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Plaid MP speaks to comedian Tadhg Hickey about rebuke in Parliament for speaking Welsh and Irish

17 Feb 2022 4 minute read
Liz Saville Roberts and Tadhg Hickey

A Plaid Cymru MP has spoken to comedian Tadhg Hickey about being rebuked by the Speaker for speaking Welsh and Irish in the House of Commons.

Liz Saville Roberts, who represents the constituency of Dwyfor Meirionnydd, told the Irish entertainer on his podcast that the response of Lindsay Hoyle was “pretty daft” and that it “doesn’t really do Westminster any favours”.

During the session on the Commons chamber, Hoyle told the Plaid MP to “just stop” and that “extending the sentence in Welsh” was against the rules of the chamber.

In response the MP told the Speaker that the first part “was in Irish and the second was in Welsh” and explained that she was wishing everyone happy St Patrick’s Day.

She spoke about the testy linguistic episode during a wide-ranging discussion with Hickey on subjects such as Brexit, Welshness, and the connections between Ireland and Wales.

Languages

“The thing about learning another language – and coming at it from being monolingual in English before – is that the way languages open up other worlds to you. It enriches your life so much.

“People talk about it as being a heritage issue. It isn’t just heritage. For me – this girl from Southeast London – it’s becoming part of a community.”

“I wished the world a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day in Irish this year on St Patrick’s day during Wales Questions and the Speaker went into a panic. It was pretty obvious that I wasn’t saying anything that was going to offend or frighten anybody, but the first response is, “Oh My God, she’s not speaking English – again. It doesn’t sound like Norman French. We probably need to be a bit careful here.”

“The push back you get, the sudden panic that they’re saying something which we don’t understand, doesn’t really do Westminster any favours, especially when you can still go on, ‘La reyne le veult’… it’s pretty daft.”

Brexit

“We see this resurgence of Britishness, which is a resurgence of Englishness, and how Wales is caught up with that way of viewing the world, that strikes me hard as a tragedy.”

On Welshness

“If you look at my pedigree I am English through and through – my family are from the South of England – but being Welsh is because you’ve chosen to live here. It doesn’t matter what your colour is, your language, your background.”

Wales-Ireland connections

“The closest capital city to me here (in Morfa Nefyn) isn’t Cardiff, certainly isn’t London, it’s Dublin. There are Irish place names here in the Ll ŷn Peninsula, which itself shares its name with the Laigin in Leinster.

“There used to be Irish people and there are Irish farm names here. So we have these old connections – we used to be more connected by sea to Ireland than we ever were with London. So there is an aspiration that we could work together – there’s so much in our cultural heritage that’s similar.”

Future of Wales

“Do we want to be subsumed into Boris Johnson’s jingoistic, flag waving English nationalism that hides behind the Brit Nat rhetoric, which means losing identity and losing the values many people in Wales hold dear to? There is a wakeup call here.”

Vision for Wales as a peace-making nation

“Although we have connections with the armed forces, we’re not an aggressor. We would be looking to prioritise how do we build peace rather than how we make war – we’ve got that great tradition across the political left in Wales.

“We could be adding our voice to the world in very much a similar way to how Ireland is perceived. People tell me that if you have an Irish passport, you can go everywhere, and everybody welcomes you. That’s not the same with a British passport.

“I would love it if we had a Welsh passport and you could go everywhere … and that that passport meant that you came as one of those people who was looking to build communities, that appreciated everything that minorities and minority languages bring, and that you would be looking to be one of the peace-making nations of the world. That would be fantastic.”


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Philip Jones
Philip Jones
7 months ago

Why is it so easy to wind up the English? The whole of England Scotland Wales Ireland is a multilingual concoction but use anything other than English and “they” lose it. Sad really, I feel sorry for them.

Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
7 months ago
Reply to  Philip Jones

It’s the imperial mindset, dating – from the first ‘Laws in Wales Act’ of 1535 (aka ‘Act of Union’) at least – innit? … because that the People of the same Dominion [of Wales] have and do daily use a speche nothing like, ne consonant to the natural Mother Tongue used within this Realm, some rude and ignorant People have made Distinction and Diversity between the King’s [Hebry VIII’s] Subjects of this Realm, and his Subjects of the said Dominion and Principality of Wales, whereby great Discord Variance Debate Division Murmur and Sedition hath grown between his said Subjects;… and … Also… Read more »

Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
7 months ago
Reply to  Philip Jones

It’s the imperial mindset, dating – at least from the first ‘Laws in Wales Act’ of 1535 (aka ‘Act of Union’), innit? … because that the People of the same Dominion [of Wales] have and do daily use a speche nothing like, ne consonant to the natural Mother Tongue used within this Realm, some rude and ignorant People have made Distinction and Diversity between the King’s [Hebry VIII’s] Subjects of this Realm, and his Subjects of the said Dominion and Principality of Wales, whereby great Discord Variance Debate Division Murmur and Sedition hath grown between his said Subjects;… and … Also be… Read more »

Lionel Schwarz
Lionel Schwarz
7 months ago
Reply to  Philip Jones

No one was getting wound up. In fairness parliament is recorded word for word. if there was no one to record the Gaelic, they would, out of respect,ask her to speak English.

There are more Urdu and Hebrew speaking MPs.

It is easier for Liz Saville to milk this than visit the ethnic minorities who had burning cars driven at their houses in Mayhill.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
7 months ago
Reply to  Lionel Schwarz

I never knew that Mayhill was in Gwynedd! Well you learn something new everyday, thanks for the knowledge Lionel

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
5 months ago
Reply to  Lionel Schwarz

They do their documentation in French Norman so you are full of it.

G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
7 months ago

So sad that English is a mish mash of many languages including a substantial contribution from Latin
It may be true that Boris has delusions of being President or even Emperor of England its their problem. don’t let it become ours in Wales.
Our Parliament to use French will respect all people irrespective of any differences of whatever type

CJPh
CJPh
7 months ago

Got to say, despite having political differences with her, I believe that LSR would be a great leader for Plaid. I like Adam, he’s a good man, has strong principles, he;s very thoughtful and I hope he can manage to shake off this recent period of bad public performance and re-ignite Plaid passion. If he can’t, let’s truly bring LSR home – she has quite nicely set out a heuristic for modern Welshness, putting the land itself as prime in the concept. She’s barely here though. Come back then, Liz. You (and all Plaid MPs in that rotting pile near… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by CJPh
Rhosddu
Rhosddu
7 months ago
Reply to  CJPh

You’re right. She has both competence and integrity, and would be an asset here.

Quornby
Quornby
7 months ago

Well said Liz.

George
George
7 months ago

I like this view of Wales (one which is open and ready to build it’s own relationships) but there is sharing cultural relationships and sharing financial relationships with the latter, currently, dominated by capitalist’s who don’t see anything but pounds and pence. The UK is recognising how small it actually is outside of the EU and there is a risk that Wales has to face up to that to in the future if choosing independence. However, Ireland makes the most of it’s cultural warmth and sells that to the world so Plaid showing that Wales is similar is a smart… Read more »

Glyn Jones
Glyn Jones
7 months ago

Trueni bod yn rhaid mynd fel Bartimeus Ddall i gardota yn y pwdwr le beth bynnag.

Last edited 7 months ago by Glyn Jones
Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
7 months ago

The UK has certainly shrank since leaving the EU.
This morning in a program on DW, I heard how France & Germany are contributing to finding a solution to the Ukraine-Russia issue. The only mention of the UK, was that it is now just an appendix to the USA in the world of politics.

But, what about Wales ???
We need OUR future on the world stage.
We need OUR independence now so we can be like all countries in the UN.
We will be able to choose our own political alliances just as Ireland has done.

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