Concern about ITV survey asking whether Welsh speakers ‘too dominant’ in Assembly

Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

The Welsh language society, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, have expressed concern about a decision by ITV to survey whether the National Assembly has been “too dominated by Welsh speakers”.

The question was posed in a poll by ITV/YouGov published to coincide with 20 years since Welsh devolution.

Tamsin Davies from Cymdeithas yr Iaith said that there was a danger that the question could re-affirm old stereotypes about Welsh speakers.

“It’s strange that ITV has decided to ask a question about the dominance of Welsh speakers considering how little Welsh is heard in the Senedd,” she said.

“There’s a real danger that by framing the question in that way, ITV is confirming old stereotypes that aren’t a part of the modern Wales.

“As far as we can see from the results of the poll, and from people’s attitudes more generally, people want to hear the language used far more often in the Senedd and in their communities.

“We think that all the elected members need to make more use of whatever skills they have in Welsh.”

According to the poll 19% agreed that the institution was too dominated by Welsh speakers, compared to 31% who disagreed, 33% who didn’t feel strongly either way and 18% who didn’t know.

Welsh polling expert Professor Roger Awan-Scully of Cardiff University said on Twitter that he considered the question to be “legitimate considering the history”.

“Certainly in 1979, and to some extent in 1997, such fears were raised by elements of the No campaigns,” he said.

“So it is reasonable, twenty years in, to see if that accords with what people think has actually happened.”

Parliament

The opinion poll also found that support for independence seemed to be on the rise, with 12% saying they preferred it over more powers, the same powers, fewer powers or abolishing the Assembly.

The results were:

  • No Devolution – 15%
  • Fewer Powers – 4%
  • Leave as now – 25%
  • More powers – 27%
  • Independent – 12%
  • Don’t Know – 17%

“The higher than usual level of support for independence in this poll may also simply be a one-off, or it could be indicative of a genuine rise in support – further polls asking this question will tell us,” Roger Awan-Scully said in his analysis of the findings.

In a separate question, 51% also agreed that the Welsh Assembly should have the same powers as the Scottish Parliament, which would involve significantly more powers than the institution currently possesses.


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