Wales’ new leader needs to take personal responsibility for the Welsh language

Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford, who has been attending Brexit discussions with Scottish and UK Government ministers. Picture by NHS Confederation (CC BY 2.0)

*English follows the Welsh*

Osian Rhys, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg

Mewn blynyddoedd i ddod, pan fydd pobl yn edrych yn ôl ar gyfnod Carwyn Jones fel Prif Weinidog, un o’i gyfraniadau pwysicaf, mae’n rhaid, fydd targed enwog y strategaeth iaith – miliwn o siaradwyr erbyn 2050.

Mae’r targed yma wedi newid yr holl sgwrs o gwmpas y Gymraeg. Rydyn ni’n tyfu.

Mater arall yw cyflawni’r strategaeth. O ystyried y sefyllfa bresennol, mae’r targed o filiwn o siaradwyr erbyn 2050 yn hynod uchelgeisiol.

Lawn mor bwysig, a mwy uchelgeisiol fyth, yw’r ail darged, sef dyblu’r ganran sy’n siarad Cymraeg bob dydd, o 10% o’r boblogaeth i 20%.

Hyd yma, dydy gweithredoedd y Llywodraeth ddim yn cyd-fynd â’r uchelgais. Lai na blwyddyn a hanner ers cyhoeddi’r strategaeth, mae yna deimlad o ddiffyg cyfeiriad ac egni o dan y Gweinidog presennol, Eluned Morgan.

Mae hi wedi dargyfeirio ymdrechion gweision sifil, o weithio ar weithredu’r strategaeth uchelgeisiol, i lunio deddf i wanhau hawliau iaith ac i ddiddymu Comisiynydd y Gymraeg: cynigion nad oes cefnogaeth ar eu cyfer.

Rydyn ni’n gwybod bod y targed yn gyraeddadwy, ond dim ond gydag ymdrech arwrol a newid sylfaenol ar draws ystod o feysydd polisi. Er mwyn i’r strategaeth lwyddo, mae angen holl rym y Llywodraeth y tu ôl iddi.

Mae angen newid gêr. Mae Cymdeithas yr Iaith o’r farn mai’r cam cyntaf y dylai Mark Drakeford ei gymryd yw ymgymryd â’r portffolio iaith ei hunan.

Os yw’r Llywodraeth i lwyddo i wyrdroi dirywiad sylfaenol y Gymraeg – a llwyddo sydd raid – yna ffolineb llwyr yw gadael y portffolio gyda Gweinidog nad yw’n rhan o’r cabinet hyd yn oed.

Ymdrech

Mae pob rhan o’r Llywodraeth yn cyffwrdd â’r Gymraeg ac yn cael effaith rywfodd neu’i gilydd. Fe ddylai pob un o’r ysgrifenyddion cabinet fod yn gweithio i wthio’r Gymraeg, ar draws y Llywodraeth gyfan.

Beth fyddai’n eu hysgogi i wneud hynny? Anogaeth eu harweinydd, y Prif Weinidog.

Beth mae’r Ysgrifennydd Cabinet yn ei wneud am yr argyfwng o ran diffyg athrawon sy’n gallu dysgu yn Gymraeg?

Beth mae Ysgrifennydd yr Economi yn ei wneud i greu swyddi Cymraeg yn y gorllewin? Pam fod yr Ysgrifennydd Cynllunio wedi caniatáu i’w hadran gyhoeddi canllawiau cynllunio niweidiol ac anghyfreithlon?

Sut gallai’r Ysgrifennydd Iechyd feddwl ei bod yn dderbyniol amddifadu cleifion rhag cael gwasanaeth iechyd yn ein hiaith ein hunain?

Dyma weithredoedd annisgwyl gan lywodraeth sydd i fod yn ymrwymedig i adfer y Gymraeg. Dydyn ni ddim yn amau cefnogaeth y Llywodraeth i ryw rith o darged i gael miliwn o siaradwyr Cymraeg yn y dyfodol rywbryd, ond mae’n bosib bod camddealltwriaeth am yr hyn mae hynny’n ei olygu yn ymarferol.

Mae angen meddwl yn fwy strategol. Mae Mark Drakeford wedi datgan ei gefnogaeth ar gyfer targed y miliwn yn glir. Rydyn ni o’r farn bod angen ei arweiniad er mwyn cyrraedd y targed hwnnw, ac i’w gyrraedd erbyn 2050 mae angen gweithredu radical yn 2019.

Yn ogystal â newid ar lefel wleidyddol, mae angen newid ar lefel weinyddol. Rydyn ni’n galw am uwchraddio uned y Gymraeg yn y gwasanaeth sifil. Mae angen holl rym y Llywodraeth y tu ôl i darged y miliwn.

Mae diffyg capasiti yn yr uned bresennol i gyflawni’r holl waith sydd ei angen er mwyn gwydroi’r tueddiad presennol, ac i sicrhau bod yr iaith yn cael ei phrif-ffrydio drwy’r Llywodraeth gyfan.

Mae angen adran gref i gefnogi’r Prif Weinidog gyda’r gwaith hollbwysig yma, ac i weithredu strategaeth Cymraeg 2050.

Rhaid gollwng y cynlluniau i wanhau ein hawliau iaith, a chanolbwyntio yn lle hynny ar normaleiddio addysg Gymraeg i bob un o bob cefndir. Rhaid gollwng Cymraeg Ail Iaith, a sicrhau bod ein holl bobl ifanc yn cael dod yn rhugl yn iaith eu gwlad.

Rhaid atal canoli buddsoddiad yn y de-ddwyrain, a mynd ati yn lle hynny i greu swyddi Cymraeg yn y gorllewin i atal yr allfudiad o bobl ifanc sy’n niweidio ein cymunedau.

Mae’r rhain yn faterion sylfaenol sydd angen sylw brys, yn ystod y 30 mis sydd ar ôl cyn etholiadau nesa’r Senedd.

Maen nhw’n faterion sy’n gofyn am ymdrech y Llywodraeth gyfan, o dan arweiniad cadarn y Prif Weinidog.


Mark Drakeford. Picture by CPMR – Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Osian Rhys, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg

In years to come, when people look back at Carwyn Jones’ time as First Minister, one of his most important contributions will surely be the commitment made to the well-known Welsh language target – a million speakers by 2050.

This target has changed the narrative surrounding the Welsh language. We are growing.

Delivering the strategy is another matter. Considering the current position, the target of a million Welsh speakers by 2050 is incredibly ambitious.

Equally important, and even more ambitious, is the second target, to double the percentage who speak Welsh every day, from 10% of the population to 20%.

Ambition is critical. Unfortunately, the Government’s actions to date do not match the ambition.

Less than 18 months since the strategy was announced, there is a distinct lack of energy and direction under the current Minister, Eluned Morgan.

She has diverted the attention of civil servants away from the strategy’s implementation towards an ill-judged attempt to weaken language rights and scrap the Welsh Language Commissioner, proposals for which there is no support.

We know the million speakers target is attainable, but only with a massive effort and a fundamental change across a whole range of policy areas. For the strategy to succeed, it needs the full weight of Government behind it.

A step change is needed. Cymdeithas yr Iaith believes that Mark Drakeford’s first step should be to take the Welsh language portfolio himself.

If the Government is to succeed in reversing a structural decline in the Welsh language – and succeed it must – then the portfolio cannot be left with a junior minister who isn’t even in the cabinet.

Effort

Every area of Government touches on the language and has an impact one way or another. Every cabinet secretary should be working to support the language, across the whole of Government.

What would compel them to do so? The encouragement of their boss, the First Minister.

What is the Education Secretary doing about the upcoming crisis in the number of teachers able to teach in Welsh?

What is the Economy Secretary doing to create Welsh language jobs in the west? Why has the Planning Secretary allowed damaging and illegal guidance on planning to be issued by her department?

Why did the Health Secretary consider it acceptable to deprive Welsh-speaking patients of our right to a health service in our own language?

These are not the actions of a Government committed to the revival of a language. We do not doubt the Government’s support for the vague aspiration of a million Welsh speakers, but there may be a misunderstanding about what that requires in practice.

Some strategic thinking is needed. Mark Drakeford has asserted his support for the million speakers target. We believe that his leadership is needed to reach that target. To reach it by 2050, we need radical action in 2019.

As well as making change at a political level, change is needed at an administrative level. We are calling for an upgrade of the Welsh language unit within the civil service.

We need the full weight of Government behind the million speakers target. The current unit lacks the capacity to carry out all the work needed to turn things around, and to ensure that the language is mainstreamed across the whole of Government.

We need a powerful Welsh-language department to support the First Minister with this vital work, and to implement the Cymraeg 2050 strategy.

Plans to weaken our Welsh language rights must be dropped, with a focus instead on normalising Welsh-medium education for everyone from all backgrounds.

Welsh Second Language must be scrapped, with every young person in the country given the real means to become fluent in our national language.

We must stop the centralisation of investment in the south-east, with Welsh language jobs created in the west to halt the outward migration of young Welsh speakers from those areas.

These are fundamental matters that need to be addressed urgently, before the next Senedd election in 30 months’ time.

They are matters that require the effort of the whole of Government, under the strong leadership of the First Minister.

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