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Michael Sheen responds to suggestion that ‘nationalism could turn toxic’

22 Dec 2021 2 minute read
Michael Sheen. By Rhododendrites (CC 4.0)

Michael Sheen has responded to a suggestion that nationalism could turn “toxic” in Wales.

The Welsh actor, who lives in Port Talbot, was asked if he was worried it could happen on The Hard Shoulder with Kieran Cuddihy on Newstalk, as they discussed Welsh independence.

In response, the Hollywood star said anything can turn toxic, it depends on how you approach it”, but added that “basic unfairness has to be addressed”.

He also argued that “the fight to have better representation is a noble” one, and told the radio host that he’d assumed that “things are not toxic already”.

Cuddihy asked: “Do you worry though about nationalism turning toxic, that it can and that this island is a great example of it?”

Michael Sheen responded: “Well of course anything can turn toxic, it depends on how you approach it. But I think basic unfairness has to be addressed, one way or the other, and if they don’t then you know things do become toxic.

“The suggestion there that you make is that things are not toxic already. We’re not talking about something where everything is fair and working perfectly and then these awful nationalists are trying to make everything toxic. I think there’s just a basic sense of feeling like maybe there’s a different way and it should be tried because maybe things aren’t working as well as people would hope.

“But you know obviously not everybody feels that way. There’s still a majority of people certainly in Wales we’re told that don’t feel that way.

“But basic representation has been the history of politics in this country and you know the fight to have better representation is a noble fight.”


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Grayham Jones
11 months ago

Michael Sheen Next President of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh

Philip Jones
Philip Jones
11 months ago

He’s on the way, baby steps at first, then firmer, then strides to independence and maybe the presidency.

Geoffrey ap.
Geoffrey ap.
11 months ago

What I would say is, if we are denied independence then it will turn toxic.

Gwyn Williams
Gwyn Williams
11 months ago
Reply to  Geoffrey ap.

Imperialism, exceptionalism and colonialism are toxic, and any nationalism derived from them is toxic by association. The “nationalism” of those opposed to and reacting to the above is surely seeking to detoxify an already toxic circumstance. Classification of “freedom fighters” as “toxic nationalists” by “toxic imperialists” is a classic “colonialist” ploy.

hdavies15
hdavies15
11 months ago

That’s what happens when AngloBrit cultural influences invade and subvert a movement. The damage done to YC was caused by people with only a passing interest in Wales. They were pursuing other agendas and they remain a big distraction.

Certain types of nationalism are definitely toxic. Like that of Adolf, Mussolini and other Axis partners. Nowadays you only have to look at the exceptionalism of the Anglo Brit UK as typified by the Tory party to see evidence of toxicity and Starmer’s “left” is not much better.

Jack Bryn
Jack Bryn
11 months ago

Excellent answer from a fantastic ambassador for our nation. There’s a certain irony that this question came from an Irishman, but hey ho! At least we can all sleep safely in our beds knowing that British nationalism hasn’t got a molecule of toxicity about it. Nadolig Llawen Barbados!

R W
R W
11 months ago

A platitudinous question excellently answered by the exceptional Michael Sheen.

Jeff33
Jeff33
11 months ago

Nationalism in Wales is about loving our country unlike to the east where nationalism is about hating everyone else,s.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
11 months ago

I wouldn’t call myself a Welsh nationalist if it was in any way similar to the exceptionalist, ignorant and racist nationalism from over the border.

Paul Hoskins
Paul Hoskins
11 months ago

What is toxic is that emanating from the ERG group of Tory MP’s in the English Parliament. They are English nationalists of the worse kind. Completely self serving and destructive of anything that goes against their warped view of the world. It is because of their malign influence that UK politics is in such a mire of lies, conflict and stagnation.

David Smith
David Smith
11 months ago

Why don’t these anti-nationalists have courage of their convictions and tell an Englishman worth his salt that England isn’t a nation, we’re all British, one immutable unit. Count the shiners afterwards!

Derek
Derek
11 months ago

An English friend of mine, who’s now lived in Scotland for longer than he was in England, said – almost 30 years ago – that he’d have no problem with Scottish independence were it not for the England that would be left behind. Very prescient…

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
11 months ago

‘Turning Toxic’ is one of the favourite counter-attacks of the Unionists. It’ll turn ugly, I’ve been told, but it won’t unless we let it. We have to follow the Gandhi principle of Ahimsa as violence will only turn people against us.

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
11 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

My particular favourite is “narrow nationalism” ( copyright Lisa Nandy). Flavour of the month right now among BritNats, however, seems to be “xenophobic”, for which, read “advocating policies that actually benefit Wales”.

John Brandler
John Brandler
10 months ago

Mr sheen isdead on . NPT Did niot want a BAnksy / Banksy Museum in Port Talbot as “Banksy isn’t Welsh” – so who loses ? All the local shops , tea rooms , cafe’s taxi drivers , hotels , pubs bars etc trhat would feed & drink the 150,000 tourists a year. BUT no , WAles must be kept clean of “outsider art” that might create jobs or put money into the economy. So Seasons Greeting was stored for 3 years in a unit where no-one could see in the window and the owner has been told to take… Read more »

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