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By Cllr W Gwyn Hopkins,

Soon after the Romans left Britain (410 AD), Anglo-Saxons (from northern Germany) began to invade Britain gradually driving the indigenous Celts to the extremities of the island – to Wales, Scotland and Cornwall.  Not content with conquering and occupying what is now England, the invaders made frequent, aggressive military incursions into Wales for several centuries.  They were successfully repelled to varying degrees by the Welsh but ultimately, due to weight of numbers, Wales was subdued, conquered and invaded by England in 1282.

 

Ever since, the main aim of the English Establishment (Monarchy and Government – latterly promoted by the Media and the imposed “English” Education System) has been to:

  1. Maintain England’s control of, and gross dominance over, Wales.
  2. Undermine Wales’ National Identity.
  3. Better still, convert the Welsh people into English people.
  4. Concurrently, absorb Wales into England.

 

Various ways have been used to accomplish these objectives, with varying degrees of success.  The first was:

 

The Statute of Westmister (1284).

Quoting verbatim from the Act, it states:  “To put the country of Wales and her inhabitants under feudal authority” and “to annex and unify the said country with the crown of the Kingdom (of England) ………in one (political) body”.

 

The “annexing” meant that Wales became an English colony – a conveniently adjacent one – whereas “unification” implied that, thereafter, England and Wales was really just one country, namely England.

Then until 1400, Wales was controlled by England by military means, with many castles built in Wales and manned by English soldiers.  Moreover, the action of Norman-English King Edward 1st in declaring his eldest son Prince of Wales (at Lincoln, February 1301) was an extremely cynical and contemptuous assertion of the conquest of Wales (the first of 21 imposed, so-called, Princes of Wales to date).  However, as a result of the successful rebellion led by Prince Owain Glyndŵr (Wales’ last authentic Prince), Wales briefly regained its independence during the period 1400 – 1412 before being re-conquered by England, after which even harsher military control was restored.

However, controlling its colony by military means was very costly in financial and manpower terms (involving the maintenance of many castles), so the English Establishment sought a subtler, more cunning, less expensive and more efficient method of both controlling Wales and implementing the above 4 objectives – the 3rd being the ultimate aim (a more humane method of eliminating the Welsh Nation than physical extermination!).  The methods employed were laid out in the 1536/1545 Acts of Union (so-called) passed by the wholly English Parliament.  The people of Wales were, of course, not consulted – they were, in fact, totally opposed to the Acts.  Because England’s population was then 10 times that of Wales (3 million to 300,000), allowing Wales a token, miniscule presence in government would do the trick and pose no threat whatsoever to England’s control of Wales.  It never would, of course, with such a massive difference in population in favour of England (that has now grown to 18 to 1).  A totally insignificant 27 “Welsh” MPs were added to the 322 English ones already at Westminster (less than 8% of the total).  However, this provided the impression that Welsh people had an effective input in ruling Wales, but as 92% of the MPs were English it was a contemptuous deception, indeed a complete illusion.

The Acts reasserted the provisions of the Statute of Westminster, stating (verbatim): The Country or Dominion of Wales shall be, stand and continue forever from henceforth incorporated, united and annexed to and with the Realm of England“.  The Acts also contained provisions to undermine the Welsh nation by anglicizing it, totally banning the Welsh language from public life, declaring: “and also from henceforth no person or persons that use the Welsh language shall have or enjoy any manner of office or fees within this realm of England, Wales or other of the King’s dominion upon pain of forfeiting the same office or fees, unless he or they use and exercise the English speech or tongue.”  This policy would have undoubtedly eliminated the Welsh language within a century or two had not the Bible been translated into Welsh by Vicar William Morgan in 1588.  This set the standard for written Welsh – a very high standard – and has, of course, been used extensively by the churches, and especially by the non-conformist chapels, of Wales since.

The decline in the Welsh language that the 1536/43 Acts were meant to cause was thus arrested so that over 80% of the people of Wales still had Welsh as their first language in 1800.

The Government therefore decided that more drastic measures were required to eradicate the Welsh language.  Three non-Welsh speaking Anglican, English, Barristers were despatched to Wales to gather the necessary evidence to justify this course of action.  The verdict was clearly agreed upon in advance of the exercise, namely that the Welsh people must be thoroughly anglicized, the English language being force-fed to them, allegedly because the Welsh language was a monumental drawback to the people of Wales in all sorts of ways – economically, linguistically, culturally, morally (!), etc.  Their report stated that the remedy was the imposition of an exclusively “English” educational system on the children of Wales in order to anglicize the population.

As a result W. E. Foster’s iniquitous 1870 Education Act was passed which imposed upon the children of Wales a network of “English” schools designed for the children of England.  It was a renewed and despicable attempt to convert Welsh people into English people (aim 3 above).  The Welsh language was outlawed for 30 years on pain of physical punishment (caning).  Its main purpose was to produce monolingual English speakers and, although Welsh is no longer banned (though certainly not encouraged) in our English medium schools, they are essentially complying with this intention of the Act to this day.  Welsh History was also totally excluded.

Finally, let us consider the extent of English Establishment success in implementing its 4 aims.

  1. Maintain England’s control of, and gross dominance over, Wales.

There are 650 MPs with 533 from England (82%).  The major parliamentary parties have huge majorities of MPs from England (Tories 96%, Labour 89%) proving that England still has a massive stranglehold over Wales (and over Scotland and Northern Ireland).  England’s will certainly still prevails in Wales.

 

  1. Undermine Wales’ National Identity.

         The key question is: How “Anglicized” have the people of Wales become (or “Britishized”, since the  Union of England and Scotland in 1707)?  Because of uncontrolled immigration from England over several centuries there’s no doubt that Welsh National Identity has been eroded by it.  The large reduction in the Welsh-speaking population during the last two centuries (from 80% to 20%) has also probably

weakened Welsh National Identity, notwithstanding the fact that very many non-Welsh speakers consider themselves to be “aborigine” Welsh (100% Welsh) and nothing else.  Although the English Establishment has not been wholly successful in undermining Welsh National Identity they never stop trying.  The media and MPs (English ones, especially) relentlessly peddle the preposterous myth that Britain (or is it the UK?) is only one country and the people of Britain constitute just one nation.  They insist on referring to the UK as “the country” or “our country” or “the nation” which, of course, clearly implies that Scotland and Wales are not countries and their people are not nations.  Many people in Wales have swallowed this nonsense and consider themselves “British” not “Welsh”.  Far fewer have swallowed

it in Scotland and the number in Wales who do is reducing.  Pride in being, and identifying oneself as, Welsh may well increase after the outstanding success of our Soccer Team in the European Championship.

 

  1. Convert the Welsh people into English people.

They haven’t quite managed this – except in fairly rare cases.

 

  1. Absorb Wales into England.

The existence of the Welsh Assembly will, hopefully, prevent this from happening.  If we had voted against the Assembly in the 1997 referendum this would  still have been a possibility although the 1536 and 1543 Acts were finally repealed by Section 35 (Schedule 2) of the welsh Language Act 1993.

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