Dyfodol i’r Iaith welcomes the discussions currently taking place between Labour and Plaid Cymru and hopes that this will provide an opportunity to reset the agenda in terms of policies to support the Welsh language.
Heini Gruffudd, the organisation’s Chair said:
“We will be encouraging both parties to regard these discussions as an opportunity to consider the true needs of the Welsh language in order to meet the target of creating a million Welsh speakers.”
Among their priorities, the organisation calls upon both parties to:
- Elevate the status of the Welsh Language Division within Government
- Extend Welsh language medium education and introduce an ambitious Welsh language training programme for education workers
- Draw up a Planning policy which protects the language and addresses the housing crisis
- Act urgently to implement the recommendations of Dr Simon Brooks’s report on
- Develop the Arfor scheme which aims to promote Welsh and develop the economy of the language’s heartlands
- Extend the use of the Welsh language within the workplace
- Strengthen the language’s status within the private sector
And finally, and with no cost implications at all –
- Increase the use of the Welsh language within the Senedd, including leaders and ministers.
A recent report by the Welsh Anti-Racist Union concludes that the procedures and policies of the Arts Council for Wales and National Museums Wales are fundamentally racist and place barriers to the participation of black people and people of colour in the arts and cultural activities in Wales. Such a report is timely and important and seeks to address inequality within two areas that can only flourish through encouraging a diversity of perspectives and experiences.
It is galling to note however that these conclusions have been presented and reported in way that confirms the fallacy that no black person or person of colour can or would want to speak the Welsh language. Even worse is the implication that the interests of two minority groups (black people and Welsh speakers) must be pitted against each other, without acknowledging that this is a false dichotomy, The Welsh language is a skill which can be learnt: black people and people of colour across Wales already speak it and more importantly, there should be acessible and inclusive opportunities for all to learn it.
The irony of this necessary report is that it has led to the media focusing solely on the Welsh language as being a barrier to equality, while ignoring the centuries of unjust ideology which is totally unrelated to the efforts to win civil rights for the Welsh language and its speakers.
This suggests an urgent need to initiate a far-reaching discussion on how to balance and integrate race equality (and all other equality strands) with the needs of the Welsh language in public life. It is frankly heart-breaking that it is currently easier to scapegoat other minorities than to challenge the status quo.
Dyfodol i’r Iaith has welcomed the Government’s announcement of an extra£30m for the development of Welsh language education. The organisation’s Chair, Heini Gruffudd said:
“We are very pleased that the Government acknowledges the need to invest in Welsh language education and that this is essential contribution to the aim of creating a million Welsh speakers by 2050.”
He added however that such an investment would not be acceptable as a one-off payment and that financial support has to reflect a long-term committment to the development of Welsh language education:
“We would emphasise however that this committment is necessary on a regular annual basis if it is to make a real difference and support local authorities to plan robust provision in accordance with the timetable of their Welsh in Education Strategic Plans.
In the context of the Welsh 2050 Project, and its implications for education, the Government must accept that it has no other choice than to work strategically and support each essential step with regular and appropriate funding.”