Sunday, March 08, 2009

Learning a lesson

Translation of a post by Vaughan Roderick

I don't know about your area, but here in Cardiff "D" plates on cars are almost as common as "L" plates. They've become so common that people hardly ever comment on them. It's odd to think just how long and bitter the battle over them was.

"D" plates were sold in garages and bookshops for years, but using them was technically illegal. From time to time some sixth former from Botwnnog or Ystalyfera would get arrested by an earnest young policeman for displaying a "D" plate, but the Welsh Office and Department of Transport turned a deaf ear to every plea to change the rules.

The excuses of the Welsh Office were pathetic. They're worth repeating to remind people just how short-sighted civil servants in Cathays Park used to be, and just how disparaging their attitude to Welsh was.

It wasn't possible for them to jump in with the first argument on the Welsh Office list of excuses - the cost - since it was, after all, the motorist who was paying for the plates.

That wasn't a problem for the Welsh Office department of excuses - by far the most efficient department in the Welsh Office. Number two on the list of excuses would do perfectly: "D" plates would, of course, be "unsafe". Were the language zealots willing to see children getting killed for the sake of Welsh?

When that argument failed to convince anyone, they used number three on the list - the border problem - the danger that someone might unwittingly break the law by driving across the border between Powys and Herefordshire.

The Welsh Office didn't just stick with the same old excuses. The intellectual prowess of the staff in the department of excuses was proverbial, and by "thinking outside the box" they produced some completely new and original excuses. It was suggested, for example, that the "L" on "L" plates wasn't a letter, but a non-language symbol ... only a fool would think that this symbol was the first letter of the word "Learner".

I think William Hague decided that enough was enough and, guess what, the A&E departments and police cells of Hereford didn't overflow because "D" plates had been legalized.

-

Which brings us back to the Newport chip shop. I had thought the Department of Excuses had long since closed, but it looks to have moved from Cathays Park to Gwydyr House. The Wales Office insist there isn't any argument against transferring the responsibility for making legislation about the language to Cardiff Bay. It's the "cost to business" that the Welsh Secretary is concerned about. I predict that questions about safety and cross-border problems will also raise their heads during the select committee's discussions. "The principle is fine, but ... "

The Assembly Government has opened up this argument by agreeing to set a threshold in the LCO on the size of the businesses that the Assembly can legislate for. By agreeing to one condition, MPs have been given an easy way to set other conditions. The Department of Excuses will be working overtime!

Both Rhodri and Ieuan insist that giving way on the affordable housing LCO did not set a precedent. Nonsense. A precedent has been set, and this precedent will enable the select committee to come back and bite their backsides over the language LCO.

Forget the idea that substantial chunks of power will be transferred through orders in council. The opinion in Westminster is that LCOs are Acts, and MPs will deal with them with the same detail as any other Acts. "Settle the constitutional question for a generation?" The Government of Wales Act is already falling to pieces.

Translation contributed to Welsh Noted by MH

17 comments:

Mark Wadsworth said...

Brilliant!

But what does "D" stand for? "Dumbass", "Driver", "Drunk", "Dangerous", "Ditzy", what?

Falco said...

Give the assembly full power to make their own legislation and raise their own taxes and stop giving them money from the English.

Problem solved. Next.

Simon Dyda said...

But what does "D" stand for? "Dumbass", "Driver", "Drunk", "Dangerous", "Ditzy", what?

Dysgwr (Learner)

North Northwester said...

Or 'Duw'- as in 'Oh God!'

So glad the Welsh people and Assembly are tackling their economic and social problems in such fine detail.

The recession in Wales should be over soon, then...

The Penguin said...

Leave the sheep-shaggers to fester in their own fetid juices, cut off from the rest of the country and it's taxpayers'largesse. Put up the tolls on the Severn Crossing to around £200 but only to leave the ghastly place, and introduce similar on all the other roads crossing the border. Re-activate the requirements for shooting any Welsh people to be found in Chester or Shrewsbury on a Sunday (with a long bow). Stop all trains at the border. Have the RAF operate an aerial exclusion zone. Get the Navy to throw a few mines into the Irish Sea.

Should sort it out, and save a few quid.

The Penguin.

Chalcedon said...

FFS. All this about something so trivial!

Prodicus said...

German registration. Ding!

saucepan said...

I'm glad that there's nothing more important for them to worry about.

What's the Welsh word for 'recession' BTW?

Mark Wadsworth said...

Penguin, why stop there? We could dynamite along the border, anchor a couple of largish ships to the west coast and drag the whole country into the North Atlantic. Ditto Northern Ireland.

Anonymous said...

The Welsh for recession is dirwasgiad, sosban.

Chris said...

But I thought the Welsh liked the letter L. Their flavour of Celt moonspeak has the letter in big clumps FFS.

Surely there's a Welsh word for student or learner that starts with 'L'? All that bloody 'D' vs' 'L' faff deftly avoided by the gentle application of a little common sense.

Ewch ich lon nawr! said...

Leave the sheep-shaggers to fester in their own fetid juices, cut off from the rest of the country and it's taxpayers'largesse. Put up the tolls on the Severn Crossing to around £200 but only to leave the ghastly place, and introduce similar on all the other roads crossing the border. Re-activate the requirements for shooting any Welsh people to be found in Chester or Shrewsbury on a Sunday (with a long bow). Stop all trains at the border. Have the RAF operate an aerial exclusion zone. Get the Navy to throw a few mines into the Irish Sea.

Wow.
...and the winner of the 6 Nations clash between Wales and england in 07, 08 & 09 was??? :D

Simon Dyda said...

Surely there's a Welsh word for student or learner that starts with 'L'?

Nope.

dr cromarty said...

Wow.
...and the winner of the 6 Nations clash between Wales and england in 07, 08 & 09 was??? :D


..and the winner of the same clash 1990-1998 was???
Wales has one the World Cup how many times?

What's your fucking point? Oh, and start using some vowels in your name, OK?

dr cromarty said...

won, obviously

Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

Well, why don't we simply give the Welsh Assembly tax-raising powers, and drop the subsidy it gets from the British Government to EXACTLY what all of the English areas get, so that the funding is completely fair.

The Welsh Assembly will then find its self in a bit of a quandry: should it put up taxes to pay for its own pet projects and watch the Welsh emigrate, or should it abandon such frippery and act to streamline its operations to run within the fair budget?

The decision-making process will be fascinating to watch, and might even give us back in England some ideas for cutting our own local costs (which would mean that we could make the same cuts, and decrease taxation in line with these, which unfortunately means the funding going to everyone including the Welsh gets cut too...).

Anonymous said...

Could the government drop some sort of chemical weapon on Wales to get rid of the arrogant,whinging Welsh poulation and make way for some real people who are from the real world.

Jesus Christ, they get on my fucking nerves, why are they SO fucking arrogant and up their own arses??

Welsh, what kind of a fucking language is it, the noises that come out of their mouths are absolutely fucking ridiculous.

What have they got to be proud of, they've never done anything or achieved a fucking thing.

Joe Calzaghe, he's fucking Italian??

Anthony Hopkins moved to get away from the fucking place.

Richard Burton took English lessons to lose his Welsh accent which in turn got him more film work.

Fuck the Welsh, I fucking hate them.