Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Conservatives say new Plaid Cymru chair should resign over ‘anti-English’ column from 2001

26 Aug 2022 5 minute read
Beca Brown. Picture by Plaid Cymru

The Welsh Conservatives have called on Plaid Cymru’s new Chair to resign for a column penned over 20 years ago which they describe as “anti-English xenophobia”.

Beca Brown, who herself moved to Wales from England, wrote in 2001 that she hated the English “as a race, as people, as a country, and for what they’ve done to Wales and the Welsh”.

The comments in Welsh affairs magazine Barn were first highlighted at the time, when Beca Brown was a television presenter. She responded in 2001 that “I am English myself” and that the column was meant to be “ironic”.

“If there were such a thing as a Racists’ Anonymous, I’d go there and say: ‘I’m Beca, I’m Welsh and I’m racist’,” she wrote at the time.

“I hate the English because they’re the English. It’s high time we told the truth.

“It wouldn’t be a negative thing to admit we’re racist – not a sign of weakness either, because we’ve got every reason to feel that way about England.”

The Welsh Conservatives said that the column’s existence now disqualified her from holding the post of Plaid Cymru Chair. Beca Brown is also the councillor for Llanrug and Gwynedd’s Cabinet Member for Education.

“The level of barely concealed xenophobia that has been revealed in Plaid Cymru’s elected ranks in the last few days has been astonishing,” a Welsh Conservative source said.

“Ms Brown should resign as Plaid’s party chair immediately.

“Plaid’s leader failed to take decisive action over the Jonathan Edwards scandal. He was missing in action when one of his Councillors posed with a gun in an anti-English post. It’s high time that he showed some leadership, and made it absolutely clear that xenophobia won’t be tolerated in that party.

“If he can’t even do that, it will only confirm Plaid’s relaxed attitude to anti-English xenophobia.”

But Plaid Cymru said that the attack over a 20-year-old article showed the Conservatives wanted to distract from their own problems.

“This is nothing more than a pathetic smear by a Tory party desperately trying and failing to distract from their woeful inaction on the cost-of-living crisis,” a spokesperson said.

“As each day passes, they become more out of touch with the needs of the people of Wales.”

‘I am English’

When the column first surfaced Beca Brown, who was then an S4C television presenter, told BBC’s Good Morning Wales she used her magazine column in an ironic way to draw attention to the debate.

She explained she had moved to north Wales from England and learned Welsh as a child.

“Having believed all my life that honesty is always the best policy, I spent last week wondering whether or not I was mistaken,” she said.

“I wrote a lengthy Welsh-language article for Barn magazine, exploring the cultural tension between the English and the Welsh, and the Welsh speakers and the non-Welsh speakers. Extracts appeared in the press, and, thereafter, all hell broke loose.

“I used the word ‘racist’ about myself because it’s the word that’s always used to describe anyone who tries to discuss the crisis facing the Welsh language today.

“If I hadn’t used the word about myself, then I believe others – like David Davies AM – may have used it about me.

“Of course I’m not racist, but I wanted to use plain language in order to get past the political point-scoring that has dogged this debate. It seems to me that people like David Davies are not interested in solutions, they are only interested in soundbites.

“I wanted to get at the real feelings – some of them unpleasant – that exist between the English and the Welsh here in Wales.

“My article in Barn was a call for greater tolerance and understanding between all cultures. You can’t get rid of negative feelings without first admitting that they exist, and why they exist.

“My message was anti-racist and antihatred, as the second half of my Barn article clearly stated.

“In fact, I ended my article with the warning ‘Racism breeds bullying which breeds copy-cat tactics which breeds racism, and we must free ourselves from this terrible vicious circle’.

“It was a cautionary piece, warning about the danger of the oppressed Welsh becoming oppressors. Having been treated like second-class citizens in their own country, the first-language Welsh speakers of North West Wales are in danger of imitating this behaviour, by treating the non-Welsh speakers and the Welsh learners of SouthEast Wales as second-class Welsh people.

“My article was a warning against this, and a warning against becoming what we hate. I strongly believe this, and I’m shocked and disgusted that David Davies and others on the right of the Tory Party ignored this for the sake of political opportunism.

“Another irony that has been lost in the furore that has surrounded my article is the fact that I am myself English. I am the child of immigrant English parents, who moved to a strong Welsh-speaking community in north Wales.”

‘Unacceptable’

David TC Davies, who was a member of the then Welsh Assembly for Monmouth, said at the time in 2001 that he would report her to the Commission for Racial Equality and the police.

“These views will be totally unacceptable to the vast majority of people in Wales,” the now MP for the same constituency said.

“Would S4C employ someone who proclaimed ‘I hate the blacks, Asians or Slovaks because they are black, Asian or Slovak’?

“Anti-English racism is just as bad as any other form of racism and should be dealt with in the same fashion.”

Beca Brown became the new chair of Plaid Cymru last month after Alun Ffred Jones resigned over the party’s handling of Jonathan Edwards readmission to the party after being suspended for two years.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

24 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
1 month ago

Whatever next
I want full restitution for the annexation of Wales by England by the so called acts of Union the sole purpose of which was to line the pockets of Henry the eighth and one Thomas Cromwell who was on 30 percent of the asset strip until Henry had him conveniently executed.

.

Rhydderch Willisms
Rhydderch Willisms
1 month ago
Reply to  G Horton-Jones

Henry the 8th was Welsh old boy. He self identified as Welsh called Wales his beloved country. Our National flag is the flag of the Tudors I want Independence for Wales but idiots like you who fracture history for 21st century ideals do us no favours. BE UNDER NO ILLUSION THE DDRAIG GOCH IS THE FLAG OF HENRY 8TH.

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

“Anti-English racism is just as bad as any other form of racism”
It’s not though, is it? It wasn’t twenty years ago, and it isn’t now.
You may as well claim that discrimination against the rich is as bad as discrimination against the poor. It’s just not.

The original mark
The original mark
1 month ago

Isn’t it time the entire welsh Conservative group resigned due to their xenophobic anti Wales position?

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
1 month ago

Clywch clywch! The whole lot of them. They hate the Welsh nation. They love green and mountainous ‘western England’.

defaid
defaid
1 month ago

Well said. Wherever they were born and whoever they claim to represent, there’s currently no such thing as a Welsh tory.

Last edited 1 month ago by defaid
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Why don’t you get on your bike and do something about that evil little puppet leader your fugitives from hell appear to have chosen to finish Fat Shanks’ mission to kill more Brits than Adolf..

George
George
1 month ago

Bet you £5 that The Telegraph pick this up without the response to accusation in full and Welsh Tories use this in campaign literature.

I fully agreed with recent Plaid Councilor being suspended (describing their actions as stupid) but I am convinced by the explanation here. This, in my opinion, is different to Boris pretending he didn’t write all those articles or refusing to acknowledge impact it could have.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

I demand every Tory representative resign, at every political level, following the support given by the Thatcher regime, both financially and militarily to Pol Pot and his Khamer Rouge murderers ,during his extermination of the population of Cambodia. Watch the movie” the killing fields” then give me your excuses.Hypocritical scum.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

The Welsh Conservative hypocrisy knows no bounds. Let me remind those with short memories what their beloved ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in numerous articles about of black people. Boris Johnson in 2010 referred to black people using a racist Deep South American racial slur: “It is said that the Queen has come to love the Commonwealth, partly because it supplies her with regular cheering crowds of flag-waving piccaninnies.” In 2002 he wrote in the toilet tabloid Telegraph about black people in the Democratic Republic of Congo: “No doubt the AK47s will fall silent, and the pangas will stop their… Read more »

One of the two witnesses
One of the two witnesses
1 month ago

Wow. The party that wails about cancel cultirectries to cancel somebody for being “anti-English” in her youth.
They took down the funny councillor who did the hilarious toy gun joke and here they are manufacturing offence again.
Honestly, what are they for? Truly, embarrassingly (for them) pathetic.

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

I wonder which tory gofer got the job of checking every utterance over 20 years old?

Stephen Mason
Stephen Mason
1 month ago

Breaking News: Tories in ironic ‘Tories pretend not to understand ironic comments’ comment to distract media works once again.

LoL 🙂

Ioan Williams
Ioan Williams
1 month ago

As soon as the English party can be rid of Wales as it so clearly wishes to do so, the sooner we as a a nation together can begin to flourish. The ever-present criticism to any acts to defend ourselves is becoming increasingly common, much as the Welsh realisation that we are being historically undermined and kept poor by our nightmare neighbours. The sooner we, as a people can realise this and stand together as a Welsh community, the sooner we can all flourish and enjoy the wealth of natural resources and talent we have always had, as a small… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

August Bank Holiday and Benllech beach closed on Ynys Mon due sewage discharge. Saundersfoot same in the South West. Sue Dwr Cymru with a class action if you are a traders losing money…

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
1 month ago

I call upon the Welsh Conservatives to resign en masse, for being anti-Welsh toadying lickspittles.

Once they have stopped surrenduring our resources and infrastructure away, I might, just might, listen to something they say.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago

Much as I suspected, those Tories who moan about old trivia such as this case are seriously snowflakey, or is that snowflakish ? And I thought all along that they decried snowflake characteristics as wokey and feeble !

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Fragility and victimhood is becoming as popular a sport for the professional/political/Internet class as was jousting for the medieval aristocracy. Let’s consider something – if an American expat had written an article in the same thematic area as Ms Brown, “why I hate America”, after emigrating to Japan, would that be considered xenophobic or racist? I dare say it would be lauded by some, they’d be given a “good riddance, ingrate” by others, but you wouldn’t get a Republican calling her a racist. Tories tell us we’re one people, one culture, one nation – until they mistake an English person… Read more »

will jones
will jones
1 month ago

So, in the space of a few weeks Beca Brown has caused major rifts in Plaid Cymru by her incompetence as Chair; has caused the Police to be called to quell a riot in Gwynedd CC meeting and now this. Time for her to go!

John Brooks
John Brooks
1 month ago

I am English. I live in Cymru and support independence. I don’t hate English people but Beca is right about how England has treated, and continues to treat, Wales along with all its other colonies.

Paul Hoskins
Paul Hoskins
1 month ago

This is typical of Tory tactics to divert attention from their many failings and inadequacies in government in England. So best ignored, as is their daft attempt to influence who chairs Plaid.

will jones
will jones
1 month ago

There is no welcome for racists in Plaid Cymru.Best for her to resign now before she is sacked.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.