Welsh language 'used as political football'

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Tue Feb 14 17:12:24 UTC 2006

Welsh language 'used as political football' Feb 13 2006


Plaid Cymru accused Labour of turning the Welsh language into a political
football when it put its policy out for review today. Language policy will
be the first in a series of Plaid policy commissions in the run up to the
2007 Assembly elections. Senior party figures said there was no
significance in the fact that language was the first to come under
examination. Commissions on health and education will follow.

Plaids deputy Assembly leader Rhodri Glyn Thomas said the Assembly
Government had failed to deliver its language policy Iaith Pawb (Everyones
Language) - which would increase the percentage of Welsh speakers by 5% by
2011. He said: It was the first time a national government had made a
categoric statement that they were committed to Welsh language growth.
That policy hasnt been implemented by the government of Wales. Opposition
AMs have complained about comments made by a spin doctor to a newspaper
about the soon-to-be-abolished Welsh Language Board.

Mr Thomas told reporters that Culture Minister Alun Pugh seemed to have a
spokeswoman who is out of control and making dogmatic statements about the
Labour government. The Welsh language has once again become a political
football which is something that none of us want, he added. Plaids shadow
culture minister Owen John Thomas will sit on the commission with party
president Dafydd Iwan. The other members of the commission had not been
finalised yet, they said.

Mr Thomas said the study would focus on the lack of Welsh-medium
education. The cornerstone of creating a bilingual Wales will be through
the Welsh-medium schools across our nation, he said. The Labour Assembly
Governments approach to the Welsh language is fatally flawed by not giving
the leadership necessary to local authorities to ensure the demand for
Welsh-medium education is met. More than 1,000 children are lost to the
language every year when they leave primary school, he said.


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