"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Missing the point - Part I

Regular readers will know that from time to time I like to submit a petition or two to the Senedd in the hope of making a small change to the way this country works. My theory is that if enough of these small changes are made then gradually large improvements will be made.

I was sat in traffic one day at the new set of traffic lights built at the new junction to turn into the new supermarket so that I could buy some petrol at the new petrol station. I looked across to see the sign for the new road. It was a typically bland name in English only that we've come to expect from such developments.
A typical street sign in England's West Bank.
Despite growing up in an English speaking area and being brainwashed all through my pre-devolution schooling that Welsh was a dead language I had some basic skills at pronouncing Welsh words which have helped whilst I learn Welsh. Some of this came from the street names where I grew up. Almost all were Welsh only. I filled up, all the while thinking about how easy it would have been to give the road a Welsh name.

Later when I was at home I fired off a couple of tweets about this issue had a good response. I decided to create a petition calling for all new road names in Wales to be yn Gymraeg. Unfortunately road names come under the jurisdiction of councils. I was instead asked if I would like to procede with the petition for all new trunk roads to be named yn Gymraeg. It wasn't what I wanted but I figured that if it went ahead it could be a precedent for councils to follow.

"We call upon the Welsh Government to ensure that all new trunk roads in Wales have names in Welsh.  Not only does this help preserve the identity of our cities, towns and villages.  It also helps non Welsh speakers learn basic Welsh pronunciation and spelling."

The petition went before the committee and was duly rejected. I was sent a link to the documentation which included a badly scanned letter from Carl Sergant. The letter is below but to summarise he dismisses the idea of renaming all Welsh trunk roads due to road safety, cost, the 'environment' and not fitting in with the rest of the trunk roads in the UK.
Click to embiggen this rejection letter
Not once did the petition mention renaming, it only asked that all new trunk roads be named yn Gymraeg. If they are just going to be numbered then there is no problem since you can read A48 in either language quite easily. But if giving trunk roads a name is something that would not happen then so be it.

Also on the link were the following minutes.


The Committee considered correspondence in relation to this petition.

The Chair, William Powell, declared an interest in being involved in promoting the renaming of a section of the A470 as the Royal Welsh Way.

The Committee agreed to formally seek the petitioner’s views on the ministerial correspondence.

Now I find myself scratching my head at this. They refuse to accept a petition calling for new trunk roads to be named yn Gymraeg but then they want to rename an existing stretch of the A470 (which is a trunk road) to the English "Royal Welsh Way". At that point I switched to the Welsh language version of the page to check if it was translated and saw the following.
Hypocrisy and sycophancy all in one go.
And this strikes me as a massive hypocrisy, that they cannot do something as simple as passing a new law stating that any new trunk roads are (where applicable) named yn Gymraeg but they can rename a section of the A470 to the "Royal Welsh Way". It would appear that this petition has had it's point deliberately missed. And then, as if to stick two fingers up to the people of Wales they decide to rename a section of road to the Royal Welsh Way despite the aforementioned cost, environment and safety of motorists.

There is a news story here on the BBC site with a "mock up" of the sign which does have a bilingual translation.

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  1. The signs for the Royal Welsh Way are bilingual - I drive that section every day. What we need are monolingual signs - in Welsh only.

    1. Minor roads are down to the council, but since most are unionist run that's not going to happen anytime soon. Trunk roads wont happen because it's far too impractical to rename them unless it's in some sort of sycophantic tribute to a foreign monarch.