Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 01/10/14

One Law For Them...

From time to time, I have brought before you examples of anti-Welsh prejudice from various parts of politics, the media and beyond.

One would like to think - if only for the preservation of some sense of optimism about where we are heading - that a lot of it could be put down to the simple ignorance of simple ignoramuses such as self-regarding celebs, preening bloggers or the commentards on tech websites.

See if you can figure where these comments to a recent online article may have come from (there are clues there if you look)?

"Great numbers of public-sector jobs are reserved for bilingual people in parts of Wales where Welsh is partly heard; that should stop."

"Welsh is forced on children whose parents would prefer an entirely English-based education; that should stop too."

"What beneficial purpose is actually achieved by obliging the staff in British Courts situate (*) in Wales to conduct their business in an ancient language which has been rendered obsolete...[a]nd they call this lunacy "progress"."

"It is being artificially sustained by oodles of taxpayer pounds."

"Solicitors in Wales practice English Law - the language of which is English."

"Why should Welsh speakers in areas where they are few have the right to speak Welsh with public bodies?"

"By all means, keep your national identity (which consists of what, outside of a contrived cleaving to a dead language - maybe I should start addressing my clients in Middle English or perhaps Danish) but fund it yourselves from your own taxes of your own people instead of mooching off the English"

"The profession as a whole is in crisis and the pressing concern here is the right to wear stove pipe hats and buckle shoes."

" Welsh [...] speakers have the right to speak Welsh, just as they have the right to make themselves totally unemployable. Live in the past if you want."

"Welsh is not your national language....Wales is not a nation....your national language is ENGLISH.....as all the evidence provided confirms....so get over it...."

Where can one find such reactionary twaddle in such abundance as this? The comments pages of the Daily Heil, mayhap? Or perhaps those of the Gordian or the Gin-dependent, the readers of - and contributors to - which are nowhere near as liberal as they claim to be?

No, the above comments are appended to an article on the website of the Law Society Gazette, the organ (if you'll excuse the term, doubly appropriate as it seems to be in this case if in no other) of The Law Society (or, to be precise, The Law Society Of Englandandwales, as we mere colonial peons haven't been permitted our own laws for some little time - we might hurt ourselves with them, you see?)

The article in question relates to proposals by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to give Welsh parity with English when it comes to the right to practise. You can find it here, at least for the time being.

Now, consider for a moment. I can't imagine that the Law Society Gazette gets much in the way of passing trade. It may be reasonable to assume, therefore, that all of the commenters quoted above (most of whom hid behind the cap-and-bells, sorry cap-and-gown, of anonymity) are involved in the legal profession in some way or another, and thus must be regarded as somewhat intelligent. That professional shysters can come out with such brief-twisted nonsense as the above may go some way to explaining why, in that mythical land of shadows called Englandandwales, lawyers are regarded by hoi polloi as being only marginally more respectable than politicians, property speculators, journalists and other such prostitutes.

And if any of the commenters don't like what I've said, then my response is simple: sue me.

(* I don't know whether this usage was down to illiteracy, mis-typing or trying to be cutely archaic - perm any two from three would be the best)