Police boss blasts ‘extremely patronising’ response of Newsnight editor
A police boss has blasted the “patronising and superior” response of Newsnight editor Ian Katz in a row over a TV debate about the Welsh language.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones wrote in Welsh to Mr Katz to complain about the “ill-informed” item on August 9 which prompted a storm of protest across Wales.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg say that Mr Katz should be sacked.
The programme asked whether the Welsh language was a “help or hindrance to the nation”.
The discussion did not have anybody who could speak the language involved, with contributions from author Julian Ruck and Ruth Dawson, Wales Editor for the independent news and analysis website The Conversation.
At the start of the programme presenter Evan Davis asked of the language: “Is it the government’s job to promote it and is it a help or a hindrance to the nation.”
He later went on to say: “We will see how people will choose to speak it and how many will have it as a hobby, and how many speak it as their main language.”
In his response to Mr Jones, which was written in English, Mr Katz accepted the programme’s guest casting was not good enough, adding the wording of the introduction to the discussion “was cruder than it should have been”.
He said he would “strongly argue that the question of whether the public promotion of the Welsh language is effective and beneficial to Wales is a perfectly legitimate subject of debate”.
The reaction to the item, said Mr Katz, had “whiff” of “unwillingness” to tackle questions over promotion of the Welsh language
“We should have approached it with more subtlety, I agree, but there is a whiff in some of the response to our item of an unwillingness to even countenance such an impertinent question,” he added.
Mr Katz also said it was a “fair” point the debate should have included a fluent Welsh speaker, adding the Welsh Language Commissioner and Cymdeithas were invited on “but they were sadly unable or unwilling to participate”.
According to Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, it was untrue and they had told a researcher the group could appear live and had offered to go to a studio.
Mr Jones said: “I feel Ian Katz’s response is extremely patronising and superior in its attitude.
“I wrote to him in Welsh to make the point that this is a living language that is in use every day and has equal status to English and he couldn’t even be bothered to have his reply translated.
“He had my original letter translated so why couldn’t he do the same with his reply?
“I posted his reply on Twitter and I have had a huge response with literally dozens of replies accusing the BBC of patronising the Welsh language.
“I have a thick skin about these things but other people clearly find his attitude upsetting and offensive.
“I don’t think Ian Katz gets what the problem is. The programme set out to question how much money is spent on promoting the Welsh language but no-one considers how much is spent on promoting English.
“It is typical of the patronising attitude of many people in the upper levels of the BBC towards languages like Welsh and Gaelic.”
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The very fact that this man is fantasising about an alleged “whiff of unwillingness” to discuss the importance of the Welsh language to our country shows that he just doesn’t get it. He is a colonialist who hides his bigotry behind seemingly objective and dispassionate language by presenting himself as a truth-seeking journalist. He fools no-one. I now believe there is some truth behind the rumour that the BBC, like the Guardian, are engaged in a policy of subverting any signs of national consciousness in Wales and Scotland – and in England, too, for that matter. They have an assimilationist… Read more »
Do you know, if anyone said let’s do to them what they do to us there would be an outcry. The sad thing is it wouldn’t just be from England. The ‘Windsor Syndrome’ is rife within our land so we’re told we have to tread carefully by the appeasers or not to tread at all by politicians of foreign based parties, but for how much longer?! The day after Cymru is lost forever, her language no longer spoken, her children fully assimilated will be a day too late! Here in this article we have one of the very few non-political… Read more »
It doesn’t “whiff” of being an impertinent question – is IS a stinking hugely impertinent question! Of course it’s impertinent to ask a country what the point of their native language is! How can it be anything other than impertinent (at best)?
Whiff of self satisfied smugness coming from Katz – bit like the whiff of Cat’s p**s, revolting !
[Editor’s note: I’ve edited this comment. Please avoid making any comments that could be construed as being libellous.] The BBC presupposes English attitudes when it comes to news and talk programmes about the other nations in the UK. It’s the assumption of the conquistador who looks with disdain at those he has conquered, and despises their languages and cultures as being primitive or savage. Wales will never be justly presented by the BBC. The latter is a propaganda instrument of the British (= English) nationalist state. Wales needs its own national broadcaster. Westminster will never allow it to have it,… Read more »
I have always resided in Wales and am British and proud of it. English is the language of British people. I don’t look back in time, I want progress. Artificial means of keeping a language alive by throwing precious resource at it is not my way, but it’s my money that is being spent. The BBC is quite right to question the way that the Welsh language is being promoted. It appears that this site is for extremists of which I am not. If the language was truly wanted then it would survive in its own rights and on its… Read more »
you sound more like an apologist for all that’s wrong with the UK and Wales. We are Welsh and British, like the Scots, Irish and English each having identities which should be valued and respected.
When muppets like Katz are given free rein to take the p**s you end up with intensified prejudice instead of insight. BBC and Newsnight in particular appear to have developed their own agenda over last 5 years or so. It may have been there before but it’s now more overt and any attempt at subtlety has been diluted.
It is clearly an impertinent question under any circumstances. Even worse given the content and lack of two sides. Worse still is the fact that narrative is put forward by the BBC in London. Katz seems to be emboldened not only to create the negative narrative but also arrogant enough to be cocky in his response. Completely disrespectful to Arfon and to Wales. I believe he should have been re-trained or disciplined at first. After his response he should be sacked.
golwg360 reports yet another prejudiced article today, this time in some English Speaking Union magazine for youth asking whether there is any purpose in learning minority languages.
Time this nonsense was stopped.