The Express article attacking Ceredigion’s house naming policy is a fact-free zone

Castle Green House in Aberteifi

Ifan Morgan Jones

I wouldn’t normally care about an article in the Express. If I want to read some fiction I’ll usually pick up a novel.

This is, after all, a ‘newspaper’ that predicts the worst winter in 100 years. Every. Single. Year. I suppose that at some point in the next 100 years they’ll be able to claim that they got it right.

But since I have a starring role in their latest attempt to peddle anti-Welsh propaganda, I’ll make an exception in this case!

‘Council urges Welsh homeowners to ditch English property names,’ their headline intones.

‘Homeowners in a part of Wales have been asked to ditch English names for their properties and rename them in Welsh,’ says the subtitle.

I won’t link to the article so as not to encourage their efforts, but you can see it below:

 

The joke here is that the headline and subtitle are entirely contradicted by the actual text of the article, which has clearly been copy and pasted from other sources.

In fact, Ceredigion aren’t encouraging Welsh homeowners to ditch English property names at all.

All they’re doing is writing to owners who apply to change historic house names – be they in Welsh or English – and give them a chance to reconsider.

The homeowner can they decide to crack on anyway and the council won’t stop them. Not quite 1984, is it?

I pop up near the end of the article because I recently moved house and changed its name from English to Welsh.

But this was nothing to do with a request by the council –  we’re a Welsh speaking family and so it was completely natural for us to give our new home a Welsh name.

The quote was a response to a question –asked by a Daily Post reporter – about whether I thought people moving to Ceredigion should keep Welsh house names, if possible.

It’s presented in the article as a quote supporting a Ceredigion county council policy that does not in fact exist. Since the article goes on to name my house and its location, it’s also rather dangerous.

Manipulation

It’s quite clear that the Express have simply spotted an opportunity to twist the facts to serve an anti-Welsh agenda.

And they’ve succeeded. The comments on the article are full of people who have read the headline and think that the council’s policy is ‘racist’.

Even if the headline was correct (it isn’t), the accusation of racism is very clearly daft because language is nothing to do with race. There are people from various ethnic backgrounds who speak English and Welsh.

I don’t suppose that very many people on Nation.Cymru are avid readers of the Express. But this is a good example of how easily they manipulate their readership, and something we must guard against.

It’s also telling that a newspaper that makes the ‘defence’ of a majority culture its prime objective has no qualms about twisting the facts to attack a minority culture which has nowhere else to go.

The article will probably be on the MailOnline by the end of the day for the same reason. And the facts will be one step further removed from the truth.

With papers and website like the Express in circulation, the wonder isn’t that the masses were tricked into hating minority cultures – it’s that it took this long to happen.

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