a common villain in our histories in these isles in the form of Edward Longshanks. The Welsh and the Jews have shared experiences of becoming foreigners in their own country, and their have been similarities in some of their responses, such as that of Michael D Jones. Eliezer Ben-Yehuda provides a role model for the national revival of the Welsh. The emphasis of Nonconformity on Bible study coupled with a natural affinity with oppressed small nations enhanced the natural ties between the Welsh and the Jews. Cardiff provided a welcoming haven for Jews driven out of the Russian empire during the pogroms of the late 19th / early 20th century, as a result of which many Jews chose to stay in Wales and to contribute to the rich tapestry of Welsh culture and society. Furthermore, the Welsh culture and identity has proved itself to be a much more comfortable fit for many immigrant communities (notably in Cardiff) because it is not associated with residual imperialist and racist concepts in the British culture.

    I should very much like to know where the contributor picked up the idea that Jews were expelled from Wales before England, but I would remind him that the Welsh themselves were oppressed and expelled from Welsh towns for centuries by English kings and marcher lords, and by Westminster legislation.

    • See my comment above: histories of medieval Jewry in Wales show they were excluded rather than expelled. They were expelled from Wales in 1290 in line with the general Edict of Explusion. See Cai Parry-Jones’ The Jews of Wales for more detail.

      • Excluded from townships (which happened to the Welsh in Wales) is a very different thing. See my comment above. So different I really don’t think we can trust what you say in this matter.

      • Seeing as your précis of the information you have was “Wales expelled the Jews before England did”, I have no idea what would be in the book you link to. What is certain is that it would not back up what you say in the original article.

      • The Welsh were excluded from many towns in Wales too. That doesn’t prove we have a long history of hating the Welsh.

  7. CambroUiDunlainge

    I don’t think cultural nationalism turns into the kind of nationalism of people who do not belong. All Welsh Nationalism asks that if you live in Wales you embrace the local culture and identity – as you and your family are doing. You will find this attitude across the world in many nations – I think its a pretty fair request. In France you would have to learn French – if people neglect Welsh identity here its because of the bilingual nature of the nation as a whole. Assimilating into a nation is not a lot to ask if you wish to live within in. If your children see themselves as Welsh, they are.

    The Nationalist mindset is determined by those who carry it out. Wales and Welsh nationalism is nothing like what you refer too because we are a different people in a different situation.

    Backward looking – would disagree here too. I do look into the past – maybe one of the worst culprits for that. Our history is full of migration – in fact Cunedda himself was a migrant who invaded to drive out Gaelic invaders. Merfyn Frych was a migrant – and progenitor of our greatest leaders. Teaching that migration is a thing and that all nations are made up of many peoples is key to fixing that. There is absolutely no such thing as “ethnically” Welsh.

    The reasons we do look back… well I just made one of those reasons clear on the migration front. But there’s more… Owain Glyndwr fought alongside the English. A nationalist leader who only sought to throw off the chains of oppression. It wasn’t anti-English or anti-Norman – there was a general uprising against the crown – it was a rising of the people against an institution that saw them as second class citizens. But it’s always been that – the poverty in Wales is nothing new – so we look back at those who did back to do something about it. We look for inspiration for our cause and we find it in our collective history. Anti-immigration has nothing to do with it.

    As for the anthem… I see what you mean. But in embracing being Welsh I think that you are embracing a collective history that we all share in as part of our identity. By embracing our culture there is no my cause or your cause just OUR cause – the meaning of the anthem extends to you. Those are my feelings on it anyway. When your children sing that anthem it would be more literal – it will be land of their father – because you embraced our country, you chose our country. I really like that. Honestly if we thought about the anthem in the literal sense… I don’t think it’d work for the majority of the Welsh population. Its more a symbol of shared unity.

    So I’d have to disagree with Welsh nationalism looking backwards. I look backwards a lot but I’d consider myself quite forward thinking (“How can this help us in the modern day?” is something I ask myself a lot) because if you feel Welsh you are Welsh and in the struggles OUR nation will go through (the real test for not just those who have moved here, but those who have lived here for generations – because in these times heading towards Brexit future generations are at stake – but maybe they are always at stake?) I’d be happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with you.

    Its not so much about mourning loss… our history was written from loss and defeat and our victories and the reasons for those conflicts in the first place were airbrushed out. I feel in order to move forward as a nation we need to reconstruct that history in a pro-Welsh narrative (not pro-English narrative). There are warts on it (but there are also things to learn from it – Cyfraith Hywel for example?) but it also has memories of a nation we are gradually losing – we as individuals are a product of our memories regardless of whether we move on from them or not. That which sets us apart from England. Because regardless of how we feel for ourselves and our divides over the border and in Westminster we are all the same thing.

    • Isabel Adonis

      CambroUiDunlainge, ” All Welsh Nationalism asks that if you live in Wales you embrace the local culture and identity”…What is the local culture and identity? What are you allowed to conform to and what are you allowed to dissent from? What are the limits?

      • CambroUiDunlainge

        Culture and identity can change from place to place within Wales. But making an effort to assimilate into whatever that may be no matter the nation you move into is genuinely well received. Why would there be limits to what you can conform too? What exactly are you asking me here? Think that needs some elaboration. Dissenting I would take to mean rejecting that local culture and identity and actively voicing against the teaching of Welsh and Welsh history – which would in my opinion be an extension of British/English identity.

    • “When your children sing that anthem it would be more literal – it will be land of their father – because you embraced our country, you chose our country.” I really like that idea, too (but it should also be the land of their mother).

    • Cytuno 100% Cambro.

  8. If there were any implication of ethnic nationalism in Plaid Cymru’s name, I am confident that it would be universally opposed by the membership and leadership. However, I honestly see no such implication in the name “Party of Wales”, and no distinct meaning of the substitution with “Party for Wales”. I hope the author will find reassurance in this.

  9. An understanding of one’s history is vital to approaching our present and future with self-confidence, self-worth and purpose. Wales suffers from the blight of acute historical amnesia. If you want evidence of this, visit any of our major historical sites and look for information boards providing substantive historical context. You will find only explanations of architectural function and layout, coupled with trivial anecdotes.

    Any suggestion that Wales is a nation obsessed with its past is wrong by 180 degrees.

  10. Anarchist and Welsh Nash

    I wonder if the author is projecting his own insecurities as a Jewish man on to his present situation here in Wales?

    It’s a complete straw man argument to say that cultural nationalism eventually turns on other people, and therefore should be avoided like the plague.

    Would he say that to the 200 or so nations who have gained their independence since 1945, for whom cultural nationalism -a sense of being a nation- was an integral part of all their efforts?

    This accusation of being ”backward looking” also betrays an essentially Metropolitan-Superior mind set, which can’t but help looking down and patronising people who think differently to what is assumed by them to be the ‘right’ way to look at the world.

    This mindset unfortunately is truly the new imperialism. No need for physical force any more, we’ll just shame you for being so out of step with what is modern, progressive, forward thinking etc.

    Same old imperialists wearing a different mask.

    • Explain how my insecurities as a Jewish man tie into me being just the same old imperialist? You seem to be conflating two different things here.

      • Red Dragon Jim

        I didn’t agree with his/her comment Mr Abrams.

        I didn’t agree with all of your article but saw where you are coming from. I see no real evidence that you are an imperialist.

        Plaid would welcome your support- but they can’t rewrite the national anthem! Meet your MP or AM for a chat. Stand for the local council for Plaid (you’d probably win up there).

  11. Graham John Hathaway

    A thoughtful, much needed reflection on what I see as Welsh identity. If we identify with our National Anthem does it mean looking backwards. Like as looking in a car mirror to see what’s behind while trying to go forward. Um. Not sure. If nothing else isn’t a national about cultural identity. I wonder what the Scots might feel about the ‘ Flower of Scotland’. I’m sure there must be other examples. I don’t think either the NewZealand rugby team should perform the Haka before their match. Tribal war ritual. Too cultural. Spears and things.

    The rest has much merit to me. I’m glad it’s been written. Thanks. Just wish, as I toss my coin into the fountain of wisdom, not love, that it was as easy as changing of for for.

  12. I wonder how much, if any, thought was given to of/for in the English translation of the party name – it’s a slightly cludgy translation either way, presumably born out of a desire to avoid the literal but vague sounding “Wales Party”, so my guess is “almost none”. That being the case, using it as a marker for cultural versus civic nationalism seems weak to me. But the discussion of “what kind of nationalism do we want is that wahat we’re actually portraying” is an interesting point to consider.

  13. Benjiman L. Angwin

    I’m an immigrant to Cymru and I’ve been deeply touched by the Jewish culture in my time.

    I do not agree with this article’s sentiment. It seems to imply that to wish independence for cultural reasons is backward looking, whilst I consider it backwards to consider to this backwards, as it implies that we must be progressing towards something, and that other view points are inherently ‘regressive’ if a goal of reaching a ‘progressive’ state is not agree upon.

    I do not consider it a culture’s role, nor a nationalist political party’s role, to be to change itself for incomers. Everyone in the world should be welcome, but no one should be treated any differently to Welsh people. My Welsh friends do not change for me, as it is was I who came to their culture, not the other way around, and it would be offensive and impolite of me to assume they should change who they are in any way, ever their perspectives upon the world, simply because I originally come from some where else.

  14. Richard Jenkins

    It’s a shame that semantics should become such a false stumbling block. In Welsh Plaid Cymru just means Wales party! Translation is a dodgy thing. In effect the name simple represents the fact that PC is the only legitimate party that acts firstly and foremostly in the interests of Cymru. All othe political parties are just branches of U.K. parties? ‘For’ ‘of’. Sorry just semantics. You have to look deeper into the motives of the party. Also, the anthem was not written by and is not the responsibility of Plaid Cymru. Seems a bit weird to somehow extrapolate some responsibility for the anthem to PC? It’s like blaming the Labour Party for GSQ?

    Leanne Wood, adam Price, Rhun ap Ioreth are modern forward thinking politicians. PC is not a party of blood& guts nationalism but of Civic Nationalism. We all count or no one Counts! Broadly socialist, distinctly republican. Don’t care where you are from or who your parents are. You’re Welsh if you want to be. What’s not too like?

  15. As a Rhondda-born miner’s son, who is a socialist and republican and who has lived all his working life in cities before retiring to Swansea, I am compelled to disagree completely with your statement which says that Plaid Cymru looks back to a golden agricultural era. That applied to Saunders Lewis and perhaps some others but not to many members and supporters in Engish-speaking and industrial Glamorgan and Gwent and, probably, further afield. Where is looking back, for the most part, it is like a bowler in cricket or someone aiming for goal – healthy looking back gives impetus for moving forward/

  16. This is an interesting article but ultimately a very strange one. The author claims that Plaid Cymru is backwards looking and ethnonationalist, and cites as evidence:

    1) a preposition in a translation that makes a distinction that doesnt exist in the orignal language.
    2) a song written by a harpist half a century before the party was founded.

    These are both so absurd that they don’t even need debunking. What I would like to know is whether Nathan can provide any actual examples of these supposed shortcomings, in anything actually said or done by a Plaid Cymru politician or featured in a manifesto or legislative program. As others have suggested Plaid has long described itself as “civic nationalist” and, more so than ever under Leanne Wood, have embraced incomers and refugees. Its policies and ideas are usually far more radical than those of its political rivals. It seems to me that Plaid is actually already the party Nathan wishes it to be.

    • yet……. perceptions count …

      Many people have incorrect perceptions on most things…..likely me included….Plaid Cymru has its own load of misconceptions…hence why some frustrated people want to start afresh with a new unstained party

  17. Michael Matthews

    Anything and everything that happens in Wales is under the control of Westminster. Wales has been disadvantaged since the Laws in Wales Acts of 1534 and 1542 were passed when Henry Vlll saw fit to call the Welsh ‘rude and ignorants” and attempted to destroy its language. Wales dose not enjoy the same power/authority as N Ireland and Scotland and the Welsh first minister has less authority in Wales than the Mayor of London and Manchester have in their areas. Wales is not represented on the Union flag or coinage of the realm but Wales is a proud nation and deserves better.

  18. The Bellwether

    I find the child’s spirograph of the Plaid Cymru logo most annoying. Please replace this with the ‘proper’ poppy illustration. Diolch!

  19. The objection seems to be a semantic one about how Plaid Cymru is translated into English. Plaid = Movement on behalf of / for, Cymru = Wales. Note that it is Plaid Cymru, Wales and not Plaid Cymry the Welsh. It is an important distinction. Plaid Cymru means on behalf of the land and thus everyone who lives in it or calls it home. So whether you translate as ‘on behalf of’ or ‘for’ isn’t that much of an issue.
    Plaid Cymru does have it’s roots in a cultural nationalism, of protecting the Welsh language from the indifference of the British State. Then it progressed to realising that it was not only the language that was being neglected but the whole economy. Hence it is part of the movement of (or ‘for’ if you prefer) neglected minorities everywhere.

    • Graham John Hathaway

      Looks like are getting to the visionary part of the debate of what a name of a political Party actually means or refers to. The Green Party probably has the drop on us all. It looks as if the SNP want to ditch the N bit. Preferring the I bit. Of course there was ‘New Labour’ somewhat different from old Labour. Now Labour.
      Na, I rather like ours as it is. Let’s lift our glass to one of the most beautiful of all National Anthems.
      Yep, I’m old fashioned.

  20. Quite frankly, trying to make a big thing over “Party for Wales” instead of “Party of Wales” is a bit bizarre. If you move into Wales, and consider yourself Welsh, you are “of Wales”. (As much as you are “of” any country or culture which has formed your makeup.) Really, this isn’t a thing.

  21. Difficult to take this seriously when the author stated originally that Jews were expelled from Wales in 1290- before this happened in England.

    As if Wales made a conscious national decision to do so. He does know I take it that Wales was conquered militarily by Edward 1 in 1282?

    Such a chippy and wilfully false and misleading statement does him no favours at all to be honest.

    And then this bizarre attempt to conflate the national anthem with Plaid Cymru…..?

    I’m no fan of Plaid Cymru myself for a myriad of reasons, but how on earth can you blame them for something which was written a good half century before it even started up??!

  22. What’s in a name? a lot as it happens. If Plaid Cymru was founded in 1925, the Welsh Language was in a stronger position that it finds itself now therefore the name I assume belied a mindset that reflected the 1921 Census. In the last election, the party made much of ‘Tarian’ the shield of Wales. Defensive? Protective? Outward Looking? If it is ‘For the sake of Wales’ then ‘Er Blaid Cymru’
    If you have knocked on doors for the party then you will be used to the ‘It’s for Welsh Speakers’ “Sorry luurve I dun’t speak Welsh” However much you try and dissuade and persuade but the perception is there. “Labour” coined in 1901 doesn’t always do what it says on the tin but the one word can convince us what it has tried to do. ‘Liberals’ wishy washy Lloyd George etc etc. Conservative: Enough Said! You can shorten Plaid Cymru to Plaid but then it sounds like ‘Party’. Frankly you will always find me in the kitchen at parties and that is why I am no longer a member of PC or any political party because you have to toe the party line. Perceptions do count for a lot in politics and even though the personnel might remain the same Plaid Cymru does need a re-branding which includes the name.

  23. I think questioning the anthem is bizaare. It wasn’t written originally as an anthem, but the resonance of the words, struck a chord, with people in Wales very quickly. Evan James supposedly composed the words for his brother who had emigrated to the US, to perhaps remind him of the the things that he’d left behind – the poets, singers and patriots etc and it’s very understandable in this context to write about the land of our fathers – girls have fathers as well by the way.

    The words were not coined as arrows, but crafted out of a real sense of pride and love in this country – a pride shared by two brothers and when you consider the words in that context it’s got not no bad edges to it whatsoever and should appeal to anyone who has left their homeland and wants to maintain a connection with the beauty of what they’ve left behind. I think it is an especially poignant anthem for Welsh ex-pats and anyone who would like to reconnect with people and distant relatives who may once have lived in this land.

  24. This from “The Jews in Medieval Britain”, edited by Frank Skinner. “The charters of such Edwardian boroughs as Caernarfon [etc] of 1284 [..] provide that ‘Jews should not sojourn [there] at any time.’. These have been cited as evidence of Jewish colonisation in north Wales, on the assumption that the clause was adopted from the 1234 Newcastle upon Tyne charter, but that was merely a regrant of the 1213 and earlier charters onto which an expulsion clause was added ‘Henceforth no Jew shall remain.. in the said town”. In other words, the towns set up by the Norman English kings as colonies for the English within Wales, which discriminated against the Welsh themselves, excluded Jews. This seems to have been done in England before it was done in Wales. Altering the above from “Wales expelled the Jews before England” to “Jews were excluded from Wales before they were expelled from England” is at best badly written and misleading, at worst intentionally so. The excluding and expulsion of Jews is a powerful image, and it is important that facts about the matter are known.

    • I really can’t think how it could have been unintentional. In historic terms, a common foe tends to unite people and we all had a common enemy at that time – why we should be tarnished today by the actions of the oppressors from that long distant time in the past is beyond me. Should the Sikhs of the Punjab take the blame for the fact that Hindus and Muslims were also killed at Amritzar – I think not, that would be an appalling thing to suggest and no doubt cause a lot of understandable outrage.

    • When I say “altering the above”, I mean of course the way the original article has been altered from having one inaccurate “historical” note to another.

  25. Incidentally, and very tangentially, interesting little piece of information from the book I refer to above – “The most extraordinary reference is to a Jew, almost a century after the Expulsion, at the commute court of Maenor Deilo, on the banks of the Tywi between Cardigan and Llandovy, in 1386-7. Edward I’s act of expulsion of 1290 could well be ignored by the marcher lords but this was not marcher territory. Maenor Deilo was close to Dinefwr castle, the centre of the ancient kingdom of Deheubarth. By 1290, after the death of Llywelyn at Gruffudd and the defeat of Rhys ap Maredudd, the lands of Cantref Mawr north of the Tywi became part of the Cardigan lordship and thus the new, English, principality of Wales. The unnamed Jew was thus living under the jurisdiction of Richard II’s constable at Dinefwr.” One person does not illustrate attitudes or the situation at all, but interesting in its own right I think. One wonders what life was like for him there. And the other pieces of information illustrate the situation in Wales at the time, as well, of course.

  26. This article reads like the author is contemplating becoming a Welsh nationalist and at the moment he’s a different sort of nationalist. An Anglocentric British nationalist seems most likely. Often people dislike that “label” and prefer labels that describe themselves as being above nationalism or as internationalists, etc. However Anglocentric British Nationalism is what’s in the tin.

    A person’s nationalism is a matter of the heart rather than the head and changing nationalisms is like falling out of love with one and falling into love with another. Demanding or even just arguing that Welsh nationalism needs to change before he will desert British nationalism for me indicates that the author is at least comfortable/content with his relationship with British Nationalism.

    If someday Mr Abrams finds himself to be a Welsh nationalist* it will have bugger all to do with any of the points he’s raised in this article.

    *that is in the sense of a long term relationship rather than a bit on the side when he fancies it

  27. I can only agree with Nathan, Plaid “is to an extent and should be a forward thinking progressive party” there are those in Plaid that are looking outwards to other small nations to acquire new and fresh ideas, the problem is getting that message out to the public at large, I for one have always treated anybody from any background who endeavours to learn the language as a Welshman and why not and that is not to say that those Welshmen who do not have the Language are any less Welsh either.
    As for Jews being expelled in the past, isn’t that the point that was the past, what we need to work on and worry about is the hear and now, a friend of mine form the Mohawk Nation when asked about their suffering at the hands of the whiteman, his reply was I can do nothing about the past, but I can try and make a difference in the present for a better future.

    • The point is it is not true, as well. It is a powerful image, and should not be bandied about if it is untrue. People do care about history, without getting into a discussion about the pros and cons of that, people are going to continue to care, and it is important that facts are used on any subject. They were not in the original article, and are not in what it has now been altered to.

      • The untruth being that Jews were expelled from Wales before England (the original point, brought up to make that specific point) followed by the bizarrely worded “correction” which is inaccurate both in its wording and implication.

  28. Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro (+North Carolina)

    Might be able to help you, Nathan. My qualifications are
    1. My middle name is Mendus. Like many with this name in or from Pembrokeshire, I am descended from the Jews expelled from Spain and who came to Pembs in 1492.
    2. I lived in Swansea for a number of years in the 1980s. This assists you because I found out about
    – Sir Alfred Mond, German Jewish, founded ICI and the Mond and was well known for the phrase “Vales for the Velsh”
    – Heini Gruffudd (son Lefi and brother Robat) was a stalwart of intellectual and Welsh pethau in Swansea and founded Ty Tawe. (Jewish Mother expelled from E.Germany by Hitler).
    – the Jews in Swansea built Ty Tawe as combined Jewish centre and shop. When the Jews left, the Welsh took over and ran a Welsh language centre and shop. Thanks for an ideal purpose built building.
    This should be encouragement to you Nathan.
    But there is a tough side. The Jews left Swansea, note. Trade disappeared. The Jews seem big on portable assets, education, science, music, gold and jewels, for a reason. Understandably given the history, they put a premium on mobility;; and have global horizons. This has a down side – maybe they have difficulty settling.
    When I lived in Carmarthen there was a solid family, Welsh father, Reformed Jewish mother, talented Welsh speaking daughters. They did batmitvahs etc, but had to travel to Cardiff to do them. In that sense, they were isolated where they lived. This may happen to you.
    But remember Hywel Dda. Under his Law of Aliens he and the Welsh provided sanctuary but recognised that full integration in fact occurs over 3 generations. Alien welcome, children had fuller status and grandchildren had 100% status. It started with welcome but was – perhaps naturally – not easy at first.
    We could speed this up. Wales (and the UK) lacks a framework for loyalty. In the US you have to take an oath, respect a written Constitution and a flag. Do this and you are in. That Constitution spells out the terms of your adherence to your country – we need one in Wales!

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      A Constitution is one of those things… its not going to benefit everyone and in the future this may cause problems as the world changes around it – especially when those who benefit most (think guns in America) will seek to protect that tooth and nail. It’d also rely on interpretation which can change through time… we need a fluid system which is able to adapt for tomorrow and be able to adapt in the face of crises or outside factors.

  29. “Heini Gruffudd (son Lefi and brother Robat) was a stalwart of intellectual and Welsh pethau in Swansea and founded Ty Tawe. ”
    “Was”? Anyone going to Ty Tawe for any event, or even just calling into Ty Tawe for a chat on their Saturday coffee mornings may well bump into him still! Very welcoming, friendly, interesting bloke. And has had an effect on just about anyone learning Welsh through his books, the “Welsh is fun/is funtastic” books especially being memorable to people of a certain age…..

  30. A very revealing article that says a lot about the mindset of a more sensitive, intelligent and better-educated English settler like Mr. Abrams. The nonsense about the translation of the name ‘Plaid Cymru’ and the alleged exclusivity of the national anthem need not be dwelt on. The problem facing any immigrant or white settler is that they are uninvited strangers in a strange land. Some will embrace their adopted country and its cultural mores, others will pretend that these are of no consequence and will prefer to bring their old culture with them. The latter mindset has, sadly, prevailed in the Fro Cymraeg since the late sixties, but there are commendable exceptions like Mr. Abrams.

    All nationalisms begin as ethnic nationalism; but for various reasons beyond its control ( e.g. Wales’s continuing colonial status, anti-Welsh planning legislation, tourism, enforced demographic change, a weak devolution, Westminster’s promotion of multiculturalism), Wales’s nationalism has had to morph into civic nationalism, but it still rests (and has to rest) on those things that make Wales and the Welsh different from everywhere else.

    Mr. Abrams is making a song and dance about a problem which, for him and his family, should not exist, namely, how to become Welsh. He has already made a vital first step by introducing the Welsh language into his home. His children shall be able to engage with local children, and he with their parents. What, then, is he afraid of? I have to assume that he has not yet let go of his Metropolitan mindset. Yes, you are in a different country now, Nathan, so join in! By all means, join Plaid Cymru, and sing the national anthem. Wales is not like Israel, you don’t have to start off as Welsh to come and live here, but your neighbours would appreciate it if you became one of them. You owe it to them.

    • Nathan Abrams

      Your use of the term ‘settler’ is very revealing in itself. Am I a settler in terms of the Israeli example you invoke, thus an unwanted colonist? You also simplistically state I am English simply because I come from London. My ancestors were Polish and Lithuanian and nowhere did I identify with the English; in fact, I had a similar dig at them with my Jerusalem comment. Later I am a ‘white settler’. If you read the scholarly literature on this, Jews were never historically considered ‘white’ so you are again conflating me with something else, using loaded language that comes from other regions. Next you suggest I am an ‘uninvited stranger in a strange land.’ Finally, you imply that I come from Israel, which I don’t.

      • 1/ You are a settler.
        2/ You are English, with Polish and Lithuanian ancestry, like many English Jewish people.
        3/ Jewish people are classed as white-skinned.
        4/ Not being from a non-white background, you are a white settler, like most English settlers in North West Wales.
        5/ You are, unfortunately, an uninvited stranger in a strange land, although if you were offered the opportunity to come to Wales to work for and by a Welsh employer, then I withdraw that remark and apologise. Wales has no legislation in place that allows it a say as regards who comes to live here.
        6/ I did not imply that you were from Israel. I was comparing the policy of Israel regarding national identity (which generally reserves settlement to Jewish applicants) to that of Wales, which, if it had a say in these matters, would impose no such bar, as neither would Plaid Cymru. The contrast is between Israeli policy, which is based on ethnic nationalism, and that of Wales and Plaid Cymru, which is based on civic nationalism.

        My suggestion was that, now you are living in Wales, you should put all your reservations aside, along with any baggage brought from London, embrace Welsh culture and values, and be Welsh. And join Plaid Cymru if you have sympathy with their policies. They are not very pro-active these days in terms of promoting Welsh interests and defending the country from colonisation, but at present they’re the only indigenous party we’ve got, although I read that that is shortly to change. And keep up your learning of Welsh. Pob lwwc I chi ac eich teulu, Nathan. Most of us wish you well.

        • I define as British. That’s what my passport says. It is not your right to class me as English.
          Jews are not classed as white — read Brodkin or Stratton. Many Jews aren’t even white as they come from the Middle East, India, Ethiopia. Your use of the term ‘white-skinned’ reveals a curious racial bias.
          I was invited here as I accepted a job by a Welsh employer and I am thus an economic migrant.

          • “I define as British” is rather odd English.
            Do you want to state – I define myself as British; or, I am defined (by others/the state) as British? Or something else?
            If you support the UK as the nation state then you are a British nationalist and you can be a British nationalist regardless of how you define yourself or are defined by others. It doesn’t matter whether the definition is based on religion, ethnicity, a location that happened to be inhabited by some of ones family’s previous generations etc.etc.
            The same goes for being a Welsh nationalist.

            Your article is typical of those produced by many who by design or lack of self awareness insist that the onus is on those with a different view to the commentator (in this case the view being Welsh nationalism) to justify their view to the commentator’s satisfaction. The commentators themselves display no inclination to put their own views under similar scrutiny and put them up for discussion.
            Compare and contrast is needed for this discussion.
            Another article by you perhaps. One on why you remain a British nationalist.

            • Nathan Abrams

              But I’m not a nationalist of any stripe. That’s your label of me. Not mine.

              • Why would anyone who has deliberately chosen to be “not a nationalist of any stripe” contemplate becoming a nationalist.?

                Even going as far as to produce a mini vision statement for that nationalism.
                ” the solution is to reshape the vision of Welsh nationalism to one of citizenship. ”
                “a civic vision that looks forwards, …, that encourages everyone living in Wales to unite in a national project ……”

                And offer a pledge to that nationalism.
                “… Plaid Cymru should be not the Party of Wales but the Party for Wales. And then I will commit. Faithfully.”

                If someone is brought up in an culture that insists that nationalists can only be people who want to “break up” the UK and members of right wing extremist groups, it’s quite easy to assume that, if you’re not a member of those groups, then you’re not a nationalist.
                But that’s a mistake, or denial, or delusion.

          • It’s a term that some in Wales have borrowed from Settlerwatch, an organisation that monitors English migration into rural Scotland. It’s meant to highlight the colonial structure that enables such migration to take place in vulnerable parts of certain Celtic countries by using a term redolent of the settling of British colonials in the non-white territories of the British Empire. I assumed you were familiar with the term. It generally applies to English settlers in Scotland and Wales. Aren’t you English?

      • Michael Matthews

        Nathan, either your proud of being Jewish or your not. Whatever Plaid Cymru or Leanne Wood thinks is immaterial how you feel about yourself is what counts.

  31. Graham John Hathaway ” The Welsh National Anthem. It’s story, it’s meaning. Siôn T Jobbins.
    Highly recommended.

  32. A tricky piece of writing. Most tricky since it skim-dances across the Welsh-language and its culture, taking with the right hand as much if not more than it gives with the left. A key indicator is the dependence here on (bad) English translation of key Welsh texts. The preposition ‘of/for’ only concerns those who do not engage with the foundational Welsh name of the party (indeed – Plaid Cymru should not have translated itself, but that’s a different question). Further, let us not forget that ‘hen’ can just as well mean ‘dear’. I can call my three-year old child ‘yr hen beth bach’, ‘yr hen dwpsyn’, ‘hen gariad bach’ without any suggestion of antiquity or ‘ancient’. Let’s remember that the usual translation of the title is simply ‘Land of my Fathers’, sensibly avoiding the crux: let’s not look for problems which we have to make up with a cheap dictionary. If Wales, and Welshness, are to be criticised based (only or mainly) on potential mistranslations of themselves, we are in very unsatisfactory waters whether we swim in them, or skim or dance on them.

    • I agree that he takes more than he gives. What seemed at first like a noble gesture, namely a settler from London who didn’t want to trample over a culture that has its back against the wall turned out to be an attempt to present himself as the potential victim, presumably on account of his being Jewish. Hence my advice to him that he roll up his sleeves and get stuck into becoming Welsh, if he genuinely wants to, and thereby set a good example to the yachting brigade, the second homers, and other Britlanders.

      All those alarm bells ringing in his head about xenophobic messages implicit in the words ‘Old’ and ‘Of” have had rather too much ink wasted on them, I feel.

  33. I think the Jewish thing is a red herring – the point of the article is , surely, that we have someone, Nathan Abrams, who is sympathetic to Plaid and likes Wales and wants to be part of it, but feels Plaid isn’t (yet) for him because, well, it’s still too Welsh. That’s OK, but then again I wonder who he votes for? Labour have a strong anti-semitic streak (especially at present), and the tories are xenophobic nationalists with an strong undercurrent of ethnic nationalism in them, and both parties are basically Brit Nats. Moreover, some of the rhetoric coming out of Corbyn about foreigners taking our jobs and owning our services touches on that. So if Nathan still votes for those parties he’s voting for Brit Nat parties.

    My real issue with the article, most of which I like and I’m glad it’s been written, is that really it’s an English article, from an English point of view: the article of someone with the cultural capital, the dominant language and the education to think that the place he moves to, right down to its national anthem, should change to accommodate him and make him feel more ‘at home’.

    It is nothing to do with Jewishness, language, race etc; it’s to do with the entitlement that a certain segment of the dominant anglo-culture feels when it goes elsewhere. Unfortunately, Wales, and Plaid , have always pandered to this, and wanted to be better – more morally good, more tolerant, more welcoming – than anyone else, and this is partly why people come here (as is their right, incidentally), and start from the point of view of entitlement, and why Wales is still basically a supplicant nation. I can’t think of another country/region in Europe that so abjectly feels it’s not good enough for those who move here, and takes orders from them about how it should be.

    This article was good, intelligent, well-meant, well-written and liberal. But it’s still a version of ‘I’m English, now how can you adapt to me?’

    Re the housing point, Nathan (if you’re reading this): there are 2 kinds of immigration: immigration for sameness and homogeneity and immigration for difference and diversity. Wales is the oldest country in the UK and one of the oldest in Europe. It’s not because (sadly) Welsh people are living longer, it’s because the people who come here to retire. A massive percentage of those who refuse to learn the language, don’t even believe Wales exists, and essentially colonise us, are English, white, and BritNat. I am not a racist for wanting to have some say over who comes here and why, and it’s a disgrace that Wales has its immigration policy dictated by the fears of English nationalists about their borders, while being desperate for new people and new skills.

    The SNP want to open Scotland up to to have European style free movement, but they cannot because Westminster’s immigration policy won’t let them. Who are the nationalists now?

    So yes, I do worry about housing, and immigration, because what we’ll get is more and more people who don’t give a shit about Wales, are economically inactive, are white, monoglot and culturally incurious (which I don’t begrudge them – in fact, I feel like that often myself), rather than the kind of diversifying immigration many of us in the national movement would like because it would be economically helpful and culturally exciting. I’m tired of being called racist for this, and I’m tired of having racism imputed to me.

  34. Radha Nair-Roberts

    Please, don’t make me write yet another article in defense of Cymru, Cymraeg and Welsh culture. Mae Hen Gwlad fy nhadau is one of the most rousing and beautiful in the world. A fact widely acknowledged. Why aren’t you having a go at GSTQ? A dirge that glorifies conquest and imperialism? I moved to Wales 12 years ago, have learnt Welsh and have bilingual kids. I am brown skinned, a woman and now disabled. If I have found Wales and Plaid Cymru welcoming, so could/should you.

    • Graham John Hathaway

      Thank you Radha. It does get tiresome. But I’m like a fisherman. I keep returning to the stream, where I dream, and continue to fish. One day I might catch the secrets of true nationhood, bottle it and apply liberally to all in Wales, without fear or favour.

    • Dear, dear Radha Nair-Roberts.

      As a Welsh patriot from birth, and a dedicated political Nationalist of more years than I care to remember, and someone who has fought tooth and nail to preserve our identity, culture and language, whilst being criticized for being an English hating racist (although my wife is English and fully supportive of my beliefs), I’ve even been labelled a Nazi by the more ignorant. Can I just say to you,


      On the other hand, I well remember scathing comments made by Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok , a rabbi at the University of Wales, Lampeter, back at the turn of the millennium, when in sheer ignorance he attacked the likes of Seimon Brooks and myself within Cymuned, even invoking the holocaust and injecting Nazi association into his rants.

      Unbelievably the good rabbi, after being enlightened through discussions with us, realised his mistake (originally brought about by conclusions jumped to through slavish adherence to the propaganda of the English press and media one supposes). What followed was rabbi Cohn-Sherbok’s Paul-like Damascian conversion, he later joined as a member of Cymuned!

      My advise to you Mr. Abrams, is do your homework, listen well, ignore the Brit-Nat propaganda, be slow to criticism and then have a word with the rabbi I mentioned above. And finally take a leaf out of Radha’s book.

  35. Radha Nair-Roberts

    Also, to me the “nhadau” term denotes “ancestors” rather than specifically males. Given that Buddug was one of the most famous Welsh warriors, I doubt any of the song was meant as a slur on women. I really tire of the constant attack’s on Wales and Welsh culture that have erupted again and again over the past couple of years. Making out that Wales is a hotbed of ethnic segregation and intolerance. It seems orchestrated!

  36. Graham John Hathaway

    Afonian, shooting from the hip and connecting, in an article that shows much thought and depth. I would say though that if things said about ‘Histirical note . ‘ we were excluded from Wales before…..’ and lies unchallenged if incorrect, then not so sure it’s a red herring. There is deeper layer inside that in the context of this article suggests it remains an issue of mind set. And maybe explains the sometimes righteous tones of Nathan’s blog. As a poor reference I was once evicted and other Welshmen from an inner London pub for singing after Wales rugby pulled off an unexpected victory at Twickenham. I was sure then it was racism and bad sportamanship. I’ve never forgotten it. Now then that’s better ! Hope you get the sentiments!

    Any attack on a Nation’s anthem, should this be God save the Queen, would be an immediate spell in the tower or even worse. I wonder why we take it so meekly. Perhaps Afonian has answered it.

    For reference . The Welsh Narional Anthem quote ‘ it’s an anthem of this land and for which we have fought to have it recognised. It’s a democratic anthem – it insults no one. It has no calls to conquer or humiliate others. It can be sung with gusto by people of all religions and none. It can have the allegiance of people of all political persuasions, by that communist, capitalists , monarchist, or republican. It is not an embarrassing cringe-fest of adulation to a monarch or depot. It’s tine is uplifting without bring pompous or operatic.the tune can easily be sung by a child or can be given a full choral treatment . It’s final line ‘ o bydded i’r heniaith bath barhau’. – long may the old language endure ‘ is so simple and humble.
    Siôn Jobbins

    Now I feel better. Considering our Anthem faced a challenge from the awful ‘ God bless the Prince of Wales’

    That’s another story often not realised and the efforts needed to succeed against a dominant aristocracy.
    Issues Nathan might not have realised. Neither the critics of those who pour scorn on the 5 minute Welsh who sing the anthem at sports arenas and hide thereafter their passion for Wales. In 1905 Wales made history. On 16 December in that year ‘Hen Wlad fy Nhadau’ became the first national anthem to be sung at the start of a sporting event. The singing of Hen Wlad fy Nhadau before this historic rugby match sealed the song forever as the true anthem of Wales. Um.

    I remain firmly if the view that such articles that have created so much comment are needed and from it we should learn.

    • For me the learning comes from the comments replying to the article and not the article itself which echoes similar well worn(out) tropes that run through the comments sections of BBC, Walesonline, Daily Mail, and many other sites including the Guardian.
      Getting more adept at confronting and debunking these tropes whatever angle they take without letting frustration irritation and exasperation getting the upper hand has got to be useful.

      • Graham John Hathaway

        The days of light are never bright or long enough, yet the darkness of nights seems everlasting. To right a wrong, whatever the circumstance, is the most challenging of behavioural traits to get right. The tone, the message, the length, even the language it’s written in. If there’s a criticism of facts then so be it. But of issues that are heart felt then some tolerance may be due, but useless if the recipient is lost to reason.
        In this case there supposes a potential for change of mind set. As I judged it. Why else was the article written other than to offer an alternative view without any ulterior motive. Now this becomes the moment of truth.
        Do you take the view that ‘man has the measure of all things’ or ‘ man has the infinite measure to make mischief ‘ . The reasons for doing so may be to ‘bate’ or extract some vengeance of frustration on its intransigence to make changes. We have all felt this at times.

        The gain is in commentaries as you say. Much more to point and relevant. Then there’s the audience of readers. I judge this exercise of comments to reflect the greater variety of sound judgements, mostly very well written and explained, to mirror the hope I feel that we as a Nation will always meet the challenges in a constructive and pragmatic way. This gives proof of such.

        But showing frustration for a better Wales, guilty.

  37. Interesting article.

    The author obviously has a deep fear of cultural and ethnic nationalism, which is understandable considering he is of the oppressor. I don’t fully understand the ethnic nationalism point as Wales is a nation of distinct tribes, it is multi ethnic. The Mediterranean rich DNA of Pembroke will be very distinct and different from the the children’s, children of tribes of the Scots borders who live in the north of the country as our nation shrunk back its borders. We might all look the same to the author, especially if he’s only had a British education.

    I’m not sure what culture he fears most is. The stubbornly Anglo culture around Laugharne or the dominant Welsh of Llandeilo, less than 20 miles away? The culture of Cardigan or of Cardiff? The hippies of Pembs or industrial working class of Wrexham? All our cultures may look the same to him, especially if lessons on welsh culture were given by the British.

    Ultimately, the line “I have no objection to Welsh independence” sticks the most. As a Welsh nationalist, i’m pleased he doesn’t object, although i was never going to ask his permission anyway.

    I suggest the author spends less time worrying about Plaids name and changing my anthem; and spends more time visiting Wales. After a few generations, it might not feel like a foreign country anymore.

    • Nathan Abrams

      How am I of the oppressor? Have you read any Jewish history? Need I mention the Tredegar riots?

      • It is possible to feel or even be oppressed and still oppress others or make others feel oppressed.
        That applies to individuals regardless of their identitiy.
        If you want to delve into discussion on a hierarchy of who’s more oppressed than who then I’d suggest that you need to seek out more diverse contributions from a much wider pool of knowledge and experience than you’re likely to find on a special interest site such as this.

  38. The Tredegar riots (and the Cardiff attacks on Jewish shops) were basically traditional British nationalist riots inspired by the traditional anti-semitic incitement against jews. They had, so far as I have read, no specifically Welsh dimension, and were carried out in the name of something which had bugger all to do with Welsh nationalism or Wales specifically. That is not to say that parts of Welsh nationalism haven’t been, in the past, as anti-semitic as parts of both the British Left and the British right , but the people attacking Jewish businesses in South Wales weren’t doing it because they Welsh nationalists (they weren’t) or even because they were Welsh (though they were) but because it was part of the anti-semitic package that hates minorities and blames them for their own perceived ills. The idea that the Tredegar riots were done in the name of Welsh nationalism, or even any sort of Welshness, is thoroughly discredited.

  39. Erthygl ddifyr Nathan.

  40. The fact that ” (Historical note: we were excluded from Wales before the expulsion from England in 1290.)” is still in the article is turning from incompetence over Welsh history into a lie. There is no way a anyone reading that sentence would understand it as Jews were excluded from English colonial towns in Wales *after* they were expelled from towns in England before they were expelled from England in 1290 with the knock on effect in Wales. Absolutely ridiculous that the author has altered it once to tie himself in knots to have the comparison with England there.

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