Last weekend saw the third in a series of Independence marches organised by AUOB Cymru, which attracted more than 5,000 to Merthyr Tydfil. This was widely reported by news organisations such as the Western Mail and ITV Cymru and the organisers would have been pleased with their efforts, although as my colleague Lee points out  in this article, there are a few issues to be resolved.

What the Butler Saw

Without doubt, the star speaker at the latest Merthyr rally was Eddie Butler.

I was surprised as everyone else when he was first announced as a speaker, and you could hear the crowd hush in Penderyn Square when he started to talk……. we wanted to hear what he had to say – and we were not disappointed.

To be fair we all knew he could talk – after all he does it for a living! He spoke clearly and slowly – pausing for effect – and building to his punchlines. BBC training will do that for you.

But we did not realise that behind his soft educated tones there was a depth of passion for Wales that was previously hidden. He was raised of English parents in heavily anglicised Monmouthshire – and while a successful rugby player for Pontypool and Wales, he is best known today as a rugby commentator. His analytical rugby skills were always delivered in a very British way (as required by the British Brainwashing Corporation) – which is probably why he was never seen by most Welsh rugby fans as ‘one of us’.

Look East

Most campaigners for Welsh Independence believe that we will achieve our goal by focussing our efforts in Y Fro Gymraeg and the Glamorgan Valleys, but areas such as Monmouthshire and Flintshire are beyond redemption.

Eddie Butler has just proven that we are mistaken – there are plenty of patriots in our more anglicised areas – and if we ignore our borderlands to the east we will be disregarding a large pool of potential voters, and making it much more difficult to achieve our goal.

The organisers should ensure that All Under One Banner includes all of Wales.

So maybe the next rally should be in say Wrecsam?

4 thoughts on “Dial M for Merthyr

  1. A nice play on the old film title “Dial M For Murder” Mike!

    I’m in total agreement with you. If you recall we discussed this in the past at our Steering Committee meetings. East and the border country is most definitely an area where we need to focus attention. I have in the past suggested Cwmbran (just a stone’s throw away from Pontypool and Butler territory). It is one part of south Wales – more especially the Gwent valleys – where there is, surprising for some, a huge swathe of patriotic Welsh people (borne out by previous election results). The same goes for the border areas like the Wrexham area. sadly they feel they are forgotten when it comes to nationalism.

    All of south Wales is a key area to focus our message on. This is one reason why I keep referring to breaking out ofthe ‘gold fish bowl’. That area we often call Y Fro Gymraeg, which is primarily Plaid territory. We need to lift our sights and stop preaching to the converted (whatever nationalist party they support) and start in earnest to get our south Walian brothers out of the clutches of Labour. Something Plaid have no stomach for, and in the past have been very poor at hanging on to.

    I think our style and message is far better suited to these areas.

  2. Excellent wordplay, but I expect Mike had Frederick Splott’s masterpiece in mind.

    Gwilym’s right to say that the South Wales Valleys – Wales’s single largest concentration of population and the heart of Welsh Wales – are where the action should be, but don’t underestimate us in these border regions – especially not up here in Wrexham, where we’d welcome an opportunity to nail our colours to the mast.

  3. Indeed Stephen, as I mentioned, Wrexham (the largest town in north Wales) is just as potentially an area that should be equally concentrated on as the central Valleys of the south, and indeed the south east, especially the Gwent valleys, and as Robert says above, the other city in the south – Newport.

    These are areas that tend to be overlooked, but have within them a growing sense of nationalist pride. I too was impressed by Eddie Butler’s speech of support, a person that many would wrongly presume to be someone outside the circle of natural supporters – being a Pontypool man. Therein lies the key – we sometimes presume wrongly about our brothers and sisters in the south east, and of course the border areas like Wrexham. What some of us don’t realise is that our kinsmen in those areas are often more acutely aware of their identity as Welsh people, because they are in direct contrast to others in those border areas on a daily basis and in every aspect of their life. The differences are in sharp focus for them. We overlook these areas at our peril. We also need to get away from the concept that true nationalists only occupy Y Fro Gymraeg.

    Hailing from Ceredigion. and having lived and worked for many years in Cwmbran, before later being transferred with my work to the Rhondda, I can vouch for the potential in those areas. From my past historic involvement with the short lived Independent Wales Party in the early naughties, I can also add that the backbone of the support within that party was greatly influenced by members from the Wrexham area, and it’s chief executive was from Newport.

    Independence is something that is equally deserving and yearned for by people in these areas – it is not just the passionary possession of people who live in the north and west of our country. This is something greater than just the love and use of the Welsh language. After independence, and a seismic change in our education system, pride in our language and culture as a nation will be things that will naturally spread, as it will be the crowning glory of our nation, and everyone will want to adopt it, rather than having it taught to them as a forced artificial subject within an Anglo-centric education system, where the purpose of such an exercise makes no sense to the majority who are sent to Welsh medium schools at the behest of their parents.

    Within one generation of proper education about ourselves, our history, culture and heritage in all Welsh schools, people will be straining at the leash to learn the language which is their inheritance as much as those who have been brought up in Y Fro Gymraeg. Unity and not isolation of certain areas of our country is what needs to be worked on.

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