Wales: Translation of a letter from Dafydd Iwan published in the current edition of Y Cymro

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Mon May 26 15:33:06 UTC 2008

*Translation of a letter from Dafydd Iwan published in the current edition
of **Y Cymro* <>

*Dear Editor*
Allow me to make a few remarks following the results of the local elections,
reults that were especially heartening for Plaid Cymru, particularly in
areas that used to be difficult terrain, such as Wrexham, Cardiff and
Torfaen, and the Bangor area in Gwynedd. The marvellous result in Llanelli,
and indeed in the rest of Carmarthenshire, shows clearly that the tide has
turned in our favour.

But what about what happened to some of us here in Gwynedd? Plaid Cymru
remain in power in the Council, but the twelve Llais Gwynedd seats is a
message we cannot ignore. But the problem is, what is the message? To never
ever close a school?

But of the twelve seats, only two represent areas where closures were
suggested (namely Ysgol y Clogau and Rhydyclafdy, and by now there's no real
opposition to closing Rhydyclafdy). The Llangelynnin seat also represents an
area where closure was suggested in order to establish a district school,
and Nefyn where the suggestion was to create a new school in the place of
the present one.

Is Llais Gwynedd's message then to keep Rhydyclafdy open, no district school
for West Meirion, and no brand new school for Nefyn? As I said, it's hard to

Anyone can understand of course the fears when a school is threatened with
closure. But the thing that's happening with Llais Gwynedd is much more
complicated than that. What we saw was a large number of different elements
merging to strike at whoever was in power, presenting an opportunity for
everyone who opposes Plaid Cymru and the language policy to jump on the

the saddest aspect of the whole campaign, however, was the lack of open
debate on policy, and the lack of alternative plans, and the ruthless use of
lies. Rather than leave that accusation open ended, I'll give specific

1. It was said time and again during the campaign that I am a shareholder in
a local construction company, and that I took care that they won the
Council's contracts, and that I had received a flat in Victoria Dock as a

2. On the Maes E website, on April 16 (*:35 a.m.) in an incredible
contribution from the founder of 'Llais Gwynedd', Aeron Jones, it was said
among other things that 'If you are worried about the anglicisation of
Gwynedd Council, ask Dafydd Iwan why he sent a translator home from a
meeting last year declaring that he wanted to "...speak English in meetings
so that everybody understood."' A BARE FACED LIE

"Ask him as well about Ysgol Bontnewydd's language policy. He insisted that
the children must occasionally speak English on the school playing field..."

3. But even sadder than all this was the way the scheme to reorganise
schools was misinterpreted - a scheme where no decision has been taken other
than the multi-party decision for further consultation - in order to scare
people. On the shaky grounds that the old style of federalisation (a style
rejected by Plaid Cymru) means "closing" a school on Friday afternoon to be
"re-opened" the following Monday morning as part of a federal school, Llais
Gwynedd candidates went from door to door claiming that Plaid Cymru wanted
to close schools like Tremadog, Beddgelert and Brynaearu.

In Blaenau (Ffestiniog) and Pen-y-groes, they went further and claimed that
we also intended to close the local highschools! A BARE FACED LIE !

The rest of us have to rise above this kind of gutter politics, and keep on
working positively for our communities and our nation.

*Dafydd Iwan

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