The top 10 most popular opinion pieces on Nation.Cymru in 2021
It’s been a year of political upheaval in Wales with a Senedd election, a continuing pandemic, a housing crisis, and plenty to talk about beyond politics – particularly Wales’ Euro journey.
Here we present Nation.Cymru’s most-read opinion pieces of 2021. You can look back at the top opinion pieces of 2020 here.
10.) Why Michael Sheen was right to draw parallels between the union and an abusive relationship
Our tenth most-read opinion piece of the year came right at the start, on January 2nd. Michael Sheen had compared the arguments used to convince Wales to stay in the union with those used in an abusive relationship, with his decision to do so criticised by some who thought the comparison was inappropriate.
In this article, Niki Jones, a counsellor who works with survivors of abusive relationships, argued that the comparison was apt, saying that self-determination was a basic principle of democracy and a healthy relationship.
9.) At a stroke, the Welsh Government could go a long way to solving the second homes crisis – here’s how
One long-running and most heated discussion in Wales over the past year has been what to do about the housing crisis, which seems to have been exacerbated by a move from urban to rural areas due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In this article, Dafydd Meurig, Deputy Leader of Gwynedd Council, argued that while there is no single bullet to solve the crisis, one simple change to the tax law could go a long way to ensuring that second or holiday homes pay their fair share of tax.
8.) Och aye the no – why I can’t bring myself to support Scotland against England
One subject that garnered a big response from Nation.Cymru’s readers this year was England’s march to the final of Euro 2020 and the ever-present demand that Wales throw its weight behind its neighbouring country. That led to a backlash with some choosing to support Scotland who were drawn in the same group as the English.
In this article, however, David Owens explains why he decided to reject the ‘default setting’ of any Welsh fan and couldn’t back the Scots against England.
7.) What the Romans can teach us about the value of Welsh
Reputation was important in the Roman world, says David Clubb – and it’s important in the world of the Welsh language, where many people know each other, which leads to a higher quality of product. “Using Welsh in the world of commerce reduces the risk to the purchaser that the supplier will provide sub-par products or services.”
6.) Bringing back the ‘ap’: Why I decided to change my surname to restore a Welsh tradition
In March Elfed Wyn ap Elwyn explained why he changed his name from Elfed Wyn Jones after 23 years, to bring back the traditional Welsh naming system. “The history of the traditional Welsh naming system, the national movement in Finland, and current events have pushed my decision to pursue my name change.”
5.) Why it’s disrespectful and offensive to put the word ‘the’ in front of Gower
Placing the definite article before ‘Gower’ is not just an unnecessary intrusion – it is disrespectful of the history of Wales, argues Dafydd Williams.
“Could it be that the mistake has found its way into BBC guidelines, and is now being spread around in both languages with the Corporation’s official blessing?”
4.) Tactical voting in the Senedd regions
The first few months of the year was marked by heated debate around May’s Senedd elections – but one of the main topics of discussion was not who had the best policies but how to use the second, regional vote to ensure that your second choice also got in.
This article by Ifan Morgan Jones tried to explain, based on the numbers, how to get the biggest bang for your vote. We’re classing it as an opinion piece because there was a lot of disagreement!
3.) Are we going to lose the National Library of Wales?
In this article Andrew Green, a former librarian at the National Library, argued that its very existence was in question due to cuts to staff and income. “Can the Welsh Government afford to stand aside and watch while an institution charged with recording our history itself slips away into history?” he asked.
His plea seems to have done the trick – a few days later the Welsh Government announced an u-turn on the cuts, including extra funding of £6.2m for the institution.
2.) Something historic just took place in the world of Welsh language culture – but you probably missed it
‘NFT’ is probably one of the biggest new concepts of 2021, and one that perhaps many would want never to have heard of in the first place. In this article, however, Peter Stead explained why he bought the first Welsh language music NFT in history.
“Are NFTs really the future or are they just a fad?” he asked. “Honestly, I don’t know. Currently, there’s not much to them. But who knows what will be developed in the future?”
1.) Journalist’s question to Schmeichel show why it’s hard for Welsh fans to support England
The most popular full opinion piece this year was this one by Gareth Hughes explaining why it was the arrogance of the English that made it so teeth-gnashingly difficult for Welsh fans to support the England team in the final.
“The expression on the international footballer’s face as he answered the manifestation of extraordinary solipsism and entitlement ahead of the Euro 2020 clash between Denmark and England, was a mixture of amusement and incredulity,” he wrote.
It’s clear that many readers felt the same given the popularity of this opinion piece.
0.) It’s coming home: Why I’m supporting England in the final, by Dai Lama
OK, that wasn’t the most read opinion piece this year. It was actually this one, in which Dai Lama bore his soul and revealed to tens of thousands of Nation.Cymru readers why he would be setting side his former enmity and backing England in the Euro 2020 final.
Enjoy the greatest piece of persuasive writing since the days of Cicero.