Cynog Dafis, on behalf of Dyfodol i’r Iaith, has appealed to the new Senedd members to use the Welsh language to the best of their ability as part of their duties. In an open letter, published in the current edition of the magazine, Golwg, the former MP and Assembly Member, calls upon the Senedd ‘s politicians to set a personal example of using the language to support the Government’s aim to create a million Welsh speakers.
Cynog Dafis suggests the following guidelines for Senedd members:
- For fluent Welsh speakers to always use the language normally, naturally, and confidently in the Senedd to promote a balanced approach to bilingualism.
- That less fluent speakers use the Welsh language less frequently, but with the aim of increasing its use, bearing in mind that use promotes mastery.
- Non-Welsh speakers should at least use the language symbolically and consider learning it – as Glyn Davies and David TC Davies did during the term of the first National Assembly between 1999 and 2003.
Cynog Dafis is keen to emphasise that increasing the use of Welsh should not be undertaken as a chore or a duty, but rather, it should be embarked upon with “confidence, pride and joy in the remarkable treasure of our ancient language,” so that the Welsh language is ”promoted and adapted for the requirements of a new age.”
Following the results of last week’s election, Dyfodol i’r Iaith calls upon the new Senedd to ensure, as soon as possible, a dedicated Minister for the Welsh language.
Currently, as in the past, whoever is responsible for the Welsh language at ministerial level is expected to share this work with other responsibilities. In the case of Carwyn Jones, he balanced responsibility for the language with the work of being First Minister. We also saw last Autumn mental health and wellbeing matters being added to the Welsh language as part of Eluned Morgan’s remit.
Heini Gruffudd, Dyfodol’s Chair commented:
“We can’t believe it possible, with the best will in the world, for any Minister to do justice to the Welsh language without a clear agenda to concentrate fully on the needs of the language. Our first demand for the new Senedd, therefore, is to appoint a Minister who is solely dedicated to the Welsh language.
Wales and its language faces a challenging period in the wake of Covid 19, and it is now essential that effective structures be put in place to steer the language towards a flourishing future.
We therefore repeat our call for a National Authority to co-ordinate language planning in Wales and a Welsh Language Minister who is able to dedicate his or her full attention to the regeneration of the language.
Dyfodol i’r Iaith has expressed its dismay at the Welsh Government’s Welsh Language Action Plan for the period 2021-22. Since the Government’s stated aim is to ensure a million Welsh speakers and increase its usage, the organisation believes that this document is totally inadequate: far too short on the essential requirements of vision, detail and finance. In the words of Dyfodol’s Chair, Heini Gruffudd:
“This is an Action Plan that shirks its responsibilities and reveals a woeful lack of ambition. The intention to “continue” working is stated repeatedly, with little explanation of how this will produce key outcomes such as transmitting the language within the home environment or increasing the use of Welsh within the community and the workplace.
In the same way, the response to the needs of Welsh-medium education is disappointing: the new Welsh in Education Strategic Plans have been postponed for another year and there is a failure to recognize the post-Covid opportunity to develop the education sector and recruit and train more Welsh-medium teachers.
The situation of the Welsh language needs more commitment than this: more strategic vison and positive actions. Indeed, it could be argued that this feeble document is an insult to all who support the language.”