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‘Offensive’ or just ‘not funny’? Telegraph’s ‘test for signs of Welsh at airport’ cartoon divides critics

05 Sep 2020 3 minute read
Newspaper. Picture by: Jon S (CC BY 2.0)

The Telegraph’s latest ‘Matt’ cartoon has divided critics, with some saying that it is an offensive attack against the Welsh, and others saying that it’s just not funny.

The cartoon depicts a man at an airport with a leek, rugby ball and daffodils on the table in front of him. ‘We’re testing passengers returning from Portugal to see if they show any signs of being Welsh,’ the text reads.

The cartoon by Matt Pritchett is a reference to the decision by the Welsh Government to ask tourists returning from Portugal and some Greek island to self-isolate, after they said that a number of Covid-19 outbreaks caused by returning tourists.

However, the cartoon sparked a backlash on social media with some saying that it is comparting Welshness to Covid-19.

“Just to clarify: this cartoon is equating being Welsh with having a deadly virus,” Plaid Cymru South Wales East MS Delyth Jewell said.

“It isn’t a joke, it is blatant and ugly bigotry. It’s offensive to Welsh people, not to mention people still suffering or bereaved by Covid19. Shame on the Telegraph.”

Dwyfor GP Dr. Eilir Hughes also said that the cartoon was “Offensive. Simple as.”

“Casual xenophobia masquerading as humour,” Bedwyr Gullidge said. “Unacceptable.”



Other however argued that the cartoon was simply not very funny.

“I don’t find this offensive, I just think it’s a really shit joke,” Thomas Wynne Lewis said.

“This isn’t offensive,” Leighton Evans said. “It’s lazy and shit. It panders to the lazy and shit prejudices of his audience, who’ll laugh without understanding the joke – because there isn’t one.”

“I can’t seem to work out if I’m more offended by the lazy prejudice nature of your joke or by its substandard quality,” Rhys Huws said. “Either way, congratulations on continuing the Telegraph’s mission of being the Idiots’ Manifesto.”

‘Clear advice’

Yesterday Health Minister Vaughan Gething defended the Welsh Government’s decision to add areas to the quarantine list, despite criticism by the UK Government that the rules were causing “confusion” due to their own different guidelines in England.

In a statement on Thursday Mr Gething said, “I have decided to remove mainland Portugal, Gibraltar, French Polynesia and the Greek islands of Mykonos, Zakynthos, Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos and Crete from the list of exempt countries and territories.”

Mr Gething said the action is being taken as a result of a “large number of cases of coronavirus have been imported into Wales from tourists returning from the Greek islands, in particular.”

He told the BBC’s Today programme there had been “very clear advice” from the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), as well as a number of cases of coronavirus being imported into Wales.

When asked about the different approach taken by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in Westminster, Mr Gething said: “I’m very content this is the right thing to do.”

“It’s not for me to explain why others haven’t done that, but I’m very clear that we’re following that advice and keeping Wales safe.”

“It’s in line with the risk assessments we received from both the JBC and Public Health England.”



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