Examining Iain Dale’s perspective of ugly Welsh Nationalism

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“I will never allow divisive nationalists to undermine the precious Union between the four nations of our United Kingdom.” said Theresa May. Those words and others like them have evidently resounded in the echo chambers between many a person’s ears because if the pre Brexit sentiment was bad, the post Brexit anti-Welsh/ anti-Scottish narrative has taken on a life of its own.

Stooge in action:

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This was Iain Dale of LBC tweeting during last week’s BBC Question Time. So is he right? Is Welsh nationalism ‘ugly’? More pertinently, is it uglier than the British Nationalism which he sought to defend when making a derisory comparison between that of our nationalism and that of the BritNat’s?

BRITISH NATIONALISM

On the very rare occasions when I used to think about what British nationalism meant, I would always envisage those strangely alien folk who wore union flagged suits, skipping and ringing celebratory bells while eating cucumber sandwiches when royal babies were born or alternatively, I’d picture those who held lofty, albeit confused, notions that the United Kingdom, or more specifically, England, held a special place in the world and that, by virtue of birth, this inflated their status. A jingoism which I never understood or associated with but also, one which didn’t bother me because I found it bloody comedic.

Viewing it through a post Brexit lens is altogether scarier because it reveals a perverse and ugly patriotism. Pride in Britain has morphed into a xenophobia which focusses on the condemnation and segregation of non British, non white, non heterosexual people. There’s an exclusion zone which leaves many feeling disrespected, unwanted, disregarded and more, they feel frightened and unsure of their place in British life.

This is a nationalism which gives some people an assumed right to swear at, spit at and abuse people in the streets.

It’s a nationalism which sees ‘go home, scum’ daubed on walls.

It’s a nationalism which has seen a significant rise in race and hate crimes.

It’s a nationalism which describes people like me, who voted remain, as remoaners and turncoats.

It’s a nationalism which affords some elements of the mainstream media a platform to insiduously encourage violence against me and the remaining 48% of people who they deem to be traitors.

It’s a nationalism which harks back to what they perceive to be the great days of the Empire when (in their rose tinted view) Britain reigned supreme.

It’s a retrograde punishing nationalism which pits men against men, women against women, families against families and which divides communities.

The violent rhetoric and images which once belonged to the far-right are becoming increasingly normalised in a British political scene which progressively panders to the slim majority who voted leave. And with that, there’s a growing contemptuous disregard for those of us who won’t silently submit to the by now increasingly punishing result of that in-out vote, and for those who don’t fit this ‘all-British’ image of an independent UK.

This is a politics based upon fear, blame, revenge, hate and persecution.

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Leanne Wood was right to call it ugly.

 

WELSH NATIONALISM

Wales is stunning but as beautiful as it is, it would be disingenuous of me to paint it as Shangri-La or to try and portray our citizens as a nation of open minded, outward looking people, no reservations. There are, of course, exceptions but where they exist, they have nothing to do with Welsh Nationalism and everything to do with some unholy British allegiance. It’s no coincidence that when I read social media, the Welsh ‘leave’ voters here are generally the same people who love the queen, defend the UK, and parrot the oft repeated the ‘too small, too poor’ mantra.  All too often, they are also anti Islamists. These are not Welsh nationalists; they are British nationalists living in Wales. Make of that what you will.

So when Iain Dale talks about the ‘politics of Welsh nationalism’ being ugly,  what does he mean and who is he talking about? Is he impying that we ‘Welsh Nats’ are guilty of acts of violence and aggression against the big boys across the border?  Is he pretending, as Alun Cairns did, that we are hostile to incomers? Or is he alluding to historic acts of ‘violence’- things like the attempted bombing of Tryweryn, for example?  Things which he probably hasn’t researched? Perhaps I should approach him, ask for explanations, encourage him to expose his inner Britnat and reveal how little he really knows about and understands of Wales but I bet, if pushed, he’d reveal that he actually knows very little and cares even less.

*For those who doubt the Welsh welcome, the #NiYwCymru/#WeAreWales hashtag was trending for a long while last week as people from all four corners of the globe tweeted about thow they had made Wales their home*

When we, as Welsh nationalists, talk about our hopes for Wales, we discuss how to make our country a successful nation where we work together for everybody’s betterment, where every person who lives here has an equal chance of education, employment, prosperity, access to healthcare, opportunity and life satisfaction. It is a politics of hope, not of fear. We want the best for Wales and all who live here. And yes, we discuss independence – never more important than it is today when the alternative is shackling ourselves to a union where the rhetoric of Oswald Moseley is becoming increasing acceptable.

There is no ugliness in Welsh nationalism. Welsh nationalism, as it exists politically, centres around Plaid Cymru and Yes Cymru, two pacifist organisations and their aim for an independent Wales. The ugliness that he refers to is a myth perpetuated by ignoramuses who so love the dysfunctional union that is the United Kingdom, they will fabricate things in order to protect said union and will lie if it turns people against those of us who want different.

Last week’s Question Time came from Neath and as such, it really was to be expected that Wales would feature large. Iain Dale didn’t like that. I don’t think he likes Wales having a voice at all, to be honest. I think the sound of our name irritates him! Perhaps he’ll be happier if Wales and England become Wengland?

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Perhaps Iain Dale understands that far from being ‘too small, too poor’, our depth of natural resources is so crucial to an England that dismisses us, our independence would have dire consequences to those who take said resources for granted?

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Perhaps, when Iain Dale and people like him talk about our ‘political ugliness’, what he really means is our ‘political existence’? I suspect that, in his mind, we are ugly by virtue of the fact that, despite what the English government has thrown at us, we are still here.

As we’ve been, so we remain. Yma o hyd.

For further information, please see

Independence

 

FOOTNOTE

Iain Dale has said that he’ll try to write a response to this soon. I’m looking forward to reading it Screenshot_20161012-211459.png

 

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6 thoughts on “Examining Iain Dale’s perspective of ugly Welsh Nationalism

  1. I’ve always been a Welsh internationalist and that’s why I’m in Plaid Cymru – the antidote to all forms of “ugly nationalism”. Our core principle is that everyone is equal. British nationalists like Dale can’t comprehend that it seems, so they have to invent stories about us.

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    1. Thank you for replying. It goes without saying that I’m with you all the way, more so now that such ugly divisiveness is gaining momentum.
      If you would like to write a piece for this blog, please do. I’d love it if we could write as a collective and get our message out to as many people as possible.
      I think the wind of change is blowing our way but the more noise we make, the louder we’ll be heard.

      Diolch am eich gyfraniad.X

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  2. Excellent. Funnily enough, I don’t think even the “acts of violence” were ugly. Sion Aubrey Roberts & MG ensured no was was hurt during their campaign & the graffiti occasionally sprayed around Wales can hardly be described as xenophobic.

    It’s all in their mind. Britain as an idea needs enemies and so they imagine them everywhere. A kind of self fulfilling prophecy because I know many fellow Welsh folk who now consider themselves – almost reluctantly – to be enemies of Britain. It’s like the playground bully who keeps at his victim until that victim is forced to react.

    How many of us are at that tipping point I wonder?

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  3. The perverse aspect of branding welsh nat as ‘ugly’ is that you won’t find an uglier nationalism than brit nat. Welsh nat try to save their very existence by burning some second homes, whereas brit nat will invade a country and declare war to stop them nationalising their own oil. With a media complicit in this abhorrent nationalism- never has a truer word been spoken than ‘soon the media will be having hating the people being oppressed & loving the oppressors ‘

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  4. Iain Dale has answered this blog post by saying this

    “It seems I have upset the Welsh. Not difficult with some of them. I saw a tweet from Plaid Cymru saying this: “We have the opportunity in Wales to do things differently – not the ugly politics of British nationalism.”

    I responded by tweeting: “The lack of self-awareness in this tweet is incredible. What about the ugly politics of Welsh nationalism?” I thought this was a relatively uncontroversial statement, but from the reaction of some Plaid supporters you’d have thought I’d suggested the complete defenestration of Leanne Wood in Cardiff city centre.

    Oh, no they cried, there’s nothing ugly about Welsh nationalism. Why, though, is it OK to be proud of the Welsh nation, but not of the British nation?

    Look at the group Balchder Cymru (Pride of Wales), and tell me that a lot of its views and actions aren’t “ugly”. There are plenty examples of Plaid supporters and politicians making exactly the same kind of anti-English comments that some SNP politicians have specialised in over the years. Just do a quick Google search if you don’t believe me.

    Caru Cymru, a Plaid-supporting blog, accuses me of being anti Welsh. Nothing could be further from the truth. He judges me on the basis of that single tweet. Let me make it crystal-clear. If I were Welsh or Scottish. I too would be tempted by the nationalist cause. But what would put me off supporting the SNP or Plaid is their blatant anti-British and anti-English rhetoric. It isn’t always “ugly”; but it often is. And that is an indisputable fact.”

    ************

    Very vague and, for an opinionated politico, pretty bland. As I suspected, it proves a lack of knowledge about Wales and our history, and it confuses the attitudes of an anecdotal unnamed some with that of Welsh politics as a whole.
    He also says that I responded to a single tweet. A bit disingenuous given that I’ve shared two screengrabs on here, but hey….whatever.

    Did you notice that far from giving examples highlighting where Welsh nationalist politics is as ugly as the barrage of bile being spewed by UKIP, Amber Rudd, their right winge media defenders et al, he’s compared us with the dreadful SNP as bastions of British awfulness? Such rotters!

    As I thought, he really isn’t overly keen on anything that doesn’t treat England with the respect that he believes it deserves.

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