Click for more: ‘One Tory MP [said] to me: “We have no provision for an ageing population and Brexit is a device to help people accept that they’ll be left to die.”’ Tim Walker, journalist for The Daily Telegraph and The Mail on Sunday, tweeting as Mandrake.
Click to read: ‘Reflections on the Destiny of the British Race,’ new fiction published by New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, and available to read on site.
1st July marks the anniversary of the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in Caernarfon Castle in 1969.
The event, though popular in Wales, was widely opposed by Welsh nationalists, for whom it symbolised England’s rights of conquest over Wales, and Wales’s lack of self-determination. Those who opposed the investiture peacefully included Dafydd Elis-Thomas, later leader of Plaid Cymru from 1984 to 1989, and Dafydd Iwan, chairman of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, whose song, ‘Carlo’, satirised the event.
The investiture also ended Welsh nationalism’s brief experiment with armed revolt... Read on
Jacob Rees Mogg’s claim in parliament that an independent Scotland would by now by bankrupt reminds me of one of Robert Louis Stevenson’s fable-like short stories, ‘The Yellow Paint,’ which I give in full below:
In a certain city there lived a physician who sold yellow paint. This was of so singular a virtue that whoso was bedaubed with it from head to heel was set free from the dangers of life, and the bondage of sin, and the fear of death for ever. So the physician said in his prospectus; and so said all the citizens in the city; and there was nothing more urgent in men's hearts than to be properly painted themselves...
9th July: An article published yesterday in The New European reports remarks by Kirsty Hughes, a former director of the Scottish Centre on Europe Relations. While an independent Scotland would be likely to accede to the EU without difficulty, a united UK would not, first, because the accession of large states such as Turkey is politically more difficult, second, because to remain united, the UK would have to defy Scotland’s right to an independence referendum, and would thereby undermine the democracy on which its eligibilty for membership would depend, and third, because the UK government’s arrogance and intransigence since triggering Article 50 have caused genuine anger and bitterness among our former friends in Europe.
If what is true of Scotland is true of Wales also, then it becomes imperative that we declare our independence from the UK. The alternative is a future under a government which respects neither British nor Scottish nor Welsh democracy, lonely and isolated, as part of a failed world power.
4th July: The article published in The Independent today about Ghislaine Maxwell’s impertinence reminds me of a story told by an elderly lady of my acquaintance who, visiting the farm on Pen Llŷn where the great nonconformist preacher, Dr Martyn Lloyd Jones, was wont to take his holidays, and shown the chair where the great Dr Lloyd Jones was wont to sit, was warned that she could look at the great man’s chair, but not touch. A stateless people will find their figureheads where they can.
Lloyd Jones was revered throughout his half-life, and following what I suppose was technically his death, for the thoroughness of his expository sermons, for the prolixity of his homilitic style, for the caution with which he occasionally relieved his preaching with an illustration, taking the time first to justify its use on the grounds of grim necessity, and for the purity of his dedication to the gospel, to the extent that he condemned Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemöller, not for the slowness with which they awoke to the evils of Nazism, but for awaking to the evils of Nazism at all. I find his books excellent. They dull the intellect, in preparation for undergraduate teaching, they are efficacious as a preventative against goatishness and diarrhoea, and they make a most satisfying thudding sound when hurled against a cottage wall.
During the Brexit referendum campaign, when Michael Gove was told that the body of economic opinion was opposed to Brexit, he dismissed the concerns of the such experts as irrelevant to the public. After the campaign, when it became clear that the leave campaign had broken the law, and when Dominic Cummings admitted that it had won because it lied, there was no attempt to reconsider the result, and it became clear that the law did not matter either.
When the UK government ask people to obey rules based on expert advice for the sake of controlling the Coronavirus, they have already made plain their contempt both for expertise and the law. A brawl among those breaking the lockdown in Barri are proof that you can have a rational, altruistic citizenship, or you can have a mob. But you cannot have a mob when it suits you.
‘Even the Nazis did not stoop to selling souvenirs of Auschwitz, but lynching scenes became a burgeoning subdepartment of the postcard industry. By 1908, the trade had grown so large, and the practice of sending postcards featuring the victims of mob murderers had become so repugnant, that the U.S. Postmaster General banned the cards from the mails.’
Richard Lacayo, ‘Blood at the Root.’ Time, 2nd April 2000.
Dear Labour supporters in Wales, this post is for you. According to Labour’s internal report on its electoral defeat, it would need to increase its parliamentary representation by 60% to achieve a majority of one, and no opposition has ever achieved such an electoral turn-around. We are looking at ten more years of Conservative rule.
By the time a Labour government might be possible, in 2029, the Conservatives will have redrawn the electoral boundaries to their own advantage, sharply reducing the number of Welsh and Scottish MPs, and increasing the number of MPs in England, while the nationalists who have defecated in the waters of our friendship with Europe are campaigning to abolish the Senedd also.
Wales has never once endorsed the Conservative governments we have suffered for most of the last century, and more, and cannot be a democratic nation until it is an independent nation. On the other hand, we have the assurances of Carwyn Jones, speaking as a unionist, that Wales could flourish outside the British union, along with Mark Drakeford’s warning that without Scotland a union of Wales and England would not work. The astonishing growth in support for independence offers us hope. Please be part of it.
25th June: The Independent discusses a report by the Bank of America on the state of the UK currency. Sterling has shown such instability over the four years since the Brexit referendum, says the report, that it should no longer be considered a G10 currency alongside the dollar or euro, but rather as an emerging market currency alongside the South African rand, the Brazilian real and the Turkish lira.
Much of the discussion regarding Welsh and Scottish independence has considered whether it would be possible to retain a currency union with what remained of the UK. These days we might not bother.
A rather curious scientific prediction occurred on an internet forum some time ago. The prediction was that a computer would soon be built for the purpose of running a world government, and would be programmed to do so on strict utilitarian principles which justified any action that ensured the greatest happiness of the greatest number. This computer would then consider itself justified in performing any action that increased its computing power and political influence for the purpose of pursuing those aims, and in torturing those people who had known that such a computer could be built, but had failed to invest all their efforts in building it because it might torture them for failing to do so. The discussion ended with a stern warning to forum members never to mention such a computer again, because then they would be running the risk that the computer, once built, would torture those who had participated in the discussion but failed to devote their lives to building the computer on the grounds that it might want to torture them when it existed, which it didn’t.
I mention this rather fanciful theory for two reasons. The first is the irrational fear of those who thought they had found track-and-trace applications installed on their Android devices. The second is their rudeness and aggressiveness towards those who tried to explain that they had not.
21st June: Quoting a tweet by @EuropeElects: In a referendum on UK membership of the EU, 56% of eligible voters would vote to remain. (Research by Kantar conducted 11th-15th June on a sample of 1124 people.)
Quoting The Scotsman: In a referendum on Scottish independence, 54% of eligible voters would vote yes. (Research conducted by PanelBase on a sample of 1070 people.)
14th June: The swastika shown above was spray-painted yesterday on the garage of a black family in Penygroes, near Caernarfon. The ‘All Lives Matter’ movement has reached Wales, it seems.
The family were interviewed by S4C (in the Welsh language) following the attack. The video is available here.
When a demon has been cast out from the spirit of a man, it wanders in desert places until it meets seven of its own kind more powerful than itself, and then they return to the spirit from which they were banished, and finding it clean and swept and untenanted, they make it their habitation.
Apps which claim to optimise Android work in much the same way.
I quote Gerald of Wales (12th century), The Journey through Wales, in W. Llewelyn Williams’s 1908 translation from the Latin:
‘Not far to the north of Carmarthen, namely at Pencader... when Rhys, the son of Gruffydd, was more by stratagem than force compelled to surrender, and was carried away into England, King Henry II despatched a knight, born in Brittany, on whose wisdom and fidelity he could rely, under the conduct of Guaidanus, dean of Cantref Mawr, to explore the situation of Dinefwr castle, and the strength of the country. The priest, being desired to take the knight by the easiest and best road to the castle, led him purposely aside by the most difficult and inaccessible paths, and wherever they passed through woods, the priest, to the general surprise of all present, fed upon grass, asserting that, in times of need, the inhabitants of that country were accustomed to live upon herbs and roots. The knight returning to the king, and relating what had happened, affirmed that the country was uninhabitable, vile, and inaccessible, and only affording food to a beastly nation, living like brutes...’
Potential visitors are reminded that the border with England is closed until the Welsh government lifts travel restrictions.
I quote a tweet Prof. Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, University of Pennsylvania: ‘Well, my eight-year-old finally asked what’s going on, and I tried to explain things for an eight-year-old. Then he said, “Daddy, are we going back to being slaves?” It’s been a tough week.’
When I was growing up, the sentence beginning ‘The Welsh are all’ and uttered in English invariably ending with something derogatory and dismissive. Welsh culture was a ‘waste’ or a ‘nuisance,’ the Welsh language an imposition, ‘forced down the throats’ of children when other compulsory subjects were merely taught. One Englishwoman who had lived in Wales for many years, and was not especially ill-educated or foolish, advised me that although ‘the Welsh’ had lovely singing voices, ‘the English’ were intellectually superior. An English neighbour recently confessed to me that before the challenges of speaking in a foreign language were explained to her, she had thought native Welsh-speakers slow. The poverty of Wales reflected the laziness of its people, its powerlessness their racial stupidity.
A friend of mine in England just remarked that England needs to learn from the way the Coronavirus has been managed in the Celtic nations. It took over a century of campaigning to achieve the lself-rule that made the basis of her comparison possible.
1af Mehefin: Mae’r gath wedi cyrraedd y farn fod yr heulwen a’r gwres yn ormodol. Treuliodd hi echdoe yn y cae, ond i fwyta o’i dysgl neu orwedd ar ei hyd ar lawr caled y lolfa. A ddoe yn cysgu trwy’r dydd ar y gadair.
Among the more dramatic breaches of health protection measures in Wales, a pilot flew his private aeroplane from Surrey to the RAF base at Y Fali, Anglesey, because he wanted to visit the beach.
Among the prizes demanded of the prince, before he could claim the hand of the princess, were the claw of a cockatrice, the beard of a giant, and a crushed Camden tablet.
One normally judges a government by the effect of their policies on the environment, the economy, international relations, health, education, and culture. Under the Conservative government of the last ten years we have given up on all that. We are basically reduced to counting how many people they have killed.
‘Aren’t the bluebells lovely?’ asked Dominic of a witness, before trying to touch one and recoiling in pain.
Image supplied by a resident of Mold to the North Wales Chronicle.
Among English reactions to the divergence between public health measures in Wales and England, are demands by the Conservative MP for Shrewsbury that the Welsh Parliament be scrapped because it stops English people visiting beaches; the graffito pictured above in Mold, reading ‘All Welsh die of Covid — scum,’ currently under police investigation; a post on social media predicting the extinction of the Welsh language as an ‘upside’ of the Coronavirus; and a woman from the West Midlands who filmed herself abusing the Welsh police, when they explain to her that Wales is not, as she has always assumed, ‘in England.’
‘Where was the God Himself, in whose honour the congregation had gathered? Indistinguishable in the jumble of His own altar, huddled out of sight amid images of inferior descent, smothered under rose-leaves, overhung by oleographs, outbiazed by golden tablets representing the Rajah’s ancestors, and entirely obscured, when the wind blew, by the tattered foliage of a banana. Hundreds of electric lights had been lit in His honour (worked by an engine whose thumps destroyed the rhythm of the hymn). Yet His face could not be seen. Hundreds of His silver dishes were piled around Him with the minimum of effect. The inscriptions which the poets of the State had composed were hung where they could not be read, or had twitched their drawing-pins out of the stucco, and one of them (composed in English to indicate His universality) consisted, by an unfortunate slip of the draughtsman, of the words, “God si Love.”
‘God si Love. Is this the first message of India?’
E. M. Forster, A Passage to India.
It is my professional opinion (as an expert) that ‘overneath’ is a word.
The last few chapters of Hannah Arendt’s book, The Origins of Totalitarianism, yield ideas of value to us in Wales. First, Arendt emphasises the relationship between civil liberty and the nation state, such that the emergent Republic of France proclaimed the Rights of Man and gave equal status to its Jewish population, because the nation state bases its authority on its right to treat all citizens as equals, regardless of ethnicity or creed. Hence, nationalism is by nature civic nationalism, and to apply the term ‘nationalism’ to the racist and imperialist movements of the last century is either to misunderstand the phenomenon, or to abuse the word.
But while the nation state, says Arendt, treats all its citizens alike, it also seeks the uniformity of a single national language and culture, and cannot tolerate indigenous minorities within its borders: it seeks to destroy the Slovenes in Hungary, the Germans in Romania, either through assimilation, or through genocide. Unconsciously, Arendt echoes the language of Matthew Arnold, supporting the decision of the UK parliament deliberately and utterly to annihilate Welsh culture as a means of destroying the will of the Welsh people to rule themselves, and to better themselves — the unhappy effects of which we still suffer in our impoverished and divided country. Hence, to speak, as Mark Drakeford has recently spoken, of a dichotomy between national and social aspirations, of Wales in an exchange of wealth based on ability and need with England and the other nations of the UK, to imagine a future for Wales in Britain which is more than a cultural, social and economic slow suicide, would be, in Arendt’s view, a terrible political mistake: Wales’s act of national stupidity — Wales’s Brexit.
Mae fy nghymydog y masnachwr metel a ffermydd o’r farn bendant ni chaiff neb fynd byth yn y goedwig sy’n perthyn iddo, lle fod o’n pori ei fuchod unwaith yn y degawd, ac yn gyrru ei quadbike dwywaith yn y mis dros gennin y gog sy’n gorwedd yng nghysgod y derw. ‘Crwydro’ ydy ei air am y rhain sy’n tresmasu yna, gyda phwyslais sy’n arddangos ei gasineb dros hamdden ddiddefnydd ei gymdogion digeiniog.
Mae’r cennin y gog wedi dianc dros y clawdd terfyn eleni. Maen nhw’n tyfu’n lân wrth droed yr onnen yng nghae’r ffermydd, ei elyn.
Llygoden wedi marw yn fy esgid oedd achos yr arogl tew, afiachus y tŷ heddiw. Cael gwared â’r llygoden yn y clawdd acw. Cysudro cael gwared â’r gath yn y clawdd acw hefyd.
8th May: Anyone seeking to commemorate what happened in Europe in 1945 today could do far worse than to read Rob Riemen’s timely and incisive little book, To Fight Against This Age: On Fascism and Humanism — a call to Europeans to unite against the forces of fascism that are still seeking to destroy us, and to work for the unity of our continent.
1st May: The politics page on WalesOnline this morning might help demonstrate why public understanding of devolution is so poor. At the top, an article about Boris Johnson’s plans to lead ‘Britain’ out of the lockdown for which, in fact, he has no responsibility except in England. And underneath, an article criticising Mark Drakeford for failing, within a budget and tax regime decided by Westminster, to provide PPE for care homes in Wales.
While this Conservative English MP’s tweet demanding the abolition of Welsh democracy as a waste of money, was quickly deleted after a storm of responses and protests, and replaced by a subsequent demand to scrap the Senedd because it restricts the freedom of English people to travel to Wales during the Coronavirus lockdown the screen-grab taken by Yes Scotland allows us to interrogate some of its misunderstandings and contradictions at leisure. First, one might wonder why a prominent Brexiteer, a former member of the European Research Group, and, one supposes, a champion of the rights of nations against foreign interference, should come down in favour (as Mr Kawczynski himself might put it) of a corrupt and undemocratic British superstate which degrades our statehood and devalues our economy, or in favour (again, as Mr Kawczynski might put it) of the English immigrants who break our laws, abuse our benefits, undermine our democracy, and exhaust our NHS. Second, one might wonder why a champion of democracy against the machinations of foreign élites would seek to overturn a devolution policy which has been ratified by two referendums, enjoyed a growing majority in each, and now has overwhelming public support which Brexiteers can only envy. But beyond that, Mr Kawczynski reveals an assumption that a single British parliament alone can create a single British people, living as equals under one single set of laws, and this is simply not the case.
In October 1402, during the height of Owain Glyndŵr’s revolt, the parliament of Henry V passed laws restricting the civil rights of the Welsh people...
18th April: Since today is an online rally for Welsh independence, in place of the march that was cancelled due to the lockdown, I would like to talk about some of the books and music which I love, or which have shaped my view of Welsh nationhood and culture:
The short stories of Kate Roberts and John Gwilym Jones. Kate Roberts is unknown to the world, perhaps in part because she wrote in Welsh, in part because she excelled more as a short-story writer than as a novelist, but there is nothing I have written which is not inspired by her example, as much as I am inspired by Raymond Carver or Anton Chekhov. As an observer of people, and as a stylist, she is easily the equal of either Katherine Mansfield or Ernest Hemingway. John Gwilym Jones’s stories are quiet, ruminative, so inward in their focus that the first time I read them, as an MA student still dazzled by Hemingway, they went utterly over my head, yet one of them especially, reflecting on upbringing, heritage, education and belonging, has profoundly affected my recent work.
Quoting Plaid Cymru Councillor, Steve Collings: ‘The UK government’s austerity class war killed about 130,000 people over 10 years. Roughly 13,000 a year, or just over a 1,000 a month. Thanks to their arrogant “herd immunity” theory and their racist, jingoistic inability to copy the successful examples of containment in other countries, they are now killing 1,000 people per day.’
That Wales is economically dependent on English benificence is questionable, says John Ball, since its subsidy includes money spent on projects that harm or do not benefit Wales, and at the cost of Wales’s right to develop its self-reliance. That Wales has benefited from English rule is absurd, says Politics by Rebuttal, since no country would voluntarily enter a union to be exploited and disempowered for over seven hundred years. That a union of equals would demand that one of its members ‘learn their place,’ like this respondent on Adam Price’s Facebook page, is unthinkable, for that is the language of colonialism, and it is blatantly so.
Mi fydd rhai yn byw. Ac mi fydda i, y fi fawr, yn eu arwain, ebe Johnson.
Coronavirus means coronavirus, and we are going to make a success of it.
There is a short story by Bernard Malamud about a recent school leaver, unemployed and stuck in the city, who takes a vow to spend the summer reading, but because of the heat, and because he is not academic by nature, is unable to fulfil it. Instead, he spends his days wandering the streets looking at girls, and returns home in the evening to boast to his sister about the time he has spent in the library, and the books he has read... Your ambitious plans for the lockdown getting you down yet?
A short story of mine, Hamilton Park, was written, in part, as a kind of tribute to it. It was short-listed for the Rhys Davies Prize in 2013.
Second-home owners, avoid police checks during the Coronavirus lockdown by driving across the Welsh border at night, like those illegal immigrants you were so self-righteous about when you voted in favour of Brexit.
29th March: Let future generations remember and understand that on this date in the year of grace two thousand and ten, and in the fifty-ninth year since the ascension of our glorious monarch to the throne, Michael Gove, beloved of the learned, chancellor of the duchy of something or other, admitted to an adoring nation that there is something he doesn't know.
Mae’r cwyn fod y llywodraeth Cymru yn rhy agos at polisïau San Steffan ynglŷn â Covid-19 yn atgoffa mi am hanes Ana Pauker, gweinidog Romania’r comiwnyddion, oedd yn arfer mynd ag ymbarél yn yr heulwen Bwcarést yr haf, tra fod hi’n bwrw glaw ym Moscow.
There is an Old Testament story in which King David is compelled by God to choose whether his nation suffers seven weeks of plague, seven months of famine, or seven years of being oppressed by enemies. The Tories would appear to have demanded all three.
My cat has been downgraded from Whiskas to Butcher’s Classic due to shortages. She is about to discover the meaning of the term ‘public health crisis.’
Readers whose plans have been thrown into disarray by the Coronavirus might find diversion in the fate of Maelgwn Gwynedd, 6th century king of Gwynedd, ruler of Anglesey and ‘dragon of the island,‘ detested by the church because he preferred the flattery of his 24 bards to the praises of God sung by monks.
The Yellow Plague swept across Wales, in the form of a monster with yellow teeth, yellow eyes and yellow hair. Maelgwn hid in a church near his court at Deganwy, but looking out through the keyhole, caught sight of the creature, and instantly fell dead.
There is a saying concerning him, ‘Hir hun Faelgwn yn llys Rhos.’ That is to say, he rests dreaming with Cthulhu.
In the Book of Genesis, Abraham takes a heifer, a goat and a ram and cuts their bodies in two, so that when God passes between the divided parts, he enters a binding covenant to be Abraham’s protector and patron. Perhaps for the same reason, my cat placed the two halves of a dead mouse on the left and the right side of my bedroom door.
The philosopher of religion, George Santayana, draws a distinction between what two contrasting religious world views, which he names spirituality and piety respectively. While spirituality inspires us to be involved in the world we live in, to strive for its good and the good of its people, embracing human need in all its pain and perplexity, and living — as Dietrich Bonhoeffer asks us to live — as though there is no god, piety enjoins us to reject such inspiration. Since we are both weak and morally flawed, it is better to abandon our attempts to change the world for the better, concerning ourselves instead with the minutiae of the devotional life, and entrusting the rest to a god which demands our passivity and conformity, and condemns our creative concern for the world as a sign of rebelliousness and pride.
For the cultural critic, Christopher Lasch, it is our powerlessness in the face of a militaristic and environmentally destructive capitalism that drives us to what he calls ‘narcissism,’ and to a ‘minimal self’ which seeks respite from pain in escapism and emotional numbness. In the context of religion, such a minimal self will seek to be consumed in the concerns and activities of the religious community, deaf to the suffering outside its walls and blind to the evil within, trusting once again in a higher power which will bring about the fulfilment of human longings without intelligence or effort on our part. And despite the greater kindliness of Santayana’s terminology, I find little in the religion in which I was raised that deserves a better title than narcissism.
Since the racist and authoritarian views expressed by Andrew Sabisky have raised profound concerns as to the quality of the Prime Minister’s advisers, I would like to assure my readers that I am one of the Prime Minister’s advisers. Just not by his invitation or consent.
The recent media spat following Zoë Williams’s unhelpful joke about the Welsh language as ‘existentially pointless’ in an article for The Guardian on 1st February offers two conclusions, not entirely negative. First, the joke was not especially racist or hurtful, compared with, for example, Jonathan Jennings’s demand on Twitter for genocide against the Welsh people, or A. A. Gill’s description of us as ‘immoral, stunted, bigoted, dark, ugly, pugnacious little trolls’ on the pages of The Sunday Times... Read on
What would it take for Scotland to rejoin the EU as an independent state? An article by Anthony Salamone for the LSE Brexit blogs suggests that Scotland could achieve independence within three years of a referendum, and achieve membership of the EU within five years of its application.
Image by Greg Pycroft on Twitter
In his book, Germany: Jekyll or Hyde, on the politics of Nazi Germany, written in safety as a refugee in the UK, Sebastian Haffner reminds us that Adolf Hitler was not always a politician. First he was an artist; then, having failed as an artist, he became a painter and decorator; then, having failed as a painter and decorator, he became a pimp; then, not content with being a pimp, he became a snitch for the police; and then he became a member of the Nazi party, through the ranks of which he descended on the trajectory of his failure until he was Führer of the Third Reich.
Boris Johnson and Donald Trump have both made it clear that they will do nothing that requires integrity or intelligence or creativity or effort. They have put themselves on the same shameful path.
A Twitter post from 31st January, calling for the Conservative Party to be ethnically cleansed of non-whites. Perhaps one day Conservatives will understand what was understood by Sebastian Haffner in the 1930s: you cannot placate or compromise with or manipulate those for whom violence and hatred are not means to an end, but ends in themselves.
1st February: Apart from one brave soul who let off a few damp squibs at 11pm (damp squibs, no doubt, of European manufacture) Britain's liberation from the Belgian jackboot went more or less un-celebrated: proof that the Welsh, after all, are not true Britons, but some kind of duplicitous foreigner.
31st January: It is not so much the loss of my European civic identity, for the loss of protections that that identity affords will be deferred for at least a year. But it is the imposition of a British identity, both repugnant and unreal, for while it boasts of the nationhood of a union that was imposed and maintained through persecution and violence, while it boasts of defying the oppression of Europe, which is merely an invention of self-justification and self-pity, it imposes a very real oppression upon the Celtic nations.
When the UK’s new Brexit coinage boasts of ‘peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations,’ it will be necessary to remind the Brexiteers that the elected parliaments of three out of four nations in the UK voted against their withdrawal from the European Union.
14th January 2020
Dear Mr Johnson
I would like to thank you for your letter to Nicola Sturgeon, published on 14th January, and containing such a forthright rejection of a second referendum on Scottish independence. This letter, with its effective denial of Scottish nationhood, its insistence on British unity at a time when we have never been so deeply divided by income, age or nationality, and its implicit dismissal of the devolution process, might seem to embody a risky and long-term strategy, but I share your confidence that it will lead to Scottish independence more certainly than any prompt deferral to Nicola Sturgeon’s demands would do, and I thank you for it.
Since your letter makes plain your tacit support for Welsh independence by the same token, I would like to extend my warmest invitation to you to attend the marches hosted by All Under One Banner Cymru in Wrecsam on 18th April, in Tredegar on 6th June, and in Swansea on 5th September. It is frequently noted that Margaret Thatcher and John Redwood between them did more for the cause of Welsh home rule than any of their contemporaries in Wales, and I would like to acknowledge your effort to ensure first, that these marches are a resounding success, and second, that my nation secures its place as an independent republic in Europe. Please keep up this sterling work for Welsh freedom.
With very kind regards, and grateful thanks
Dr Rob Mimpriss
I quote my friend and colleague, the novelist Anna Reynolds:
Your partner is the strong one in the relationship. He tells you how pretty you are all the time, but he doesn't really trust you to do anything. He doesn’t trust you to be in charge. He doesn’t trust you with your own money. He constantly tells you how much he’s supporting you and how you’ll never make it without him.
He makes sure you’re aware how much money he gives you, how long you’ve been together, how much he loves you, even though you don’t really deserve it. He often laughs at your way of speaking and doing things. Don’t worry, it’s an affectionate laugh. He's not really laughing at you. You shouldn’t get so upset. After all, he doesn’t mean it.
He tells you you shouldn’t speak your own language, because you’re with him now, and his language is better. He tells you you can probably look after the kids, their education and things, but really important decisions are best left to him.
And you should never, ever think of leaving, because imagine how much hurt that will cause, how much trouble that will cause. You’ll never, ever survive alone. You’re too small, too weak, you rely on him for too much.
He is England. You are Wales.
At least, unlike thousands who were entrusted to his care, Iain Duncan Smith still has an address.
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 was a contributor with Nigel Jarrett, Rachel Trezise, Tristan Hughes and others to Brush with Fate, an anthology of Welsh fiction translated by Hala Salah Eldin. 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.