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Welsh Government style guide slammed as ‘woke’ by right-wing press has same advice as UK Government guide

29 Dec 2021 4 minute read
Senedd picture (CC BY-SA 2.0). List of wrds to avoid on the UK Government website.

A Welsh Government style guide slammed as “woke” by the right-wing press has the same advice as the UK Government’s own style guide.

The Times and Daily Mail claimed that the Welsh Government had drawn up a “list of banned words” for civil servants.

Andrew RT Davies, the Welsh Conservative Senedd leader, added that the Welsh government had “well and truly lost the plot” over the guide, and an anonymous civil servant quoted by the Times said that “‘It is a massive A-Z but the only one missing is W for woke. It is just getting so nit-picking, well if I was allowed to say that.”

But it was quickly pointed out on social media that much of the advice within it is replicated within the UK Government’s own A-Z guide to civil servants.

The Daily Mail listed the words Brexit, Welsh Assembly, HM Government and able-bodied among those banned by the Welsh Government.

But in its own style guide the UK Government also advises the use of ‘Welsh Parliament’ or ‘Senedd Cymru’. On Brexit they say that civil servants should only use it “to provide historical context”.

The UK Government style guide also, as the Welsh Government guide does, notes that civil servants should use “UK government – never HM government”.

In the guide of inclusive language the UK Government tell civil servants to avoid words such as “able-bodied”, advising “non-disabled” instead. It includes a list of “words to avoid” noting that users should “a passive, victim words. Use language that respects disabled people as active individuals with control over their own lives.”

It also notes that “we aim to use positive language about disability, avoiding outdated terms that stereotype or stigmatise”.

The UK Government’s style guide also tells civil servants to refer to the Guardian’s style guide if there is anything not covered by their own list of words and phrases, which itself tells users to use Senedd Cymru wich was “formerly National Assembly for Wales”. It also advises against using BAME if it is possible “to be more specific”.

The UK Government style guide also includes a long list of other words to avoid, including “agenda” (plan) and “dialogue” (discussion).

Reacting to the Welsh Government’s updated style guide, however, Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies told the Times they had “well and truly lost the plot”.

He added: “Only last week we had ministers cancelling ‘women’ from sex education in Wales, and now they’re consigning Brexit and Her Majesty to the political correctness bin.

“It’s a bonkers misuse of public money and a complete and utter waste of time. Civil servants who are just looking to get on with their day job shouldn’t be subjected to such nonsense.

“And to be frank, the Labour Welsh government has much more important things it should be tackling, such as the chronic problems in our NHS, and our crumbling road infrastructure, which continues to serve as a national embarrassment. Wasting energy on problems that don’t even exist sadly epitomises the current socialist regime we have in Cardiff Bay, who seem intent on imposing a woke ideology right across Welsh public life.”


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Cath Hill
Cath Hill
8 months ago

It is nice to see that the right-wing Tory press doesn’t discriminate against “Welsh” Conservatives and will happily platform the nonsense of RT Davis just as they platformed the Tories in England….

We will see more of this, the UK press are lining up to attack the Senedd because it is out of line with the backwards establishment that they and Westminster represent.

Erisian
Erisian
8 months ago

Well, we must be doing something right if the Tory press can’t seem to go a single day without taking an inexpertly aimed swipe. It says so much more about them than us.
I hope Mark Drakeford thinks of it as a badge of honour.

Quornby
Quornby
8 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

And a wake up call that the union is a con.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago
Reply to  Erisian

Wenglish Conservative Andrew RT Davies wonders he continues to fail in his attempt to become First Minister when like a political Igor to Frankenstein is forever under the armpit of the right-wing press.

I’ve noticed he’s willing to criticise Wales at a drop of a hat to please his Whitehall masters and the Wales hating Tory press. What a pathetic creature he is

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

There is a word in welsh to describe Andrew which begins with B……

Gareth
Gareth
8 months ago

So eager to prove he’s actually relevant on the political stage in Wales, RT is now coming out with this sort of drivel, that he obviously has not bothered to research or check its origins or accuracy. It is making him look more foolish by the day, and undermine his attempt at trying to be relevant. These actions may gain kudos in London, but here they make him look foolish.

Marc Davies
Marc Davies
8 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

“Research”. Andrew RT? Don’t be daft! He’s a classically prejudiced, shoot-from-the-hip Tory nincompoop (and that’s being kind because it is the season of goodwill).

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
8 months ago

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and confirm it, Andrew. What a plonker.

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago

What a wonderful story; it exposes so much nonsense gnawing at the core of the political elites on this island! This type of ‘guide’ is exactly the type of document that shows that the current way of doing politics is very much “us and them” – this is how one must speak to the lumpen proletariat, you see. How can we believe that we are electing individuals of merit from the midst of the citizenry when we all know that a politician is indeed a politician, part of the political class, serving their own whilst paying lip service to the… Read more »

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
8 months ago
Reply to  CJPh

So you think inclusive language is ‘Newspeak’? How wrong you are. Language and the way we use it changes over time. What was once deemed acceptable language no longer is that’s all, get used to it. I’m old enough to remember the ‘it’s political correctness gone mad’ brigade, the sort of people who objected to being told that referring to black people as n*****s was wrong (an excuse I frequently heard was that black hip-hop artists used that word, therefore it was OK). Of course it was their god-given right to be offensive to minority groups and no one had… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

The scariest thing about Newspeak wasn’t the changes imposed upon the language, the purposeful contradictory nature of it, rather it was its imposition. Documents like this may very well have ‘good intentions’, but always lead to an infantilisation of those they seek to help. Who said this was inclusive? Show me the polling, show me what every single person from every single protected class thinks about this. It assumes “they” all think the same and that “we” know best. It further allows for politicians to obfuscate, focusing on anything but doing what they should be doing. It regards language as… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

Funny, I tried to reply earlier but it got modded into oblivion. I’ll try again. I hear you, seriously I do, and I agree that opposition to “PC” or “woke” (two terms I try to avoid for this exact reason, not always successfully) can often mask real animus or outdated, ignorant bigotry. The danger with Newspeak was never the new vernacular – it was the authoritarian imposition of it. Now this particular document is a ‘guide’; what if a minister refuses to use the suggested terms? mandatory sensitivity course? Docked pay? Removal of committee posts? Now if you find an… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by CJPh
Scott Bevan
Scott Bevan
8 months ago
Reply to  CJPh

I think the thing you are missing here though is that how people interact on a personal level is just that, personal. Government is not individual or personal. A style guide is actually a normal thing to be present in professional settings. It allows professional standards to be set to allow all employees to be on the same page and allow an organisation to achieve collective aims/objectives through common communication styles. For example, it undermines having policies that benefit disabled people if one of the departments is putting out press releases that exclude/denigrate disabled people. There is also a legal… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago
Reply to  Scott Bevan

Diolch, very good points made and well taken. I suspect that fear of legal liability is at the heart of most of this, but it does come from cultural changes that tend to be more imposed than naturally developing/progressing. Can you see that such measures re-enforce and further codify certain modes of speech themselves in law? My point is that none of this should be considered beyond the personal. There are other mechanisms that can (and historically have) been used to guarantee against discriminatory behaviour. Speech does not equal behaviour in and of itself. If such a guide were to… Read more »

Dewi Williams
Dewi Williams
8 months ago

Predictably the Tory propaganda machine are attacking with all guns blazing. There is a nervousness in Tory government ranks that Mark is becoming too popular. The Welsh are getting too uppity. They are even thinking for themselves. How dare they!! Time to use the powerful English press and media to crush such rebellious behaviour. It works well because it beguiled them once to self-harm. They voted for Brexit!! In a previous comment I made on this site I did predict this media attack on Mark was about to happen.

j humphrys
j humphrys
8 months ago
Reply to  Dewi Williams

Well, you sure were right! Our placards should say “we are all our first minister”

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
8 months ago

You can tell the Tories are worried about the Welsh independence movement – ‘everything’ the Welsh government does is now being attacked whereas only a few years ago it was simply ignored. Wales is finally standing up and being heard and – as a result of Covid – being listened to by people in England too. The Union is breaking up, English dominance is in decline – Westminster hates this but it is now too late to stop.

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

Look back at similar press from around the time of the SNPs surge – very, very similar; the only difference is that Drakeford et al are, at best, on the fence regarding our freedom. Hopefully they react to the way the wind is blowing and don’t try to ‘political science GCSE’ their way to a compromise that serves nobody (except themselves).

Last edited 8 months ago by CJPh
j humphrys
j humphrys
8 months ago

RT clutches his school cap behind his back, and tells teacher that “them over there…….

Last edited 8 months ago by j humphrys
Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago
Reply to  j humphrys

Andrew RT Davies went to school?

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
8 months ago

I’m laughing at how pathetic a criticism that is.

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

the optimist in me says that this proves that Welsh Conservatives, unbridled by their Westminster paymasters, can provide an honest critique and counterpoint. The cynic in me thinks that they are reactionary contrarians playing a game of “No, you” instead of doing any principled work. Did I say cynic? I meant realist…

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago
Reply to  Mr Williams

When I feel blue I tune into GB News for a laugh. 🥴🇬🇧

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Be careful – People seem to increasingly find that they have a severe allergy to bad production values and a real negative immune system reaction to poor research.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago
Reply to  CJPh

Diolch ffrind, advice duly noted, although I have been triple vaccinated against all known Unionist germs.

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Woah! Triple vaxxxxxed? Duw mowr, s’dim lle ar dy fraich am bump? Wi ‘di cal 9 – 3 ar bob braich a 3… rywle arall.

Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
8 months ago

Yet another own goal in the ‘war on woke’. The stupidity of these people never ceases to amaze me.

Dai Rob
Dai Rob
8 months ago

The right wing Yoonies, really are caccing their pants, arent they!!!

Marc
Marc
8 months ago

Andrew Raving Tory Davis has never lost the plot as he’s incapable of following the plot, but I would have thought there would be someone to take the gun off him before he shoots himself in the foot………. again

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago
Reply to  Marc

The only plot Andrew RT Davies has is his EU subsidy paid Farmstead. And if I were him should leave politics and stick to farming as he’s always been good at bullshipping.

Quornby
Quornby
8 months ago

Anyone who actually believes the English press or broadcast media must be very naive indeed.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago
Reply to  Quornby

The gammon press are slowly realising the humongous mistake they’ve just made with this ignorant attack, as should Andrew RT Davies, who will be reminded in the future to get his facts right before opening his big mouth.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

This shows all how the Tory supporting right-wing gammon press have a Wales-only agenda even though the advice they attack as “woke” is the same word for word as the English Tory Government. What a bunch of morons!

Ex Plaid member
Ex Plaid member
8 months ago

Tories( and their press) are just Colin Robinson characters made real. They feed off the emotions and anger of otherwise good people. Stop feeding them.

Grayham Jones
8 months ago

We in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and and be proud to be welsh kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 people in wales have got to stop supporting English football teams and start supporting welsh football it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Robert Williams
Robert Williams
8 months ago

How odd that this essentially trivial story has provoked the largest number of responses That I at least have ever seen on Nation.Cymru.

Paul
Paul
8 months ago

I think the number of comments is a reaction to the political depravity of RT Davies. That man will say, write and do absolutely anything. He has no boundaries whatsoever when it comes to attacking the country he claims to call his own.

Anthony
Anthony
8 months ago

Someone’s put 10p in RT yet again, I see.
Who’s tending to his farm whilst he’s having yet another rant?

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