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.
Dyfodol i’r Iaith has called for a national discussion on how to ensure that the needs of the Welsh language and racial equality can be harmonised and promoted. This is in response to the recent report on the opportunities provided by the Arts Council of Wales and the National Museum Wales for black people and people of colour.
In the press, particularly the English press, the report’s conclusions were reported as being an indictment of the Welsh language, as if language requirements are invariably a barrier to equality and diversity within these sectors.
Heini Gruffudd, Dyfodol’s Chair said:
“The press’s interpretation of this report was provocative and erroneous, suggesting that it is not possible for a black person or person of colour to speak or learn Welsh. We know, of course, that this suggestion is both offensive and nonsensical and that many more appropriate and flexible opportunities to learn the language are needed.
Promoting the Welsh language and ensuring racial equality is not a matter of choice or prioritisation; both must go hand in hand if the Welsh language is to flourish and be enriched by becoming the medium for diverse experiences.
Neither is the Welsh Government free from this fallacy. They have rightly decided to include the history of black people and people of colour within the National Curriculum, but have not acknowledged the need to learn about Welsh history. Once again, this is not a matter of either / or. History is key to our understanding of the present, and without the specific context of Welsh history, the history of black people and people of colour in Wales is deprived of the framework which is essential to our understanding of that history.”
There would appear to be no shortage of goodwill towards the Welsh language within the Senedd, but the challenge of turning words into action remains. In our opinion the Cymraeg 2050 Action Plan raises more questions than answers and emphasises the urgency to act. Many of the goals and targets have been around since 2017 and point to an alarming level of delay. The work is complex and needs to be mapped out carefully, step by step, allocating resources and responsibility for each aspect of the plan. Again, it is pertinent to point out the need for a powerful Authority for the Welsh language to set a strategic direction and co-ordinate the responsibilities and contribution of each department, agency, and partner to this immense agenda.
The Welsh Language Minister has said that these are early days for the new Government and therefore there are, as yet few details. We would emphasise again that a strong Welsh Language Authority would lead to consistent and seamless policy development and action. This is what is currently missing and what is sorely needed.