Jason Sorens writes on independence movements for Al Jazeera. There is no evidence of a domino effect; Catalan secession will not destabilise Spain; nation states defined in their constitutions as ‘indivisible’ are typically highly centralised; the best way that multi-nation states can prevent secession is by enshrining in their constitutions the right of their members to secede.
‘I say once again that the British people have spoken. They have spoken on nationhood; they have spoken on unity; they have spoken on law and on public morality, and we will tolerate no argument, no dissent. And to anyone who would question the will of the people I say this: if you will not have British democracy, you must have the authority of the British state; if you will not accept the result of the Referendum on National Unity and Greatness, then you must obey the orders of the Emergency Committee. And if you will submit to neither the people nor the state, then you are guilty of crimes against the state and against the people, and on those crimes we show no mercy.’
Theresa May, Pronouncements under the Emergency Powers Act (2027), vol. i, p. 17.
‘We do not call ourselves nationalists. Rather, we consider ourselves to be unionists, for what we celebrate and protect is the unity of the British nation, invincible because indivisible. Therefore, we no longer speak of the Welsh language, of Scottish democracy, of the Irish peace process, but rather, of the British armed forces, the British state, and the British language, binding our people together, and to us, throughout the four counties of Britain.’
Theresa May, Pronouncements under the Emergency Powers Act (2027), vol. ii, p. 9.
Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony is a little like watching an articulated lorry attempt a three-point turn in a meadow.
The art of fiction involves the balancing of two very different skills. On the one hand, we place our characters within a believable world, both natural and built, and within an economy and society which provides and limits our characters’ opportunities, and which they struggle against, or find their place within. On the other hand, we seek to explore the inner lives of our characters, and the stories, true or false, which they tell about themselves, as heroes, as victims or as villains. This seminar will draw on characters from Wales and America, the novel and the short story, to explore the ways in which realistic fiction can be enriched by the myths which are concealed within us all.
3rd November 2017: In Catalonia, the imprisonment of political leaders is met with protests as crowds assemble city squares to bang noisily with pots and pans — a disruption that the government of Spain is quick to condemn as illegal.
And in a second-floor flat in Cardiff Bay, a few minutes’ walk from the Welsh Assembly, a householder briefly bangs a saucepan lid against the cooker, for the purpose of dislodging a small piece of boiled carrot that has stuck between the glass top and the stainless steel rim. Having removed it, the householder rinses the lid, and proceeds to wipe it dry with a tea towel displaying the colours of the Welsh flag and ten basic items of Welsh vocabulary.
Thus are the longings and aspirations of the people of Wales maintained.
Along with the £1500 first prize available to entrants of a forthcoming literary award is the promise that the winner’s manuscript will be read, and I quote, by a top London literary agent.
I have already had a manuscript read by a top London literary agent. It was Patricia Kavanagh, as a matter of fact. She remarked that I could be assured of a distinguished career, if only I were to not be so Welsh.
17th October 2017: Dw i newydd lladd chwain y gath. #HiHefyd.
15th October 2017: On this day in 1940, Lluis Companys, President of the Republic of Catalonia, was executed by a Spanish firing squad.
One night, when Carwyn Jones was blind drunk on imported potcheen, Ieuan Wyn Jones had to phone him up and talk him out of declaring the Welsh Republic straight away. He wanted to wear his bandoliers, and everything.
The Britannia Airport Hotel. No souls are left on these premises overnight.
The Britannia Airport Hotel. Please do not feed the other guests.
The NHS reports that St John’s wort was an effective antidespressant in thirty percent of cases. Then again, I have yet to meet a bottle of Malbec that didn’t cheer me up.
Modern psychiatry favours a multi-faceted response to depression, including lifestyle tweaks, cognitive changes, and the assassination of selected political leaders.
This bottle containing extract of St John’s wort in 284mg capsules, which I bought specifically for the purpose of alleviating depression, advises me not to use St John’s wort if I am suffering from depression.
News from a friend at the March for Europe, London, 9th September: A local Sikh who spoke at the rally reported that since the Grenfell Tower fire, at least twenty survivors have attempted to kill themselves.
At first Google Streetview seemed determined that my virtual journey through Betws y Coed should end in a carpark with my nose jammed against a coach. It’s great that a global conglomerate like Google can show a respectful understanding of local experience.
When English Brexiteers explain to me, as though it obviates discussion and invalidates facts, that Wales voted Leave: Brexplaining?
This bottle of Malbec should be drunk within three years, but it’s as well to be on the safe side.
According to The Independent, survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire are being invited to ‘bid’ for accommodation. Words can no longer express my anger at the Tories, their inhumanity, greed and hypocrisy; my hatred, my contempt, my disgust.
People on the BBC Wales Facebook page are gloating because they think the change from a Welsh-language Commissioner to a Welsh-language Commission means that Welsh will lose its official status. They are gloating because they think this.
You cannot have a temperate discussion about who should deliver official Welsh-language status, because the trolls turn up and say that Welsh shouldn’t have any official status. You cannot have a temperate discussion about how to teach Welsh in schools, because the trolls turn up and say that they don’t want their darling kiddiewinks learning Welsh in school. You cannot have a temperate discussion about any policy or law agreed by the Senedd, because the trolls turn up and demand the abolition of the Senedd. Every conversation concerning Wales takes place against the background of this hateful, ignorant, racist clamour.
I present two agricultural proverbs as recorded by the great scholar and poet, Iolo Morganwg (1747-1826), with my own translations:
Tri pheth a gynnydd yn y glaw:
Gwlydd ac ysgall ac ysgaw.
Three things thrive in rainy weather:
The weeds, the thistles, and the elder.
Gwell gweled dodi’th fam i’r esgor
Na gweled hinon teg yn Ionor.
Better to see your mother buried
Than see the passing of Winter hurried.
While it has been said that the #ringofshame was a work of art crushed by the anger of a mob, it might also be said that anger is the poor man’s rejection slip.
When a work of art offends the weak because it is historically inappropriate or culturally insensitive, they shout, and accuse, and demand that it be halted. But when a work of art offends the strong, they ignore it, and it dies. They do not explain the motives behind their decision. They do not even state that there has been a decision.
The reason I have had no landline for a week, and broadband at dial-up speeds only, is unknown, but the reason it is unknown is that TalkTalk are having problems with their computers. I offered to help, since I am quite good with computers. I ask the world to take note that they knowingly declined this offer.
Brexit Means Racism: And following the fire in Grenfell Tower, members of the pro-Brexit group, Brexit HQ, express their hatred and contempt for its survivors, and gloat over the lives that were lost.
11th June 2017: Tweeted by @AngrySalmond: Loyalists in Liverpool attack an Irish pub. DUP supporters carrying UVF flags.
‘He who goes for seven nights without dreaming deserves to be called wicked.’ Talmud.
The Talmud recognises forty types of manual labour, minus one: To sow, to plough, to reap, to bind, to thresh, to winnow, to sift, to grind, to bolt, to knead, to bake, to shear, to wash, to comb, to dye, to spin, to warp, to shoot, to weave, to cut, to tie, to untie, to sew, to tear, to hunt, to kill, to skin, to salt, to singe, to tan, to cut, to write, to erase, to build, to pull down, to snuff out, to fire, to smite, to carry.
‘Of the twelve hours there are to the day, God divides his time thus: Three hours he spends in study of the Torah. Three hours he spends administering justice. Three hours spends in feeding the hungry, and three hours he spends at play with the whales.’ Talmud.
According to a report by Berenberg Bank, Brexit offers no significant economic advantages to Britain in the long term. Its relatively small economy, compared with China, the U.S., and the E.U., would be a disadvantage when negotiating trade deals, as would further deregulation of the most lightly regulated developed economy in the world.
My only objection to living in York would be that York is not in Wales, which would hinder my pursuit of my political goals. But once I have achieved my political goals, York will be in Wales.
READING AND DISCUSSION
Friday 3rd February
7.30pm, Morlan Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
Dangerous Asylums: Stories from Denbigh Mental Hospital Told by Leading Welsh Writers
Glenda Beagan, Carys Bray, A. L. Reynolds, Manon Steffan Ros, Simon Thirsk, Elaine Walker, Gee and David Williams.
Contributing editor: Rob Mimpriss
Published by North Wales Mental Health Research Project, Department of Psychological Medicine, Hergest Unit, Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor
‘In this exemplary collaboration between medical science and imagination, lives preserved in official records, in the language and diagnoses of their times, are restored not just to light, but to humanity and equality. This anthology is a resurrection.’ Philip Gross.
This 10,000 lux daylight lamp, designed to counteract seasonal depression, will not significantly delay the eventual heat death of the universe, or the inevitable extinction of the human race.
Alarmed by warnings in the UK press that the oceans would freeze, the earth become a snowball, and humanity's last pitiful survivors be confined to a single nuclear-powered train, ever circling the earth to remain in summer, I prepared myself by turning the storage heater in my bedroom up to 2 last night, and filling a hot water bottle. My precautions proved adequate.
Wales ranks alongside Portugal and the Eastern European states in terms of prosperity according to this image from Eurogeographics: suggestive both of the failure of eight hundred of British union, of Wales’s reliance on E.U. trade, and of our potential as an independent nation.Link
Figures taken from StatsCymru, shown in this image by Dafydd Elfryn, depict Wales’s export surplus and dependence on trade with the E.U., now threatened by Theresa May’s Hard Brexit. Meanwhile a petition by Plaid Cymru calls on Theresa May to keep Wales in the Single Market.
I am the author of three short story collections. Reasoning and For His Warriors, originally published by Gwasg y Bwthyn, Caernarfon, with Welsh Books Council support, now join Prayer at the End in revised editions at Cockatrice Books. My anthology of fiction, Dangerous Asylums: Stories from Denbigh Mental Hospital Told by Leading Welsh Writers, including work by Gee and David Williams, Glenda Beagan, Carys Bray, Simon Thirsk and others, was published by the North Wales Mental Health Research Project, October 2016. I am a member by election of the Welsh Academy.
I am the translator of Going South: The Stories of Richard Hughes Williams (Cockatrice, 2015), Hallowe’en in the Cwm: The Stories of Glasynys (Cockatrice, 2017), and A Book of Three Birds, the seventeenth-century classic by Morgan Llwyd (Cockatrice, 2017). In addition, I have translated fiction by D. Gwenallt Jones, Angharad Tomos, and Manon Steffan Ros.