The majority language in Wales (pop. 3 million) is English. Despite compulsory Cymraeg lessons until the age of sixteen for everybody attending a State-run school in Wales – although not for those attending privately run schools – only about a fifth of the population of Wales speak the ancient tongue, a Brythonic branch of the Celtic family of languages which used to be spoken natively in the principality. The vast majority of residents of Wales simply cannot speak and don’t use Cymraeg in their day-to-day life.
That’s why the awkwardly bilingual website of the Campaign for Racial Equality (CRE) in Wales – which repeats content by swapping between the two languages in successive paragraphs – has English the first paragraph, the Cymraeg equivalent in the second, and so on.
Oh no, wait a bit, it’s the other way around. For some reasons the CRE in Wales leads with the minority language, Cymraeg, which isn’t understood by 80% of the population of the Principality.
Anyway, the CRE is taking legal action against a man for organising a petition objecting to a travellers’ site.
There is already one widely-accepted official encampment in the area. Mr Carl Lewis was organising a petition against the unofficial and illegal use of a carpark as a caravan park by the travellers. The response of the CRE has been to instruct lawyers to start proceedings against him under the Race Relations Act.
Popular Welsh blogger and Lib Dem member of the Welsh Assembly, Peter Black, said,
the prosecution of local residents who are using legitimate and democratic means to bring their concerns to the attention of the local council will set a dangerous and unwelcome precedent
There are fundamental freedom of speech issues here that are not helped by the CRE’s own inconsistency
Peter Black, AM, A peverse decision