How does Plaid Cymru appeal to an incomer like me?

Nathan Abrams

Nathan Abrams

I have made Arfon my home. I have lived in Wales for 11 years. I have researched into and written about its history.

I am raising two kids here both of whom will be fully bilingual. My wife and I are endeavouring to learn Welsh. I have no objection to Welsh independence.

So I’m a natural Plaid Cymru voter, right?

I’m not sure. I have flirted on and off with them for years, at a local, national and Westminster level but I’m far from committing. Why?

Firstly, I don’t like its name. It shouldn’t the ‘Party of Wales’ but the ‘Party for Wales’. This is a crucial difference and one which I will outline below.

The Party of Wales implies an ethnic or cultural nationalism. Such nationalisms are never simply benign, no matter how oppressed those nationalists might feel and be.

At some point, as recent history testifies, this kind of nationalism will turn on those who somehow don’t belong.

Secondly, such nationalisms tend to be – and here Wales is no exception – backward looking. They look to a mythic pre-industrial, pre-modern idyll, uncorrupted by the forces of modernisation which itself is just a code word for immigration.

Look at Jerusalem – ironically a reference to a city full of the sort of people that most Little Englanders would loathe having in their own country – with its references to ‘England’s green and pleasant land’ tainted by those ‘dark satanic mills’.

Wales’ national anthem is also illustrative on this front. ‘The Ancient Land of My Fathers’ looks backwards to a past of bards, singers, fighters and famous men.

Gender politics aside, it mourns a time when Wales was not crushed by the foreign foe, one in which the Welsh language survives and thrives.

I certainly support the latter points but how does that anthem speak to an incomer like me? Where am I, as a Jew from north London, to fit into this picture, one which probably doesn’t include me anyway? (Historical note: we were excluded from Wales before the expulsion from England in 1290.)

This is exacerbated by recent debates about housing and schools which – as Dyfrig Jones points out – at heart seem to be about the perils of immigration. I am one of those very immigrants.

So, for me, the solution is to reshape the vision of Welsh nationalism to one of citizenship. It is not about one of belonging or retrospectivity – a nationalism that looks backwards.

It is about a civic vision that looks forwards, not one that mourns loss, but one that embraces the future, that encourages everyone living in Wales to unite in a national project to make it a better country, to overcome the obstacles imposed on us by Westminster (and Cardiff).

To this end, let’s not sing about an ancient land of my fathers but to celebrate a current land that we will build for our children.

And for that reason, therefore Plaid Cymru should be not the Party of Wales but the Party for Wales. And then I will commit. Faithfully.


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Gareth
Guest
Gareth

1. Stop banging on about the Welsh Language (it is important to many but not to all)
2. Stop banging on about the Wales Bill or reserved powers, Joe Public doesn’t understand or care.
3. Stop criticising the SoS for encouraging economic growth between Cardiff, Newport and Bristol (just because Bristol is in England)

iantoddu
Guest

Why does he say the Jews were expelled from Wales before they were in England? What evidence is there for Jews being expelled from Wales before Edward the first (king of England, of course) expelled them? I’ll be very interested in any proof of such expulsions, and I can of course be wrong in thinking there is none, but that is an odd thing to say if there is no evidence for it.

abramsnd
Guest

I should have said ‘excluded’ from Wales as there are charters excluding Jews from various boroughs. They were all expelled in 1290.

Edeyrn
Guest

Did that happen under Welsh kingdoms or the Norman ones?

Welsh law systems were far from perfect…but miles more progressive than Norman law, which evolved into English law (British law has never existed on a side note)

Michael Matthews
Guest
Michael Matthews

There were no Welsh Kingdoms, they were principalities.
Try Looking up the Laws of Howell Dda considered one of the most progressive legal systems in Europe at the time.

iantoddu
Guest

Hywel Dda was a King. (But of course, what he was called in Welsh, Latin or French was more important than what he was/is called in English.)

apgras
Guest
apgras

There were many Welsh Kingdoms, but they were all before your time, so you probably don’t remember.

Michael Matthews
Guest
Michael Matthews

My comment should have read Welsh Kingdom meaning one unified Kingdom.

Nathan Abrams
Guest
Nathan Abrams

While one can blame the Anglo-Norman overlords for the exclusion and eventual expulsion of the Jews, these moves had the other desired effect of feeding into the local populace’s Judeophobia.

Michael Matthews
Guest
Michael Matthews

Must disagree with you on this Nathan. The laws of Howell Dda were considered the one of the most progressive throughout Europe at the time that Henry Vlll passed his Laws in Wales Acts 1534 & 1542.

iantoddu
Guest

Yes. You should have. It’s a different thing. If it did happen. Under what laws? Norman? I know of no Welsh laws expelling the Jews. And was this done before it was in England? And yes, I know what happened in 1290, thank you, that was done in England by an English King. The effect it had in Wales at the time, even under the marcher lordships, seems to be unrecorded. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I can trust what you say on this very important matter. The idea of Jews being expelled is a very powerful image. The idea… Read more »

Dafis
Guest
Dafis

more important is to note that Jews are welcome in Wales today. All the jew-haters sign up for the likes of BNP, NF, UKIP(maybe), Britain First, National Action. If any of those thrive in Wales their members will be far more focussed on a Brit agenda rather than on Wales which is commonly regarded by them as the fagend of the Englandandwales entity. Of course the bit we need to watch out for is the growth of jewbaiting and hatred among those in the Labour party – some party of brothers and sisters !

iantoddu
Guest

That is important to note. But it is also very important to note that what he says in the article is untrue. Saying such things on matters which have a powerful impression on people’s minds can have a powerful effect on our views of history and our country in the present day. Not to mention the fact it is good to have correct facts on any subject.

Nathan Abrams
Guest
Nathan Abrams

And it’s far too simplistic to lay the blame for this instance of Judeophobia or anti-Judaism at the hands of the English overlords. Anti-Jewish sentiment was rife in the medieval period and it is doubtful that Wales was exempt from it.

iantoddu
Guest

You are missing – or at least not addressing- the point. I am not saying that Judeophobia was absent from Wales. I am saying that your initial statement saying that Jews were expelled from Wales before England (why bring England into it?) was incorrect. And that your alteration to saying Jews were “excluded from Wales before they were expelled from England” is misleading – at best. They were excluded from English townships before they were excluded from the colonial towns in Wales, and were expelled at the same time as in England- (though the presence of the Marcher Lordships as… Read more »

Michael Matthews
Guest
Michael Matthews

You left out the Labour Party of Jeremy Corbin.

Nathan Abrams
Guest
Nathan Abrams

Excluding and expelling Jews was a symptom of wider Judeophobia which the local populace surely shared.

Trailerboy
Guest
Trailerboy

Is there a reason why you’ve decided to stir this up?

You can’t deny you’re being provocative.

abramsnd
Guest

My problem is that I see there is no one to vote for at present. The Jewishness is not a red herring. It’s more important than what you refer to as my Englishness. Your reduction of my Jewishness to a mere red herring is in itself a form of colonialist imperialist thinking that reduces ethnic/religious difference to the dominant Anglo norms. So it’s not an English article written from an English point of view; it’s a Jewish article written from a Jewish point of view. Your attempt to deny that is an attempt to deny my difference and hence why… Read more »

iantoddu
Guest

What and who is this a reply to? I cant see anyone referring to your Englishness or Jewishness in what you reply to here, let alone anyone trying to “deny your difference”. But you are still avoiding the point about the inaccuracy in the article.

CapM
Guest
CapM

“My problem is that I see there is no one to vote for at present.” That’s not the prémis for the article you submitted though. Now it comes out “in the wash” that you have a problem with every political party not just Plaid Cymru. Every one of them except Plaid Cymru being a British Nationalist party! You chose to identify yourself in large part by your religion. That was your choice as is your decision to base your views on Welsh nationality on how you personally interact with and relate to it. But as you say it’s “a Jewish… Read more »

abramsnd
Guest

Well the article was meant to provoke discussion hence why I published it.

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

I do get that and I guess it has succeeded I suppose. I haven’t actually said anything about you personally, your chosen nationality or religion etc. I am not a believer myself in the melting pot idea and don’t think that people should have to adopt the customs and cultures of countries that they move to, but simply be respectful of them and hopefully a desire to not have a negative effect on them – something which I can see you have more than done yourself and have never questioned. I would describe myself as Welsh and also have difficulties… Read more »

iantoddu
Guest

I refer you to my above comment.

Erin
Guest
Erin

And make it a land of our mothers, sisters and daughters too!

abramsnd
Guest

Precisely !

leigh richards
Guest

Thank you for this thoughtful post Nathan. If we want to realise our ambition of a self governing Wales then we have to take as many people as possible with us on that journey – and winning the support of people like yourself who have come to live in Wales will be vital to achieving that aim. Have to say i don’t think there’s anything in Plaid’s vision of a self governing Wales that is backward looking, indeed Plaid’s current leader Leanne Wood is as outward looking and progressive a politician as you could wish to find. Your hope for… Read more »

Red Dragon Jim
Guest
Red Dragon Jim

The usual shtick is that Plaid Cymru isn’t Welsh enough! Nice to have a reminder that there are voters who think the opposite. Changing the national anthem is a big ask though! Not to belittle the valid point about anti-semitism, but is projecting that onto Plaid fair? It’s a song and a badge of identity. Changing “of” to “for” in the party name? Why can’t “of” include everyone who lives here? Boiled down, has the author a Plaid councillor, MP and AM, and have they welcomed his support or made him feel excluded? Can more be done beyond the anthem… Read more »

JE Lloyd
Guest
JE Lloyd

I find this a very interesting and worthwhile contribution — for the questions that it poses, if not for the propositions that it presents. The author is to be commended for this contribution. The first proposition that I would challenge is that there should be greater hurdles for a Jew from North London to connect with Welsh history and culture, and with the Welsh language, than any other newer arrival in our communities. The Welsh and the Jews share a common villain in our histories in these isles in the form of Edward Longshanks. The Welsh and the Jews have… Read more »

abramsnd
Guest

See my comment above: histories of medieval Jewry in Wales show they were excluded rather than expelled. They were expelled from Wales in 1290 in line with the general Edict of Explusion. See Cai Parry-Jones’ The Jews of Wales for more detail.

iantoddu
Guest

Excluded from townships (which happened to the Welsh in Wales) is a very different thing. See my comment above. So different I really don’t think we can trust what you say in this matter.

iantoddu
Guest

Seeing as your précis of the information you have was “Wales expelled the Jews before England did”, I have no idea what would be in the book you link to. What is certain is that it would not back up what you say in the original article.

Craig
Guest
Craig

The Welsh were excluded from many towns in Wales too. That doesn’t prove we have a long history of hating the Welsh.

CambroUiDunlainge
Guest
CambroUiDunlainge

I don’t think cultural nationalism turns into the kind of nationalism of people who do not belong. All Welsh Nationalism asks that if you live in Wales you embrace the local culture and identity – as you and your family are doing. You will find this attitude across the world in many nations – I think its a pretty fair request. In France you would have to learn French – if people neglect Welsh identity here its because of the bilingual nature of the nation as a whole. Assimilating into a nation is not a lot to ask if you… Read more »

Isabel Adonis
Guest
Isabel Adonis

CambroUiDunlainge, ” All Welsh Nationalism asks that if you live in Wales you embrace the local culture and identity”…What is the local culture and identity? What are you allowed to conform to and what are you allowed to dissent from? What are the limits?

CambroUiDunlainge
Guest
CambroUiDunlainge

Culture and identity can change from place to place within Wales. But making an effort to assimilate into whatever that may be no matter the nation you move into is genuinely well received. Why would there be limits to what you can conform too? What exactly are you asking me here? Think that needs some elaboration. Dissenting I would take to mean rejecting that local culture and identity and actively voicing against the teaching of Welsh and Welsh history – which would in my opinion be an extension of British/English identity.

abramsnd
Guest

“When your children sing that anthem it would be more literal – it will be land of their father – because you embraced our country, you chose our country.” I really like that idea, too (but it should also be the land of their mother).

Craig
Guest
Craig

Cytuno 100% Cambro.

JE Lloyd
Guest
JE Lloyd

If there were any implication of ethnic nationalism in Plaid Cymru’s name, I am confident that it would be universally opposed by the membership and leadership. However, I honestly see no such implication in the name “Party of Wales”, and no distinct meaning of the substitution with “Party for Wales”. I hope the author will find reassurance in this.

JE Lloyd
Guest
JE Lloyd

An understanding of one’s history is vital to approaching our present and future with self-confidence, self-worth and purpose. Wales suffers from the blight of acute historical amnesia. If you want evidence of this, visit any of our major historical sites and look for information boards providing substantive historical context. You will find only explanations of architectural function and layout, coupled with trivial anecdotes.

Any suggestion that Wales is a nation obsessed with its past is wrong by 180 degrees.

Anarchist and Welsh Nash
Guest
Anarchist and Welsh Nash

I wonder if the author is projecting his own insecurities as a Jewish man on to his present situation here in Wales? It’s a complete straw man argument to say that cultural nationalism eventually turns on other people, and therefore should be avoided like the plague. Would he say that to the 200 or so nations who have gained their independence since 1945, for whom cultural nationalism -a sense of being a nation- was an integral part of all their efforts? This accusation of being ”backward looking” also betrays an essentially Metropolitan-Superior mind set, which can’t but help looking down… Read more »

abramsnd
Guest

Explain how my insecurities as a Jewish man tie into me being just the same old imperialist? You seem to be conflating two different things here.

Red Dragon Jim
Guest
Red Dragon Jim

I didn’t agree with his/her comment Mr Abrams.

I didn’t agree with all of your article but saw where you are coming from. I see no real evidence that you are an imperialist.

Plaid would welcome your support- but they can’t rewrite the national anthem! Meet your MP or AM for a chat. Stand for the local council for Plaid (you’d probably win up there).

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

A thoughtful, much needed reflection on what I see as Welsh identity. If we identify with our National Anthem does it mean looking backwards. Like as looking in a car mirror to see what’s behind while trying to go forward. Um. Not sure. If nothing else isn’t a national about cultural identity. I wonder what the Scots might feel about the ‘ Flower of Scotland’. I’m sure there must be other examples. I don’t think either the NewZealand rugby team should perform the Haka before their match. Tribal war ritual. Too cultural. Spears and things. The rest has much merit… Read more »

Leia (@leiawelsh)
Guest

I wonder how much, if any, thought was given to of/for in the English translation of the party name – it’s a slightly cludgy translation either way, presumably born out of a desire to avoid the literal but vague sounding “Wales Party”, so my guess is “almost none”. That being the case, using it as a marker for cultural versus civic nationalism seems weak to me. But the discussion of “what kind of nationalism do we want is that wahat we’re actually portraying” is an interesting point to consider.

Benjiman L. Angwin
Guest
Benjiman L. Angwin

I’m an immigrant to Cymru and I’ve been deeply touched by the Jewish culture in my time. I do not agree with this article’s sentiment. It seems to imply that to wish independence for cultural reasons is backward looking, whilst I consider it backwards to consider to this backwards, as it implies that we must be progressing towards something, and that other view points are inherently ‘regressive’ if a goal of reaching a ‘progressive’ state is not agree upon. I do not consider it a culture’s role, nor a nationalist political party’s role, to be to change itself for incomers.… Read more »

Rachel Allen ??????? #FBPE?? (@MrsRAllen)
Guest

Diolch/ Thank you, Benjamin. Your post far more succinctly makes the point I was trying to make on Twitter!

We are all Welsh who feel themselves to be so – whether born here or not 🙂

Richard Jenkins
Guest
Richard Jenkins

It’s a shame that semantics should become such a false stumbling block. In Welsh Plaid Cymru just means Wales party! Translation is a dodgy thing. In effect the name simple represents the fact that PC is the only legitimate party that acts firstly and foremostly in the interests of Cymru. All othe political parties are just branches of U.K. parties? ‘For’ ‘of’. Sorry just semantics. You have to look deeper into the motives of the party. Also, the anthem was not written by and is not the responsibility of Plaid Cymru. Seems a bit weird to somehow extrapolate some responsibility… Read more »

CambroUiDunlainge
Guest
CambroUiDunlainge

Bit of a paradox you’ve generated there – Not all Welsh people are Socialist, nor are they Republicans.

Rachel Allen ??????? #FBPE?? (@MrsRAllen)
Guest

Clywch clywch!

Rachel Allen ??????? #FBPE?? (@MrsRAllen)
Guest

I was replying to Richard, by the way!

Ivor Rees
Guest
Ivor Rees

As a Rhondda-born miner’s son, who is a socialist and republican and who has lived all his working life in cities before retiring to Swansea, I am compelled to disagree completely with your statement which says that Plaid Cymru looks back to a golden agricultural era. That applied to Saunders Lewis and perhaps some others but not to many members and supporters in Engish-speaking and industrial Glamorgan and Gwent and, probably, further afield. Where is looking back, for the most part, it is like a bowler in cricket or someone aiming for goal – healthy looking back gives impetus for… Read more »

BoiCymraeg
Guest
BoiCymraeg

This is an interesting article but ultimately a very strange one. The author claims that Plaid Cymru is backwards looking and ethnonationalist, and cites as evidence: 1) a preposition in a translation that makes a distinction that doesnt exist in the orignal language. 2) a song written by a harpist half a century before the party was founded. These are both so absurd that they don’t even need debunking. What I would like to know is whether Nathan can provide any actual examples of these supposed shortcomings, in anything actually said or done by a Plaid Cymru politician or featured… Read more »

Edeyrn
Guest

yet……. perceptions count …

Many people have incorrect perceptions on most things…..likely me included….Plaid Cymru has its own load of misconceptions…hence why some frustrated people want to start afresh with a new unstained party

Michael Matthews
Guest
Michael Matthews

Anything and everything that happens in Wales is under the control of Westminster. Wales has been disadvantaged since the Laws in Wales Acts of 1534 and 1542 were passed when Henry Vlll saw fit to call the Welsh ‘rude and ignorants” and attempted to destroy its language. Wales dose not enjoy the same power/authority as N Ireland and Scotland and the Welsh first minister has less authority in Wales than the Mayor of London and Manchester have in their areas. Wales is not represented on the Union flag or coinage of the realm but Wales is a proud nation and… Read more »

The Bellwether
Guest
The Bellwether

I find the child’s spirograph of the Plaid Cymru logo most annoying. Please replace this with the ‘proper’ poppy illustration. Diolch!

squimple
Guest

The objection seems to be a semantic one about how Plaid Cymru is translated into English. Plaid = Movement on behalf of / for, Cymru = Wales. Note that it is Plaid Cymru, Wales and not Plaid Cymry the Welsh. It is an important distinction. Plaid Cymru means on behalf of the land and thus everyone who lives in it or calls it home. So whether you translate as ‘on behalf of’ or ‘for’ isn’t that much of an issue. Plaid Cymru does have it’s roots in a cultural nationalism, of protecting the Welsh language from the indifference of the… Read more »

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

Looks like are getting to the visionary part of the debate of what a name of a political Party actually means or refers to. The Green Party probably has the drop on us all. It looks as if the SNP want to ditch the N bit. Preferring the I bit. Of course there was ‘New Labour’ somewhat different from old Labour. Now Labour.
Na, I rather like ours as it is. Let’s lift our glass to one of the most beautiful of all National Anthems.
Yep, I’m old fashioned.

iantoddu
Guest

Quite frankly, trying to make a big thing over “Party for Wales” instead of “Party of Wales” is a bit bizarre. If you move into Wales, and consider yourself Welsh, you are “of Wales”. (As much as you are “of” any country or culture which has formed your makeup.) Really, this isn’t a thing.

Cymru Rydd
Guest
Cymru Rydd

Difficult to take this seriously when the author stated originally that Jews were expelled from Wales in 1290- before this happened in England. As if Wales made a conscious national decision to do so. He does know I take it that Wales was conquered militarily by Edward 1 in 1282? Such a chippy and wilfully false and misleading statement does him no favours at all to be honest. And then this bizarre attempt to conflate the national anthem with Plaid Cymru…..? I’m no fan of Plaid Cymru myself for a myriad of reasons, but how on earth can you blame… Read more »

Pen-Cloch
Guest
Pen-Cloch

What’s in a name? a lot as it happens. If Plaid Cymru was founded in 1925, the Welsh Language was in a stronger position that it finds itself now therefore the name I assume belied a mindset that reflected the 1921 Census. In the last election, the party made much of ‘Tarian’ the shield of Wales. Defensive? Protective? Outward Looking? If it is ‘For the sake of Wales’ then ‘Er Blaid Cymru’ If you have knocked on doors for the party then you will be used to the ‘It’s for Welsh Speakers’ “Sorry luurve I dun’t speak Welsh” However much… Read more »

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

I think questioning the anthem is bizaare. It wasn’t written originally as an anthem, but the resonance of the words, struck a chord, with people in Wales very quickly. Evan James supposedly composed the words for his brother who had emigrated to the US, to perhaps remind him of the the things that he’d left behind – the poets, singers and patriots etc and it’s very understandable in this context to write about the land of our fathers – girls have fathers as well by the way. The words were not coined as arrows, but crafted out of a real… Read more »

iantoddu
Guest

This from “The Jews in Medieval Britain”, edited by Frank Skinner. “The charters of such Edwardian boroughs as Caernarfon [etc] of 1284 [..] provide that ‘Jews should not sojourn [there] at any time.’. These have been cited as evidence of Jewish colonisation in north Wales, on the assumption that the clause was adopted from the 1234 Newcastle upon Tyne charter, but that was merely a regrant of the 1213 and earlier charters onto which an expulsion clause was added ‘Henceforth no Jew shall remain.. in the said town”. In other words, the towns set up by the Norman English kings… Read more »

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

I really can’t think how it could have been unintentional. In historic terms, a common foe tends to unite people and we all had a common enemy at that time – why we should be tarnished today by the actions of the oppressors from that long distant time in the past is beyond me. Should the Sikhs of the Punjab take the blame for the fact that Hindus and Muslims were also killed at Amritzar – I think not, that would be an appalling thing to suggest and no doubt cause a lot of understandable outrage.

iantoddu
Guest

When I say “altering the above”, I mean of course the way the original article has been altered from having one inaccurate “historical” note to another.

iantoddu
Guest

Incidentally, and very tangentially, interesting little piece of information from the book I refer to above – “The most extraordinary reference is to a Jew, almost a century after the Expulsion, at the commute court of Maenor Deilo, on the banks of the Tywi between Cardigan and Llandovy, in 1386-7. Edward I’s act of expulsion of 1290 could well be ignored by the marcher lords but this was not marcher territory. Maenor Deilo was close to Dinefwr castle, the centre of the ancient kingdom of Deheubarth. By 1290, after the death of Llywelyn at Gruffudd and the defeat of Rhys… Read more »

CapM
Guest
CapM

This article reads like the author is contemplating becoming a Welsh nationalist and at the moment he’s a different sort of nationalist. An Anglocentric British nationalist seems most likely. Often people dislike that “label” and prefer labels that describe themselves as being above nationalism or as internationalists, etc. However Anglocentric British Nationalism is what’s in the tin. A person’s nationalism is a matter of the heart rather than the head and changing nationalisms is like falling out of love with one and falling into love with another. Demanding or even just arguing that Welsh nationalism needs to change before he… Read more »

Edward Pari-Jones
Guest

I can only agree with Nathan, Plaid “is to an extent and should be a forward thinking progressive party” there are those in Plaid that are looking outwards to other small nations to acquire new and fresh ideas, the problem is getting that message out to the public at large, I for one have always treated anybody from any background who endeavours to learn the language as a Welshman and why not and that is not to say that those Welshmen who do not have the Language are any less Welsh either. As for Jews being expelled in the past,… Read more »

iantoddu
Guest

The point is it is not true, as well. It is a powerful image, and should not be bandied about if it is untrue. People do care about history, without getting into a discussion about the pros and cons of that, people are going to continue to care, and it is important that facts are used on any subject. They were not in the original article, and are not in what it has now been altered to.

iantoddu
Guest

The untruth being that Jews were expelled from Wales before England (the original point, brought up to make that specific point) followed by the bizarrely worded “correction” which is inaccurate both in its wording and implication.

Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro (+North Carolina)
Guest
Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro (+North Carolina)

Might be able to help you, Nathan. My qualifications are 1. My middle name is Mendus. Like many with this name in or from Pembrokeshire, I am descended from the Jews expelled from Spain and who came to Pembs in 1492. 2. I lived in Swansea for a number of years in the 1980s. This assists you because I found out about – Sir Alfred Mond, German Jewish, founded ICI and the Mond and was well known for the phrase “Vales for the Velsh” – Heini Gruffudd (son Lefi and brother Robat) was a stalwart of intellectual and Welsh pethau… Read more »

CambroUiDunlainge
Guest
CambroUiDunlainge

A Constitution is one of those things… its not going to benefit everyone and in the future this may cause problems as the world changes around it – especially when those who benefit most (think guns in America) will seek to protect that tooth and nail. It’d also rely on interpretation which can change through time… we need a fluid system which is able to adapt for tomorrow and be able to adapt in the face of crises or outside factors.

iantoddu
Guest

“Heini Gruffudd (son Lefi and brother Robat) was a stalwart of intellectual and Welsh pethau in Swansea and founded Ty Tawe. ”
“Was”? Anyone going to Ty Tawe for any event, or even just calling into Ty Tawe for a chat on their Saturday coffee mornings may well bump into him still! Very welcoming, friendly, interesting bloke. And has had an effect on just about anyone learning Welsh through his books, the “Welsh is fun/is funtastic” books especially being memorable to people of a certain age…..

Wrexhamian
Guest
Wrexhamian

A very revealing article that says a lot about the mindset of a more sensitive, intelligent and better-educated English settler like Mr. Abrams. The nonsense about the translation of the name ‘Plaid Cymru’ and the alleged exclusivity of the national anthem need not be dwelt on. The problem facing any immigrant or white settler is that they are uninvited strangers in a strange land. Some will embrace their adopted country and its cultural mores, others will pretend that these are of no consequence and will prefer to bring their old culture with them. The latter mindset has, sadly, prevailed in… Read more »

Nathan Abrams
Guest
Nathan Abrams

Your use of the term ‘settler’ is very revealing in itself. Am I a settler in terms of the Israeli example you invoke, thus an unwanted colonist? You also simplistically state I am English simply because I come from London. My ancestors were Polish and Lithuanian and nowhere did I identify with the English; in fact, I had a similar dig at them with my Jerusalem comment. Later I am a ‘white settler’. If you read the scholarly literature on this, Jews were never historically considered ‘white’ so you are again conflating me with something else, using loaded language that… Read more »

Wrexhamian
Guest
Wrexhamian

1/ You are a settler. 2/ You are English, with Polish and Lithuanian ancestry, like many English Jewish people. 3/ Jewish people are classed as white-skinned. 4/ Not being from a non-white background, you are a white settler, like most English settlers in North West Wales. 5/ You are, unfortunately, an uninvited stranger in a strange land, although if you were offered the opportunity to come to Wales to work for and by a Welsh employer, then I withdraw that remark and apologise. Wales has no legislation in place that allows it a say as regards who comes to live… Read more »

abramsnd
Guest

I define as British. That’s what my passport says. It is not your right to class me as English.
Jews are not classed as white — read Brodkin or Stratton. Many Jews aren’t even white as they come from the Middle East, India, Ethiopia. Your use of the term ‘white-skinned’ reveals a curious racial bias.
I was invited here as I accepted a job by a Welsh employer and I am thus an economic migrant.

CapM
Guest
CapM

“I define as British” is rather odd English. Do you want to state – I define myself as British; or, I am defined (by others/the state) as British? Or something else? If you support the UK as the nation state then you are a British nationalist and you can be a British nationalist regardless of how you define yourself or are defined by others. It doesn’t matter whether the definition is based on religion, ethnicity, a location that happened to be inhabited by some of ones family’s previous generations etc.etc. The same goes for being a Welsh nationalist. Your article… Read more »

Nathan Abrams
Guest
Nathan Abrams

But I’m not a nationalist of any stripe. That’s your label of me. Not mine.

CapM
Guest
CapM

Why would anyone who has deliberately chosen to be “not a nationalist of any stripe” contemplate becoming a nationalist.? Even going as far as to produce a mini vision statement for that nationalism. egs ” the solution is to reshape the vision of Welsh nationalism to one of citizenship. ” “a civic vision that looks forwards, …, that encourages everyone living in Wales to unite in a national project ……” And offer a pledge to that nationalism. “… Plaid Cymru should be not the Party of Wales but the Party for Wales. And then I will commit. Faithfully.” If someone… Read more »

Wrexhamian
Guest
Wrexhamian

It’s a term that some in Wales have borrowed from Settlerwatch, an organisation that monitors English migration into rural Scotland. It’s meant to highlight the colonial structure that enables such migration to take place in vulnerable parts of certain Celtic countries by using a term redolent of the settling of British colonials in the non-white territories of the British Empire. I assumed you were familiar with the term. It generally applies to English settlers in Scotland and Wales. Aren’t you English?

Nathan Abrams
Guest
Nathan Abrams

No, my ethnicity is jewish. My passport says I’m British until I get another one.

Wrexhamian
Guest
Wrexhamian

I see. So you’re not from England. What will it say when it gets renewed (if that’s not private information)?

Michael Matthews
Guest
Michael Matthews

Nathan, either your proud of being Jewish or your not. Whatever Plaid Cymru or Leanne Wood thinks is immaterial how you feel about yourself is what counts.

Nathan Abrams
Guest
Nathan Abrams

That doesn’t answer my points.

Michael Matthews
Guest
Michael Matthews

Your making too much of an issue that doesn’t exist.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

http://WWW.ylolfa.com. ” The Welsh National Anthem. It’s story, it’s meaning. Siôn T Jobbins.
Highly recommended.

rubesco
Guest

A tricky piece of writing. Most tricky since it skim-dances across the Welsh-language and its culture, taking with the right hand as much if not more than it gives with the left. A key indicator is the dependence here on (bad) English translation of key Welsh texts. The preposition ‘of/for’ only concerns those who do not engage with the foundational Welsh name of the party (indeed – Plaid Cymru should not have translated itself, but that’s a different question). Further, let us not forget that ‘hen’ can just as well mean ‘dear’. I can call my three-year old child ‘yr… Read more »

Wrexhamian
Guest
Wrexhamian

I agree that he takes more than he gives. What seemed at first like a noble gesture, namely a settler from London who didn’t want to trample over a culture that has its back against the wall turned out to be an attempt to present himself as the potential victim, presumably on account of his being Jewish. Hence my advice to him that he roll up his sleeves and get stuck into becoming Welsh, if he genuinely wants to, and thereby set a good example to the yachting brigade, the second homers, and other Britlanders. All those alarm bells ringing… Read more »

Arfonian
Guest
Arfonian

I think the Jewish thing is a red herring – the point of the article is , surely, that we have someone, Nathan Abrams, who is sympathetic to Plaid and likes Wales and wants to be part of it, but feels Plaid isn’t (yet) for him because, well, it’s still too Welsh. That’s OK, but then again I wonder who he votes for? Labour have a strong anti-semitic streak (especially at present), and the tories are xenophobic nationalists with an strong undercurrent of ethnic nationalism in them, and both parties are basically Brit Nats. Moreover, some of the rhetoric coming… Read more »

Radha Nair-Roberts
Guest
Radha Nair-Roberts

Please, don’t make me write yet another article in defense of Cymru, Cymraeg and Welsh culture. Mae Hen Gwlad fy nhadau is one of the most rousing and beautiful in the world. A fact widely acknowledged. Why aren’t you having a go at GSTQ? A dirge that glorifies conquest and imperialism? I moved to Wales 12 years ago, have learnt Welsh and have bilingual kids. I am brown skinned, a woman and now disabled. If I have found Wales and Plaid Cymru welcoming, so could/should you.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

Thank you Radha. It does get tiresome. But I’m like a fisherman. I keep returning to the stream, where I dream, and continue to fish. One day I might catch the secrets of true nationhood, bottle it and apply liberally to all in Wales, without fear or favour.

Gwilym ab Ioan
Guest

Dear, dear Radha Nair-Roberts. As a Welsh patriot from birth, and a dedicated political Nationalist of more years than I care to remember, and someone who has fought tooth and nail to preserve our identity, culture and language, whilst being criticized for being an English hating racist (although my wife is English and fully supportive of my beliefs), I’ve even been labelled a Nazi by the more ignorant. Can I just say to you, IT WOULD GIVE ME NOTHING BUT SHEER JOY TO FILL CYMRU UP TO THE RAFTERS WITH WONDERFUL PEOPLE LIKE YOU. On the other hand, I well… Read more »

Radha Nair-Roberts
Guest
Radha Nair-Roberts

Also, to me the “nhadau” term denotes “ancestors” rather than specifically males. Given that Buddug was one of the most famous Welsh warriors, I doubt any of the song was meant as a slur on women. I really tire of the constant attack’s on Wales and Welsh culture that have erupted again and again over the past couple of years. Making out that Wales is a hotbed of ethnic segregation and intolerance. It seems orchestrated!

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

Afonian, shooting from the hip and connecting, in an article that shows much thought and depth. I would say though that if things said about ‘Histirical note . ‘ we were excluded from Wales before…..’ and lies unchallenged if incorrect, then not so sure it’s a red herring. There is deeper layer inside that in the context of this article suggests it remains an issue of mind set. And maybe explains the sometimes righteous tones of Nathan’s blog. As a poor reference I was once evicted and other Welshmen from an inner London pub for singing after Wales rugby pulled… Read more »

CapM
Guest
CapM

For me the learning comes from the comments replying to the article and not the article itself which echoes similar well worn(out) tropes that run through the comments sections of BBC, Walesonline, Daily Mail, and many other sites including the Guardian.
Getting more adept at confronting and debunking these tropes whatever angle they take without letting frustration irritation and exasperation getting the upper hand has got to be useful.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

The days of light are never bright or long enough, yet the darkness of nights seems everlasting. To right a wrong, whatever the circumstance, is the most challenging of behavioural traits to get right. The tone, the message, the length, even the language it’s written in. If there’s a criticism of facts then so be it. But of issues that are heart felt then some tolerance may be due, but useless if the recipient is lost to reason. In this case there supposes a potential for change of mind set. As I judged it. Why else was the article written… Read more »

AlfT
Guest
AlfT

Interesting article. The author obviously has a deep fear of cultural and ethnic nationalism, which is understandable considering he is of the oppressor. I don’t fully understand the ethnic nationalism point as Wales is a nation of distinct tribes, it is multi ethnic. The Mediterranean rich DNA of Pembroke will be very distinct and different from the the children’s, children of tribes of the Scots borders who live in the north of the country as our nation shrunk back its borders. We might all look the same to the author, especially if he’s only had a British education. I’m not… Read more »

Nathan Abrams
Guest
Nathan Abrams

How am I of the oppressor? Have you read any Jewish history? Need I mention the Tredegar riots?

CapM
Guest
CapM

It is possible to feel or even be oppressed and still oppress others or make others feel oppressed.
That applies to individuals regardless of their identitiy.
If you want to delve into discussion on a hierarchy of who’s more oppressed than who then I’d suggest that you need to seek out more diverse contributions from a much wider pool of knowledge and experience than you’re likely to find on a special interest site such as this.

abramsnd
Guest

“It is possible to feel or even be oppressed and still oppress others or make others feel oppressed.” Yes, precisely and hence I might not be the only oppressor here.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

There’s always a story with in a story, if you care and clever enough to look for it. Clearly many have.

CapM
Guest
CapM

“Oh I’m sorry, is this a five minute argument, or the full half hour? ” (with thanks to Monty Python)

Arfonian
Guest
Arfonian

The Tredegar riots (and the Cardiff attacks on Jewish shops) were basically traditional British nationalist riots inspired by the traditional anti-semitic incitement against jews. They had, so far as I have read, no specifically Welsh dimension, and were carried out in the name of something which had bugger all to do with Welsh nationalism or Wales specifically. That is not to say that parts of Welsh nationalism haven’t been, in the past, as anti-semitic as parts of both the British Left and the British right , but the people attacking Jewish businesses in South Wales weren’t doing it because they… Read more »

Llion Iwan
Guest
Llion Iwan

Erthygl ddifyr Nathan.

iantoddu
Guest

The fact that ” (Historical note: we were excluded from Wales before the expulsion from England in 1290.)” is still in the article is turning from incompetence over Welsh history into a lie. There is no way a anyone reading that sentence would understand it as Jews were excluded from English colonial towns in Wales *after* they were expelled from towns in England before they were expelled from England in 1290 with the knock on effect in Wales. Absolutely ridiculous that the author has altered it once to tie himself in knots to have the comparison with England there.