That hilarious episode with the LWPCSF2L last night got me thinking. Why does it need a “W” ?
Why do we have to identify it as Welsh ? Why is it the Welsh Premier? Or for that matter, the Scottish Premier League when we only refer to the English competition as The Premiership? (Of course I can also argue that The Premiership, as a derivative of The Football League is no more exclusively English than the BBC).
It’s all about confidence of course. I spoke in a previous article about our acceptance of England as the starting point to which we all doff our cap. This institutional dismissal is endemic in sport. The FAW or The FA? The England and Wales Cricket Board Representative XI, or just England?
Of course none of this matters very much. Just shrug and get on with your life. Except that it does. Every time that Eddie Butler talks about the Welsh scrum, but England’s lineout, he is subconsciously disassociating himself from his country. He is talking about them, the Welsh, literally foreigners in the original Saxon term Welleas. And Eddie Butler does this a lot. Listen to him next time.
Our own use of the term Welsh to describe our own competitions is insulting, but it is also symptomatic of our weakness. If we used more of the Welsh language, then the Welsh word Cynghrair would suffice. We would know that it is the Welsh League because it is in our country’s language. See Bundesliga, or La Liga for examples. No Need for Deutsch or Espanol in there.
But we let it go. We don’t even think about it now. Life’s too short. I went to Next in Bangor last week, where they will happily sell you a full range of England football bedroom furniture for your house. Nothing for a Welsh boy. Not a stitch. And this in Wales.
Four years ago, our campaign against Gilesports in Cardiff led to concessions against their promotion of England in the World Cup. And supermarkets across Wales have been shamed away from English flag waving across our country during international football tournaments.
That’s the big stuff – the obvious stuff. It’s the petty things that slip, which are creating cracks in our identity while we plug the dam. Like the England furniture in Next and our use of the word Welsh to describe our own organisations. We always refer to North Wales, never the North which immediately conjures up images of Lancashire, Yorkshire and Tyneside. Why should that be the case in Wales? We talk about the prosperity of The South, when we mean London, Surrey and Middlesex. It’s a language issue of course. Welsh speakers all know where Gogledd is and Y Dde is some 150 miles away from London. But we use their language; ergo we use their points of reference.
But we shouldn’t blame the English. It’s not their fault. It’s ours. We scrape and bow to their sporting culture like so many Commonwealth countries before us. We buy their newspapers and we subscribe to their television. Some of you even travel to watch their teams.
The death of Welsh culture has long been predicted, but if it happens, it won’t be a case of murder, it will be suicide.