Archives: Ifan Morgan Jones

Ifan Morgan Jones: #StandingUpForWales: Labour and Welsh nationalism

Carwyn, not Corbyn, ond a Welsh election poster
I’ve written a little bit about the relationship between Labour and Welsh nationalism on this blog in the past, but it deserves its own blog post, particularly in the middle of an election campaign.

Nations can’t exist without nationalism. But even though national borders seem to be permanent, the nationalism that underpins them is always changing and requires daily renewal.

Welsh nationalism has changed fundamentally over the centuries. If you took a Welsh nationalist in a time machine to the latter half of the 19th century he or she would have very little in common with a Welsh nationalist from that period. Your average member of ‘Cymru Fydd’ in the 19th century would emphasise their religion over language, their support for colonialism, and would likely consider rugby a sin.

Nationalism is fluid. It isn’t an ingrained identity politicians appeal to because it helps them win votes. Rather, politicians play an active role in shaping nationalism for their own political advantage.

Plaid Cymru tend to think of themselves as the party of Welsh nationalism. But Labour have played a very important role when it comes to preserving the phenomenon of Welsh nationalism too.

Welsh nationalism is politically advantageous for Labour for two reasons:
  • It preserves devolution, which gives them a power base in Wales even when they lose power at the UK Parliament.
  • It allows them to distance themselves from UK Labour when the latter becomes electorally unappealing to a Welsh audience.
Wales’ fist First Minister*, Rhodri Morgan, claimed in 2002 that there was ‘clear red water’ between Welsh and UK Labour.

But since the unelectable Jeremy Corbyn was chosen as Labour leader this body of water has become an ocean, even though he is probably closer politically to Welsh Labour than Blair was.

It’s no accident that Welsh Labour’s election strategy at this election involves promoting their Welsh credential and side-lining UK Labour.

Welsh First Minister Carwyn Jones is the public face of the campaign in Wales, rather than an MP, as was the case in 2010.

And their slogan, #StandingUpForWales, is pretty much the same as Plaid Cymru’s promise to ‘shield Wales’ from the Tories.

After all, Welsh Labour didn’t do that badly at last year’s Welsh General Election. If they can convince the public that they’re voting for Welsh Labour rather than Jeremy Corbyn, they might just be able to mitigate their losses in some of those marginal seats.

Reproducing nationalism

This is using Welsh nationalism for political gain.

But what needs to be emphasised is that there’s nothing at all unusual about the use of nationalism for political gain. In fact, nationalism always develops for political gain.

Nations do not come into being because they have unique languages and cultures. The concept of a single language and culture that applies to all citizens within a territorial boundary is in fact a product of nationalism.

A country’s ethnic identity develops because politicians and institutions emphasise those unique characteristics to make the case for political autonomy.

They say: ‘We’ are a people because we speak this language, are part of this religion, like this sport, and have a history in common. ‘They’ are different.

It may well be the case that most of the people didn’t even speak the ‘national’ language before (see France). A majority may not even be part of the ‘national’ religion, or watch the ‘national’ sport. The ‘national’ history could well be made up.

The point is that the ‘We’ and ‘They’ creates or reproduces a nation. And the nation’s existence weakens or strengthens depending on these political imperatives; that is, whether it is worth somebody’s while to continue to reproduce that nation.

At the moment, it is worth Labour’s while to reproduce Wales.

To make the case that Wales is different from England and therefore needs to be run by a different set of home-grown politicians, i.e. Labour ones, the party needs to emphasise the political, civic and ethnic differences between Wales and the rest of the UK.

This does not mean that Welsh nationalism is a ‘fake or ‘bad’ thing.

Nationalism’s role in preserving different languages and cultures is a positive. Welsh nationalism can also be justified when British nationalism does not serve Wales’ best interests.

The future

Because Labour has played such an important role in preserving Welsh nationalism, their electoral future is likely to decide its future. There are four possibilities:
  • Labour bounce back in England, and win a General Election. They will likely dial back the Welsh nationalism, and promote the ‘contributionist’ British mindset.
  • Labour do not bounce back in England but stay in power in Wales. Welsh Labour morph into a Welsh nationalist party in all but name, promote further devolution at every opportunity, and some even begin to discuss Welsh independence as a real option.
  • Labour are wiped out in Wales by the Tories. Ethnic nationalism becomes more militant, but the ‘banal’, civic Welsh nationalism is stripped away. Over time, Wales begins to be considered just another devolved region in England.
  • Labour are wiped out in Wales by Plaid Cymru. The baton of Welsh nationalism is passed but the motive for strengthening Wales’ political institutions strengthens, as Plaid Cymru does not serve as a stepping stone to political power at UK level.
We are at something of an electoral crossroads in Wales, and it’s very difficult to see which of these possible futures will win the day.

The only certainty is that the nationalists of tomorrow will have a very different mindset to the nationalists of today. And our political parties are likely to play a large role in shaping their identity.

*Before someone complains, Alun Michael was called ‘First Secretary’.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Plaid has problems – but Leanne isn’t one

Leanne Woood
The past few days have seen renewed speculation in the press and social media about Leanne Wood’s leadership.

This happens to all leaders after a few years in the top job. But to borrow an idiom from the Welsh language, Leanne Wood has pulled this bees’ nest on to her own head.

Plaid’s rules state that MPs can’t lead the party, and by deciding (unnecessarily) to announce that she was considering standing in Rhondda, she turned everyone’s attention to what a future leadership election could look like.

If Plaid Cymru do fail to make significant headway on June 8th (not winning Ynys Môfor instance) the clamour could intensify quite significantly.

However, I think that Plaid Cymru members should quell their revolutionary fervour (in this one instance). Not all the parties’ woes can be blamed on the leader, and ditching Leanne may not be in their long-term interest.

Welsh nationalist tend to be more susceptible than others to dreaming of a man gwyn man draw. But the triban is not always greener on the other side.

Leanne Wood is a) well-known throughout Wales and b) popular (by the standards of other Welsh and UK politicians). She also secured a genuine, gold-plated breakthrough by winning a seat in the valleys, where Plaid has been knocking on the door without success for many years. These are three things not many Plaid leaders have achieved.

The truth is that not making significant headway in the General Election would not be the end of the world for Plaid Cymru. Their real aim is and should be to secure a breakthrough at the National Assembly Elections. And recent polls suggest that, if Labour’s woes continue, they would be well-placed to do so in a few years’ time.

If Plaid Cymru were hotly contesting four or five seats in the valleys at the next election, who would be better to lead the party than Rhondda’s visible and popular Assembly Member?

Plaid’s problems are more complex

Discussions about changing the leadership of Paid Cymru also miss the larger picture, which is that because they are a Welsh nationalist party, their problems can’t easily be fixed with a change of personnel as they would be in the case of other, British nationalist parties.

If Labour changed leadership and moderated their hard-left stance they would no doubt bounce back in the polls. But that’s because they’re very much part of a dominant British establishment that includes the media and other institutions who would warmly welcome them back into the fold.

Plaid’s problem is ultimately that they’re a nationalist party in a country that isn’t particularly conducive to nationalism.

Plaid Cymru supporters look enviously at Scotland. But despite Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s talents, Scotland has the advantage of having strong national institutions and a comparatively healthy media.

I tend to think that nationalists in Wales place too much of a burden on Plaid Cymru’s shoulders. Political parties are constrained by the need to maintain the public’s support. Thus, they’re naturally risk averse.

Other political parties have proxies in the media, think tanks and other institutions that can do the hard (and sometimes dirty) work of changing minds for them without having to worry about a backlash at the ballot box.

Welsh nationalists need to concentrate on setting these up rather than sniping at Plaid’s leadership. Blaming Plaid can become an excuse for inaction.

Ultimately, whatever her decision (and she may herself be ready to give up the leadership for entirely personal reasons – it is a tough job) I hope Leanne Wood stays on as a Plaid Cymru AM.

Being a credible government in waiting is about more than just the leader. You need a strong cabinet in waiting too, and having Leanne on the team would show that Plaid has a lot of strength in depth.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: The Tories ahead in Wales

YouGov/ITV’s poll.
It’s clear that this is going to be a historic election in Wales. A YouGov poll just released by Roger Scully shows the Tories on 40% to Labour’s 30% – in Wales!

He deserved a bardic robe for maintaining the embargo, and a poker face, on this one over the weekend. According to this poll, the Tories will win 21 seats to Labour’s 15.
The real hammer blow for Labour are the UKIP votes turning from purple to blue. Nigel Farage’s party seems to have become a gateway through which Brexit supporting Welshmen and women have passed from Labour to the Tories.

This changes the dynamic in some seats, like Ynys Môn, completely. It now looks like a Plaid vs Tory race rather than a Plaid v Labour one.
It’s not necessarily good news for Plaid Cymru, however, who could fall to 3rd place in some previously competitive seats surrounding the valleys.

I’m not convinced that this represents a new political order in Wales. Labour have a historically bad leader. Theresa May is on her honeymoon as a new PM. The Brexit sh**t hasn’t hit the fan yet.
This could well be the Tories’ high water mark in Wales for the next few decades.
What could this political volcano mean for nationalism in Wales more broadly?

It makes the argument that Wales’ political will isn’t represented at Westminster more difficult. Wales and England have become much closer aligned politically.

It could mean that Welsh Labour are more likely to support more autonomy for Wales, as it’s unlikely to be a stepping stone to Westminster anytime soon. Remember that the difference between the ’79 referendum and ’97 was more than a decade of Tory government.

UKIP as a political force in Wales seems to be in permanent decline. This can only be a good thing. At least the Tories are competent!

Progressive Alliance

What’s notable about this poll is that Welsh Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats still make up a relatively comfortable majority.

What the Tories have managed to do, which the SNP did in Scotland post-Indyref, is to make the election a second referendum and then monopolise one-half of the vote.

This goes to show that FPTP doesn’t really work in multi-party systems and should ideally be replaced by PR, or better yet STV, as soon as possible.

But since we’re stuck with FPTP for the moment, is there a case for some kind of Progressive Alliance in Wales?

It’s clear that the Tories are making hay while the sun shines. But once Brexit loses its potency as an issue Labour are likely to gain ground again in Wales. It’s notable that a local election poll by YouGov has Labour in the lead, 28% to the Tories’ 26%.

Brain drain

Is has to be asked, however, to what extent Labour’s chronic mismanagement of the Welsh economy is finally coming back to bite them on the derrière?

Until the Welsh economy improves (it’s the weakest in western Europe at the moment) the brain drain to young people will continue, to be replaced only by older retirees.

Older people tend to vote for the Conservatives, while younger voters are more likely to plump for Labour.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Leanne Wood and Rhondda, Mk II

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood is apparently ‘seriously considering’ a run at Rhondda in the upcoming General Election.

Whether she decides to do so or not, this is particularly noteworthy as a Westminster-bound Leanne Wood could no longer continue as leader of the party. If nothing else, it’s an admission that she may not be planning to hold on to the leadership for very long, come what may.

Thinking tactically, I’m not particularly keen on this idea, for several reasons. Firstly, because it sends the public a message that being an MP is a step up from being an AM. This is no doubt the case for many Unionist politicians, who have gladly moved from the Welsh Assembly to the ‘big league’ at Westminster when the opportunity has arisen. But Plaid Cymru have always emphasised that Wales’ own Senedd is the place to be.

I’m willing to be convinced otherwise. But from where I stand, Leanne Wood running for office in the Rhondda has a few positives, but many potential negatives. If she does lose, her political reputation will be damaged. It would also be difficult to see her continuing as Plaid Cymru leader after failed attempt to extract herself from that position.

If she wins, Plaid Cymru face a very difficult by-election is a Labour heartland. Leanne Wood, with her recognisability and star quality, may have won the Assembly seat relatively comfortably, but that is no guarantee that a generic Plaid candidate would do so, especially post-EU referendum. And the people of the Rhondda may not appreciate having to trudge out and vote for the fifth time since 2015. If Leannne Wood wins the Rhondda at Westminster but Plaid lose it as the Assembly, it would be one step forward, two steps back.

If Plaid Cymru are going to imitate the SNP and become the dominant force in Wales, it’s always going to happen at the Assembly before it happens in Westminster. They always do much better in Assembly elections, because the media focus is on issues related to Wales, and Plaid Cymru’s turnout remains relatively consistent while the unionist parties’ turnouts fall. When they do win power at the Assembly, they will receive the kind of media attention that will make them a more viable prospect at Westminster elections.

Now, however, Plaid Cymru need their best politicians fighting in the Assembly elections. Having a politician of Leanne Wood’s calibre and likeability in Westminster would not help meet that goal, in my opinion.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Nation.Cymru and the General Election

The original plan was to launch our volunteer-run English-language national website for Wales, Nation.Cymru, towards the end of the summer as the new political term began.

Theresa May’s announcement of a General Election on 8 June has changed that.
Whatever the different political parties may say, this election will be a referendum on a Hard Brexit. And hopefully, it will be a nuanced debate, with detailed manifestos, which will not give politicians the opportunity to decipher a Yes or No outcome in whatever way they would like.

Last year’s Brexit referendum made the need for an English-language national website for Wales crystal clear. Whatever the benefits of Brexit for the UK as a whole, there was almost no discussion about the effects on Wales as a country, as there was in Scotland.

Welsh voters went to the polls, through little fault of their own, without the basic facts about how Brexit would impact us. With the media continuing to decline in Wales, this democratic deficit looks like it will get worse before it gets better, just at the time when Wales needs to hold a reasoned debate about its own future. Scotland, Northern Ireland and England are having this internal discussion about their own places within the UK – Wales must have one too.

It’s very important that Wales does not walk blindly into another historic vote on its own future. If nothing else Nation.Cymru can be another platform on which an informed discussion about what options would be best for Wales can take place.

My hope now is that we can launch something in the next few weeks. It may not be the Nation.Cymru we had envisaged, but we can continue to build towards that goal. To stick to our original timeline and ignore one of the biggest political events for the next four years is not a reasonable option.

Nation.Cymru will be staffed by volunteers and financed by donations and subscriptions. If you would like to contribute towards the site, please do so here

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Why Labour and Plaid Cymru should support a Welsh independence movement

Wales faces ruin. Picture by Les Haines (CC BY 2.0)

In two or three years, we could be looking at a very different United Kingdom, if it exists at all.

Scotland could be an independent country and Ireland a united one. Corbyn will have led Labour to a cataclysmic defeat, reducing the party to an ineffectual rump of some 150 seats.

Wales will become an economic backwater as Brexit wipes out much of the manufacturing and agricultural industries. The economy will be even more centralised in the South East of England.

This is the bleak future that we face here in Wales. However, both Labour and Plaid Cymru, the small and capital ‘N’ nationalist parties in Wales, have been very slow to adapt to these changes.

If you look at the issues being debated in the Welsh Assembly, it’s as if nothing has changed at all.

Labour and Plaid Cymru’s paralysis is best understood when you realise that nationalism is ultimately driven by self-interest.

Labour’s rugby-nationalism

Labour supported the creation of the National Assembly because they knew that they would be running it. And the kind of nationalism it has nurtured while in office has been carefully calibrated to ensure that this remains the case.

Andy Burnham identified this nationalism while discussing devolution for Manchester last week:

“Compare what happened in Wales and Scotland. In the former, Carwyn Jones pioneered a distinctive, patriotic brand of ‘red-shirt Labour’ dressed in the national rugby colours. In the latter, following the death of Donald Dewar, no high-profile Labour figure arrived to pick up the devolution torch and a large hole was left for others to fill.”

In other words, Labour has deliberately nurtured a form of nationalism that is ultimately a thin veneer that can be donned where needed to win public support.

This is a brand of nationalism that reminds their core vote of their working-class, industrial, Labour-supporting Welsh identity but at the same time:

a) avoids the cultural nationalism that could make them sympathetic to Plaid Cymru

b) is too ‘banal’ to stir up the kind of ‘hot’ nationalism that could lead to independence, and as such make it harder for Labour to win power at Westminster.

This non-offensive ‘rugby-nationalism’ allows the people of Wales to blow steam for 80 minutes during the Six Nations but does not allow for a broader discussion about Wales’ constitutional predicament.

It’s no coincidence that Shane Williams was the poster boy for Wales’ devolution referendum in 2011, or that WRU chief Roger Lewis was the chairman. Rugby-nationalism is Labour’s favoured brand of nationalism.

Plaid Cymru’s cultural nationalism

Plaid Cymru, meanwhile, have settled for a form of nationalism that embraces the cultural differences between Wales and England but does not call for any radical constitutional change.

This is because it has not ultimately been in their supporters’ interest, either, for Wales to break away from the United Kingdom.

Plaid’s cultural nationalism depends on Wales’ national institutions – be they libraries, museums, TV channels, universities, publishers or theatre groups – for sustenance.

But it is felt (rightly or wrongly) that without the Treasury’s largesse these institutions may not exist at all.

Cultural nationalism can be ‘banal’ too, especially if one has a well-paid job at a cultural institution, or is happy as long as ‘Pobl y Cwm’ is on every night at 8pm. And although Wales’ culture is being slowly eroded, the process has been too slow to shock cultural nationalists into action.

Both these nationalisms, Labour’s rugby nationalism and Plaid’s cultural nationalism, have served both parties well so far.

Plaid’s cultural nationalism has little appeal among the working class in the valleys. And Labour’s rugby-nationalism seems awfully shallow to middle-class Welsh-speakers such as myself. But between them they’ve locked up 52% of the vote and 41 of the 60 seats in the Welsh Assembly.

So far there’s been very little incentive to change and embrace a radical ‘hot’ nationalism that demands constitutional change. But the situation is now fast moving, and they’re going to have to do so or risk losing their grip on power at the Welsh Assembly, and in doing so lose Wales itself.


If Scotland and Ireland do leave the UK, Wales is very likely to revert back to its pre-1707 Act of Union role as a constituent part of England.

Wales has since at least the 19th century ridden on Scotland and Northern Ireland’s coat-tails and claimed that it too should be given special status within the United Kingdom.
It’s difficult however to see Wales on its own being able to make a strong case for special treatment. It will soon just be another region of England, like Manchester, that enjoys some devolution.

Labour fully recognise that this scenario is a possibility, but continue to delude themselves that Wales will have special clout within a post-break up England.

Carwyn Jones has over the past few years claimed that the House of Lords could be re-formed in order to give Wales equal representation, or that the UK could be federalised.

This week he seems to be belatedly concluding that a Tory-run UK Government has little interest in Wales.

No one can blame them either. There are only two things that the Conservatives fear – one is that they lose power, and the other is that they lose part of the UK.

Wales can’t threaten the first. The country would make up just 5% of the population of ‘EnglandandWales’. And Wales isn’t a ‘swing seat’ in electoral terms, but a solid Labour one. There are a few seats in the north-east (and Carwyn Jones’ own Bridgend) that the Tories would love to have, but they don’t need them.

If Wales was a US State, it would be somewhere like Georgia. Very few electoral votes, and so solidly partisan that no presidential candidate would ever bother visiting.


But Wales can threaten to leave the UK. The Conservatives, staunch British nationalists, fear the continued break-up of the UK more than anything else.

The thought of Wales breaking away, even if they don’t care how Wales gets on the rest of the time, would be enough to make them reconsider their neglect of the country.

The above seeems obvious. But Welsh Labour don’t see it because they suffer from a contributionist mindset which has plagued the country for centuries.

It can basically be summed up as the belief that if Wales behaves and contributes to the British Empire it will be rewarded.

This belief had some (mistaken) foundation in the 19th and early 20th century when Wales was booming due to the industrial revolution. Wales desperately wanted to be recognised as an equal partner in the Empire alongside England and Scotland. Minor triumphs such as crowning the Prince of Wales at Caernarfon castle in 1911 made them think that they were finally being rewarded and recognised for their loyalty.

This delusion continues to this day. In the aftermath of the first Independence Referendum in Scotland, Wales’ former First Minister Rhodri Morgan called for Wales to be rewarded because “the country didn’t put the whole of the UK through the mincer via referendum or civil war” as Scotland had.
It is Scotland of course that has subsequently enjoyed all of Westminster’s attention – and all because that threat of separation hangs over Westminster like the Sword of Damocles.

A grim future

Wales may have only two years before the UK is ripped apart and replaced by EnglandandWales. But it won’t be called EnglandandWales – it will be called England.

If we want to survive as a nation, it’s time to put the contributionist mindset aside and consider how we can stop a dominant Conservative party ignoring Wales culturally and economically.

The Welsh language and culture would be done for. The cultural institutions which nurture the ethnic nationalism that is at the heart of Paid Cymru would be closed.

There would be no justification for a Welsh rugby or football team. The neglected post-industrial Wales which is the bedrock of Labour’s electoral dominance would rapidly de-populate as public investment dries up completely.

The population would age rapidly as the young migrate to the South East of England. Only retirees would move in the other direction. Wales’ seacoast would be a streak of Tory-voting blue.

The core vote Welsh Labour and Plaid Cymru rely on would soon cease to exist. Neither rugby-nationalism or cultural nationalism can survive without a rugby team or a culture.

Neither of these parties can sit back and hope for the best. One is a Welsh National Party and the other is only now electable in Wales. If they don’t change, they will quickly face an existential crisis. And so will the country.

Wales needs them to back a radical independence movement.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: The McEvoy Enigma

Neil McEvoy AM
Neil McEvoy is an abrasive, rough around the edges, populist politician promising his supporters that he’ll take down a corrupt establishment and ‘Drain the Bay’.

In the words of Theresa May: ‘Remind you of anyone?’

Neil McEvoy isn’t Donald Trump or Nigel Farage or Marine Le Pen, of course. His politics are firmly on the centre-left. But he’s adopted their populism, their straight talking, and their ability to generate outraged headlines by angering the establishment middle-class.

In a previous blog I made the case that Plaid Cymru were a party of front-row nationalists trying to appeal to a back-row electorate.

This back-row electorate feels increasingly estranged from the front row running the nation’s institutions, and don’t feel that globalisation has improved their lot. They’re looking for a party that will represent their interests.

Plaid have never been a back-row party, which is why they tend to be regarded as a part of the establishment – a ‘crachach’ – even though they’ve always fallen short of forming a government.

Labour were certainly a back row party in the past, but have slowly lost the working class vote over the last decade or so, and under Corbyn’s leadership are considered a party of the metropolitan hard left.

If Welsh Nationalism wants to make itself relevant in the current political climate, if it wants to win elections, it must appeal to this back-row.

Neil McEvoy is firmly a back-row politician. As one of my fellow front-row nationalists told me the other day, he’s a ‘dog shit and pothole politician’.

But this perhaps ignores the reality that the majority in those areas where Plaid hope to make inroads don’t care about Wales’ constitution or the Welsh language, the issues that animate front-row nationalists – or at least, not enough to change their vote.

Their votes need to be won on local issues that affect their day-to-day lives, one pot hole and dog shit at a time.

Labour hate Neil McEvoy, because they fear that his kind of politics could easily make inroads into their working-class support, as it did when McEvoy almost toppled the previous Health Minister Mark Drakeford in Cardiff West in the last Assembly election.

But there is an element within Plaid Cymru that also dislike him, because his values don’t chime with the front-row nationalism they hold dear.

The challenge for Neil McEvoy will be to temper his abrasive nature so that it can’t be used as a means of attacking him, while retaining his reputation for no-nonsense straight talking and taking on the Welsh establishment.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Welsh education in Llangennech: Defusing the powder keg

It’s difficult to think of a more emotive issue in Wales’ local government than one that combines the Welsh language on one side and parents’ gut feeling about what is best for their child on the other.

This is a powder keg waiting to explode, feelings are high on both sides of the argument, and there’s a real danger someone will say something silly and set the whole thing off – oh, too late.

To make things worse, Neil Hamilton has now involved himself in the debate. UKIP feed off division, and will stir up hate for votes. It’s like asking a divorce lawyer to be your marriage councillor.

So what is needed on both sides are cool heads, and a grown up discussion on the facts of the matter. The central question here is: What is best for the kids?

The benefits of bilingualism

Why is the Welsh language taught at schools? There are cultural and historical reasons, of course, but those are unlikely to sway parents who don’t feel part on that tradition.

At its most basic level, then, the ability to speak Welsh is primarily a skill; one that also allows the children to study a subject, which is Welsh language culture.

We know that bilingualism is good for children. Studies have shown that bilingualism:

  • ·        Improves cognitive skills not related to language

  • ·        Makes the child better at solving mental puzzles

  • ·        Allows the brain to avoid distractions and stay focused

  • ·        Stops dementia in old age

That last point in no small advantage if we consider that our children are likely to live for longer than we do. Bilingualism forces the brain to work harder as it juggles the two languages. A harder working brain is a fitter brain (just as your body would be fitter if you had to work harder physically).

So far, nobody has been able to demonstrate scientifically that bilingualism is a disadvantage. The old 19th century argument that some languages are superior to others, or that learning two languages confuses children, has been proven to be completely false.

Given these advantages, we are very lucky in Wales that we are able to offer a bilingual education. Many primarily monolingual countries, where one language dominates, are not able to produce children that are fluent in two languages by the time they leave primary school.

So if the children at Llangennech will get two languages for the price of one, a Buy One Get One Deal if you will, what exactly is the problem?


The argument against, it seems, is that parents should be able to choose what language their children are taught in. Taking that choice out of their hands is undemocratic.

This argument seems convincing at first sight, but I don’t really buy it, for a few reasons I’ll point out below. But the first thing that needs pointing out is that so-called ‘Welsh Medium education’ is actually Welsh and English education.

Children in a Welsh medium school are taught to speak and read in both Welsh and English. The only difference between a fully Welsh medium and a dual stream school is that they aren’t able to opt out of the Welsh language option.

Opponents will point out that the primary language of instruction is Welsh. But this makes sense as the primary language of many of these children’s interactions outside of the classroom will be English.

I have three children – one is nine, the other is six and the other five – and all three go to a Welsh medium school and speak Welsh at home.

Despite this, all three are able to speak and understand English, and my six and nine-year-olds can read English as well.

It cannot be argued therefore that a Welsh medium education deprives them of the English language in any way. They are taught to speak and read both languages at school.

So while a parent would be able to exercise the choice of not sending a child to a Welsh medium school, the child itself is actually being deprived of a choice. Their linguistic frontiers are being narrowed and there’s nothing they can do about it.


It’s also noteworthy that the Welsh language is the only skill taught at primary school that parents think they should exercise a choice over.

Schools are not run by committee. Experts in pedagogy at council level make decisions regarding what would best serve the children’s educational needs.

If parents argued that they should have a choice as to whether their children were taught science, or computing skills, or algebra, we would find this very odd, because we recognise that experts have a better understanding of what is best for the child than the parent.

A parent that, for instance, wanted to teach creationism rather than evolution would be encouraged to home-school the child.

But when a parent argues that a child should be deprived of the Welsh language, a skill that has proven benefits and no proven drawbacks, it is considered a legitimate grievance.

It is difficult to come to any conclusion other than that it is motivated either by a misunderstanding of the benefits of Welsh language education, or a cultural antipathy towards the language that some politicians are keen to exploit for political gain.


This should not be framed as an English v Welsh cultural or linguistic battle. I value both languages equally and am always thankful that I was given the opportunity to learn both. I would be much the poorer for not having learned one or the other.

Welsh medium schools are about giving every child in Wales that same opportunity.

Thank you for reading, and please leave a comment below.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: The ‘back row’ and Welsh Nationalism

Chris Arnade has been key to my understanding of Trump supporters since the election last year. He sees the country as being divided between what he calls the ‘front row’ (cosmopolitan, coastal USA) and the ‘back row’ (rural, inland USA) and argues that calling the latter ignorant, reckless or irrational is self-defeating, and is likely to harden their resolve rather than weaken it. The ‘front row’ and ‘back row’ are separated thus:

Front Row

Back Row

Global outlook

Stay where they are born


Little education beyond high school

Social network based around higher

 education and career

Social network based around community institutions

Intellect and rationality give their lives meaning

Belief and hard work give their lives meaning

Beyond race and gender

Traditional views of race and gender

Believe the world is getting better

Believe the world is getting worse

These definitions are perhaps over simplistic, even in their original context in the USA. For instance, a lot of ethnic minorities that find themselves in the ‘back row’ are ardent Democrat supporters.

It’s worth noting however that this isn’t just a wealthy/poor divide: We know that a lot of Trump supporters are actually well off, but it’s the world-view rather than how much money they have in the bank that’s important here.

Brexit and Trump
If you’re reading this blog, it’s very likely that you fall into the ‘front row’ category. In fact, I don’t think it would be particularly controversial to argue that Welsh nationalism as a whole has been primarily a ‘front row’ pursuit. If you were asked to picture a Welsh nationalist you would probably see in your mind’s eye an academic such as O.M. Edwards scribbling away at his desk, or the Archdruid crowning a bard. This becomes even clearer if you consider Welsh nationalism’s primary complaints:

  1. The UK’s neglect has stopped Wales from reaching its full potential and taking its rightful place as an equal amongst the other nations of the world.
  2. Cultural colonialism has weakened the Welsh language, and in doing so has narrowed our cultural and intellectual perspectives.

On the other hand, British/English nationalism is very much a ‘Back row’ nationalism. It is sneered at by liberal commentators. The primary image of British nationalism is a skinhead English football fan upending a cafe on the continent, or Nigel Farage holding a pint in a pub. Brexit is ‘irrational’ and ‘racist’.

The problem is that this ‘front row/back row’ divide also explains why Brexit and Donald Trump’s campaign were so successful, while Welsh nationalism continues to move forward, in the words of Captain Blackadder, “at the pace of an asthmatic ant carrying some heavy shopping”.

Democracy does not favour the intellectual and rational. It’s all down to numbers. Wales does have small pockets where the ‘front row’ are in the ascendancy (university towns and cities). It is, however, primarily a ‘back row’ country. Over half of the vote is locked up in the post-industrial south-east, the ‘costa geriatrica’ of the north Wales coastline, or in socially conservative rural areas.

The primary question that Welsh nationalism faces, therefore, is how does it make itself relevant to the ‘back row’? Moreover, does it really WANT to make itself relevant to them? Does it have the stomach for it – do the ends justify the means? Can, and does it, want to bring out the inner Trump, the inner Nigel Farage, and appeal to this demographic?

I’m not sure it does.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: No, Trump isn’t a propaganda genius

Sean Spicer’s unintentionally hilarious press conference
I follow a number of US journalists of twitter, and a recurring response every time Donald Trump says something unhinged and daft is: ‘What a propaganda genius – he’s clearly saying this to distract us from this other damaging story that’s unfolding.’ Parallels have been drawn with the propaganda of the Third Reich, Stalin’s Russia, and Orwell’s fictional 1984.

But the truth is that this is just the media’s excuse to keep on reporting what Trump says. He’s good ratings, after all. Even for those of us that hate his politics with a passion, the man is very entertaining to watch. You would laugh at him if the situation wasn’t so horrifying. But since the media clearly know what his game is, their excuse falls apart. The only thing stopping them from ignoring Trump’s lies and concentrating on the important stories are themselves. Perpetuating this con on the American people is a choice they’re making.

Trump is no master propagandist. He’s no Machiavellian operator. He has all the nous of a bull in a china shop. He lies a lot, but with the sophistication of a five-year-old child. Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s press conference yesterday was the final proof of this. The line between effective authoritarianism and comedy is very thin, and he somersaulted over it like an Olympic gymnast. I watched the press conference on C-Span and the assembled journalists were actually *laughing* at the end.

It’s possible that, after years of gradually brainwashing the population, cracking down on dissent, and locking us all up in room 101, Trump’s White House could claim that the sky is orange and the that they’re holding up four fingers when they’re actually holding up five. But to attempt to claim that Trumps’ inauguration was the best attended ever, ‘period’, when most people had either watched it live or seen the pictures of the measly crowd in front of Capitol Hill, wasn’t sly or clever, it was just utterly stupid. Even Trump’s die-hard supporters on Twitter had come up with a reasonable excuse, which is that it was difficult for Trump’s rural voters to travel to Washington.

Trump isn’t going to be a good President. Any politician can whip up xenophobia and divisiveness as a cheap ticket to power, but once you’re in charge you need to deliver. It’s difficult to appreciate this now, as we rightly remember them for their despicably evil actions, but Mussolini and the Nazis were genuinely popular with their base in the years before WW2 because of improvements such as the Autobahns and ‘making the trains run on time’. Trump comes into power with approval ratings in the 30s, and he’s only President at all because of an archaic and undemocratic electoral college system. Nothing he has said or done since winning the Presidency suggests that he knows how to transform America’s economy in a way that will benefit the white working class voters who have pinned their hopes on him. It’s likely that he will simply clock off and allow the more traditional conservatives such as Pence and Ryan to run the country. If he’s too much of a distraction, they may simply impeach him.

The only thing that can save Trump’s presidency from running out of steam in the next year or so would be a war. It would have to be a big war – one that would whip up mindless patriotism, necessitate a clamp-down on individual freedoms, serve as justification for a police state, and reinvigorate the rust belt with factories making bombs and munitions. I really hope I’m wrong about this, but it would not surprise me if Trump attempted to goad China into some kind of confrontation. Being a bull in a china shop, it’s the one task he’s certainly suited for.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Nofel newydd ar y ffordd – Dadeni

Rwy’n falch o gyhoeddi y bydd nofel newydd gen i yn cael ei chyhoeddi yn y gwanwyn. Dadeni fydd fy nhrydedd nofel, ar ôl Igam Ogam yn 2008 a’r Argraff Gyntaf yn 2010. Rydw i wedi bod yn gweithio ar y nofel am flynyddoedd lawer, ond roedd tri o blant bach, PhD a dechrau swydd newydd mwnn maes cwbl wahanol wedi fy atal rhag ysgrifennu’n greadigol am y tro. Diolch i fwrsariaeth gan Lenyddiaeth Cymru cefais gyfle i gwblhau’r gwaith y llynedd, a diolch i’r Lolfa fe fydd yn cael ei chyhoeddi.

Dyma rai manylion pellach:

Pan aiff lladrad yn nhŵr Llundain o’i le, caiff yr archeolegydd Bleddyn Cadwaladr a’i fab Joni Teifi eu galw i ddatrys yr achos. Ond mae’r hyn y maent yn ei ddarganfod ar safle’r drosedd yn eu gwthio i ganol rhyfel am einioes Cymru sy’n ymestyn yn ôl miloedd o flynyddoedd.


Wrth i rymoedd tywyll fygwth y Senedd Cymru, mae’r ddau yn wynebu ras yn erbyn amser i ddod o hyd i grair dinistriol a all newid cyfeiriad hanes y genedl.

Nid dyma’r clawr swyddogol ond poster a greais i’n photoshop er mwyn hyrwyddo’r nofel – nes bod dylunydd profiadol yn creu clawr go iawn:

Fel ydych chi’n gallu ei ddyfalu wrth edrych ar y darlun, mae yna bwyslais ar wleidyddiaeth a chwedloniaeth Cymru yn y nofel gyffrous hon – fy hoff bynciau!

Fe wna i flogio ychydig yn rhagor am Dadeni dros y misoedd nesaf, wrth i’r dyddiad cyhoeddi agosáu. Yn y cyfamser, croeso i chi ddilyn y ffrwd Twitter.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Setting up Nation.Cymru

My new year’s resolution for 2017 was to do things rather than talk (or tweet) about doing them.
As a first step towards that goal on the 1st of January I bought the domain name Nation.Cymru with the intention of setting up a community-driven national news website.

This sounds very grand, but it all depends on you. I’m not going to be able to do anything without your help.
We’re all aware of the problems currently facing the commercial Welsh media. With a small and comparatively poor population (within an UK context), the Welsh media market simply can’t compete with the London press, a problem further exacerbated by the decline of print sales.

In order to close the ‘democratic deficit’ that exists in Wales, we need to create a Welsh public sphere. Such a national public sphere exists on the pages of the Welsh-language press, in magazines such as Barn, Golwg, O’r Pedwar Gwynt, and websites such as Golwg 360.

There is a danger however that these publications are largely preaching to the converted – the Welsh-speaking middle class. These are the people who already care about our nascent Welsh democracy.

The English-language media in Wales has, unlike the Welsh-language press, always been regional in nature. And if the national media are essential in creating a ‘national community’ as Benedict Anderson claimed, what kind of community are created by the Daily Post, Western Mail and Cambrian News? Communities called North Wales, Mid Wales and South Wales, I’d wager.

Of course, only some 5% of the Welsh public make use of this regional press at all. The vast majority get their news from media organisations based primarily in London. I could point you to a swathe of academic papers that confirm that seldom do these news outlets cover Wales, but I’m sure I don’t need to.

The result is that the people of Wales have little or no understanding of what their national political institutions do. That’s bad for democracy, and bad for governance, too.

Miroslav Hroch explained the progression of a nation as one from A to C. A is the background work done by historians who discover a nation’s past; but the most important step is from B to C. From something discussed by the intelligentsia into an identity common to the man and woman on the street.

Since 1999 we’ve been wavering somewhere between this B and C. The 2010 referendum confirmed that the people of Wales fully supported the Welsh National Assembly. But the conversation about where Wales should go next is still in many ways stuck on B, because, lacking a proper national media, there is no real medium through which that conversation can take place.

The digital revolution has progressed to the point where there’s no real excuse for that. What the rise of the SNP, Brexit and Trump had in common was that even though their success was covered to a great extent by the commercial and publically-funded media, a lot of it was and remains negative coverage – they actually built up support through community-run websites and social media. There are examples of these kinds of websites in Wales already, but they are diffuse. We need to stop singing in the shower as individuals and come together as a choir. No, we don’t want to be the next Trump, or Brexit. We have no interest in ‘fake news’. And Wales is not Scotland. But we do want to see the people of Wales wake up to the existence of devolution, that it’s important, and that they should be paying attention to it.

Welsh-language content will also be included on the site, alongside the English – but it will be different Welsh content to what is offered in English, rather than a translation. The idea would also be to normalise the sight of Welsh language content alongside the English and the idea of Wales as a bilingual nation. Some extra content within English language articles could also be provided in Welsh where appropriate, as is the case in some bilingual newspapers in Spain.

This clearly won’t be a 24/7 news service to begin with as I have a full time job and no funds to employ anyone. However, in the age of social media I’m no longer convinced that a 24/7 news service is required, as very few people depend on a single news portal for their news. One or two good articles, given prominence on social media, can be much more effective than 30+ press releases that are identical to other news sites.

It will clearly take a while to build the website into something to be proud of. But my feeling is that it would be better to start somewhere, with limited content, and to build from there, than to do nothing at all. Nation.Cymru will be a non-commercial news site with any money made from adverts etc re-invested in the site or, if possible, used to pay contributors. I would very much appreciate it if you could voluntarily contribute articles and idea to the website once it has been set up. There are so many intelligent, eloquent people out there that are passionate about Wales, that if everyone contributed the occasional article we could keep the website ticking over quite nicely, and ensure that the burden does not fall on any particular person or persons. The trick is to pool our efforts.

The first thing we need, however, is some hard cash. It’s going to cost a few hundred quid to get the site off the ground in the first place, in terms of paying for hosting and building the website.

If you would like to contribute, please visit this Go Fund Me page. If everyone who has told me they want to see this kind of website donates a £1, we’ll reach the required £250, or beyond, in no time at all.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Sut fyddai Cymru 30 etholaeth yn edrych?

Rwy’n ysgrifennu nofel newydd ar hyn o bryd o’r enw Dadeni, a fydd yn cael ei chyhoeddi gan y Lolfa y flwyddyn nesaf.

Mae tua hanner y nofel wedi ei gosod yng Nghaerdydd ac mae’n ymwneud i raddau helaeth â’r Senedd a gwleidyddiaeth Cymru. Mae gwleidyddion, gan gynnwys Aelodau Cynulliad, ymysg y prif gymeriadau.

Er bod y nofel wedi ei gosod yn y presennol mae mewn fersiwn amgen o’r Gymru fodern lle mae’r system etholiadol ychydig yn fwy cyfrannol.

Yn hytrach na bod 40 Aelod Cynulliad yn cael eu hethol i gynrychioli etholaethau, a 20 yn cael eu hethol i gynrychioli rhestrau rhanbarthol, mae yna 30 AC etholaeth a 30 AC yn cael eu hethol ar y rhestrau rhanbarthol.

Er mwyn sicrhau cysondeb drwy gydol y nofel rydw i wedi creu map o’r etholaethau a fydd yn ymddangos ynddo. Rydw i wedi defnyddio ystadegau’r Comisiwn Ffiniau er mwyn sicrhau eu bod yn agos o ran maint.

Dyma’r etholaethau. Mae’r lliwiau er mwyn eu gwahaniaethu yn unig. Nid ydynt yn dynodi pa blaid sydd wedi cipio’r sedd!

Mae yna bum rhanbarth, a bob un yn cynnwys chwe etholaeth, ac mae yna chwe Aelod Cynulliad rhanbarthol hefyd yn cael ei ethol i gynrychioli bob un:

Mae’r Comisiwn Ffiniau ar hyn o bryd yn brysur yn ceisio torri niferoedd etholaethau etholiadau San Steffan Cymru i 29. Rwy’n credu y byddai yn syniad gwell eu torri i 30 er mwyn osgoi dryswch â’r Cynulliad.

Mae croeso iddyn nhw ddefnyddio’r map yma os ydyn nhw eisiau!

Er diddordeb, dyma’r seddi a phwy sy’n meddu arnynt ar ddechrau’r nofel.

Llafur = 26 sedd

Ceidwadwyr = 11 sedd

Plaid Cymru = 10 sedd

UKIP = 10 sedd

Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol = 3 sedd

Rhanbarth Gogledd Cymru

Ynys Môn ac Arfon – Llafur
Arfordir Gogledd Cymru – Y Ceidwadwyr
Clwyd – Y Ceidwadwyr
Flint a Rhuddlan – Llafur
Alyn a Glannau Dyfrdwy – Llafur
Wrecsam – Llafur

Seddi rhestr

1.      Plaid
2.      Plaid
3.      UKIP
4.      UKIP
5.      Ceidwadwyr
6.      Llafur

Rhanbarth Canolbarth Cymru

Gogledd Powys  – Ceidwadwyr
Bae Ceredigion  – Plaid
Caerfyrddin a Llanelli – Plaid

Dwyrain Caerfyrddin a De Powys – Ceidwadwyr

Gwynedd – Plaid

De Sir Benfro – Y Ceidwadwyr

Seddi rhestr

1.      Llafur

2.      Llafur

3.      Llafur

4.      UKIP

5.      UKIP

6.      Dems Rhydd

Rhanbarth Gorllewin De Cymru

Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr – Llafur

Gŵyr – Llafur

Port Talbot a Masteg – Llafur

Dwyrain Tawe a Chastell-Nedd – Llafur

Gorllewin Abertawe – Llafur

Bro Morgannwg – Llafur

Seddi Rhestr

1.      Plaid

2.      Plaid

3.      Dems Rhydd

4.      Ceidwadwyr

5.      UKIP

6.      UKIP

Rhanbarth Canol De Cymru

De Ddwyrain Caerdydd – Llafur

De Orllewin Caerdydd – Llafur

Gogledd Ddwyrain Caerdydd – Llafur

Gogledd Orllewin Caerdydd – Llafur

Rhondda – Llafur

Cwm Cynon – Llafur

Seddi Rhestr

1.      Plaid

2.      Plaid

3.      Ceidwadwyr

4.      Ceidwadwyr

5.      UKIP

6.      UKIP

Rhanbarth Dwyrain De Cymru

Blaenau Gwent – Llafur

Merthyr Tudful – Llafur

Caerffili – Llafur

Sir Fynwy – Y Ceidwadwyr

Casnewydd – Llafur

Torfaen – Llafur

Seddi Rhestr

1.      UKIP

2.      UKIP

3.      Ceidwadwyr

4.      Plaid

5.      Dems Rhydd
6.      Llafur

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Ethnic nationalism bad, civic nationalism good?

There is a tendency among progressives to think that civic nationalism is good and ethnic nationalism is bad. But this isn’t necessarily the case.

First off, let’s define what we mean by civic and ethnic nationalism.

Civic nationalism is the belief that a country is not defined by any particular language, culture or race, and that anyone can be part of it as long as they adhere to its institutions.

(This is what people think: I don’t think this is actually the case, as I’ll argue in a minute.)

Ethnic nationalism, despite its name, doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with race. It can be cultural nationalism, linguistic nationalism, or even religious nationalism.

At first glance, civic nationalism appears to be much the superior form of nationalism.

It is inclusive. It does not discriminate against anyone on the grounds of language, religion or their culture.

Of course, nation states and national movements don’t face a straight choice between ethnic and civic nationalism. It’s more of a gradient.

If you look at Wales, for instance, there are elements of linguistic ethnic nationalism in support for the Welsh language, and civic nationalism in institutions such as the Welsh Assembly, National Library, National Museum, etc.

But if you look under the bonnet it’s clear that civic and ethnic nationalism are inexorably intertwined.

Civic institutions such as museums, universities and libraries play a leading role in shaping a country’s ethnic nationalism.

They can put the emphasis on particular aspects of a country’s history in order to argue that the country’s culture, language or religion has always been such a way and should remain that way in the present.

These institutions produce ethnic nationalism as a means of increasing their own power. They emphasise that the people of a particular nation are different to others and therefore they should have their own independent institutions.

National political institutions also clearly have a part to play in emphasising ethnic nationalism. Politicians use the discourse of ethnic nationalism all the time in order to increase their own power.

However, ethnic nationalism isn’t necessarily bad because it can be a way for minority groups to protect a culture or language that would otherwise be swallowed up by the majority group.

I would argue that ethnic nationalism is only bad when it is used by a majority group in order to try to erase the language and culture of minority groups.

So, for instance, ethnic nationalism among African-Americans is perfectly fine in my book as they’re a minority protecting a culture that could otherwise be in danger of being wiped out.

In the same way, I believe ethnic nationalism among Welsh-speakers to be all to the good, as it is aimed at preserving a language and culture that has nowhere else to go.

However, ethnic nationalism by the majority English-speaking population against Welsh speakers would not be OK as there’s no threat to their language and culture from Welsh speakers.

In the same way, if Welsh-speakers ever became a majority in a Welsh nation-state, it would be wrong for them to employ ethnic nationalism as a means of getting rid of the country’s English-language culture.

I tend to think of ethnic nationalism as ‘change’ nationalism, while civic nationalism is ‘status quo’ nationalism.

Despite seeming morally superior, what an emphasis on civic nationalism usually suggests is that a country is already so ethnically homogenous that it doesn’t need ethnic nationalism.

An absence of ethnic nationalism tends to signal a country where cultural change is no longer needed because it already has its own independent national institutions and there is no challenge to the culture of the majority.

Ethnic nationalism is pushed into the background largely because the majority ethnic group is so secure that there’s no need to react to any threat to it.

I think what we’ve seen in the United States and the United Kingdom is a swing back from civic to ethnic nationalism because the majority group suddenly feels under threat.

In the US, they realised they’re likely to be a minority in the country by 2050 and so the pendulum has swung back from civic nationalism to ethnic nationalism once more.

Because the change in the United States is driven by demographics, it’s unlikely that this ethnic nationalism will revert to a civic nationalism anytime soon.

In the UK, they realised they were likely to become part of a much larger super-state where their language and culture could be in the minority. The spectre of immigration even suggested that they could one day become a minority in their own nation state.

If Brexit does happen, it’s possible we’ll see this ethnic nationalism die down a little as the status of the majority cultural group is secured.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Does hope trump hate? – President Trump and Welsh Nationalism

Can a progressive national movement be successful?

I describe myself as a utilitarian nationalist, as I believe that there are logical and practical reasons why further self-determination would benefit Wales.

However, we shouldn’t kid ourselves that people are always logical and practical when they choose who to vote for.

As Trump’s election as President in the United States has shown, people tend to vote with their gut, for loyalty to a particular tribe, and for emotional reasons.

Hate is the most powerful emotion of all. And when it comes to nationalist movements, voters tend to react not to policies but to what’s called the ‘discourse of nationalism’ – a discourse that emphasises in many overt and subtle ways the difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

Trump’s campaign wasn’t a nationalist movement per se – he wasn’t campaigning for independence – but he did tip the scales back from civic to ethnic nationalism.

To be an American it was no longer enough to live in the country and respect its constitution and its institutions – the Khzir Khan model of American nationalism.

The Trump campaign’s message was that you only truly belong to the country if you belong to a particular culture, in this case White Anglo-Saxon/Celtic Protestant.

The discourse of nationalism is obvious in Trump’s speeches and adverts and has clearly been extremely effective.

Welsh and Scottish nationalism’s ‘problem’ (if you could call it that) is that it lacks such a clear ‘us’ versus ‘them’ narrative.

Its adherents are progressive liberals. Most are happy to accept anyone who wants to be part of the country. There’s no ‘other’ to be excluded.

The only ‘other’ is Westminster, or perhaps British politicians. They can claim these British institutions aren’t working for them, and need to be replaced with home-grown ones.

It’s easy to maintain civic nationalism in a country that is already independent, but it’s harder in my opinion to base an independence movement on it, because it lacks the same emotional punch.

How then can Welsh and Scottish nationalists appeal to voters on an emotional level? They can offer hope, but unfortunately – as the US election has shown – when it comes to the ballot box hope doesn’t always trump hate.

The only chance of success in my opinion is that the politics of the UK become so repellent to Welsh and Scottish voters that independence becomes the only positive solution.

That is clearly the game Nicola Sturgeon is playing, by juxtaposing the pro-EU and progressive civic nationalism in Scotland with the increasingly right-wing, ethnic turn of British nationalism.

Thankfully, they’re doing it the hard way. Whether it’ll be enough remains to be seen.

Further thoughts: How dangerous is Trump?

The extent to which we should fear a President Trump depends to a large extent upon to what extent he actually he has the political nous and patience to govern a country.

Despite being the most powerful person on earth, a President and the rest of the Executive Branch can get very little done without the Legislative Branch.

As President Obama demonstrated before him, it’s easy to campaign on a message of change, but much harder to deliver change when in power.

Despite his promises in 2008, Guantánamo Bay remains open, millionaires still pay a lower tax share than many of their workers, and government surveillance in as intensive as ever.

Obama’s failures were frustrating at the time, but when a demagogue does enter power you are reminded why these checks and balances are there.

We should certainly take Trump and his fascist tendencies at face value – he is very dangerous and would build that wall, veto the press and deport millions if he could.

But he can’t achieve anything without the rest of the Republican party, who are thankfully slightly less dangerous.

I don’t think Trump has the patience or intelligence to get his policies through. I suspect we’ll probably end up with an executive that is run by the Vice President, Mike Pence.

His views on guns, the LGBT community are extremely troubling, but not quite white supremacist-level troubling.

It should be noted however that the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany was played down in the 1930s on the grounds that other political parties would have a moderating influence on them.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Trump, Brexit, rhyddfrydiaeth a chenedlaetholdeb

Yr Arlywydd Etholedig Donald Trump
Rwy’n credu bod yna ddau ffactor wrth wraidd buddugoliaeth Trump yn yr Unol Daleithiau a Brexit yn y Deyrnas Gyfunol.

Rhif 1

Yn gyntaf, system etholiadol a oedd yn gorfodi dewis rhwng dau ganlyniad a oedd, i’r mwyafrif o bobl, yn annymunol.

Yn y ddau achos, roedd pobl eisiau datgan eu hanfodlonrwydd gyda’r drefn fel yr oedd, ond yr unig fodd o wneud hynny oedd dewis opsiwn eithafol a fyddai yn gwneud pethau’n waeth.

Refferendwm a arweiniodd at Brexit wrth gwrs, ac mae’r rheini yn bethau prin, ond mae system ddemocrataidd yr Unol Daleithiau wedi bod yn llanast ers degawdau ac mae angen ei atgyweirio.

Rhwng etholaethau wedi eu gerimandro, y gornestau cychwynnol, dylanwad arian ar y broses, a’r coleg etholiadol ei hun, does yna ddim llawer yma sy’n gwneud unrhyw fath o synnwyr.

Esgorodd y system hon ar ddau ymgeisydd hynod o wael, a gorfodwyd pobl yr Unol Daleithiau i ddewis rhyngddynt am nad oedd y system mewn gwirionedd yn caniatáu unrhyw ddewis amgen.

Yn anffodus rwy’n credu bod y modd y mae’r wlad bellach wedi ei rwygo i lawr y canol yn ganlyniad uniongyrchol i orfodi pawb i ddewis rhwng y Democratiaid a’r Gweriniaethwyr.

Mae angen llawer mwy o hyblygrwydd o fewn ein systemau democrataidd os ydyn nhw am osgoi twf eithafiaeth yn y dyfodol. Mae cynrychiolaeth gyfrannol a phleidlais sengl drosglwyddadwy yn hanfodol.

Rhif 2

Mae’r term ‘neo-ryddfrydiaeth’ wedi colli ei ystyr drwy orddefnydd dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf. Ond beth bynnag ydan ni’n ei alw, mae’n amlwg bod yr etholwyr wedi cael llond bol ohono.

Dyw hyn ddim yn unrhyw beth newydd. Wedi’r cwbl, roedd y geidwadaeth radicalaidd a oedd yn rhan o dwf cenedlaetholdeb Cymreig diwylliannol yn yr 20fed ganrif yn ymateb i raddau i ryddfrydiaeth eithafol yr 19eg ganrif.

Mae masnach rydd yn cyfoethogi pawb, ond rhai yn fwy na’i gilydd. Ac nid yw’r manteision mor amlwg pan ddaw hynny ar draul ystyriaethau diwylliannol a chymdeithasol.

Does dim dwywaith bod nifer o gefnogwyr Trump yn hiliol. Ond y cwestiwn yw i ba raddau y mae’n ymateb i newid demograffig a diwylliannol cyflym yn yr Unol Daleithiau.

Roeddwn i’n anhapus o weld Donald Trump yn cael ei ddisgrifio fel ‘nationalist’. Y gwir yw bod Hillary Clinton yn genedlaetholwr hefyd, ond bod ei chenedlaetholdeb hi yn un sydd â gwedd ddinesig iddo.

Mae Donald Trump yn genedlaetholwr ethnig a diwylliannol. Wrth addo gwneud America yn fawr unwaith eto, yr hyn a oedd yn ei addo mewn gwirionedd oedd ei ddychwelyd i oes pan nad oedd unrhyw her i reolaeth, diwylliant ac iaith y mwyafrif croenwyn.

Rwy’n credu bod y pwyslais ar ddiwylliant ac iaith yn bwysig yma. Er ei fod yn ddyn croenddu, roedd Barack Obama yn dderbyniol i nifer o’r un bobl a bleidleisiodd dros Trump.

Roedd ei fagwraeth yn golygu ei fod yn gallu pontio ffiniau diwylliant pobl croenwyn a chroenddu.

Llwyddodd i apelio at y dosbarth gweithiol croenwyn, tra bod Hillary wedi ceisio eu hanwybyddu a dibynnu ar bleidlais pobl croewyn oedd ag addysg a grwpiau lleiafrifol. Methodd y strategaeth hon.

Mae iaith yn ystyriaeth arall wrth drafod dylanwad poblogaeth Hispanaidd yr Unol Daleithiau. Mae disgwyl i ddefnydd y Sbaeneg barhau i dyfu wrth i’r boblogaeth gyrraedd 30% o drigolion yr Unol Daleithiau.

Mae’n hawdd i ni ar y chwith wfftio pryderon o’r fath a dyheu am fyd amlddiwylliannol lle mae pawb yn gyfartal. Ond yn anffodus mae nifer yn gweld rhyngweithio rhwng diwylliannau gwahanol yn debycach i ‘tug of war’ – yn eu tyb nhw, does dim modd i ddylanwad y grwpiau lleiafrifol dyfu heb i ddylanwad y grŵp gwyn mwyafrifol grebachu.

Mae ymchwil wedi dangos bod twf poblogaeth groenddu neu Hispanaidd yn golygu bod cymunedau croenwyn yn fwy tebygol o bleidleisio dros y blaid Weriniaethol.

Roedd nifer yn meddwl y byddai’r newidiadau demograffig yn yr Unol Daleithiau yn siŵr o fod o fudd i’r Democratiaid, ond ymddengys y bydd yn hytrach yn hybu’r Gweriniaethwyr, yn y tymor byr beth bynnag.


Y ddau ffactor hyn gyda’i gilydd oedd y cyfuniad peryglus.

Roedd bai ar y sefydliad yn achos Brexit ac etholiad Trump. Roedd y Democratiaid wedi hybu Trump gan feddwl mai ef fyddai’r ymgeisydd hawsaf i’w faeddu.

Roedd Cameron yn yr un modd wedi cynnig refferendwm ar Brexit gan feddwl y byddai’r bobl yn gochel rhag ddewis mor eithafol.

Yn y ddau achos roedd y mwyafrif diwylliannol wedi cael cymaint o lond bol gyda’r drefn ryddfrydol fel ag yr oedd fe ddewison nhw neidio oddi ar y clogwyn i’r tywyllwch.

Mae angen i ni gynnig dewis i’r etholwyr sydd rywle rhwng y ddau begwn hyn os ydyn ni am atal twf ffasgaeth yn yr Unol Daleithiau ac yn Ewrop.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: The Welsh Internationalist Party

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog about how everyone is a nationalist, and every party is a national party.

Helpfully, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives in Wales have all now proven my point by voting for a ‘Hard Brexit’ – against membership of the single market and freedom of movement in Europe.

So if you’re a Plaid Cymru or SNP supporter, the next time someone calls you a ‘nat’, you have a ready-made reply:

“My party supports membership of the single market and freedom of movement, yours doesn’t. So who’s the nat?”

I’ve recently been thinking aloud about what kind of party Plaid Cymru should be, now that Labour seems to be in electoral freefall and the far-right is stirring in Europe and north America.

Plaid Cymru’s role in Welsh politics has now fundamentally changed. Until now, they wielded influence not by winning elections but by presenting enough of an electoral threat to Labour’s core constituencies in the valleys in order to drag the Labour party in Wales to the left and towards Welsh-European nationalism.

They were the little angel on Welsh Labour’s shoulder.

There is now, of course, another party on Welsh Labour’s shoulder which is threatening their core valleys continuances. A little cythraul called UKIP, which is working its own political gravity on Welsh Labour, pulling it in the direction of a anti-European, anti-immigration British nationalism.

Being pulled in both directions isn’t a good place to be, and it’s no real surprise that immigration and Europe are accentuating already deep divisions between the right, the centre and left of the Labour Party.

If UK Labour do founder and Welsh Labour retain their hold on the Senedd, I believe we’ll see Welsh Labour continue to emphasise Welsh nationalism because it will be in their interests to do so.

However, if Welsh Labour suffer an electoral calamity, Plaid Cymru must ensure that it is them rather than UKIP or the Conservatives that are ready to pick up the pieces.


One thing Plaid Cymru needs to do is decide where it stands on the use of immigration, freedom of movement and cultural erosion.

The worst thing they could do is follow the same path as the other parties and simply ape UKIP. You don’t beat UKIP by becoming UKIP.

If UKIP eventually closes its doors because the members feel entirely at home in the Conservative or Labour parties, that means UKIP has won.

We need to remember than 47% of the electorate supported staying in the European Union and the continuation of freedom of movement.

The SNP have shown in Scotland that the support of 47% of the electorate is very a good foundation to build on.

Immigration has always been a tough issue for Plaid Cymru. They’ve had their hands burnt too many times in the past.

They’ve been stung by completely unfounded accusations of fascism (see Richard Wyn Jones’ excellent book on this topic) – a theme that continues to this day.

However, I think the other parties’ dash to the right gives them some breathing space in order to discuss the issue.

The Conservatives and Labour can hardly accuse them of racism while calling on companies to draw up lists of foreign-born workers.

An inability to talk about immigration has been a problem for Plaid Cymru, not least because the party argues vehemently for a future for the Welsh-language.

It’s clear that one of the main issues threatening the future of the language is demographic change.

Young Welsh-speakers are moving out of Welsh-speaking communities and being replaced with an older, non-Welsh speaking population.

This isn’t a criticism of either the movers in or the movers out. The same dynamic is present in any poor, rural area.

Plaid Cymru have not found a sensitive way of approaching this topic, and their support for freedom of movement more generally means that they’ve been open to accusations of hypocrisy.


What Plaid Cymru should push for, in my opinion, is a multi-cultural Europe, but one where all cultures are protected from erosion.

The danger of the European Union was always that Europe would become culturally homogeneous.

This is what nation-states do: They break down the linguistic and cultural barriers between people so that they’re are part of one imagined community.

They become ‘German’, ‘French’, ‘British’ where before they may before have been Sorbs, Bretons and Welsh.

A United States of Europe could even dispense with the French, German, Italians and Spanish. They could over decades become Europeans, as culturally similar as New Yorkers or Californians.

Plaid Cymru should argue for freedom of movement, but with more done in Wales, Britain and across Europe in order to ensure cultural continuity and integration.

And the people of Wales should be given all the tools necessary in order to enjoy the different cultures present in Europe.

Primary schools should be tri-lingual: English, Welsh, and at least one other European language so that the next generation can develop an appreciation of other cultures, and enjoy freedom of movement while integrating themselves into other European communities.

The message should be that we should embrace cultural diversity while also accepting that those cultures will only survive if they’re protected, and sometimes need their own geographical spaces in order to thrive.
This point of view allows Plaid Cymru to balance two competing objectives:

  1. Argue that concerns about immigration are valid in areas where immigration has changed the cultural character of a community. These can be rural communities or inner-city communities, English or Welsh speaking. But the emphasis should be on integration while rejecting the far right’s claim that exclusion based on race or nationality is the answer.
  2. Present themselves as a pro-European alternative to the Conservatives and Labour, who have adopted a xenophobic, British nationalist perspective.

Maintaining cultural diversity is the right thing to do. Immigration is all important for Wales’ economy and public services. Plaid Cymru needs to get the balance right between these two objectives.

My aim with this blog is always to promote a conversation, so please feel free to respond below, whether you agree or think this is complete nonsense. I’m always open to other points of view.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Clinton should focus on Clinton in the first Presidential debate

We should always take the noise emanating from the two Presidential campaigns before a debate with a pinch of salt.

They usually tell us more about what the campaigns want the other to think, rather than what their actual strategy is.

All the talk from the Trump campaign has been that he is not preparing and that his staff are concerned that he’ll do something wacky and un-Presidential on stage.

Therefore, we should expect a very subdued Trump to turn up. His answers won’t be detailed, and he has an almost magnetic aversion to facts, but he’ll try to act the Commander-in-Chief.

The Clinton camp has suggested that they will attempt to goad Trump into making a fool of himself. For the same reason, unless a golden opportunity does present itself, I think that’s unlikely to happen.

As George Bernard Shaw said: “I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.”

The Clinton team know that if it becomes a slanging match, that’s all the media will play afterwards, and Trump will once again get a pass on his rudimentary grasp of the facts.

He will get all the attention, as well as kudos for ‘telling it like it is’ even if he’s spouting complete gibberish.

Let Trump try to act substantial and Presidential. Because if it’s about looking substantial and presidential, Hillary will win that competition.

She’s already president material. The polls agree on that. What she isn’t, the electorate feel, is particularly likeable.

That’s what she needs to work on in this debate. The Trump campaign will attempt to spin her performance as robotic. She needs to endear herself to the audience.

The truth is that other than that, Clinton can afford a boring, event-free debate. She is, at the moment, ahead in the polls by a whisker.

As the election day approaches, third party candidate supporters will start to return to the two main parties. Again, according to the polls, most of them favor Clinton in a head to head with Trump.

For all the hype, Presidential debates don’t tend to influence the polls that much. Around this time in the cycle, whoever is narrowly ahead tends to stay ahead until election day.

If Clinton can avoid a catastrophe tonight, she will have taken another big step towards the Presidency.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Why Plaid Cymru should move to the centre-ground

Plaid Cymru signs in Ceredigion
It’s difficult to think of a more fortuitous situation in which Plaid Cymru could find itself.

The Conservative party is being led further right by May and the three Brexiteers, who don’t seem to have any idea what they’re doing.

They are likely to be in power for a long time despite all of their problems, due to a lack of a viable opposition party, further encouraging calls for Welsh self-determination.

UKIP have lost their entire raison d’etre with the vote for Brexit, members are defecting to the Conservatives, and their charismatic leader has left the stage (for the time being).

The Liberal Democrats are still in the wilderness, although they seem to be having some success in their pre-coalition role of the ‘none of the above’ party in recent by-elections.

Meanwhile, the Labour party continue to move towards the hard-left under the control of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

Unless there’s a significant shock in the leadership election, it’s going to be at least 2020 before the Labour party are rid of Corbyn– and they could just elect another hard-left socialist in his place.

Plaid Cymru

Nature abhors a vacuum, so they say, and there’s currently a large vacuum at the centre ground of Welsh politics where any half-sensible political party could take residence.

Plaid Cymru have to take the opportunity to be that party. If they blow it now, that could well be it, I think. But they need to make some changes.

Although the party’s supporters have watched Labour’s decline with incredulity and some moral indignation, the truth is that they suffer from many of the same problems.

They’re a hard-left party in a country that is tracking towards the right. It’s no surprise therefore that electoral success has been limited.

We tend to think that Plaid Cymru have been held back by their nationalism and their support for the Welsh language.

But an alternative view is that this is what has been keeping Plaid Cymru afloat. A number of people vote for them as a bulwark against cultural erosion, without caring much about their politics.

If they are to become a party with mass-appeal, they need to start appealing to the masses rather than left-wing, middle-class Welsh-speaking university lecturers like myself.

Principles v pragmatism

How best to position themselves on the electoral compass is a difficult decision for any political party.

Their members usually lean either left or to the right – very few people join a political party in order to sustain the middling status quo.

But a political party that wants the chance to puts its politics into action must compromise between what the members want and what the voters want.

As Labour’s current travails have shown, there’s little point in sticking to one’s left-wing principles if what that means in practice is the Conservative party having free rein to re-open grammar schools and privatise health services.

Added to this, there has been a real and dangerous shift towards the hard-right across Europe and the United States in the last few years.

The choice facing Plaid Cymru is either a) become an election-winning party that occupies the political centre ground with a membership that leans to the left (the Labour route).

Or b) allow a party such as UKIP to hoover up former Labour voters in the valleys and lead Welsh politics to Trumpsville.

It’s not difficult to imagine that much of what Plaid Cymru has fought almost 100 years to defend, would come a cropper in a Neil Hamilton-controlled Assembly.

So what does that mean in practice?

First of all, it’s more about the way a party presents itself to voters than its actual policies. And for that reason, a Welsh national media should remain goal #1 for Plaid Cymru. Little can be achieved without one.

But there are certain areas where I think the party could track towards the centre ground while also securing some of its long-term goals for greater Welsh autonomy.

Infrastructure and taxes

This is an area where we’ve already seen some drift towards the centre ground within the party.

The party’s main weakness at last year’s General Election, in my opinion, was a tendency to focus too much on opposing austerity at all costs.

The party should instead focus on reducing levels of public subsidy and encouraging Wales to stand on its own two feet with a healthy private sector.

This means lowering taxes for businesses so that there’s some incentive for them to choose Wales over the South-east of England.

Where public money is spent the focus should be on infrastructure. Wales has terrible infrastructure and very little money has been spent addressing this problem.

For instance, it was mentioned this week that Wales has 11% of the UK’s rail network, but 1% of the funding.

The A55 is poor enough, but the roads from north-south Wales are a nightmare. They’re so bad, that it almost has to be deliberate.

A bypass here and a roundabout there isn’t enough – billions need to be spent on new roads and railways.

There are very practical reasons beyond appealing to voters why Plaid Cymru should argue this case:

Wales cannot make the case for independence, or even further financial devolution until it has its own integrated and robust private sector economy.

An independence movement based around public sector workers will screech to a halt if they’re asked to vote their own jobs into oblivion. Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas.

With no integrated transport system, north and south Wales care little about each other, and tend to nurture cross-border links. This is a big problem for any nationalist party.

A strong private sector is all important for a strong media (which needs companies that can afford to advertise and a wealthy population to advertise to), which as pointed out in the past is all important for the reproduction of the discourse of nationalism.

The political narrative of Westminster allowing Wales’ infrastructure to stagnate while spending billions of HS2, Cross-rail and a 3rd Heathrow runway is a drum Plaid Cymru should be beating all the time.


Most painfully for the party, tracking to the centre would also mean having something to say on the issue of immigration.

There needs to be a centre ground here between Plaid Cymru’s more-the-merrier view of immigration and the UKIP xenophobia, as the second is (at the moment) winning out.

It could in fact be an opportunity for Plaid Cymru to marry its stance on cultural erosion with a wider narrative that encompasses immigration into the UK as a whole.

There is little wrong with saying ‘There has been a lot of fear-mongering about immigration, and the truth is that in many parts of the UK, such as the south Wales valleys, it is practically non-existent.

‘Any immigrants that come into the UK should be welcomed and encouraged to integrate into their community. Portraying them as the ‘Other’ is in fact a barrier to such integration.

‘However, we also have to respect people’s right to feel at home in their own communities. If immigration completely changes the cultural character of a community, then the residents of that community do have valid concerns that need to be addressed.

‘This applies equally to a community within a city in England as it does a village in Gwynedd.’

Whether we like it or not, and whether we think they’re valid or not, people do have concerns about immigration, and any political party does have to address them.

What this doesn’t mean is scapegoating minorities for political gain – again, that would be a one-way ticket to Trumpsville.

A niche within a niche

Despite the popular conception of nationalism as the madness of crowds, Plaid Cymru has for most of its history been run by left-wing academics and intellectuals with a penchant for big policy ideas.

Compare this year’s Assembly election manifesto with Labour’s offering.

However, I do sometimes feel as if they’re overcomplicating matters when it comes to winning elections.

Any healthy democracy needs political parties which have well-thought through policies. You certainly need them to stay in power once you have it.

But elections aren’t won by good policies alone. People make a series of gut decisions about who they trust with their vote.

They think: Which of these parties is run by people who are politically and culturally like me? Can I trust them to run the economy – do they understand my aspirations?

There is a danger that a hard-left, Welsh nationalist party fails all of these tests: It is a niche within a niche.

If it is going to taste electoral success, I think Plaid Cymru needs to shed at least one of these constrictions.

The nationalist problem is one it can overcome, and, in my opinion, it goes hand in hand with compromising on its socialism and moving to the political centre-ground.

For Plaid Cymru, this is equally a moment of great opportunity, and potential crisis: How Plaid Cymru responds will shape its destiny, and Wales’ future, for decades.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: New Welsh constituencies: Quick reaction

The embargo has been lifted on the proposals for the new Welsh constituencies, which reduce the number from 40 to 29.

This was always a tough task and under the circumstances I think they’ve done about as good a job as possible. I have mixed feelings about Arfon and Anglesey and Ceredigion. Cutting Caernarfon’s surrounding villages out of the former, and including Llanidloes in the latter feels unnatural to me, when other options were available. But I’m sure others have similar feelings about areas where they’ve grown up.

I do wish they would have pegged the number of MPs at 30 rather than 29, in order to make it easier for the Assembly constituencies to align with those in Westminster (with 30 AMs elected to constituencies and 30 on the list system, giving us a 50/50 split that would be more in line with Scotland).

Twenty-nine is an awkward number and pretty much ensures that Assembly and Westminster constituencies will diverge at some point, confusing the hell out of everyone, not least the political parties themselves.

Who will be happiest with the new constituencies? Leaving aside their obvious resistance to the reduction in the number of urban constituencies overall, probably Labour. The map looks about as good as it could have for them.

Who is punished the most? Again ironically, it’s the Conservatives, I think.

Plaid Cymru will have mixed feelings, but the map isn’t as bad as it could have been for them. The Lib Dems could well lose their only seat, but there’s hope for them too.

The Conservatives

Gower will be a tough ask for the Conservatives now that it includes a large portion of Swansea West. I would expect this seat to swing back to Labour.

Their two seats in Pembrokeshire will be reduced to one – they have little chance of taking Ceredigion and North Pembrokeshire.

The Vale of Glamorgan will be split to include parts of Bridgend and Cardiff South. Again, Labour could probably snaffle both those seats.

Vale of Clwyd, Clwyd West and Aberconwy are currently in Tory hands. They will no doubt keep the Colwyn and Conwy seat created along the ‘Costa Geriatrica’ of the north Wales coastline. North Clwyd will probably lose the battle against Gwynedd.

Potentially one of the most interesting new seats is the Frankenstein’s monster know as South Clwyd and North Montgomeryshire. While I’d fancy the Conservatives to keep it, it will include prominent Welsh-speaking areas such as Machynlleth and Y Bala, as well as some built-up areas near Wrexham.

The Liberal Democrats were also competitive in this area not so long ago and will be looking to bounce back after the disaster of 2015. 

This seat could become a four-way fight between the Tories, Labour, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats. I wouldn’t like to put money of the outcome.

All in all, the Conservatives could lose half their seats. But given the Conservatives’ tendency to focus on the UK-wide picture rather than Wales in isolation, I’m sure it will be a sacrifice they’ll be willing to make.

Plaid Cymru

For Plaid Cymru the picture is mixed. It means that all of their seats are now swing seats, whereas before they had three pretty rock-solid strongholds. However, they could potentially up their tally from three to four seats.

Carmarthenshire should be safe, although Labour would run them close here.

Things are less clear in Afon and Anglesey. It includes more of the Labour-leaning Bangor than the Plaid-leaning Caernarfon and surrounding districts, which they lose to North Clwyd and Gwynedd.

This will probably be a very close contest between them and Labour – it could edge Labour.

North Clwyd on Gwynedd includes a number of tory-voting rural areas to the north-east. Plaid Cymru should win (knock Wood) but it won’t be a safe seat with a massive majority in the same way as Dwyfor Meirionnydd.
Ceredigion could go one of two ways. This is now a very curious seat, with North Pembrokeshire included, which makes perfect sense, but also Llanidloes, which doesn’t.

Llanidloes is cut off from Ceredigion by very large and desolate mountains made famous by the series y Gwyll/Hinterland, and will feel relatively isolated from the rest of the constituency. It would have made much more sense in my opinion to include part of Machynlleth, which has better transport links with Aberystwyth.

How Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems handle these changes will all be down to tactics. The Welsh speaking parts of North Pembrokeshire will no doubt help Plaid Cymru.

The Lib Dems will need to convince the people of Llanidoes and Fishguard who don’t vote Plaid Cymru to stop voting Tory/Labour and embrace them as the ‘anyone-but-the-nationalists’ party in these areas.

If everyone votes as they do at the moment, the seat will probably go Plaid Cymru. But if they vote tactically, as people tend to do in FPTP elections, the Lib Dems could be in with a shot.

The Result

What do I think the final tally would be?

Plaid Cymru – 3 seats (taking either Ceredigion or Anglesey and Arfon, but perhaps not both)

Conservatives – 6 seats. (Down from 11)

Labour – 19-20 seats. (down from 25)

Lib Dems – 1 or 0, depending on how things go in the new Ceredigion.

This is how I think it would play out, with swing seats in two colours:

The plans will now go out for a 12 week consultation. I will certainly be making a few suggestions!

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: The Tories, Brexit, and abolishing the Welsh Assembly

The leader of the Welsh Conservatives today sent out a dire warning than the anti-establishment mood following Brexit means that the National Assembly of Wales is in peril.

The people of Wales would probably not vote for devolution again if given the choice once more, he claimed.

There’s no evidence to back this up, and plenty of the contrary. The people of Wales are asked this question every year in an opinion poll.

According to the latest poll carried out in May, only 13% would support abolishing the Assembly, while 43% thought the Assembly should have more powers.

Andrew RT Davies points to the narrow majority for devolution in the 1997 referendum. But he ignores the large vote pro law making powers in the 2011 referendum.

It seems that Davies’ words are less of a warning and more of a statement of intent. The Tories now want to plant in the Welsh public’s mind the idea that they would be better off without the Assembly.

This could well be a successful strategy. The EU referendum is a good example of an issue that didn’t really matter to the public being brought to the fore by committed politicians and a supportive media.

As we also saw with the Scottish Independence vote in 2014, a referendum isn’t always won but it does tend to increase support for the less popular option.

A vote on abolishing the Welsh Assembly could well increase the % supporting to 30-40%. (As would a referendum on independence for Wales).

It’s no mystery as to why the Tories would like to see the back of the Assembly. It’s precisely the same reason why the Labour party are keen on the institution.

The Welsh Assembly continues to be a bastion of Labour support, while the Tories slipped from being the second largest to the third largest party there in May.

Furthermore, the Tories look like being in power at Westminster for a good decade or more yet.

Basically, this is a straight fight for the power to rule Wales between the Labour Party and the Tory Party. Welsh and British nationalism will simply be tools used to further both sides’ self-interest.

This is a fight for hearts and minds that the Labour party could well lose because of the lack of a strong Welsh national media.

Conversely, the Tories will be able to push their agenda quite successfully through a London press that has very little sympathy for Welsh or Scottish devolution.

The cloak of invisibility that shrouds Welsh politics has long served Welsh Labour well.

They know that their own missteps will be ignored, while the Welsh will continue to vote Labour in order to ‘give the Conservatives a bloody nose’.

However, if the idea of Welsh devolution comes under sustained attack, sitting back and keeping mum will no longer been enough. They’ll have to pull their socks up.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Yes, you’re a nationalist

I’m writing this post because ‘nationalist’ or ‘nat’ has become a stock insult with which to discredit an opponent when discussing the governance of the UK.

The accuser will usually contrast this ‘nationalism’ with his or her own ‘internationalism’ or even ‘patriotism’.

(This is a favourite tactic of Labour supporters when attacking the SNP or Plaid Cymru).

So let’s get this straight, as I plan on directing you to this post whenever this issue comes up in future: Yes, nationalism can be a bad thing, in the wrong hands. In the same way as say, the internet can be a bad thing, or glue. But neither are, in and of themselves, bad things.

Let’s imagine a country that is a fascist totalitarian dictatorship. A region within this blighted country decides they’ve had enough and declare an independent, democratic republic.

I don’t think anyone would argue that nationalism is a bad thing, in that case.

Let’s imagine that this democratic republic already exists, and that the totalitarian dictatorship is next door.

In that case, the breaking down of borders isn’t a particularly good idea.

Internationalists claim that the fewer borders the better! That’s great. But in practice everyone thinks that there need to be borders at some point.

For instance, you can be a European nationalist, but I’ve yet to see anyone claim that, say, Russia should be thrown into the mix, or that extending the EU past Turkey and into Iraq would be a good idea.

But even if someone did believe that, they would still be a nationalist.

If you have an opinion on the geography/institutions/culture of your nation, you are a nationalist.

So everyone is a nationalist.

If you prefer the status quo of a United Kingdom to one where Scotland is an independent country, then you are still a nationalist.

If you prefer that English rather than, say, Portuguese, continues to be the language of the state, you are a nationalist.

If you believe the UK is better run by Westminster than the French Assembly, you are a nationalist.

Supporting the status quo of things as they are in Britain today makes you a British nationalist.

There is nothing ‘wrong’ with being a British nationalist, apart from the stigma associated with the word ‘nationalist’. It’s just a different point of view.

Most people recognise this and will often fall back on the old chestnut, ‘patriotism’.

Patriotism is just a nicer sounding version of nationalism, just like Public Relations sounds nicer than Propaganda.

It is often used by those who support the status quo in order to suggest that loyalty to the established order – ‘queen and country’ or ‘American values’ etc – is a good thing.

In many ways this can be just as harmful as misguided successional nationalism, because it encourages people to oppose change no matter what.

This false dichotomy between nationalism and patriotism means that – for instance – Donald Trump can be branded a ‘nationalist’ (a bad thing) while Hillary Clinton stands in front of several American flags while her supporters chant ‘USA! USA!’.

(I would like to note that I much prefer Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, I’m just pointing out the irony here.)

It means that Labour can attack the SNP’s nationalism while their leader stands in front of a massive British flag at his party conference.

An inability to accept that there was such a thing as British nationalism meant that the media struggled for the words to describe what exactly was going on in the Brexit campaign.

Better to call a spade a spade.

While Plaid Cymru and the SNP are often called ‘nationalist’ parties, this only serves to distinguish them from the ‘normal’ British nationalism of the other parties. If the other parties seem less obsessed with national identity, it’s because they’re conserving the national identity of the country as it rather than attempting to change it.

If someone steps out of line, such as Corbyn refusing to meet the Queen or sing the national anthem, they’re pilloried.
So please, feel free to disagree with the person you’re arguing with on Twitter or Facebook about what form of government would best serve [insert country or region here].

But don’t use ‘nationalist’ as a trump card. Otherwise we may just have to retire that word and befuddle you by calling ourselves patriots, and then the English language would be one word poorer. 

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Why a Welsh national media should be goal #1

In my last blog post I suggested that the future prospects for Welsh nationalism weren’t as bleak as some suggested. This wasn’t however to suggest that things are perfect as they are.

For instance, Labour will only continue to support further devolution while it serves their own interests to do so. If they were to lose power, and if the Conservatives or UKIP were to form a Welsh government, it’s fair to say that devolution would probably stop dead in its tracks.

Also, it’s clear that Labour will only take devolution so far. They aren’t ever likely to support any kind of split between Wales and the rest of the UK, apart perhaps for a federal solution. We aren’t there yet, but eventually we’re going to hit that buffer.

However, I’d like to use this blog post to concentrate on how devolution could be turbo-charged, starting with the media.

News access

Nationalism needs two things: Firstly, political institutions that want to expand their own power, and use nationalism as a means to do so.  And secondly, a national media which serves as a medium through which that message can reach the masses.

The only thing every kind of nationalism truly has in common is the discourse of nationalism. This discourse basically boils down to there being an ‘us’ and a ‘them’. It is further reinforced with frequent but unnoticed reminders that the ‘us’ all belong to the same imagined community –  whenever you read about the Prime Minister, the Queen, the weather, the lack of context (i.e. we know it’s referring to the Prime Minister of the UK, rather than the Prime Minister of France) reminds us that these things belong to our group but not the other.

Needless to say that the Welsh people are mostly exposed to a British rather than Welsh discourse of nationalism. Most people read or watch British media that refers to the entirety of the UK as one national community, and make almost no mention of Wales at all.

The only group that are heavily exposed to media that treats Wales as an imagined community in its own right are Welsh speakers (through Newyddion 9, Golwg, Barn, etc.), which is one reason why they represent the bulk of Plaid Cymru’s support.

Institutions play a very important role in shaping the discourse of nationalism, as they have something that is referred to in academic circles as ‘news access’. This is the ability to shape the content of the news.

Journalists are increasingly low on both time and money, and so they tend to depend for their content on institutions that can give them a lot of news without much effort. So they tend to corral around political institutions, like Westminster, the courts, football clubs, and so on.

We saw this at work during Scotland’s Independence Referendum. The BBC wasn’t biased per se, but the fact that most political journalists were based in London, and were used to depending on London’s political institutions for their news content, meant that those institutions had something of an advantage over Scottish political institutions in terms of controlling the news agenda.

The problem

Historically, Wales has lacked either, or both, a national media or national institutions.

In the 19th century Wales had something akin to a national media. However, it had very few political institutions, and so that media (even the Welsh-language newspapers) were in large part dependent on British political institutions for their news content. So they reproduced the discourse of British nationalism. The few quasi-national political institutions they did have (the dissenting chapels) did the bulk of the work in setting up the first proper Welsh national institutions.

In the 20th century, Wales neither had a media (conglomeration meant that the media had largely centralised in London) nor very many political institutions. Welsh nationalism was largely driven by a nucleus of intellectuals within the few national institutions set up at the end of the previous century.

Today, Wales has a number of national institutions (although they remain very much weaker than those in London), but still virtually no English-language national media.

BBC Wales is a branch of a much larger British media organisation, and the newspapers and news websites are largely regional (Western Mail/Wales Online for the south, Daily Post for the north, and a smattering of Cambrian Newses and Cwmsgwt Journals in between). The regional north/south divide in the media accentuates the impression that north and south Wales are two separate imagined communities.

The lack of a national media is a big problem for Welsh nationalists. It means that they lack a medium through which the masses can come into contact with the discourse of Welsh nationalism.

It means that come every election, institutions that support an unionist perspective have the ‘news access’, while Plaid Cymru struggle to get their message out there at all.

Welsh nationalist could turn to social media. This proved very effective in Scotland. However, there’s always a danger that social media becomes an echo chamber. You get the impression of being part of a mass national movement, while actually speaking to a small number of hard-core activists (see Trump or Corbyn for more details). But it’s better than nothing.

Despite the internet, television remains the best medium for mass-communication. Newspapers are also effective, despite the fall in sales, because cash-strapped television remains dependent on them for their news-content.

Goal #1

Setting up a TV station or a newspaper is a very expensive business, of course. Wales lacks a national media for two reasons: first, a small population. Secondly, a poor population. It’s advertising rather than circulation that drives the media’s profits, so the second is the bigger issue.

If it is to stand any chance of success, finding a way around this problem needs to be goal #1 for the Welsh national movement. It’s more important than winning power at the Welsh Assembly – in fact it’s probably a prerequisite to winning power.

Even if it didn’t explicitly support Plaid Cymru, a Welsh national media would, by virtue of its very existence, emphasise the existence of a Welsh imagined community.

I was very much pro setting up the Y Byd newspaper in 2008. However, the Welsh-language is by now rather well served by media, with Newyddion 9, Golwg 360 and Cymru Fyw offering what is in effect a daily news service.

The need now is for an English-language national newspaper/TV news station/website. How we do that is the main conversation we need to be having.

Without an effective means to communicate the discourse of nationalism to the masses, Welsh nationalism won’t get off the starting blocks, while British nationalism will continue to reinforce an imagined community in which Wales is best run from Westminster.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: The Welsh national movement (or, don’t worry, be happy)

The National Museum

This is a response to an article, ‘The Welsh Interregnum (or reasons not to be cheerful)’  written by Dan Evans. It’s definitely worth a read if you haven’t had a look at it.

The article bemoans that “many in Plaid Cymru possess a streak of naïve optimism which often seems to cloud their judgement”. I disagree with this, and see instead a self-perpetuating pessimism among Welsh nationalists that is doing them more harm than good.

So here I’m going to present the opposite viewpoint: Reasons to be cheerful.

This is the portion of Evans’ article that I disagree with the most:

“If Scotland goes, Wales will be Labour’s last outpost which it will continue to guard jealously (providing, of course, there is a Labour party then). Therefore, further Welsh devolution makes zero sense for them, especially if it could give succour to nationalists (they will look to Scotland and see what went wrong there).”

On the contrary: If, as seems the case under Corbyn, the Labour party are out of power at Westminster for another decade or more, devolution will make perfect sense to them, as it effectively means transferring power from the Tory-controlled central state to an institution that’s under their control. Remember that Labour pushed for the Welsh Assembly in the first place as a political institution in which they could consolidate their power even if there was a Tory party in charge in London. Devolution may have been slow (we’ll get to that in a minute) but there’s nothing to suggest that Welsh Labour’s appetite for more power is abating. If further devolution makes zero sense, then no-one has told Carwyn Jones.

What we need to appreciate is that this boring, frustrating process if how nation-building actually happens. This is difficult for us nationalist to get to grips with, as we’re wedded to the romantic myth of nationalism as a revolutionary force – that it’s about a people rising up and taking back control for themselves. “Trwy ddulliau chwyldro yn unig y mae llwyddo,” as Saunders Lewis said.

Rather, nationalism is a by-product of political institutions’ effort to expand their own power. To do this they need public support (not a majority, just enough) and so they reproduce the nationalist discourse that will get the job done: Us versus Them. Sefyll cornel Cymru. Standing up against the Tories. Etc. As with anything else that involves large institutions, this is a slow and bureaucratic process that usually lasts decades, if not hundreds of years. The revolution is written in afterwards to convince the people that it was their idea from the start.

Mass movement

I’m a utilitarian nationalist. While I’m very interested in Wales’ history, I don’t consider tales of Owain Glyndwr or Llywelyn Fawr’s derring-do as particularly relevant to 21st century Wales. I’m a nationalist because I feel that there is no reason for the UK Government to particularly care whether Wales is rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy. We’re a backwards, isolated part of the UK that contributes little compared to say, London and the South-East. But I live in Wales, and so I care whether Wales is rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy. Therefore, I want a government which cares about those things too.

However, I have to accept that this kind of interest in Wales’ constitutional arrangements doesn’t go much further than a small band of usually academic, middle-class people. If you’ve read this far, you’re probably one of them. The majority have no interest in discussions about the Wales Bill. It’s the gut instinct, the sense of belonging to one imagined community or another than matters to them. So to convince them you need to reproduce the discourse of nationalism: Us versus Them. Sefyll cornel Cymru. Standing up to the Tories. Land of our Fathers. And so on. This is how the dreams of the middle-class intelligentsia win just enough public support to get into power and force the changes through.

For all their talk of being internationalist, the irony is that Labour are probably better than Plaid Cymru at using the discourse of nationalism when it suits them.

This is partly because they control more institutions that have the funds and news access to reproduce a discourse of nationalism that suits them. But I suspect that it’s also because Plaid Cymru believe in Welsh nationalism. They think nationalism is some primal instinct in all people, which can’t be controlled. Labour don’t, and therefore can see nationalism for what it is and can manipulate it and discard it as it suits them.

If you look at what is said by the Labour party, especially during elections, what you see is a party that is using the discourse of nationalism in order to very slowly expand its own political institutions.

Slow going

This is exactly what we’ve seen happen in Wales over the last 200 years or so. National Welsh institutions have slowly multiplied, one after the other, like mushrooms. A national university, a national library, then a national museum, then a Welsh office, then a Welsh Assembly, law making powers, a Welsh Parliament…

Devolution may seem to be happening much quicker in Scotland, but we must remember that they had many of these institutions to being with. Considering that Wales reached the 19th century with virtually no national institutions, we’ve actually moved further forward.

Dan Evans bemoans that: “The Assembly will limp on, gaining more small, meaningless powers every five years or so.”

Precisely so. This process may seem slow to those of us living through it. But then it always does. When the history is written, when future generations come to consider this time in the history of the nation, it will be presented at warp-speed.

There are a lot of problems with the Welsh national movement. The lack of a Welsh media is an obvious one. A one-and-a-half-party state is another. National movements don’t always lead to independence, and there are reasons to believe that this won’t happen in Wales. I’ll discuss these topics in a future blogpost.

However, there’s nothing at the present moment to suggest that the national movement is stalling in Wales, let alone going backwards. And rather than being indicative of a failing national movement, the slow speed of devolution in Wales is nothing out of the ordinary.

Rather than “Drwy ddulliau chwyldro”, perhaps the motto of a national movement should be “Yn araf bach a bob yn dipyn…”

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Adolygiad o ffilm Y Llyfrgell

Euthum i Gaerfyrddin neithiwr er mwyn gweld ffilm newydd yr awdures Fflur Dafydd a’r cyfarwyddwr Euros Lyn, sef Y Llyfrgell / The Library Suicides. Roedd yn braf iawn gweld y sinema yn orlawn (roedd ychydig fel camu i bafiliwn yr Eisteddfod oherwydd nifer y wynebau cyfarwydd a welais i yno). Dywedodd un o’r porthorion nad oedd erioed wedi gweld dangosiad mor brysur. Y gobaith yw y bydd yn ddechrau oes aur newydd o ffilmiau Cymraeg, ac y bydd modd mwynhau’r rheini ar y sgrin fawr yn yr un y modd.

Mae yna nifer o adolygiadau wedi eu cyhoeddi eisoes, y rhan fwyaf gan y rheini sydd wedi gwylio’r ffilm gydag isdeitlau ac sydd ddim yn gyfarwydd gyda’i gefndir ar ffurf nofel. Felly roeddwn i’n meddwl y byddai yn werth cyhoeddi adolygiad gan rywun a oedd wedi anwybyddu’r isdeitlau a hefyd wedi darllen y nofel wreiddiol. Rydw i wedi penderfynu cyhoeddi un adolygiad heb sbwlwyr er mwyn eich annog chi oll i weld y ffilm, ac atodiad gyda sbwlwyr oddi tanodd er mwyn trafod ambell broblem â rhai elfennau o’r ffilm.

Yn fyr: Roedd y ffilm ben ac ysgwydd uwchben unrhyw gynhyrchiad Cymraeg a welais ers degawdau, o bosib ers Hedd Wyn, a enwebwyd am Oscar yn 1993. Roedd yr actio, gan Catrin Stewart, Ryan Teifi, Dyfan Dwyfor, Sharon Morgan a Carwyn Glyn yn wych drwyddi draw. Roedd y cyfarwyddo a’r golygu hefyd o’r safon uchaf.

Y Nofel Wreiddiol
Un fantais sydd gan y ffilm dros y nofel yw ei allu i ddangos i ni’r Llyfrgell Genedlaethol ei hun. Gellid dadlau mai’r adeilad yw prif gymeriad y ffilm mewn gwirionedd. Mae’r cyfarwyddwr wedi gwneud defnydd meistrolgar o’r neuaddau mawrion, y cerfluniau (e.e. un siot effeithiol iawn o gofeb Tryweryn John Meirion Morris), a ffasâd yr adeilad, ond hefyd y coridorau claustrophobic a’r staciau lle y cedwir y llyfrau eu hunain. Roedd y nofel ei hun yn dipyn o blockbuster a oedd yn ysu am gael ei hail-greu ar gyfer y sgrin fawr ac mae cynhyrchwyr y ffilm wedi cymryd mantais lawn o’r posibiliadau y mae’r lleoliad yn ei gynnig. Ar nodyn cenedlaetholgar roedd hefyd yn braf hefyd gweld adeilad sy’n eicon cenedlaethol yn cymryd ei le ar y sgrin fawr, ochr yn ochr gyda Thŷ’r Cyffredin a’r Lincoln Monument! Piti nad oedd Llywodraeth y Cynulliad yn barod i’r Senedd gael yr un driniaeth yn y ffilm James Bond ddiweddaraf.

Mae Fflur Dafydd wedi gwneud gwaith effeithiol iawn o addasu ei nofel, a enillodd Wobr Goffa Daniel Owen yn 2009, ar gyfer y sgrin fawr. Yn wir, y tu hwnt i’r syniad canolog, sef bod gefeilliaid sy’n gweithio yn y Llyfrgell yn ceisio gwneud am academydd y maent yn ei feio am farwolaeth eu mam, mae wedi rhwygo bron i bob dim allan a’i adeiladu o’r newydd ar gyfer dibenion y sgrin. Gallaf ddychmygu bod y broses honno wedi bod yn un boenus iawn i’r awdur – does neb yn mwynhau torri un o’i anwylon ei hun yn ddarnau mân. Ond bu’n ddewr ac mae wedi lleihau’r cwbl i’w elfennau angenrheidiol – yr efeilliaid, Ana ac Nan, yr academydd Eben, a’r porthor Dan y mae ei bresenoldeb yn cawlio eu cynllun.

Mae’r elfennau dyfodolaidd wedi mynd, o bosib yn rhannol oherwydd bod y presennol wedi dal i fyny â nhw i ryw raddau (roedd digideiddio ac e-lyfrau yn ymddangos yn futuristic iawn yn 2009). Does dim cymaint o ddychan y byd academaidd Cymreig yma chwaith, sy’n ddewis call o ystyried bod y ffilm wedi ei anelu at gynulleidfa ryngwladol.

Dyfan Dwyfor – John McClane Y Llyfrgell?
Mae troi’r ffilm yn thriller a chadw’r ffocws ar y pedwar prif gymeriad drwyddi draw yn golygu bod y plot yn symud yn ei flaen yn gyflym ac yn ddiffwdan. Llwyddir i drafod themâu yn ymwneud â’r cof, colled a marwolaeth mewn modd cynnil ac effeithiol heb darfu’n ormodol ar lif y naratif – nes y diwedd, o leiaf.

Yn anffodus nid yw pob elfen o’r naid o’r nofel i’r sgrin mor llwyddiannus. Un broblem gyda chanolbwyntio’n unig ar yr efeilliaid, Ana a Nan, ac Eben yw nad yw’r un o’r cymeriadau hyn yn arbennig o gydymdeimladol. Oherwydd bod y ffilm yn amharod i ddatgelu nes yn hwyr iawn yn y ffilm pwy yw’r dihiryn/od go iawn a pwy yw’r arwr/esau nid ydym byth yn siŵr iawn pwy i’w gefnogi. Dylai’r golygfeydd pan mae Ana/Nan yn hela Eben drwy goridorau’r Llyfrgell fod yn llawn tensiwn, ond am nad ydym yn siwr iawn ar y pwynt hwnnw ai’r efeilliaid neu’r academydd yw’r goodies neu’r baddies mae’n anodd gwybod pwy i bryderu drosto.

Yr ateb efallai oedd naill ai datrys yr amwyster hwnnw yn gynharach, neu esgyn Dan y Porthor i fod yn gymeriad amlycach – yn fath o John McClane yn Die Hard: Y Llyfrgell. Dyma’r unig gymeriad y mae’r gwyliwr yn gwybod y dylai ei gefnogi drwyddi draw. Ond nid yw’n cael llawer o gyfle i ddylanwadu ar y naratif am ei fod yn amlach na pheidio wedi ei gloi y tu ôl i ddrysau caeedig.

Cwynion bychain yw’r rhain serch hynny ac rwyf am bwysleisio nad oeddynt wedi amharu yn ormodol ar fy mwynhad o’r ffilm. Dyma film sy’n haeddu cael ei gweld ar y sgrin fawr, ac os oes gennych chi gyfle i wneud hynny yn y dyfodol agos, rwy’n eich annog chi i fynd amdani cyn y bydd y tocynnau prin oll wedi diflannu.

Bydd y diweddglo ar ei ben ei hun yn siwr o fod yn destun trafod am flynyddoedd i ddod…

Ana neu Nan? Neu’r ddwy?
Sbwylwyr – i’r ffilm a’r llyfr

Os nad ydych chi wedi gweld y ffilm eto, peidiwch â darllen dim pellach!

Cwestiynau, cwestiynau, cwestiynau…

Fel y dywedais uchod, testun trafod amlwg i’r rheini sydd wedi gweld y ffilm fydd y diweddglo. Bum yn ei drafod â fy mhartner yr holl ffordd adref yn y car. Yn bersonol roeddwn i’n teimlo ei fod ychydig yn rhy glyfar ac yn difetha rywfaint o’r emosiwn a deimlais wrth wylio gweddill y ffilm. I ddechrau, roedd ychydig yn rhy debyg i ddiweddglo Fight Club, a oedd mor effeithiol a dylanwadol fel ei fod wedi mynd yn ychydig bach o cliché yn y cyfamser. Yn ail, golygai bod yr emosiwn a deimlwn wrth ystyried marwolaeth un o’r efeilliaid funudau ynghynt wedi ei chwalu’n llwyr, oherwydd mae’n debyg nad oedd hi bellach yn bodoli. Yn drydydd, mae’n awgrymu na ddigwyddodd bron i ddim byd a welwyd ar y sgrin yn ystod yr awr a hanner flaenorol mewn gwirionedd, oherwydd roedd y cyfan bron yn ddibynnol ar Ana a Nan yn bod mewn lleoliadau gwahanol yn y Llyfrgell ar yr un pryd (e.e. sut allen nhw fod ar y naill llaw yn hela Eben yn y llyfrgell ac yn cael rhyw â Dan y Porthor dan glo mewn ystafell arall? Pwy oedd wedi eu cloi nhw i mewn?) Mae’r diweddglo hefyd yn amlygu ambell i plot hole a fyddai wedi ei anwybyddu fel arall, e.e. sut oedd yr efeilliaid yn gobeithio awgrymu bod Eben wedi ei ladd ei hun pan oedd CCTV ym mhobman yn yr adeilad – fyddai rhoi Glyn i gysgu ddim yn atal y dyfeisiau yma rhag recordio yr hyn a ddigwyddodd.

Efallai y dylid bod wedi gwneud defnydd o’r twist ar ddiwedd y llyfr, a oedd yn fy marn i’n dipyn gwell, sef bod y chwaer (drwg) sy’n byw yn dwyn hunaniaeth y chwaer (dda) a fu farw, gan feio’r cwbl arni hi. Byddai wedi bod yn ergyd ychwanegol yn y ffilm petai hi hefyd wedi dwyn ei chariad, heb iddo ef wybod y gwahaniaeth rhyngddynt!

Yn anffodus teimlwn fod y twists cyson (mae cymeriadau yn dod o farw i fyw yn bur aml) yn golygu nad oedd yr elfennau thriller yn gweithio mor effeithiol. Weithiau roedd yn anoddach teimlo’r tensiwn oherwydd y teimlad y byddai fy nghanfyddiad o’r hyn a oedd yn wir ac yn gelwydd yn cael ei chwalu eto o fewn munudau.

Rwy’n credu bod y dirgelwch ynglŷn â marwolaeth Elena Wdig yn ddigon cryf ynddo’i hunain i gynnal y plot drwyddi draw ac efallai y dylid bod wedi gadael i’r ffilm fod yn thriller ychydig yn symlach, heb yr amwyster ‘llenyddol’.

Ond eto, mân gwynion yw’r rhain, ac rwy’n credu bod y ffaith bod cynnwys y ffilm yn dal i droi yn fy mhen fore trannoeth yn arwydd da iawn! Yr un peth sy’n sicr yw fy mod i’n ysu am gael gwylio’r ffilm eto, er mwyn gweld a oes cliwiau a fydd yn golygu bod jig-so’r diweddglo’n syrthio i’w le.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: The Gorsedd, the Football Team, and Welsh identity

The Eisteddfod Maes
There is something a little bit manufactured about the row over the Gorsedd of the Bard’s refusal to honour the Welsh football team.

Has anyone asked Gareth Bale and Co if they actually want to be druids? I’m a member of the Gorsedd, and being included was the greatest honour of my life. But it’s certainly not for everyone.

Although the yearly inductions are presented in the media as a kind of national reward for service, on par with the New Year’s honours, the Gorsedd is actually a community of Welsh-speakers.

This is because the primary aim of the Gorsedd is to promote the Welsh language and culture. It mostly rewards bards, novelists and singers.

The Welsh FA have done a cracking job of promoting the Welsh language. But I don’t expect inclusion in the Wales match-day squad just because I can speak Welsh. That’s not the criteria.

The problem here is that the National Eisteddfod is frequently caught up in the inevitable conflict between Welsh identity and a language that 20% of the population of Wales can speak.

The Eisteddfod has to be allowed to be a Welsh-language festival first, and a national festival second.

This is because there are plenty of festivals in Wales, but only one large Welsh-language festival.

The Eisteddfod’s job is to promote the Welsh-language and its culture, not to promote Welshness as a whole, which is a much larger thing.

It’s true that, if the Welsh language did not exist, then the Welsh would probably never have been recognised as a people separate from their neighbours in the first place.

But a national identity doesn’t sit still, and today the Welsh language is just one facet of Welsh identity. It’s impossible to say today that Welshness and an ability to speak the Welsh language are the same thing.

Welshness can include both pride in the Welsh-language and Gareth Bale, but that doesn’t mean Gareth Bale has to be a Welsh-speaker, or indeed be a member of the Gorsedd.

A festival for promoting the Welsh language can’t be involved in every facet of Welsh life, because a lot of people in Wales can’t and in many cases don’t want to be able to speak the language.

The Welsh language can’t really win here. It’s called exclusive because people choose not to speak it. If it tries to encourage people to speak it, it’s accused of forcing itself down their throats.

But if the nation doesn’t want to be Welsh-speakers, then we can’t expect the Welsh language to always represent the nation.

Sometimes we need to be able to undo the bond between the Welsh language and the multi-faceted thing called Welsh identity, and let them do their own thing.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: An Independent Wales in the European Union

What if the industrial revolution had not happened? What would have become of Wales? The economist Brinley Thomas tackled that very question in the 1950s. Rather than the rural utopia some had suggested, it was likely that Wales would have shrivelled up. The young population would either have moved east to London, or sailed in their tens of thousands for the United States, like the Irish. Rather than being the curse of Wales, he argued, the industrial revolution saved it and its culture. Otherwise it would have turned into an old country, a costa geriatrica fit only for retirees, with no real economy to speak of.

The industrial revolution started to run out of steam a hundred years ago, and there is now every danger that Wales could become the country that Brinley Thomas envisaged. A vibrant capital hides the fact that we are becoming an increasingly old, poor country. And who can blame the young for leaving when there are so many communities where there are no opportunities to be had?  

On Thursday Wales received another body blow which could make this decline irreversible. It voted to leave the EU, a decision described by one leading academic as ‘Turkeys voting for Christmas’. Wales had received over £4 billion from the EU since the year 2000 in order to improve its creaking infrastructure. What was left of our export economy, already in the doldrums – see Port Talbot – depended on Wales being a base from which companies could reach the rest of Europe through the single market. The economic rationale for leaving was very poor.

I was a strong Remain supporter, and was gutted by the result. Even Wales’ passage to the Euro 2016 quarter finals couldn’t lift me from my slough of despond. The country suddenly felt alien to me – who are these fellow countrymen I share a nation with? Do I even like them any more?

But I’ve had a few days to think this through and eliminate all the ill-feeling and emotion from my system. The path forward now seems clear to me.

Following the EU Referendum result, Wales has two real choices. The first option is to follow the path interrupted by the industrial revolution, and become that aged economic backwater that Brinley Thomas envisaged. A shrivelled husk of a nation, which will be swallowed up without protest into EnglandandWales.

The second is to follow Scotland’s lead, and push for independence.

Putting the UK ‘through the mincer’

Now, whatever you may say about the SNP, and whatever your feelings about Scottish Independence, it’s very difficult to argue that the movement has been bad for Scotland. They used to be much like Wales – their vote taken for granted, and mostly ignored. Outvoted in the Commons. Now little happens at all in Westminster without a thought for Scotland. The threat of independence in and of itself does wonders for a country, even if the goal is never reached. Scotland is buzzing with possibilities, and from this smouldering political cauldron have arisen some of the finest politicians in the UK.

Wales on the other hand has, since the 19th century, cherished its role as the loyalest nation in the British Isles. We promoted the idea of Britishness as a way to argue our way into a British Empire (the teutonic Anglo-Saxons though the Celts to feminine and airy-fairy for warrior’s work). Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise – the Welsh were full and happy partners in that project. Britishness worked for us, then.

This mind-set continues today. Even in the wake of the Independence Referendum in Scotland, Ex-First Minister of Wales Rhodri Morgan called on Westminster to reward Wales for its loyalty and not putting them “through the mincer”. Was Wales rewarded? No. It was ignored, while Scotland was showered with vows and promises. We no longer need to prove ourselves in order to get ‘in’ to Britain. Britain needs us to stay in so that it can maintain its self-esteem.

A little bit of rebellion would reap its own rewards. But the goal of independence in Europe is one worth pursuing in and of itself. Over the next decade or so Wales faces the prospect of a dire economic slowdown within the UK – and the economy was in a pretty poor state to begin with. Wales has been comprehensively neglected by Westminster. Labour haven’t been able to offer anything other than a battered shield to protect Wales against the worst of the Tories’ austerity cuts. And with the party in a state of civil war over Corbyn’s leadership, it’s going to be a very long time until it is in power at Westminster again.

And even if Labour did win power in another decade, there’s nothing to suggest they could cure Wales’ economic woes. Labour was in total control between 1997 and 2010 and the decline, while managed, continued apace. The party has been in power at the Welsh Assembly for 17 years and hasn’t managed to bridge the gap in standards with the rest of the UK.

Independence for Wales would fee us from this economic Catch-22. It would be tough at first – Wales raises some £17bn in taxes a year, and spends £15bn just on those issues that are currently devolved. We would have to suffer some turbulence. There’s no point denying that, like the Brexiters did. But getting our hands on the economic levers would allow us to build a competitive economy, rather than beg for scraps off London’s table.

The Brexit Vote

Before we begin courting these disaffected Brexit voters, we need to understand what motivated them. Some have suggested that it was British nationalism, and one in the eye for Welshness. This does not stand up to any scrutiny. Large swathes of rural Meirionnydd, and Anglesey, Welsh-speaking heartlands, voted out. Carmarthenshire voted out. I know many patriotic Welsh-speaking members of Plaid Cymru who voted ‘out’.

I have spoken to a few people since the referendum who have tried to pin the loss on English incomers, but this is passing the buck. Areas such as the Valleys in the south-east where upwards of 90% were born in Wales voted ‘out’ as well. Ceredigion, where only 59% were born in Wales, voted ‘in’.

The irregular pattern of voting across Wales had more to do with age and socio-economic status than nationalism. Gwynedd, Ceredigion and Cardiff voted in. They have universities with large young, multicultural student populations. The Vale of Glamorgan, Cardiff and Monmouthshire also voted in. They have a larger middle-class population who would fear the economic consequences of Brexit. The population of the rest of Wales skews towards the old and the working class. Call them Welsh, British, or both, this is where Vote Leave’s message hit home.

You could argue that laying the argument for Welsh independence before these people would be madness – they just voted to leave the European Union! But in reality these are the exact people most likely to vote for it. These are the people who have been most neglected by the establishment, and who are happy to take the financial risk of voting for change because they don’t feel things could get any worse. If you look at the areas that voted ‘Yes’ in the Scottish Independence Referendum, they won the most deprived areas in Glasgow and lost middle-class Edinburgh. Areas such as the Valleys in south-east Wales are crying out for a change in their circumstances, for a little TLC. Only Welsh independence could deliver the specific economic remedies their problems require.

The financial argument for Wales in Europe is an easy one to make. What did Wales vote ‘out’ for, anyway? Vote Leave have now rowed back on all three of their main campaign promises. And even if they could deliver them, it would not make a difference in Wales. Did we vote for fewer immigrants from the EU? Very few come to Wales, because there are few jobs to attract them. If Wales had seen the levels of immigration experienced in some urban areas of London, I would understand the concern. But with all due respect, if you move to the UK you’re not going to head for Cwm Sgwt. Did we vote for an extra £350m to spend on the NHS? The health service is devolved and the budget set by the Welsh Assembly. For democracy? Yes, the EU does need reform – but we have plenty of unelected bureaucrats in Whitehall, let alone the House of Lords. If you really want to take back control, rather than transfer power from one Bullingdon club member to another, vote for an independent Wales.

People voted Brexit in the British interest because the arguments were not presented to them in a Welsh context. We can point to a few reasons for this. The first was the disastrous decision to hold the referendum a little over a month after the Welsh General Election – the political parties and political journalists were spent, financially and in terms of energy. Secondly, the two largest political parties in Wales, Plaid Cymru and Labour, were expected to take their orders from the wider Stronger In campaign. Unfortunately, this campaign had thought it could win the referendum by rolling out a number of big guns, from the President of the United States to leading economists, and that their predictions of doom and gloom would do the trick. It was almost all ‘air war’ conducted through the TV, radio and internet, and Wales barely got a mention. What little investment there was on the ground found its way to those areas thought most likely to vote ‘Remain’ – Scotland and large urban areas, of which there are very few in Wales.

The most pressing objective if we are to win this argument is to strengthen the Welsh media. Independence is a pipe-dream while the majority of Welsh people continue to consume the Sun and Daily Mail.

Rekindling the spirit

Pessimists will suggest that the Welsh lack the backbone to go it alone. This claim doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. After all, the Welsh were happy to throw themselves on the mercy of Brexit, despite a barrage of advice otherwise, just last week. The lack of success for the Welsh independence movement comes down to two factors. 1.) No one has argued for it (even Plaid Cymru), and 2.) there was no real reasonable incentive for it before. That has now changed. If a slippery fish like Farage can drag us out of the EU, how can we fail to kindle a progressive national spirit among the Welsh if we put our backs into it?

While watching the BBC News earlier I saw the newsreader Huw Edwards announce that Plaid Cymru’s policy had changed to Independence in Europe. It just so happens that a few day earlier I had been reading a book by his historian father, Hywel Teifi Edwards. After discussing the Welsh nationalism on the early 20th century which saw the creation of institutions such as the University of Wales, National Library of Wales and National Museum of Wales, he finishes the book with these words: “If only the same spirit could be rekindled… The battlefield, as it has been over the centuries, is the Welsh mind. We are long overdue a decisive victory.”

We know the Welsh mind, and we can win this battle.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Cenedlaetholdeb Cymreig a’r Undeb Ewropeaidd – y camau nesaf

Os oedd angen ysgogiad ar genedlaetholwyr Cymru i weithredu, dyma  fo. Nid yn unig y mae Cymru allan o’r UE, ond wedi gostwng rhaff y gilotîn o’i gwirfodd. Ond mae’r canlyniad wedi digwydd – rhaid meddwl yn gadarnhaol:

Am y tro cyntaf ers cannoedd o flynyddoedd, mae modd cynnig gweledigaeth sy’n gwneud synnwyr ariannol o Gymru sy’n annibynnol o Loegr.

Pleidleisiodd 17 o’r 22 awdurdod lleol yng Nghymru dros Aros. Ond dim ond 52% i 48% oedd y bwlch. Ac o ystyried y rhwyg demograffig rhwng yr hen a’r ifanc, fe allai fod yn debycach i 50-50% mewn rhyw ddegawd.

Yn wahanol i’r Alban, doedd y Cymry ddim yn meddu ar y wybodaeth oedd ei angen arnynt er mwyn pleidleisio. Faint oedd yn gwybod am gyfraniad ariannol enfawr yr Undeb Ewropeaidd i orllewin Cymru a’r Cymoedd dros y degawdau diwethaf? Ail-adroddwyd y neges hon o fewn bybl rhwydweithiau cymdeithasol, ond nid oedd yn cyrraedd y ddemograffeg honno a fyddai yn penderfynu’r bleidlais.

Rwy’n dilyn gwleidyddiaeth Cymru’n frwd, ond roedd gwleidyddion Cymru yn dawedog iawn yn yr wythnosau cyn y refferendwm. Yn enwedig felly’r Blaid Lafur yr oedd eu pleidleiswyr yn y cymoedd mor allweddol i’r canlyniad. Dywedodd Carwyn Jones mai dyma’r refferendwm pwysicaf yn hanes Cymru, ond os felly pam na welwyd canran o’r un ymdrech a aeth i mewn i amddiffyn seddi targed yn Etholiad y Cynulliad? Nid oedd amseru Etholiad Cymru gwta fis a hanner ynghynt yn help yn hynny o beth, ond roedd wythnosau lawer i fwrw ati gyda’r gwaith. Ni welwyd gwleidyddion o Gymru yn y prif ddadleuon ar y teledu, fel y gwelwyd Nicola Sturgeon a Ruth Davidson. Y tu hwnt i Blaid Cymru, ni wnaethpwyd ymdrech gwirioneddol i osod y ddadl o fewn cyd-destun Cymreig.

Yn fyr – gwnaethpwyd cam gwael a’r Cymry o ran eu hysbysy am fanteision yr UE ac oblygiadau’r penderfyniad.

Y broblem oesol yw bod gormod o Gymry yn cael eu newyddion o bapurau newydd Llundeinig, a chyfryngau darlledu sydd yn dilyn agenda newyddion y papurau rheini. Mae’r papurau hyn yn atgynhyrchu disgwrs cenedlaetholdeb Prydeinig, a gwrth-Gymreig a gwrth-Ewropeaidd. Fe fydd datrys hyn yn dalcen caled – ond byddai mynd i’r afael a’r broblem ac awgrymu datrysiadau yn fan cychwyn. Dylai hyn fod yn flaenoriaeth i’r mudiad cenedlaethol os ydynt am ennill tir dros y degawdau nesaf, yn hytrach nag rywbeth i rwgnach amdano a gwneud dim byd yn ei gylch.

Mae angen i ni genedlaetholwyr Cymreig fynd ati dros y blynyddoedd nesaf i newid barn eu cyd-Gymry ynglyn â’r Undeb Ewropeaidd. Os gall llipryn diegwyddor fel Farage ein tynnu allan o’r UE, gallwn gyda’n gilydd ennill mynediad yn ôl – a hynny yn bennaf oherwydd y byddai o fudd i Gymru. Ac mae angen cyfryngau arnom a fydd yn pwysleisio ein bod yn Gymry, ac y dylid ystyried yr oblygiadau i Gymru cyn pleidleisio.

Gyda’r Alban a Gogledd Iwerddon yn bygwth gadael y Deyrnas Gyfunol a llywodreath newydd asgell-dde yn ymffurfio yn San Steffan a fydd yn awyddus i ddal gafael ar yr hyn sy’n weddill, mae yna beryg gwirioneddol i Gymru gael ei llyncu. Mae heddiw yn groesffordd a fydd yn penderfynu a yw Cymru’n tyfu’n genedl-wladwriaeth neu yn bodloni ar fod yn ‘EnglandandWales’ yn barhaol.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Cenedlaetholdeb Cymreig a’r Undeb Ewropeaidd – y camau nesaf

Os oedd angen ysgogiad ar genedlaetholwyr Cymru i weithredu, dyma  fo. Nid yn unig y mae Cymru allan o’r UE, ond wedi gostwng rhaff y gilotîn o’i gwirfodd. Ond mae’r canlyniad wedi digwydd – rhaid meddwl yn gadarnhaol:

Am y tro cyntaf ers cannoedd o flynyddoedd, mae modd cynnig gweledigaeth sy’n gwneud synnwyr ariannol o Gymru sy’n annibynnol o Loegr.

Pleidleisiodd 17 o’r 22 awdurdod lleol yng Nghymru dros Aros. Ond dim ond 52% i 48% oedd y bwlch. Ac o ystyried y rhwyg demograffig rhwng yr hen a’r ifanc, fe allai fod yn debycach i 50-50% mewn rhyw ddegawd.

Yn wahanol i drigolion yr Alban, doedd y Cymry ddim yn meddu ar y wybodaeth oedd ei angen arnynt er mwyn pleidleisio. Faint oedd yn gwybod am gyfraniad ariannol enfawr yr Undeb Ewropeaidd i orllewin Cymru a’r Cymoedd dros y degawdau diwethaf? Ail-adroddwyd y neges hon o fewn bybl rhwydweithiau cymdeithasol, ond nid oedd yn cyrraedd y ddemograffeg honno a fyddai yn penderfynu’r bleidlais.

Rwy’n dilyn gwleidyddiaeth Cymru’n frwd, ond roedd gwleidyddion Cymru yn dawedog iawn yn yr wythnosau cyn y refferendwm. Yn enwedig felly’r Blaid Lafur yr oedd eu pleidleiswyr yn y cymoedd mor allweddol i’r canlyniad. Dywedodd Carwyn Jones mai dyma’r refferendwm pwysicaf yn hanes Cymru, ond os felly pam na welwyd canran o’r un ymdrech a aeth i mewn i amddiffyn seddi targed yn Etholiad y Cynulliad? Nid oedd amseru Etholiad Cymru gwta fis a hanner ynghynt yn help yn hynny o beth, ond roedd wythnosau lawer i fwrw ati gyda’r gwaith. Ni welwyd gwleidyddion o Gymru yn y prif ddadleuon ar y teledu, fel y gwelwyd Nicola Sturgeon a Ruth Davidson. Y tu hwnt i Blaid Cymru, ni wnaethpwyd ymdrech gwirioneddol i osod y ddadl o fewn cyd-destun Cymreig.

Yn fyr – gwnaethpwyd cam gwael a’r Cymry o ran eu hysbysy am fanteision yr UE ac oblygiadau’r penderfyniad.

Y broblem oesol yw bod gormod o Gymry yn cael eu newyddion o bapurau newydd Llundeinig, a chyfryngau darlledu sydd yn dilyn agenda newyddion y papurau rheini. Mae’r papurau hyn yn atgynhyrchu disgwrs cenedlaetholdeb Prydeinig, a gwrth-Gymreig a gwrth-Ewropeaidd. Fe fydd datrys hyn yn dalcen caled – ond byddai mynd i’r afael a’r broblem ac awgrymu datrysiadau yn fan cychwyn. Dylai hyn fod yn flaenoriaeth i’r mudiad cenedlaethol os ydynt am ennill tir dros y degawdau nesaf, yn hytrach nag rywbeth i rwgnach amdano a gwneud dim byd yn ei gylch.

Mae angen i ni genedlaetholwyr Cymreig fynd ati dros y blynyddoedd nesaf i newid barn ein cyd-Gymry ynglyn â’r Undeb Ewropeaidd. Os gall llipryn diegwyddor fel Farage ein tynnu allan o’r UE, gallwn gyda’n gilydd ennill mynediad yn ôl – a hynny yn bennaf oherwydd y byddai o fudd i Gymru. Ac mae angen cyfryngau arnom a fydd yn pwysleisio ein bod yn Gymry, ac y dylid ystyried yr oblygiadau i Gymru cyn pleidleisio.

Gyda’r Alban a Gogledd Iwerddon yn bygwth gadael y Deyrnas Gyfunol a llywodreath newydd asgell-dde yn ymffurfio yn San Steffan a fydd yn awyddus i ddal gafael ar yr hyn sy’n weddill, mae yna beryg gwirioneddol i Gymru gael ei llyncu yn barhaol. Mae heddiw yn groesffordd a fydd yn penderfynu a yw Cymru’n tyfu’n genedl-wladwriaeth neu yn bodloni ar fod yn ‘EnglandandWales’ yn barhaol.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Why I’ve decided to join Plaid Cymru

Under the circumstances, it might make more sense if I explained why I haven’t joined Plaid Cymru so far,

Firstly, I must admit that I’ve always resisted joining this political party. I come from a Welsh-speaking, dissenting-Christian, Gwynedd-residing family. The choice of Plaid Cymru seemed too obvious, too pre-ordained. Wales has always been beleaguered by denominational schisms, and I didn’t want to be just another person who voted the way he did because his father and his grandfather voted the same way. I am the master of my own mind (go to hell scientific materialism), and if I wanted to join Labour, the Lib Dems – even the Tories, whose name I don’t equate with the bogey-man – I wasn’t going to let my background, or any friends or family members, stand in my way.

Secondly, I was until 2011 a professional journalist, and have since then been an academic. It’s probably time I admitted to myself that I’ll be an academic for the foreseeable future and that I’m not going to return to journalism anytime soon. But I was always hesitant in making my own political views clear while that option remained open to me. However, as I argued when Rhun ap Iorwerth declared his Plaid candidacy, I think you can hold strong political opinions and also be a good journalist – you can be professionally objective and impartial whatever your own opinions are on a specific matter. (Look at all those journalists on Twitter who aren’t exactly shy in weighing in with their own opinions while simultaneously reporting on the day’s events.)

Thirdly, I was genuinely unsure where my political allegiances lay. I suspect that none of the political parties in Wales are a perfect fit for me. I am at heart a socially liberal but economically conservative Welsh nationalist – while Plaid Cymru has tended to skew increasingly to the left on economic matters, of late. I would probably make a good Lib Dem, and indeed, I very much respect the liberals’ contribution to Welsh politics over the last 200 years. But ultimately the liberals have promised much when it comes to Wales, and delivered little when they had the chance, going back to Tom Ellis and Lloyd George. I suspect that accepting that no political party is a perfect fit for you, and making do with what is available, is part of growing up.

So why have I joined Plaid Cymru?

I’m a Welsh nationalist. Hobsbawm declared that “… no serious historian of nations and nationalism can be a committed political nationalist… [it] requires too much belief in what is patently not so.” <!–[if supportFields]>CITATION Hob90 \p 12 \l 2057 <![endif]–> (Hobsbawm, 1990, p. 12)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> I must disagree with the most esteemed historian in this case. Yes, most nationalists are misinformed regarding the primordial roots of their own nation. The modern nation state, which replaces the feudal system, is a relatively recent invention, dating from around the end of the 18th century. Nations are very much ‘imagined communities’ – it is absurd that the Welshman from Wrexham would think himself to have more in common with a man from Tenby that someone from a few miles over the border in Chester. Nationalism is not about language, or religion, or liberte, egalite or fraternite – it is ultimately a discourse, a discourse that talks of ‘us’ and ‘them’. How can it not be something toxic and divisive?

But if we reject Welsh nationalism, do we really extricate ourselves from this toxic and divisive discourse? After all, the world is made up of nations, and just because these nations are the status quo, they’re still held together by the glue of nationalism. One only has to look at the front page of any national paper (particularly the Mail) to realise that British Nationalist discourse is an ever-present aspect of our daily lives. Just because this nationalism is of the ‘banal’ kind, <!–[if supportFields]>CITATION Bil95 \p 6 \l 2057 <![endif]–> (Billig, 1995, p. 6)<!–[if supportFields]><![endif]–> less obvious in its daiily reproduction, doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Until a serious alternative to the nation state presents itself, everyone is a nationalist to some degree – if you have an opinion on the territory and governance of your own nation state, even if that is to support the continuation of things very much as they are, you are still a nationalist.

I’m a Welsh nationalist because I don’t belive the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ is a creation of Welsh nationalism. Nation states were set up all over the world based on liberal principles, but they’re ultimately monopolies to protect the interests of the ruling class. ‘They’ – the British establishment – already exist, and they’re not sharing power with ‘us’, unless it’s on their own terms. There’s no doubt that any person, of whatever background, race or gender, can join the British establishment with a lifetime’s effort. Even someone like John Prescott, who campaigned to abolish the Hourse of Lords, can ultimately become a Lord. This is where British nationalism has succeeded where others have failed – they’ve left the door open to anyone who wanted to assimilate. But to do so you have to play by their rules. You have to be ready to be absorbed.

The backwards, under-developed economy we have in Wales today does no-one any favours. It serves only the British establishment, because they know that, ultimately, national independence depends on economic independence, and if they are to keep Britain as a centralised state under their control then it doesn’t pay to invest too much in the regions. For good or ill, Wales is my home, and I don’t much appreciate being a pawn in this particular game. Wales could, with a modicum of investment in its infrastructure, do much better economically than it is doing at the moment. In the meantime, however, we have to sit back as Crossrail, then Crossrail 2, (and presumably Crossrail 3), then HS2, (and presumably HS3 and HS4) and similar multi-billion pound investments are ploughed into London and the surrounding regions. In return, we’ll get the electrification of the Cardiff-London railway, which should cut a whole 10 minutes off travel times. North Wales awaits its dividend from the so-far non-existent ‘Northern Powerhouse’. These investments, if they ever arrive, will of course benefit Wales – as long at Wales is dependent on breadcrumbs from London’s table. But if Wales is to develop economically it needs to be more than a spoke in London’s economic wheel – it needs an internal economy that operates under its own steam. Being tied to the whims of a British establishment that has a 500+ year record of not caring a jot about Wales, and a financial sector which is about as stable as a Jenga tower made of jelly and is already overdue another crash, is not a sustainable option for Wales in the long term.

It sounds like a monumental cliché, but it’s true – Plaid Cymru, for all their flaws (of which there are no doubt many), are the only party that put Wales first. For Labour, Wales is just a building block towards power at the UK level. For the Conservatives, scoring a few seats here and there is nothing more than bragging rights. For UKIP, Wales is no more than an opportunity to claim an advantage under proportional representation that they can’t under first past the post, gain a few seats for former Tories, shore up Nigel Farage’s support, and smooth over internal party divisions. The liberals had complete political control over Wales for 50 years, but turned their backs on Wales as soon as the British political establishments offered them plum posts. For these parties, Wales is, at best, a stepping stone to greater things. We’ve voted for each of these parties in turn for over a hundred years – what has changed?

This thing we call ‘Wales’, like every other country, may be an accident of history. We may as well ask ‘which Wales?’ But it’s as good a region as any other in order to hoist a banner and distance ourselves from the self-serving cartel at the heart of the British establishment, who sing the praises of the free market when it affects the people of Port Talbot but promote state intervention when it preserves their own interests. If there were any evidence of a pan-British solution to this problem, I may well hold back. But I suspect that this elite are too firmly embedded at the heart of Britain to remove, that any solution would be another compromise that wouldn’t really change anything. When any effort is made to change the established order, they call upon the combined might of the state, the judiciary, the media, and close ranks. But they care little for Wales. Good. Let’s turn that to our advantage, for once, and, in the absence of any alternative, begin the long overdue process of excusing ourselves from this sorry mess.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Ffiniau Cymru Hyper-leol

Roeddwn i mewn cynhadledd ar newyddion hyper-leol yng Nghaerdydd ddydd Mercher.

Teithiais yno yn awyddus i weld a fyddai yna unrhyw beth yn cael ei ddweud a fyddai yn newid fy meddwl ers i mi ysgrifennu’r darn barn yma ar wefan Ffrwti y llynedd.

Yn anffodus yr argraff a gefais oedd bod llawer o’r cyffro a’r hyder a oedd yn perthyn i newyddion hyper-lleol pan fynychais gynhadledd debyg yn ôl yn 2012 bellach wedi diflannu.

Y broblem yn y bôn oedd sut oedd ariannu’r mentrau yma. Doedd neb eto wedi dod o hyd i fodd o wneud hynny, y tu hwnt i werthu hysbysebion drwy argraffu copïau printiedig. O ystyried mai cymryd lle papurau lleol a oedd yn prysur edwino oedd y bwriad i ddechrau, doedd hyn ddim yn llenwi dyn â llawer o hyder.

Un syniad diddorol, a arddelwyd gan wefan o’r enw The Bristol Cable oedd codi arian ymysg aelodau o’r gymuned a oedd am hybu newyddiaduraeth ymchwiliadol yn yr ardal. Ond symiau eithaf bychain oeddynt yn eu trafod mewn gwirionedd – dim digon o gadw newyddiadurwr proffesiynol mewn gwaith llawn amser.

Bydd angen llawer o feddwl ac arbrofi er mwyn dod o hyd i fodel busnes sy’n golygu bod newyddion hyper neu dra-leol yn gynaliadwy.

Doedd dim trafodaeth am y Gymraeg yn y gynhadledd, a oedd efallai yn gyfle wedi ei golli o ystyried hanes Papurau Bro yma a gwefannau megis Clonc360.

Cymru Hyper-leol

Cododd un drafodaeth ddiddorol ag ongl Gymreig iddi ar Twitter, serch hynny, sef beth fyddai ffiniau ardaloedd hyper-lleol yng Nghymru.

Digwydd bod yn ôl yn 2009, cyn lansio gwefan Golwg 360, fe dreuliwyd ychydig o amser yn pendroni’r union gwestiwn hwnnw.

Y bwriad i ddechrau oedd y byddai unigolion a oedd yn ymweld â’r wefan yn gallu dewis ‘ardal’ a chael newyddion oedd wedi ei deilwra iddyn nhw eu hunain.

Yn anffodus oherwydd problem dechnegol wrth lansio’r wefan roedd rhaid symleiddio rywfaint ar yr hyn a oedd ar gael.

Rwyf hefyd yn amheus a fyddai’r newyddiadurwr druan wedi gallu creu digon o gynnwys i gynnal 51 o ardaloedd gwahanol!

Gan fy mod i bellach yn ymchwilio i hanes y wasg yng Nghymru rwy’n effro i’r angen i gadw deunydd ar gyfer haneswyr y dyfodol.

Hyd y gwn i dim ond ar fy hen liniadur mae’r map yma bellach yn bodoli, felly roeddwn i’n meddwl y dylwn i ei roi ar-lein yn rywle.

Yn ôl un o gyflwynwyr y gynhadledd roedd trigolion Llundain yn ystyried unrhyw beth o fewn tair milltir iddyn nhw eu hunain yn ‘hyper-leol’.

Yng Nghymru rwy’n credu bod yr ardaloedd ychydig yn fwy.

Greddf newyddiadurol Dylan Iorwerth sy’n gyfrifol am faint a siâp yr ardaloedd.

Es i ati wedyn i’w lunio allan o hen lyfrau cod post, cyn sganio a gludo popeth at ei gilydd yng nghrombil y cyfrifiadur.

Dylai bod modd i chi glicio arno neu ei lawrlwytho i weld pob manylyn. Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Yr Eisteddfod ar Groesffordd

Caethiwo’r Eisteddfod – neu ei gadael yn rhydd?
Does dim byd yn fwy tebygol o gynnau dadl ymysg y Cymry Cymraeg – neu o leiaf garfan benodol ohoni, y ‘dosbarth canol’, neu ‘bobl y pethe’ – na cheisio newid yr Eisteddfod.

Dysgodd y trefnwyr y wers honno wrth fygwth mynd a’r ŵyl i Lerpwl yn 2008!

Criw digon ceidwadol yw’r Eisteddfodwyr selog. Nid yw unrhyw newid, o werthu cwrw ar y maes i wahanu’r maes carafanau a’r pebyll, yn debygol o rygnu eu bodd.

Gwyr unrhyw un sy’n ymddiddori rhywfaint yn hanes yr ŵyl bod yr Eisteddfod wedi newid yn sylweddol drwy gydol ei hoes. A bu achwyn bob cam o’r ffordd.

Dyma ddyfyniadau o un gyfrol o’r Geninen yn 1887:

“… mae’r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Gymreig wedi ymddirywio cymaint nes y mae wedi dyfod yn fwy o ‘Music Festival’ Seisnig nag o Eisteddfod mewn gwirionedd.”- Gwyndodig “… mae amryw o hen gefnogwyr yr Eisteddfod wedi dod i gredu ma nid y rheilffordd a achosa farwolaeth yr iaith Gymraeg, ond yr Eisteddfod.” – Glanffrwd

Rwy’n cofio’r amheuon pan ddatgelwyd y Pafiliwn Pinc am y tro cyntaf nôl yn 2006. Nawr mae fel petai wedi tyfu’n symbol o’r Eisteddfod ei hun.

Mae newid yn anochel ac i’w groesawu, ac mae nifer o’r traddodiadau Eisteddfodol sydd mor annwyl i ni erbyn hyn yn ganlyniad i ddyfeisiadau damweiniol neu fwriadol dros y degawdau.

Steddfod y Stryd

Serch hynny, rhaid hefyd gwerthfawrogi bod yr Eisteddfod wedi ei gadw ar y cledrau hyd yma drwy union ymdrechion y Steddfodwyr selog rheini sy’n reit hoff o gwyno.

A bu gwrthdaro sylweddol eisoes rhwng y rheini sy’n frwd o blaid y syniad o gynnal Eisteddfod 2020 ar strydoedd Caerdydd a’r rheini sy’n benderfynol yn erbyn.

(Yn anffodus Twitter bu prif gyfrwng y ddadl hyd yn hyn, gan olygu ei fod wedi troi mewn dim i or-gyffredinoli a dadlau dros ystyr geiriau.)

O’m rhan i, rydw i’n berffaith fodlon rhoi tro ar y syniad, ond hefyd yn gofidio am agwedd ffrwd â hi ambell un sy’n benderfynol o fwrw ymlaen â newid sylfaenol i’r ŵyl er nad oes unrhyw gadarnhad eto beth fydd y trefniadau.

Hyd y gwelaf i, mae yna bryderon gwbl ddilys ynglŷn â’r syniad – ac ni wneith unrhyw ddrwg o gwbl i’w gwyntyllu yn y sffêr gyhoeddus.

Nid ydynt yn golygu bod y person sy’n gwneud yr awgrymiadau yn a) negyddol, b) yn casáu Caerdydd, na chwaith c) eisiau byw mewn ‘ghetto’ Cymraeg ar wahân i weddill y bydd.

Gŵyl yw’r Eisteddfod

Nid adlewyrchu byd-olwg cyfyng ac allgynhwysol y mae’r dymuniad i gynnal yr Eisteddfod mewn cae diarffordd.

Gŵyl yw’r Eisteddfod, ac fel llawer i ŵyl arall a gynhelir yn ystod misoedd yr haf, aiff pobl yno ar eu gwyliau.

Un o brif rinweddau gwyliau yw cael dianc o amgylchedd cyfarwydd i rywle newydd a gwahanol.

Nid wyf yn credu bod y rheini sy’n gwrthwynebu Eisteddfod stryd yng Nghaerdydd yn synio felly am nad ydynt yn hoffi’r brifddinas, ond yn wir am eu bod yn or-gyfarwyddâ hi.

O ddewis gwyliau, nid yw treulio wythnos ar stryd ddinesig (yng Nghaerdydd neu unrhyw ddinas arall) yn cymharu’n ffafriol yn eu meddyliau a chael ymlacio gyda photel o gwrw ynghanol cefn gwlad ar ddiwrnod braf o haf.

Cefnogir y dybiaeth hon gan ystadegau’r Eisteddfod eu hunain. Lle yw’r ardal fwyaf poblogaidd o ran nifer yr ymwelwyr? Y Bala. Ardal o harddwch naturiol sy’n bell o bobman.

Yr union fath o le y mae pobl yn hoffi mynd ar eu gwyliau.

Rhaid cofio felly mai gŵyl yw’r Eisteddfod, nid gwasanaeth. Mae pawb sy’n mynychu yn gwneud am eu bod yn cael ryw fwynhad o wneud hynny.

Nid cenhadwyr ydynt, i’w gyrru yma a thraw gan ddeallusion y genedl er mwyn argyhoeddi pobl sydd ddim yn hoffi Eisteddfota.

Y peryg wrth newid cyfeiriad er mwyn apelio at gynulleidfa newydd, ydi eich bod chi’n methu ac yn colli eich cynulleidfa wreiddiol hefyd.

Maen blastig
Y pryderon

Dyma’r pryderon hyd yma, rhai gen i a rhai sydd wedi eu cywain gan eraill (croeso i chi ychwanegu rhagor yn y sylwadau):

1.) Does dim naws gŵyl ynghanol dinas fawr. Di-enaid a diflas oedd Eisteddfodau’r Urdd yng Nghaerdydd.

2.) Mae strydoedd Caerdydd yn llawn siopau. Pa obaith sydd gan stondinwyr dan y fath amgylchiadau? Ydw i’n debygol o bicio i stondin Cadwyn os oes John Lewis rownd y gornel? Hmmm…

3.) Mae’r Eisteddfod yn anferth – mae cannoedd o stondinau a neuaddau. Ni fydd modd cynnwys y cyfan mewn un stryd neu sgwâr. O ganlyniad fe fydd wedi ei wasgaru yma a thraw, heb ganolbwynt i’r cwbl.

4.) Byddai 20,000 o ymwelwyr dyddiol yn anweledig ynghanol torfeydd arferol Caerdydd. Caiff yr elfen gymdeithasol Gymraeg ei wanedu yn sylweddol.

5.) Bydd Eisteddfod sy’n fwy hygyrch i bobl Caerdydd yn llai hygyrch i bawb arall. Yn ogystal â chyrraedd ar drên neu gar bydd angen teithio ar fws neu ar droed i ganol y ddinas. Os oes maes carafanau neu bebyll fe fydd ymhell o ganolbwynt yr ŵyl.

6.) Ni fydd yr ŵyl deuluol. Mae rhieni yn caniatáu i’r plant grwydro’r maes yn weddol sicr y bydd wynebau cyfarwydd o’u cwmpas ac y byddant yn saff. A fyddant yn cael yr un pen rhyddid ar strydoedd Caerdydd? Anodd credu.

7.) Sut fydd yr Eisteddfod yn talu ei ffordd? Mae’n anhebygol y bydd busnesau lleol yn fodlon gweld cau stryd gyfan i’w siopwyr arferol. O godi arian ar bobl i ymweld â’r pafiliwn, darlith neu gig yn unig, fe fydd llai o gymhelliad i bobl daro i mewn arnynt os ydynt yn cael crwydro’r ‘maes’ am ddim. Ydi’r Eisteddfod yn ddigon sicr yn ariannol i beryglu newid ei fodel busnes yn llwyr?

Y ddadl o blaid

Beth felly yw’r brif ddadl o blaid Eisteddfod ar y stryd? Yr hen gastanwydden  honno, ‘Mynd a’r Eisteddfod at y bobol’, ac er fy mod i yn sicr o blaid hynny rwy’n credu na ddylid mynd i eithafion.

Mae’r Eisteddfod eisoes yn ŵyl deithiol. Gwneir ymdrech ymwybodol bob blwyddyn i symud yr ŵyl hwnt ac yma er mwyn rhannu’r budd economaidd a diwylliannol, ac arbed y drafferth i bobl sydd ddim yn Eisteddfodwyr selog i symud ati hi.

Roedd hyn yn angenrheidiol yn nyddiau cynnar yr ŵyl pan oedd yn amhosib bron teithio o un pen o Gymru yw’r llall, ond rydym wedi parhau â’r traddodiad drwy ddewis.

Nid oes yr un ŵyl fawr arall yn mynd i’r fath ymdrech. Y Sioe Frenhinol, Gŵyl y Gelli, Glastonbury, Green Man, Sesiwn Fawr, Wakestock – maent oll wedi eu hysbysebu’n ddigon celfydd ac yn darparu cymhelliad digonol i bobol fod eisiau mynd atyn nhw.

Buddsoddir yr elw, nid mewn codi adeiladau parod am wythnos y flwyddyn, ond mewn gwella’r cyfleusterau ar y maes fel bod yr arlwy yn well y flwyddyn ganlynol.

(Yn wir mae yna ddadl y byddai’r ŵyl yn fwy llwyddiannus wrth ddenu’r di-Gymraeg a’r di-diddordeb o ollwng pac a gwario’r arian hwn ar wella’r hyn sy’n cael ei gynnig ar y maes.)

Gallwn dderbyn bod yr Eisteddfod eisoes felly yn mynd y tu hwnt i’r un ŵyl fawr arall er mwyn cyrraedd pobl, ac ar ei cholled yn ariannol o ganlyniad.

Ond ymddengys nad yw’r teithio hwn yn ddigon – yr awgrym erbyn hyn oedd nad oedd maes Eisteddfod 2008 yn y Brifddinas yn ddigon hygyrch i’r trigolion.

Roedd wedi ei ‘guddio’ ymaith lle na fyddai neb byth yn dod ar ei draws.

Ar sail y cwynion hyn fe fyddech chi’n meddwl bod yr ŵyl wedi ei chynnal mewn rhyw warws diarffordd neu gyrion dwyreiniol y ddinas, neu ar Ben y Fan.

Ond cafodd ei chynnal reit yn ganol y ddinas. Braidd na ellir bod wedi dod o hyd i leoliad mwy canolog.

Piciais i o’r maes i’r sinema i wylio’r ffilm Batman newydd ar ddydd Mawrth yr ŵyl. Pan orffennodd y ffilm, roedd gen i ugain munud i gyrraedd yn ôl i’r maes ar gyfer un o ddigwyddiadau’r pafiliwn ac roeddwn i yno gyda deg munud i’w sbario.

Os ydi rhywun eisiau mwynhau arlwy’r Eisteddfod heb symud modfedd, mae modd gwneud hynny ar S4C ac ar app.

I’r rheini o Gaerdydd oedd am fynychu, nid oedd ymlwybro drwy Barc Biwt yn ormod i’w ofyn, siawns. Roedd yna hyd yn oed sgwteri i gludo’r henoed o un pen o’r parc i’r llall.

Efallai nad oedd rhai pobl yn ymwybodol bod yr Eisteddfod yno. Ond mae yna lawer yn digwydd mewn prifddinas – gormod yn wir i wybod am y cwbl.

Roeddwn i yn y brifysgol yng Nghaerdydd pan oedd ffeinal Cwpan FA wedi ei gynnal droeon yn y ddinas, a blaw bod un o fy nghyd-letywyr wedi tynnu fy sylw at y ffaith ni fyddai gen i syniad.

Y gwirionedd yw bod gŵyl y tu ôl i ddrysau caeedig ar strydoedd Caerdydd yn debygol o fod yn fwy anweledig na chodi pafiliwn mawr binc ynghanol prif faes hamdden y ddinas.

Mae pafiliwn mawr yn ennyn chwilfrydedd, yn denu diddordeb. Fe fyddai Eisteddfod stryd yn toddi i’w hamgylchedd.

Eisteddfod Casnewydd – dyddiau da!

Ai diffyg hyder yn yr ŵyl sydd y tu cefn i’r dyb hon bod angen mynd a hi yn fwyfwy agos at bobl o hyd?

Ydyn ni wedi colli hyder yn ein galli i ddenu pobl at yr ŵyl, ac felly yn credu bod angen eu rhwydo?

Oes angen i’r Eisteddfod fod yn ryw fath o venus fly trap, yn llechu ymysg strydoedd Caerdydd yn disgwyl i gael traflyncu pobl sy’n digwydd taro heibio?

Rwy’n credu bod elfen o ddiffyg hyder yma – ond yn fwy perthnasol efallai yw’r newid yng nghymeriad yr Eisteddfod ei hun.

Mae maes yr Eisteddfod wedi mynd yn rhy fawr, ac yn rhy ‘gaeedig’, yn enwedig felly gyda’r nos.

Does dim cymhelliad bellach dros adael y maes ei hun o gwbl.

Mae’r dyddiau pan oedd yr Eisteddfod yn ‘cau siop’ tua 6pm wedi dod i ben dros y blynyddoedd diwethaf, yn sgil cynnig cerddoriaeth byw a thafarndai yno.

Un o’r Eisteddfodau cyntaf i fi eu mynychu oedd un Casnewydd yn 2004. Mae gen i atgofion cynnes o droedio maes gwledig, prydferth yn ystod y dydd.

Ond ar ôl 6pm roeddwn i ac eraill yng nghefn bws mini (wedi ei yrru gan Fred Ffransis, yn ôl yr hyn ydw i’n ei gofio) i ganol y ddinas am noswaith o rialtwch.

Ym Meifod yn 2003, gwelais Tudur Owen yn gwneud stand up am y tro cyntaf yn un o neuaddau’r dref.

Roedd yr arlwy gyda’r nos yn eich gwahodd i ymweld â gweddill y gymuned.

Mae Eisteddfod o’r fath yn cynnig y gorau o’r ddau fyd. Y Maes gwledig gyda’r dydd a’r ddinas (neu’r dref) gyda’r hwyr.

Mae angen dychwelyd at y cydbwysedd hwnnw. Nid mynd o un eithaf i’r llall – maes sydd fel dinas, i ddinas sydd fel maes – yw’r ateb yn fy nhyb i.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Blogiadau

Yn ddiweddar rydw i wedi bod yn cyfrannu at wefan aml-gyfrannog Dyma restr o’r blogiadau hyd yma. Fe wna i ddiweddaru’r rhestr wrth i mi eu hysgrifennu:

Yr Express a’r gaeaf oeraf erioed

A yw’r dosbarth canol Cymraeg yn lladd yr iaith?

Meddylfryd y Cymry

Gwersi i Gymru o fethiant Salmond

Y dadl-aye yn yr Alban

#indyref a chysgod ’92

Dim annibyniaeth i’r Alban – peth da i Gymru?

Y Gymraeg v GDP

A yw cenedlaetholdeb o fudd i’r iaith Gymraeg?

Ystadegau Eisteddfodol

Cofio’r Eisteddfod

Cymru a Phalestina

Trafferth ar Draffordd

Y Dwymyn Hyper-lleol

Oes Aur Cyhoeddi Ar-lein? Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Hir Oes i’r Cymry Taeog!

“Dylwn i fod wedi aros adref!”
Mae fy ffrwd Twitter wedi ffrwydro â chynddaredd unwaith eto wrth i garfan o gyd-Gymry dderbyn cael eu hurddo yn aelodau o’r Ymerodreath Brydeinig. Efa Gruffudd Jones oedd yn ei chael hi ryw chwe mis yn ôl, ond nawr Cerys Matthews sydd wedi ei dal hi gan y Twitterati. ‘Every day, when I wake up, I thank the Lord I’m British?’
Dywed Adam Price mewn trydariad heddiw:
Testun trueni yw gweld mawrion ein cenedl yn ildio un ar ol y llall i wobrwyon y Sefydliad Brydeinig. Ble ar y ddaear mae’n hunan-barch?
Serch hynny mae hanes ein cenedl yn awgrymu bod gennym ni le i ddiolch i’r Cymry di-asgwrn cefn yn ein plith. Gellid dadlau na fyddai ein hiaith a’n diwylliant ni’n bodoli heddiw pe na bai’r Cymry mor tu hwnt o liprynnaidd. Wele er enghraifft y modd y cafodd y Cymry eu trin yn y canol oesoedd o’u cymharu â’r Gwyddelod a’r Albanwyr. Oherwydd bod Cymru wedi ymostwng mor barod i ewyllys coron Lloegr, ni aethpwyd ati i geisio dinistrio’r iaith frodorol â’r un eiddgarwch ac a welwyd yn y gwledydd rheini. Mae’r hanesydd Victor Durkacz wedi dadlau bod yr iaith Gymraeg wedi goroesi’r oesoedd canol yn rhannol oherwydd nad oedd ganddi unrhyw gysylltiad â gwrthryfel yn yr un modd a’r Aeleg neu’r Wyddeleg, ac felly na wnaeth Lloegr drafferthu ceisio ei difa. Yn ôl Richard Suggett, Eryn M. White a Geraint H. Jenkins ystyrir Cymry yn dalaith fach deyrngar a diffwdan gan Loegr yn ystod y cyfnod hwnnw. Roedd y Ddeddf Uno yn ymdrech amlwg i geisio integreiddio Cymru yn ieithyddol a diwylliannol i Loegr – ond ni chafodd ryw lawer o effaith. Doedd dim cymaint â hynny o angen llywodraethu gwlad mor dawel a diffwdan a Chymru, mewn unrhyw iaith. Drwy gadw eu pennau i lawr, fe oroesodd y Cymry.
Mae’r un peth yn wir wrth ystyried Oes Fictoria. Er bod y Llyfrau Gleision yn datgelu bod agwedd y wladwriaeth Brydeinig at y Gymraeg yn parhau yn hollol wrthwynebus, ni wnaethpwyd ryw lawer o ymdrech i geisio cael gwared ohono. Efallai eu bod nhw’n ystyried y Cymry yn ddigon abl i ddifodi eu hiaith eu hunain. Roedd y Cymry wedi gwirion ar yr ymerodraeth a’r dyfodol llewyrchus yr oedd yn ei gynnig iddynt. Roedd yr Eisteddfod yn cynnal cystadlaethau ar sut orau i ddefnyddio’r ŵyl fel modd o ledaenu’r Saesneg. Roedd yr Ymneilltuwyr Cymraeg yn talu i godi capeli Saesneg o’u pocedi eu hunain ar gyfer twristiaid a newydd ddyfodiaid, ac yn gyrru addolwyr Cymraeg iddynt er mwyn cynyddu’r niferoedd. Mae’n wir fod ambell un o arweinwyr Cymreig y cyfnod wedi dadlau y byddai dysgu drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg yn yr ysgolion yn syniad da – ond fel modd o hwyluso’r broses o  drosglwyddo’r Saesneg i’w plant. Teimlai gwladgarwyr megis Michael D Jones yr angen i yrru ei gyd-Gymry ymaith i Batagonia a dechrau o’r newydd. ‘Cymru lân, Cymru lonydd’ oedd ein gwlad, ‘gwlad y menig gwynion’, oedd yn cymryd balchder mawr yn eu teyrngarwch i’r wladwriaeth Brydeinig. Rywsut, er gwaethaf ymdrechion taer y Cymry eu hunain, fe oroesodd yr iaith.
Fel cnofil sy’n cymryd arno ei fod wedi marw fel bod cath yn gadael llonydd iddo, llwyddodd iaith a diwylliant y Cymry i osgoi bod yn unrhyw fath o fygythiad i’r Saeson nes bod yr Ymerodraeth Brydeinig wedi mynd a’i phen iddi. Brwydrodd y Gwyddelod a’r Alban yn ôl, ac er bod un wlad yn annibynnol, a’r wlad arall yn ymylu ar fod felly, mae eu hieithoedd bron a bod wedi eu difa fel ieithoedd cyntaf, byw.
Wrth gwrs dyw’r un wlad yn mynd i selio ei ‘myth’ cenedlaethol ar ei gallu i gadw ei phen i lawr ac osgoi cythruddo unrhyw un arall. Fe fyddai yn well gennym ni edrych yn ôl at Owain Glyndŵr, a Llywelyn ein Llyw Olaf, ac arweinwyr eraill – ond onid y cyfan y llwyddon nhw i’w gyflawni oedd tynnu nyth cacwn i’w pennau? Beth am gymryd y cyfle yn lle i ddiolch i Cerys Matthews ac MBEs eraill y byd yma am blygu glin i’r Cwîn – efallai y cawn ni ganiatâd i siarad y Gymraeg am ychydig flynyddoedd eto! 😛

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Sylwadau pytiog ar etholiadau Ewrop

Dyma ambell i sylw yn dilyn canlyniadau etholiadau Ewrop neithiwr… dim ond synfyfyrio ydw i fan hyn, does dim sail academaidd o gwbl!
Mae sylw drwg yn well…
Roedd UKIP wedi eu taro gan bennawd negyddol ar ôl pennawd negyddol. Ond roedd cyfanswm yr ymdriniaeth wedi argyhoeddi sawl un eu bod nhw’n blaid arwyddocaol ac y byddai pleidleisio o’u plaid yn gyrru neges benodol i’r sefydliad gwleidyddol. Does dim pwynt galw enwau ar blaid os ydyn nhw’n rhannu pryderon canran sylweddol o’r etholwyr – bydd yr ymosodiad yn gwneud i bobl yn uniaethu yn gryfach â’r blaid yn hytrach nag yn llai.
… na dim sylw o gwbl
Mae cefnogwyr Plaid Cymru yn tueddu i bryderu am eu strategaeth cyfathrebu. Ond os nad yw’r neges yn cyrraedd yr etholwyr does dim llawer o ots beth yw’r cynnwys. Rydw i’n dilyn nifer o siaradwyr Cymraeg ar Twitter ac felly yn clywed llawer iawn gan Blaid Cymru – ond ychydig ydw i’n ei glywed drwy’r cyfryngau prif lif. Yr unig beth ydw i’n cofio ei weld drwy gydol yr ymgyrch oedd ymosodiad Leanne Wood ar UKIP, a’r unig reswm y cafodd hwnnw cymaint o sylw oedd oherwydd bod Dafydd El wedi ei thanseilio.
Dylanwad San Steffan
Mae gan etholiadau Ewrop ac etholiadau’r Cynulliad yr un broblem. Ychydig iawn yw’r ymdriniaeth o faterion Cymreig na Ewropeaidd yn y wasg, ac felly mae pobl yn pleidleisio ar sail gwleidyddiaeth San Steffan. ‘Gyrru neges’ yw’r nod bob tro, yn hytrach na mynegi barn a phenderfyniadau gwleidyddol y pleidiau yn y sefydliadau penodol mae’r etholiad yn ymwneud â nhw.
Mae yna lawer o gwyno nad yw gwleidyddiaeth Cymru yn cael sylw yn y wasg Lundeinig. Ar yr un pryd mae yna lawer o gwyno fod yna wagle yn y cyfryngau yng Nghymru. Dylai cenedlaetholwyr felly fynd ati i lenwi’r gwagle hwnnw gyda’u cyhoeddiadau eu hunain.
Effaith y We 2.0
Rwy’n credu bod y refferendwm ar annibyniaeth yn yr Alban a thwf UKIP yn arwydd o rym y we 2.0. Er bod y mwyafrif llethol o’r cyfryngau yn gwrthwynebu annibyniaeth i’r Alban, ac annibyniaeth i’r DU o Ewrop, mae’r rhyngrwyd yn cynnig modd i bobl ddod o hyd i eraill sydd o’r un farn â nhw. O dan bob erthygl gwrth-UKIP yn y Guardian a’r Telegraph roedd miloedd o sylwadau yn gwrthwynebu ac yn tanseilio awdurdod y cyhoeddwr gwreiddiol – heb son am ddylanwad Twitter, Facebook, a rhywdweithiau cymdeithasol eraill.
Pam nad yw Plaid Cymru wedi gallu denu cefnogaeth drwy’r cyfryngau cymdeithasol yn yr un modd? Ydi cefnogwyr y Blaid yn tueddu i sgwrsio yn Gymraeg ar Twitter ayyb, gan gau eraill allan o’r drafodaeth? Ta ai’r broblem yw nad oes gan y Blaid un nod amlwg cyraeddadwy y maen nhw’n eu harddel a all ysbrydoli pobl (digon llugoer ydyn nhw ar bwnc annibyniaeth)?
Nid yw UKIP yn ‘un-Welsh’ wedi’r cwbl
Mae nifer o Gymry yn hoffi meddwl ein bod ni’n wlad llawer mwy adain chwith na Lloegr. Roedd Siôn Jobbins yn awgrymu yn ei lyfr The Phenomenon of Welshness mai ryw fath o barhad o gred Cymry Oes Fictoria eu bod nhw’n fwy Cristnogol na gweddill Prydain yw hyn. Hynny yw, efallai nad oes gennym ni unrhyw rym gwleidyddol, ond o leiaf fe allwn ni hawlio’r tir uchel moesol!
Yn wahanol i’r Alban, lle yr oedd cefnogaeth UKIP dipyn yn is na gweddill Prydain, fe wnaeth y blaid yn dda iawn yng Nghymru. A hynny yn y Fro Gymraeg a Chymoedd y De, gan awgrymu bod pobl sy’n ystyried eu hunain yn Gymru yn gyntaf, ac yn siaradwyr Cymraeg, yn fodlon eu cefnogi.
Dylid rhoi pwysau ar UKIP dros y Gymraeg
Digon ‘cymysg’ yw record UKIP ar unrhyw beth Cymraeg neu Gymreig – roedden nhw o blaid diddymu’r Cynulliad nes yn ddiweddar, mae eu taflenni etholiadol yn uniaith Saesneg, ac roedd eu Haelodau Seneddol Ewropeaidd ymysg yr unig rai a bleidleisiodd yn erbyn rhagor o hawliau i ieithoedd lleiafrifol.
Ond os yw UKIP wir wedi derbyn cefnogaeth Cymry Cymraeg, yna wrth i’r blaid ddatblygu o bleidlais brotest i blaid wleidyddol aeddfed dylid rhoi pwysau arni i barchu’r Gymraeg a sefydliadau Cymreig. Nawr yw’r amser i wneud hyn, tra bod polisïau a hunaniaeth y blaid yn haws dylanwadu arnynt.
Mae rhai o’r materion mae UKIP yn eu codi yn rhai dilys
Mae’n amlwg bod UKIP yn denu cefnogaeth nifer o bobl hiliol. Nid yw’n anodd dyfalu i le y diflannodd pleidlais y BNP ddydd Iau. Ond mae atyniad y blaid yn eang ac mae wedi ei chreu o gyfuno sawl elfen o’r pleidiau eraill, fel ryw fath o fwystfil Frankenstein erchyll. Mae yno gefnogaeth dosbarth gweithiol sosialaidd, ceidwadaeth, a rhyddfrydiaeth, ynghlwm â’u gweledigaeth.
Serch hynny er gwaetha’r galw enwau, mae angen i wleidyddion fynd i’r afael â mater mewnfudo a gadael yr undeb Ewropeaidd. Mae yna ddadleuon cryf i’w cynnig o’u plaid – ond mae pawb heblaw am Nick Clegg, chwarae teg iddo, fel petaen nhw’n ofn rhoi cynnig arni. Sut mae mewnfudo yn hybu’r economi? Hyd yn oed os mae’n hwb i GDP – a yw yn codi GDP y pen? Ac ai GDP yw’r peth pwysicaf yn y pen draw wedi’r cwbl? Mae yna ddiffygion mawr â’r modd y mae’r Undeb Ewropeaidd yn cael ei weithredu hefyd. Beth sy’n cael ei wneud i datrys rhain?
Nid pawb sy’n pryderu am y materion hyn sy’n gwneud hynny am nad ydyn nhw’n hoffi meddwl am Rwmaniaid yn symud i mewn drws nesa.  
A fydd UKIP yn diflannu i’r pedwar gwynt?
Mae sawl sylwebydd eisoes wedi holi ai Etholiad Ewropeaidd 2014 fydd ‘Peak Farage’. Fe fydd y blaid yn ei chael hi’n anodd iawn ennill sedd yn Etholiad Cyffredinol 2015. Yn waeth byth iddyn nhw, fe allai ennill un sedd, a bydd Nigel Farage yn eistedd yno am bum mlynedd yn edrych yn hollol ynysig a di-rym – ac yn tyfu’n fwy o ran o’r ‘sefydliad’ bob dydd. Mae gan UKIP y ‘big mo’ ar hyn o bryd ond mae datblygu plaid yn ddigon mawr i ennill seddi ar draws y genedl yn cymryd degawdau. Roedd sylwadau’r ASE Nathan Gill yn y Western Mail y bydd UKIP yn herio am seddi yng Nghymoedd y De yn nonsens. Bydd UKIP yn targedu tua 10 sedd yn yr Etholiad Cyffredinol, y mwyafrif yn nwyrain Lloegr.
Yr eironi wrth gwrs yw bod rhannau helaeth o Ewrop yn unfryd wedi pleidleisio o blaid pleidiau sy’n wrthwynebus i’r rhannau eraill. Wrth i economi’r Deyrnas Unedig, ac Ewrop yn ei gyfanrwydd, ddechrau gwella dros y blynyddoedd nesaf, mae’n debygol y bydd llawer o’r cynddaredd gwrth-Ewropeaidd yn dechrau pylu.
Mae cyfle da gan y Blaid yng Ngheredigion
Mae’n amlwg bod chwalfa sylweddol wedi bod yng nghefnogaeth y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol, yng Ngheredigion ac ar draws Cymru a’r Deyrnas Unedig. Fe ddaethon nhw’n ail i Blaid Cymru yng Ngheredigion yn Etholiad Ewrop 2009, ond yn bedwerydd eleni. Mae’n anodd diseddu ymgeiswyr unigol, yn enwedig un mor amlwg boblogaidd a Mark Williams, sydd â mwyafrif sylweddol. Ond dyma’r cyfle os fuodd un erioed. Gallai fod yn un darn o newyddion da i PC ar noson etholiad 2015 – yn enwedig os ydyn nhw’n colli Arfon!

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Ebargofiant

Bron i ddeg mlynedd yn ôl taniwyd fy niddordeb mewn llenyddiaeth Gymraeg wedi i mi gael benthyg y nofel Seren Wen ar Gefndir Gwyngan un o’m ffrindiau. Doeddwn i heb ddarllen nofel Gymraeg ers blynyddoedd cyn hynny – ers dyddiau Cysgod y Cryman ac yr ‘Stafell Ddirgel yn yr ysgol uwchradd. Doedd cylch fy narllen yn Saesneg ddim yn arbennig o eang chwaith – fe fûm i’n byw ar ddiet melys o nofelau Terry Pratchett ac ambell i awdur ffantasi arall ers blynyddoedd. Ond roedd Seren Wen ar Gefndir Gwyn, gan Robin Llywelyn, wedi dal fy nychymyg yn syth. Roedd yn helpu wrth gwrs ei fod yn nofel ffantasi / ffuglen wyddonol o’r math yr oeddwn i eisoes yn ei fwynhau. Ond yn fwy na hynny fe wnaeth i mi sylweddoli fod yna bethau i’w mwynhau yn Gymraeg nad oedd ar gael yn Saesneg – ni fyddai Seren Wen ar Gefndir Gwyn wedi gallu bodoli mewn unrhyw iaith arall. Roedd y Gymraeg tafodieithol yn gymeriad yn y nofel i’r un graddau a Gwern Esgus, Siffrwd Helyg a’r lleill.
Rydw i wedi parhau i ddarllen a mwynhau, ac hyd yn oed ceisio ysgrifennu, nofelau Cymraeg ers hynny.
Mae Ebargofiant yn nofel arall hollol unigryw. Cefais fy atgoffa o Seren Wen ar Gefndir Gwyn sawl gwaith wrth ei darllen – yn bennaf am ei bod, yn y bôn, yn nofel ddigon hwyliog yn llawn cymeriadau hoffus, a’i bod yn yr un modd yn ryw fath o gymysgedd o ffantasi a ffuglen wyddonol.
Un peth arall sydd gan y nofel yn gyffredin â Seren Wen yw y bydd nifer o ddarllenwyr yn cael trafferth ei deall hi ar y dechrau. Derbyniad digon cymysg a gafodd Seren Wen – er gwaetha’r ffaith bod beirniaid y Fedal Ryddiaith yn Eisteddfod 1992 wedi dweud ei bod yn gampwaith – a hynny oherwydd ei bod wedi ei ysgrifennu mewn tafodiaith ogleddol. (Mae yna grynodeb da iawn o’r hanes yn Rhwng Gwyn a Du: Agweddau Ar Ryddiaith Gymraeg Y 1990au, gan Angharad Price.)
Os oedd pobl yn cael trafferth deall tafodiaith Seren Wen, hoffwn i weld eu hymateb i Ebargofiant! Mae’n gymysgedd o dafodiaith ac orgraff anghyffredin. Mae yna rifau yn gymysg â geiriau, geiriau mewn rhes heb fylchau rhyngddyn nhw, a’r holl eiriau ac enwau gwneud y mae rhywun yn eu disgwyl mewn nofel ffuglen wyddonol. Mae’n debyg bod y Cyngor Llyfrau wedi awgrymu y dylai’r awdur ei gwneud yn haws ei darllen. Rwy’n falch na wnaeth hynny, ond rhaid cyfaddef fy mod i wedi straffaglu braidd drwy fwd y tudalennau cyntaf, gan ddarllen ac ail-ddarllen bob brawddeg gan geisio gwneud synnwyr ohonynt.

Wy yw’r nofel hon, gyda phlisgyn trwchus. Mae’n anodd torri drwy’r plisgyn allanol hwnnw, ond o ddyfalbarhau gellid cael mynediad at y melynwy hynod flasus y tu mewn. Erbyn rhyw chwarter ffordd drwy’r nofel, pan mae’r plot wir yn dechrau symud o ddifri, roedd y darllen yn dod yn ddigon rhwydd. Erbyn ei diwedd doeddwn i ddim hyd yn oed yn sylwi ar yr orgraff, heblaw bod yr awdur yn dewis tynnu sylw ati (ac mae’n rhan hollbwysig o’r plot a’r themâu canolog). Roedd yn fy atgoffa o ddysgu i ysgrifennu mewn llawrfer newyddiadurol – yr iaith oedd mor ddiarth i ddechrau, wedi troi’n ail natur yn fuan iawn.
Un peth a oedd o ddefnydd mawr i mi oedd darllen y geiriau yn uchel – fel yr hen fynachod yn eu sgriptoria – nes fy mod i wedi deall eu hystyr nhw. Cyn hir daeth yr iaith yn rhan annatod o wead y nofel ac yn rhan o’r pleser o ddarllen.
Dydw i ddim am ddweud gormod am y melyn wy sydd y tu mewn i’r plisgyn – y byd, y plot, y cymeriadau, a’r themâu. Digon yw dweud fy mod i’n torri bol eisiau trafod y cyfan gyda rhywun arall sydd wedi profi’r cyfan! Mae yna sawl dirgelwch o fewn y plot i gnoi cil arnynt, ac rwy’n credu y bydd y themâu canolog yn destun dehongli a thrafod am amser hir iawn.
Efallai bod hyn i gyd yn gwneud i’r nofel swnio fel pe bai’n waith hynod o galed – ond fel y dywedais i, mae’n  nofel hynod o hwyliog, ac yn ddoniol, hefyd. 
Fel Seren Wen, dyma nofel sydd wedi rhoi archwaeth newydd i mi am lenyddiaeth Gymraeg. Nofel hollol unigryw, na fyddai wedi gallu bodoli mewn unrhyw iaith arall.


Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Ai hiraeth sydd ar fai?

Edward H Dafis

Rydw i wedi darllen dau gofnod diddorol iawn dros y dyddiau diwethaf – un gan y Hogyn o Rachub, sydd eisiau ffoi oddi wrth diwylliant ‘arwynebol’ y brifddinas, a’r llall gan Nico Dafydd, sydd eisiau plannu hoelen yn arch yr ‘hen ffordd Gymreig o fyw’.

Poeni mai Nico mai nostalgia sy’n cynnal y Sin Roc Cymraeg, a sawl elfen arall o’n diwylliant, a bod hynny yn ein hatal ni rhag arloesi a chefnogi artistiaid newydd. Mae’n gweld llwyddiant gig Edward H Dafis yn yr Eisteddfod y llynedd yn symptom o hyn – “mae gweld cynifer o bobl ifanc, a thrwch diwylliant iaith Gymraeg Cymru yn pentyrru i ail-fyw gorffennol na fu, yn dorcalonnus”.
Dydw i ddim yn credu mai ‘nostalgia’ sy’n nodweddiadu ein diwylliant – ond yn hytrach ymboeni’n ormodol am bethau sy’n gwbl naturiol mewn unrhyw ddiwylliant mwyafrifol, a lleiafrifol, arall.

Mae gan bawb eu damcaniaethau eu hunain ynglŷn â pham nad yw diwylliant y Gymraeg mor fywiog ag y dylai fod. Ond y gwir yn fy nhyb i yw bod y diwylliant Cymraeg, mewn gwirionedd, yn llawer mwy bywiog nag y ‘dylai fod’ – fe ddylai fod wedi hen farw erbyn hyn. Wrth ystyried tranc ieithoedd lleiafrifol sy’n bodoli ochr yn ochr ag ieithoedd mwyafrifol ledled y byd daw’n amlwg bod y Gymraeg wedi bod yn anhygoel o wydn. Yn hytrach na lladd ar ein hunain am bob methiant fe ddylen ni ddathlu’r ffaith ein bod ni wedi llwyddo cyhyd, ac yn parhau i lwyddo i raddau helaeth.

Dyw hoffi hen fandiau ar draul bandiau newydd ddim yn beth anghyffredin. Dim ond yn yr 80au y daeth Edward H Dafis i ben – ydi obsesiwn y diwylliant Eingl-Americanaidd â’r Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Elvis, Modonna, a Michael Jackson yn adlewyrchu’r un mor wael arnyn nhw? Ydi’r ffaith bod cannoedd o filiynau wedi heidio i weld y Rolling Stones yn Glastonbury y llynedd yn arwydd bod y Saesneg ar ei ffordd i lawr, a bod talentau newydd yn cael eu mygu?
Dadl Nico yw y dylai’r miloedd a wyliodd Edward H Dafis fod yn heidio i wylio bandiau ifanc, newydd oedd yn chwarae yn Maes B neu gig y Gymdeithas yn lle. Ond y gwirionedd yw bod y rhan fwyaf o fandiau ifanc, newydd yn crap – mae hyn yn wir yn y Gymraeg a’r Saesneg. Torfeydd bychan iawn sy’n tueddu i drafferthu mynd i’w gweld nhw. Dros y degawdau mae ambell i hen ffefryn yn dal i fynd, yn ennill dilyniant, ac weithiau mae marwolaeth y band hyd yn oed yn hwb i’w poblogrwydd – yr ‘effaith Van Gogh’.
Roedd sawl rheswm pam y heidiodd 8,000 o bobl i weld Edward H Dafis yn yr Eisteddfod y llynedd (doeddwn i ddim yn un ohonyn nhw, gyda llaw). Yn gyntaf, roedd y band wedi treulio degawdau yn ennill dilynwyr, hen a newydd. Yn ail, roedd y gig wedi ei hepio i’r cymylau ar y we a gan ymdriniaeth teledu’r BBC. Y trydydd rheswm yw bod Edward H Dafis yn fand â tiwns da, cofiadwy, llawer gwell na’r rhan fwyaf o fandiau Cymraeg eraill.
Ond dydw i ddim yn credu bod y rhan fwyaf o bobl yno yn malio cymaint â hynny am y gig ei hun. Eilbeth oedd hynny. Y prif reswm, a’r rheswm y mae pobl yn mynd i’r Eisteddfod yn fy marn i, oedd cael teimlo eu bod nhw’n rhan o rywbeth mwy. Y cyfan oedd y gig oedd esgus i deimlo eu bod nhw’n perthyn i gymuned o bobl fel nhw. Roedd gig gan Edward H Dafis, oedd yn apelio i’r hen a’r ifanc fel ei gilydd, yn un o’r ychydig bethau allai gyflawni hynny.

Wrth gwrs, mewn 30 mlynedd efalai y bydd un o’r bandiau ifanc oedd yn chwarae ym Maes B y noson honno yw diddanu torf o 8,000 ar faes yr Eisteddfod. A bydd rhywun yn siwr o gwyno bod y Cymry Cymraeg yn byw yn y gorffennol bryd hynny, hefyd.

Rydw i’n deall dadl Nico, ond yn anghytuno bod ymddiddori yn y gorffennol yn nodweddiadol o’r Gymraeg o gwbl. Peth ‘ephemeral’ iawn fu  ein diwylliant erioed, o’r beirdd ganrifoedd yn ôl oedd yn amharod iawn i nodi unrhyw beth i lawr ar bapur (da ni wedi colli bron a bod y cyfan erbyn hyn), i’n Eisteddfod fodern sy’n defnyddio gorsedd blastig fel nad oes rhaid iddyn nhw adael hyd yn oed y smotyn lleiaf o dystiolaeth o’u bodolaeth ar eu holau. Mae siaradwyr yr iaith yn tueddu i fod yn eithaf anwybodus o’u hanes diwylliannol. Roedd gan Gymry Cymraeg Oes Fictoria fwy o ddiddordeb yn achau’r Brenin Dafydd na’u hanes cenedlaethol eu hunain. Yn yr oes fodern mae hanes yr iaith Gymraeg ym meddyliau nifer yn dechrau â Trwy ddulliau chwyldro yn unig y mae llwyddo”. Dyna pam bod angen paentio ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’ ar wal ger Llanrhystud – mae fel ‘post it’ note cenedlaethol i hybu’r cof. Rydyn ni i gyd yn arbenigwyr ar hanes Prydain, a hyd yn oed yr Unol Daleithiau, a hanes Ffrainc a gwledydd Ewropeaidd eraill. Mae holl hunaniaeth Prydain wedi ei seilio ar Ymerodraeth a ddaeth i ben 100 mlynedd yn ôl. Ond does bron i ddim trafodaeth ymysg Cymry Cymraeg ynglŷn â hanes yr iaith, a’r rhesymau economaidd a chymdeithasol pam y cafodd yr iaith ei hun yn y twll yma yn y lle cyntaf. Teg dweud, pe bai siaradwyr Cymraeg yn talu mwy o sylw i’w gorffennol, efallai y bydden nhw’n fwy parod i ddeall heriau’r presennol.

Mae’r iaith ei hun, wrth gwrs, yn ddolen i’r gorffennol. Dyna sy’n rhoi’r fath rym iddo, a dyna pam ei fod mor bwysig ei gynnal – fel bod trysorau miloedd o flynyddoedd o orffennol yn parhau’n hygyrch i ni. Mae’r gallu i edrych yn ôl a gwerthfawrogi’r trsyorau rheini yn beth da – heb fod dan ddylanwad ein gorffennol fydd yna ddim byd unigryw am gynnyrch diwylliannol ein dyfodol. Fel arall, waeth i ni gyd siarad Esperanto ddim.

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Yr Urdd, Urddo, a’r Frenhines

Cynan yn urddo’r Frenhines

Rhaid cyfaddef fy mod i wedi fy siomi braidd gan barodrwydd ambell un o hoelion wyth ein diwylliant i fynd i Loegr i gwrdd â’r Frenhines. O fewn y pythefnos diwethaf cafwyd wybod bod yr Archdderwydd Christine James wedi bod draw i Balas Buckingham, a heddiw clywyd bod Prif Weithredwr yr Urdd Efa Gruffudd Jones wedi derbyn MBE.
Does gen i ddim unrhyw fath o gasineb personol tuag at unrhyw aelod o’r Teulu Brenhinol. Maen nhw’n gwneud swyddogaeth digon diflas yn fy marn i, yn enwedig y Frenhines a ddylai fod wedi cael ymddeol degawdau yn ôl. Dydw i ddim chwaith yn ei beio hi oherwydd bod ei 1000x hen-dad-cu wedi torri pen Tywysog olaf Cymru i ffwrdd. Brenhinoedd yn brwydro am diriogaeth oedd y rhain, ac fe fyddai Tywysogion Cymru wedi gwneud yn union yr un fath i frenhinoedd ac arglwyddi Lloegr pe bai modd iddynt.
Serch hynny rydw i’r credu bod Teulu Brenhinol bellach yn anacroniaeth ac wedi ei ddarostwng yn ddim mwy nag arf PR er mwyn hybu buddiannau’r rheini sydd am reoli ein cymdeithas. Mae gan ‘bennaeth ein gwladwriaeth’ lai o rym na bron i bawb arall yn y wlad – mae’n cael ei thywys o le i le i ysgwyd llaw â hwn a’r llall. Nid yw ei Hymerodraeth Prydaeinig bellach yn bodoli, ac roedd yn beth digon atgas tra’r oedd yn bod, felly wela i ddim pam y byddai unrhyw un yn teimlo bod cael bod yn aelod ohono yn anrhydedd.
Roedd trydariad gan Aelod Cynulliad Ceredigion, Elin Jones, yn crynhoi teimladau nifer ar y pwnc:

“Methu credu fod menyw ddawnus, ifanc Gymreig yn meddwl fod yna werth bod yn Member of the British Empire yn 2014.”

Mae Christine James wedi ceisio wfftio’r feirniadaeth am ei hymweliad hithau â Phalas Buckingham drwy ddweud:

“Yn bersonol doeddwn i ddim yn gweld problem gyda’r peth. Hynny yw, roeddwn i’n gweld e’n wahoddiad gan bennaeth gwladwriaeth – tasen ni wedi cael gwahoddiad gan bennaeth gwladwriaeth Ffrainc, neu beth bynnag, bydden ni wedi bod yn falch iawn o fynd â’r gore o farddoniaeth Gymraeg yno.”

Alla i ddim credu ei bod hi wir wedi meddwl bod derbyn gwahoddiad gan Frenhines Lloegr yr un fath a mynd i weld Arlywydd Ffrainc. Mae’r ddwy yma yn nabod Cymru yn ddigon da i wybod y byddai plygu glin i’r Cwîn yn ennyn y fath ymateb, ond wedi penderfynu gwneud hynny beth bynnag. Pam felly?
I raddau mae penderfyniad Efa Gruffudd Jones yn gwneud mwy o synnwyr. Wedi’r cyfan derbyn yr anrhydedd yn rhinwedd ei swydd mae hi. Anrhydedd i’r Urdd yw hi yn y bôn, er mwyn adnabod gwaith da’r mudiad. Ond wedi dweud hynny alla i ddim dychmygu bod nifer o’r rheini sy’n ymwneud a’r mudiad eisiau cael eu cysylltu ag ymerodraeth Prydain, chwaith.
Ond dydw i ddim yn gweld ryw lawer o gyfiawnhad o gwbl am ymweliad yr Archdderwydd â Phalas Buckingham. Dywedodd Christine James mai’r bwriad oedd “dathlu’r ffaith bod barddoniaeth fel cyfrwng yn ffynnu ym Mhrydain ar hyn o bryd”. Wrth gwrs fe ddigwyddodd y dathliad hwn ar 19 Tachwedd ac ni chafodd y byd wybod nes 20 Rhagfyr. Os mai tynnu sylw at gryfder barddoniaeth Brydeinig oedd y nod, pam cadw’r peth dan eich het archdderwyddol am fis cyfan?
Rydw i’n aelod o’r Orsedd a’r syniad yn fy nhyb i oedd ei fod yn system anrhydeddau oedd yn bodoli ochr yn ochr ag un Lloegr, yn hytrach na bod islaw iddo. Drwy fynd i Balas Buckingham a chyrtsio i’r Frenhines mae’r Archdderwydd wedi awgrymu nad yw hynny’n wir. Efallai mai fel Christine James y bardd yr aeth hi yno, ond allai hi ddim stopio bod yn Archdderwydd am noson dim mwy na y mae’r Pab yn gallu rhoi’r gorau i fod yn Bab am noson, neu’r Prif Weinidog y Prif Weinidog. Mae mynd i Balas Buckingham yn Archdderwydd a chyrtsio i’r Frenhines (fel sydd rhaid i bob un sy’n ei chyfarfod hi wneud) yn gosod cynsail anffodus yn fy marn i.
“Does dim problem… a dweud y gwir mae’r Frenhines yn aelod o’r Orsedd,” meddai Christine James.
Mae hynny’n wir ond fe ymunodd 1946, ond roedd hwnnw’n oes wahanol. Doedd y Frenhines ddim yn Frenhines. Roedd yr Eisteddfod yn parhau i fod yn un ‘frenhinol’ ac agwedd y Cymry Cymraeg yn llai gweriniaethol. Ac wedi’r cwbl dim ond Urdd Ofydd y cafodd Elisabeth… hynny yw, yr haen isaf o’r tair sydd ar gael.
Yr unig esboniad alla i feddwl amdano yw eu bod nhw ill dwy wedi gwirioni at gael eu gwahodd i gwrdd â’r Frenhines, ac wedi derbyn er gwaethaf yr ymateb anochel! Ond hoffwn i gael gwybod os oes esboniad arall am y peth – wedi’r cwbl dydyn ni heb glywed ochr Efa Gruffudd Jones o’r stori o gwbl.
Ond fel arall; bring back Robyn Lewis, all is forgiven. 😛

Parhau i ddarllen

Ifan Morgan Jones: Cenedlaetholdeb a’r wasg

Arlwy y Scotsman

Un cwyn sydd i’w glywed yn aml gan y rheini sy’n brwydro o blaid annibyniaeth yn yr Alban yw bod y cyfryngau yn chwyrn yn eu herbyn nhw. Mae papur newydd y Scotsman, yn ogystal â’r cyfryngau Llundeinig, yn gwrthwynebu annibyniaeth. Mae ambell un hyd yn oed yn honni bod ymdriniaeth y BBC o’r pwnc wedi bod braidd yn unochrog, fel pe bai eu newyddiadurwyr (ar lefel isymwybodol o bosib) yn ofni a fydd eu swyddi nhw yn y fantol petai Alba yn gwahanu o weddill y Deyrnas Unedig.

Mae hyn yn amlygu tueddiad eithaf od ymysg cenedlaetholwyr – sef cydnabyddiaeth bod y wasg yn eu herbyn nhw, a bod y wasg yn ddylanwadol iawn wrth liwio barn y cyhoedd, ond amharodrwydd i wneud ryw lawer ynglŷn â hynny. Maen nhw’n canolbwyntio eu holl ymdrechion ar ennill grym gwleidyddol ond ddim rhyw lawer ar reoli allbwn y cyfryngau.
Yng Nghymru mae’r sefyllfa hyd yn oed yn fwy rhyfedd – mae cenedlaetholwyr yn cwyno ar un llaw am ogwydd y Western Mail, ond ar y llaw arall bod gwagle mawr yn y cyfryngau yng Nghymru sydd heb ei lenwi gan unrhyw un. Does yna’r un gwasanaeth newyddion cenedlaethol yng Nghymru. Mae’r Western Mail yn honni bod yn bapur cenedlaethol, ond nid yw ei ddylanwad yn lledu ymhell y tu hwnt i ffiniau Sir Gâr. Cangen o gorff Prydeinig yw BBC Cymru ac mae’r rhy ddiduedd i fynegi barn naill ffordd neu’r llall ar ddyfodol Cymru.
Pam felly nad yw cenedlaetholwyr yn llenwi’r gwagle amlwg sydd i’w gael yn y cyfryngau yng Nghymru? Un ateb o bosib yw eu bod nhw wedi canolbwyntio eu hegni ar geisio sicrhau bod papurau newydd, cylchgronau a gwefannau Cymraeg ar gael, ac felly yn anwybyddu’r angen am bapurau newydd, cylchgronau a gwefannau cenedlaetholgar Saesneg.
Mae’n siŵr y gellid dadlau bod y Gymraeg wedi bod yn rywfaint o fwrn ar genedlaetholdeb dinesig Cymreig yn gyffredinol, ond fel un sydd ddim yn credu bod pwynt i genedlaetholdeb heb ddiwylliant unigryw yn sail iddo dydw i ddim am wneud hynny.
A fyddech chi yn cyfrannu arian tuag at sefydlu papur newydd Saesneg, ar yr amod bod ei ogwydd golygyddol yn un cenedlaetholgar? Rwy’n teimlo y byddai yn fuddsoddiad gwerth chweil i genedlaetholwyr – yn enwedig fel nad yw Cymru yn ei chael ei hun yn yr un twll a chenedlaetholwyr yr Alban pan ddaw’r amser, â phob ffynhonnell newyddion yn eu herbyn.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: S4/Caerfyrddin?

Lle fydd S4C yn mynd?
Mae S4C wedi cyhoeddi ei bod yn ystyried symud rhai swyddi o Gaerdydd i naill ai Wynedd neu Sir Gaerfyrddin. (Hynny yw os na fydd Qatar wedi llwyddo i’w llwgrwobrwyo i symud yno ar y funud olaf).
Rydw i’n gallu uniaethu â phenderfyniad S4C. Ar hyn o bryd rwy’n gweithio ger Caernarfon, ond yn byw ger Caerfyrddin. Pam ddim symud y plant i’r gogledd i fod yn gofis Dre?
Wedi’r cwbl, er nad oes prinder Cymry Cymraeg i’w cael yma, mae’n amlwg bod yr iaith yn araf ddirywio. O fynd i lawr i siop y pentref dydw i’n aml ddim yn clywed acenion Cymreig heb son am yr iaith Gymraeg. Fe es i ag un o’r plant i ddiwrnod mabolgampau mudiad meithrin ychydig fisoedd yn ôl, a chael dipyn o sioc mai ni oedd yr o’r ychydig deuluoedd yno oedd yn siarad Cymraeg.
Oni fyddai yn haws symud y plant i fyny i Gaernarfon, felly, a sicrhau eu bod nhw’n cael eu magu mewn tref lle mae’r mwyafrif helaeth yn siarad Cymraeg?
Mae yna un ddadl amlwg yn erbyn, sef – pa obaith i’r Gymraeg yn yr ardal yma os yw’r Cymry Cymraeg yn codi pac ac yn symud oddi yma?
Dyna pam nad ydw i’n cytuno â dadl Cai dros symud S4C i Gaernarfon. Dydw i ddim yn dweud na ddylid symud S4C i Gaernarfon, ond dydw i ddim yn credu bod gwendid y Gymraeg yng Nghaerfyrddin yn rheswm dros beidio symud i’r dref honno – i’r gwrthwyneb a dweud y gwir.
Yn un peth, dydw i ddim yn credu bod cyflwr yr iaith yng Nghaerfyrddin mor ddu ag y mae Cai yn ei awgrymu. Fel y soniais uchod, dyw pethau ddim yn wych. Ond o ran niferoedd, os nad canran, mae yna lwyth o Gymry Cymraeg yma. Fe fûm i’n siopa yng Nghaernarfon ddoe ac yn siopa yng Nghaerfyrddin heddiw. Yng Nghaernarfon ges i wasanaeth Saesneg – yng Nghaerfyrddin heddiw, fe gefais i wasanaeth uniaith Gymraeg.
Byddai lleoli S4C yn yng Nghaerfyrddin ynhwb i’r iaith yno – nid yn y dref yn unig, ond yn yr ardal o boptu iddi. Fe fyddai yn denu nifer o Gymry Cymraeg i fyw, neu i aros,  yn yr ardal. Ac fe fydden nhw’n Gymry Cymraeg mewn swyddi da a chanddynt ddawn dweud -y math all ddylanwadu ar wleidyddion ac ar arferion ieithyddol pobl eraill yr ardal. Dydw i ddim yn dadlau y byddai lleoli S4C yno yn gwneud newid anferth i ddyfodol yr iaith – yn yr un modd nag yw lleoli’r Eisteddfod genedlaethol yn y sir  y flwyddyn nesaf yn mynd i wneud newid anferth i ddyfodol yr iaith. Ond dyw hynny ddim yn ddadl dros gynnal yr Eisteddfod yng Ngwynedd bob blwyddyn.

Ni fyddai diffyg Cymraeg yng Nghaerfyrddin yn atal S4C rhag ffynnu yno, chwaith – mae wedi ffynnu cyhyd yng nghanol Caerdydd, wedi’r cwbl.

Medd Cai: “Ond mae yna lefydd lle mae’r llif yn erbyn yr iaith mor gryf fel y byddai unrhyw effaith cadarnhaol yn cael ei foddi.  Mae tref Caerfyrddin ymysg y llefydd hynny… Y broblem efo tref Caerfyrddin ydi bod y Gymraeg yn marw yno…”
Y broblem efo’r ddadl yma ydi ei bod yr un mor gymwys yng nghyd-destun Cymru gyfan. Mae’r iaith Gymraeg yn marw yng Nghymru. Os ydyn ni’n fodlon gadael Caerfyrddin  i’w ffawd, does dim llawer o obaith i weddill y wlad. Nid ryw fath o Arch Noa sy’n mynd i gario’r iaith i borfeydd breision yw Caernarfon, Penygroes, a’r ychydig lefydd eraill lle mae’r mwyafrif yn siarad yr iaith. Os ydyn ni eisoes yn cilio yno ac yn derbyn nad oes dim y gellid ei wneud dros lefydd fel Caerfyrddin, mae wir wedi canu ar yr iaith.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Cwestiynau cyffredin am y Gymraeg – rhan II

Rydw i wedi sôn o’r blaen ei fod yn fwriad gen i greu gwefan a fyddai yn ymateb i rai camsyniadau ynglŷn â’r iaith Gymraeg. Yn dilyn nifer o erthyglau yn y wasg sy’n wrthwynebus i’r iaith Gymraeg dros yr wythnos ddiwethaf, a’r sylwadau negyddol sydd yn dod yn eu sgil, rydw i wedi penderfynu gwthio’r maen i’r wal a dechrau ar y gwaith.

Dyw’r wefan heb ei chwblhau eto felly fe fyddwn i’n gwerthfawrogi pe na bai’n cael ei rhannu yn rhy eang y tu hwnt i ddarllenwyr y blog yma. Ond fe hoffwn i wybod beth ydych chi yn ei feddwl, ac os oes gennych chi unrhyw syniadau am ddarnau newydd neu welliannau i’r cofnodion presennol.
Nid y nod yw pregethu na bod yn gas – does dim bai ar bobl os nad ydyn nhw’n deall gwerth yr iaith. Ein gwaith ni yw eu hysbysu. Y gobaith yw gwneud hynny mewn modd doniol a darllenadwy.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Nifer ymwelwyr yr Eisteddfod

Mari Glwys yn joio ar y maes
Fe fûm i’n cadw cofnod ers blynyddoedd o ffigyrau ymwelwyr yr Eisteddfod. Pan oeddwn i’n gweithio i Golwg roedd yr Eisteddfod yn eu gyrru nhw draw bob dydd ac roeddwn i’n gwneud nodyn ohonyn nhw. Y dydd o’r blaen fe ddes i ar draws tudalen Wicipedia yn nodi’r ffigyrau – ond o edrych ar y cyfeiriadau ar waelod y dudalen daw’n amlwg mai’r ffigyrau oeddwn i wedi eu cyhoeddi ar Golwg 360 oedd ffynhonell y rhan fwyaf ohonynt! Felly waeth i mi gyhoeddi’r ffigyrau diweddaraf fan hyn ddim. Dyma’r cyfan yr oeddwn i’n gallu dod o hyd iddynt yn fy ffeiliau (rwy’n siwr bod mwy i’w gael ond o bosib wedi eu colli). Dydw i ddim yn cofio beth oedd ffynhonell y rhan fwyaf ohonynt, ond mae’r rhan fesul dydd wedi dod gan yr Eisteddfod eu hunain. Os oes gennych chi rai cynharach, rhowch wybod.

Nos Wener 1
Dydd Sadwrn 1
Dydd Sul 1
Dydd Llun
Dydd Mawrth
Dydd Mercher
Dydd Iau
Dydd Gwener
Dydd Sadwrn
Dydd Sul
Abergele 1995
Bro Dinefwr 1996
Meirion 1997
Bro Ogwr 1998
Môn 1999
Llanelli 2000
Dinbych 2001
Tyddewi 2002
Maldwyn 2003
Casnewydd 2004
Eryri 2005
Abertawe 2006
Fflint 2007
Caerdydd 2008
Meirion 2009
Blaenau Gwent 2010
Wrecsam 2011
Bro Morgannwg 2012
Sir Ddinbych 2013


Un peth a ddaw i’r amlwg wrth edrych ar y ffigyrau yw bod nifer yr ymwelwyr wedi syrthio dros y blynyddoedd. Mae Eisteddfod Sir Ddinbych eleni yn cymharu’r ffafriol â’r Eisteddfod ar yr un safle yn 2001… ond rhaid cofio mai dyna oedd blwyddyn clwy traed a’r genau, felly roedd y niferoedd yn anghyffredin o isel o ystyried y lleoliad ffafriol. Cymhariaeth well efallai fyddai Meirion 1997 a Merion 2009 – cwymp o bron i 9,000, o 173,221 i 164,689.
Dydw i ddim yn gwybod a yw hynny’n arwyddocaol ai peidio. Roedd y dyrfa uchaf mewn gêm Chwe Gwlad yn 1975 ond dyw hynny ddim yn golygu bod y gystadleuaeth yn llai poblogaidd heddiw. Efallai bod mwy yn dewis gwylio ar y teledu wrth i safon y darlledu wella.
Serch hynny, rhaid cofio hefyd bod mwy a mwy o ddigwyddiadau yn cael eu cynnal ar y Maes ei hun erbyn hyn, er mwyn annog pobl i brynu tocynnau. Roedd y ffigwr o 28,237 o bobl ar y Maes ar y dydd Gwener eleni yn rhannol o ganlyniad i docynnau rhatach gyda’r nos i wylio Edward H Dafis yn perfformio ger y bar.
Daw’n amlwg hefyd fod gwahaniaethau o ran niferoedd rhwng y gwahanol ranbarthau o Gymru. Er mai dim ond pedair gwaith yr ymwelodd yr Eisteddfod â gogledd-orllewin Cymru yn yr 19 mlynedd a nodwyd uchod, roedd cyfartaledd nifer yr ymwelwyr (164,364) yn uwch na chyfartaledd unrhyw ran arall o Gymru. Ymwelodd yr Eisteddfod â’r de-ddwyrain chwech o weithiau ond dim ond 149,816 yw cyfartaledd nifer yr ymwelwyr. Roedd y cyfartaledd yn y de-orllewin a’r gogledd ddwyrain, sef 153,042 a 153,455, bron yn union yr un peth.
Wrth gwrs nid denu ymwelwyr yw unig nod yr Eisteddfod – mae angen mynd i ardaloedd di-Gymraeg hefyd er mwyn lledaenu’r newyddion da bod yr iaith Gymraeg yn fyw.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Cymru’n siarad

Llun o ymchwil Beaufort i ddefnydd pobl o’r Gymraeg

Mae Beaufort Research wedi cyhoeddi dau ddarn o waith ymchwil dros y dyddiau diwethaf. Mae un a gyhoeddwyd yn ystod yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol ar ran S4C, BBC Cymru a Llywodraeth yn holi ynglŷn â defnydd pobl o’r iaith Gymraeg, a’r llall ar ran Comisiwn Silk ynglŷn â barn pobl am rymoedd y Cynulliad.
Un peth sydd gan y ddau gyhoeddiad yn gyffredin yw eu bod nhw’n datgelu dymuniad pobl Cymru i ail-gydio yn eu hunaniaeth Cymreig a thyfu fel cenedl. Maen nhw eisiau rhagor o hunanbenderfyniaeth ac maen nhw eisiau rhagor o’r Gymraeg.
Yn ôl yr ymchwil ar ran Comisiwn Silk mae 62% o boblogaeth Cymru eisiau i’r Cynulliad gael rhagor o rymoedd. Roedd wyth o bob 10 hefyd yn ymddiried yn y Cynulliad i weithredu er lles pobl Cymru.
Mae’r ymchwil i ddefnydd pobl o’r iaith Gymraeg yn dangos awydd go iawn ymysg y boblogaeth i wella eu Cymraeg. Roedd 99% o’r rheini a holwyd sy’n gallu siarad ychydig iawn o Gymraeg (y rhan fwyaf o’r rhain yn bobl ifanc sydd wedi derbyn ychydig o’u haddysg yn y Gymraeg ond heb siarad ryw lawer o’r iaith y tu allan i’r ysgol) yn dymuno gallu siarad Cymraeg yn well. Fe fyddai 92% ohonynt yn croesawu’r cyfle i wneud rhagor o ddefnydd o’u Cymraeg.
Beth sy’n rhwystredig felly yw nad yw’r cyfleoedd i siarad Cymraeg yn bodoli mewn sawl rhan o Gymru, a bod ymdrechion i ddatganoli rhagor o rymoedd i’r Cynulliad yn cael eu llesteirio bob gafael gan bleidiau yn San Steffan sydd yn y lleiafrif yng Nghymru.
Ond os ydych chi – fel fi – yn dymuno gweld Cymru sy’n meddu ar ragor o hunanreolaeth ac eisiau Cymru lle mae’r Gymraeg yn ffynnu, mae’r canlyniadau yn rhai cadarnhaol iawn hefyd. Mae’r boblogaeth i raddau helaeth eisiau’r ‘un peth a ni’.
Yr her yw sicrhau bod gan bobl well syniad beth sy’n mynd ymlaen yng ngwleidyddiaeth Cymru fel bod y gwleidyddion sy’n cael eu hethol yn cynrychioli dymuniadau’r wlad ac yn gweithredu arnynt.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Yr Eisteddfod a’r Teulu Brenhinol

Na, nid dadl ynglŷn ag a yw’r Frenhines yn parhau yn aelod o’r Orsedd ar ôl iddyn nhw weithredu’r rheol iaith sydd gen i ar eich cyfer chi (mae hi yn dal i fod yn aelod, mae’n debyg. Sy’n braf am mai dim ond Urdd Ofydd yw hi, ac felly rydw i’n gallu edrych i lawr fy nhrwyn arni o frig fy maen llog Derwyddol).
Fel yr ydych chi’n ymwybodol mae’n siŵr, rydw i’n gefnogwr brwd o’r Eisteddfod ac yn edrych ymlaen at yr ŵyl yn yr un modd ag y mae’r merched acw yn edrych ymlaen at eu hymweliad blynyddol gan Siôn Corn. Ond yn anffodus eleni, oherwydd pwysau gwaith a’r pellter daearyddol rhyngof i a maes y brifwyl, mae’n annhebygol y bydda i’n mynychu am y tro cyntaf ers i’r Eisteddfod ymweld â Dinbych y tro diwethaf nôl yn 2001.
Felly  o flaen y teledu fydda i gyda’r nos yn gwylio’r uchafbwyntiau. A dyna lle y büm i heddiw yn gwylio ac yn gweld eisiau ynganiadau coeth Rhun ap Iorwerth (beth ddigwyddodd i hwnnw?).
Ac wrth wylio’r arlwy o’r Eisteddfod fe sylwais i ar un peth – mae’r modd y mae’r BBC yn ymdrin â’r Eisteddfod bron yn union yr un fath a’r modd y maen nhw’n ymdrin â’r Teulu Brenhinol.
Rydw i a sawl gweriniaethwr arall wedi ffromi dros yr wythnosau diwethaf wrth weld y BBC yn rhoi’r fath sylw di-feirniadaeth i Mrs Windsor. Doedden nhw ddim yn herio’r sefydliad yma o gwbl, ac yn rhoi’r argraff pob gafael bod pawb yn caru’r peth ac yn cael yr amser gorau posib – pa bynnag ‘ddigwyddiad’ yr oedden nhw’n rhan ohono (genedigaeth frenhinol neu’n Jiwbilî diemwnt neu beth bynnag). Propaganda y byddai Gogledd Korea yn falch ohono, medd rhai.
Dydw i ddim yn awgrymu bod yr Eisteddfod yn cael hanner cymaint o sylw a’r Teulu Brenhinol. Ond mae’r BBC yn adrodd ar yr ŵyl yn yr union yr un modd. Mae’r cyflwynwyr yn cymryd yn ganiataol o’r dechrau bod pawb sy’n gwylio wrth eu bodd, ac yn canolbwyntio’n ddi-dor ar bopeth cadarnhaol a hwyl sy’n digwydd o’u cwmpas. Mae seremonïau sy’n ddigon gwirion ar yr olwg gyntaf yn cael eu trin â pharch a difrifoldeb llwyr gan y sylwebydd. Does dim cwestiynu, dim herio, dim ond moliant, a gwenu, a hwyl a sbri. Does gan y newyddiadurwr sy’n mynychu ddim diddordeb mewn creu stŵr a sgandal. Maen nhw hefyd yn mwynhau, ac ar ochr yr Eisteddfod. (Mae eu hanner nhw’n cystadlu yn y corau!)
Hyn i gyd er bod, mae’n siŵr, canran bychan a gwydn o’r boblogaeth sydd ddim ar ochr yr Eisteddfod, yn credu bod yr holl beth yn wastraff amser, ac a fyddai’n hoffi gweld diwedd arno am byth.
Ai propaganda yw ymdriniaeth y BBC o’r Eisteddfod felly? A ddylen nhw lusgo Elfed Roberts i mewn i’r stwdio a’i holi yn dwll ynglyn a lle mae’r arian cyhoeddus yn mynd? A ddylen nhw wahodd pobl sydd ddim yn hoffi’r Eisteddfod ymlaen i herio, a dechrau gwneud straeon negyddol am bobl mewn cadeiriau olwyn yn sownd ar y maes, a pheryglon yfed dan-oed ym Maes B? Na, medden ni, achos rydym ni wrth ein boddau efo’r Eisteddfod. Mae’n beth gwych ac fe ddylai’r ymdriniaeth yn y wasg adlewyrchu hynny. Os mae stori negyddol yn ymddangos yn y wasg, rydyn ni’n mynd yn amddiffynnol. Dydyn ni ddim am weld ein sefydliad ni dan y lach. Ond dyna y mae cefnogwyr y Teulu Brenhinol yn ei deimlo amdanyn nhw, hefyd…
Efallai y dylid derbyn bod y BBC, pan maen nhw’n adrodd ar ddigwyddiadau mawr o’r fath, bydded y rheini’n Eisteddfodau, neu’n Glastonbury, neu’n Gemau Olympaidd, neu’n Jiwbilïau, neu beth bynnag, yn cael rhoi gwrthrychedd i’r naill ochr ac ymuno yn yr hwyl. Wedi’r cwbl, does neb eisiau darlledwr cenedlaethol sy’n spoilsbort.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Ystadegyn brawychus

Carwyn pwy?
Mae pawb yn hoffi ystadegau ar ôl etholiad. Ac er fy mod i’n siwr y bydd mwyafrif darllenwyr y blog yma yn ymfalchïo yn llwyddiant ysgubol Rhun ap Iorwerth yn is-etholiad Ynys Môn, mae’r diffyg sylw i’r etholiad yn y cyfryngau hefyd wedi gadael blas cas yn y geg.
Felly dyma un ystadegyn ychydig yn wahanol i chi, sef un a ddaeth i’r fei mewn pol piniwn YouGov yng Nghymru ryw bythefnos yn ôl. Yn ôl y pol, mae gan pobl Cymru well syniad pwy yw Nigel Farage na pwy yw Carwyn Jones. Roedd 23% yn rhy anwybodus i roi barn am Carwyn Jones, a dim ond 21% yn rhy anwybodus i roi barn am Nigel Farage. Yn ôl y Western Mail:
Nearly a fifth of voters in Wales told pollsters they felt unable to rate First Minister Carwyn Jones because they didn’t know enough about him – a higher figure than for any of the Westminster party leaders including even Ukip’s leader Nigel Farage.
Hynny yw, roedd mwy o bobl Cymru yn ymwybodol o arweinydd plaid sydd heb yr un Aelod Cynulliad nac Aelod Senddol nag oedd yn gwybod pwy oedd Prif Weinidog Cymru!
Mae’r rheswm yn amlwg wrth gwrs – mae Nigel Farage wedi cael llawer iawn o sylw yn y wasg Llundeinig tra nad yw Carwyn Jones, nac yn wir y wlad y mae’n brif weinidog arno, yn cael braidd dim. Dyw penawd stori y Guardian am y canlyniad ddim hyd yn oed yn crybwyll Plaid Cymru. Mae’r ras gyfan yn cael ei bortreadu o fewn naratif gwleidyddiaeth San Steffan. Diolch byth felly bod Nigel Farage wedi dod i Ynys Mon yn ddiweddar, neu ni fyddai yna braidd ddim son am is-etholiad Ynys Mon yn y wasg Brydeinig o gwbl!

Dydw i ddim am ymosod ar fy nghyd-newyddiadurwyr Cymreig, sy’n gwneud gwaith da iawn dan amgylchiadau anodd ac efo ychydig iawn o adnoddau o’i gymharu â’u cymrodyr Llundeinig. Nid eu bai nhw ydi hyn, ond yn hytrach strwythur y wasg yng Nghymru a’i waseidd-dra i’r wasg Brydeinig.
Wrth ymweld â safle’r BBC, rhaid clicio unwaith er mwyn cael mynediad at newyddion Prydeinig, ond rhaid llywio yn ddyfnach i grombil y wefan er mwyn dod o hyd i newyddion Cymreig (ac yn ddyfnach byth er mwyn cael newyddion Cymraeg). Mae’r newyddion am Gymru yn llythrennol mewn is-folder ar y wefan, mewn ysgrifen bach uwchben y penawdau mawr sydd fel arfer yn adrodd newyddion Prydeinig. Bydd y rhan fwyaf o ddarllenwyr wedi cael eu denu i ddarllen newyddion sy’n aml yn berthnasol i Loegr yn unig cyn hyd yn oed cyrraedd y penawdau Cymreig. Mae neges strwythur y wefan yn glir – newyddion Prydeinig sy’n bwysig ac ôl-ystyriaeth yw beth sy’n digwydd yng Nghymru.
Y BBC yw’r unig wasanaeth Saesneg sy’n gwasanaethu Cymru gyfan. Dyw gorwelion y Western Mail ddim yn ymestyn y tu hwnt i’r de ddwyrain, a does gan y Daily Post ddim diddordeb yn unrhywbeth sydd ymhellach i lawr na Machynlleth. Rhwng y ddau ceir casgliad o bapurau newydd lleol di-gymeriad a allai fod yn adrodd ar unrhyw le o Land’s End i Inverness.
Mae hyn yn broblem mawr pan mae yna etholiad yn y gogledd ar gyfer y senedd-dy yn y de. Dyw Ynys Mon ddim ar radar yr hwntws ac mae’r Senedd yn cael ei weld fel rhywbeth i goridor yr M4 gan y gogs. Roedd ymdrecion Rhun ap Iorwerth a Tal Michael yn syrthio rhwng dwy stôl.
Mae’r Western Mail a’r Daily Post ill dau hefyd yn atgoffa rhywun mai atodyn i newyddion pwysicach Prydain yw newyddion Cymru. Mae teitl y Western Mail yn amgrymu mai gwasanaethu ryw allbost ar gyrion yr ymerodraeth ydyw. Mae’r Daily Post yn endid traws-ffiniol sy’n gwasanaethu Lerpwl yn ogystal a Gogledd Cymru.
Papurau newydd a chylchgronnau Cymraeg yw’r unig rai i wasanaethau cynulleidfa ‘cenedlaethol’ erioed – h.y. Cymru gyfan a Chymru yn unig – ond gan mai dim ond 800 i 3,000 o bobl sy’n eu prynu dydyn nhw heb wneud ryw lawer o dolc yn y farchnad. Nid pawb sy’n darllen Golwg 360 chwaith.
Cymru’n Un?
Un o’r problemau mwyaf sydd gan y Cynulliad yn fy nhyb i yw ei bod yn gwasanaeth dwy ‘wlad’ gwahanol sydd heb gymaint a hynny o gysylltiad â’i gilydd, yn ogystal a ryw anialwch amhoblog rhyngddyn nhw. Mae pip cyflym ar y map yma ar wefan y Guardian yn dangos hynny’n glir. Un rhan o’r ateb i hynny, fel ydw i wedi dadlau o’r blaen, yw cysylltiadau trafnidiaeth llawer gwell rhwng y de a’r gogledd. Rhan arall o’r ateb yw gwasanaeth newyddion cenedlaethol sy’n gwasanaethu Cymru a Chymru yn unig.
Mae yna lawer o ymchwil ysgolheigaidd yn y maes sy’n profi gallu gwasanaeth newyddion i uno cenedl. Wrth ddarllen y papur neu wylio’r newyddion mae’r gwyliwr a’r darllenwr yn dychmygu ei hun yn rhan o gymuned ddychmygol o bobl sy’n gwneud yr un fath ag ef. Mae’n uniaethu â phobl nad yw erioed wedi eu cyfarfod hyd yn oed.
Dydw i ddim yn dweud bod angen hyn am fy mod i’n genedlaetholwr. Rydw i’n ei ddweud oherwydd bod gennym ni Gynulliad sy’n gwasanaethu tiriogaeth o’r enw Cymru, ac os yw’r sefydliad hwnnw am fod yn atebol mae angen i bobol gymryd diddordeb ynddo. Yr unig ffordd o wneud hynny yw cael gwasanaeth newyddion yng Nghymru sy’n pwysleisio i bobl bod y Cynulliad yn berthnasol i’w bywydau nhw .
Bydd nifer yn dadlau mai’r broblem yw bod Cymru a’i gwleidyddiaeth yn ‘boring’. Dydw i ddim yn derbyn hynny. Y cyfryngau sy’n cymryd pethau boring ac yn eu gwneud nhw’n ddiddorol. Pwy fyddai Nigel Farage heb sylw’r cyfryngau? Hen ddyn canol oed boring yn yfed peint mewn tafarn. Mae Ed Miliband yn hynod o boring, a David Cameron bron yr un mor ddiddim. Roedd isetholiad Ynys Môn llawn mor ddiddorol ag un Eastleigh, ond fe gafodd tua 0.1% o’r sylw. Y cyfryngau sy’n pernderfynu i raddau helaeth beth sy’n boring a beth sydd ddim. Mae yna gymeriadau diddorol a lliwgar iawn yn y Cynulliad, ym mhob un o’r pleidiau. A petai gwleidyddiaeth Cymru yn cael rhagor o sylw fe fydden ni’n denu mwy.
Mae yna lawer o bwyslais wedi bod ymysg cenedlaetholwyr ar bapur newydd Cymraeg dyddiol – ond y gwir yw nad oes gwasanaeth Saesneg dyddiol i Gymru gyfan eto, chwaith. Rwy’n siŵr y gellid sefydlu papur newydd ‘free sheet’ a gwefan i ddiwallu rhywfaint o’r angen amlwg yma. Ac rwy’n credu y dylai’r Cynulliad gyfrannu rhywfaint o’r arian er mwyn ei sefydlu. Heb y gwariant hwnnw o ychydig filiynau ar sicrhau bod pawb yn gwybod beth y maen nhw’n ei wneud, does dim modd eu dal nhw i gyfrif am beth a wneir â’r tua £13 biliwn arall.
Rwy’n gefnogol i ddatganoli rhagor o rymoedd i’r Cynulliad. Ond a bod yn gwbl onest dydw i ddim yn siŵr a ddylai hynny ddigwydd nes bod gan bobl Cymru well syniad beth sy’n digwydd yn eu Senedd-dy nhw eu hunain.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Amddiffyn Syniadau

Mae’r blogiwr Syniadau dan y lach am iddo fod yn lym ei feirniadaeth o ymgeisydd Plaid Cymru, Rhun ap Iorwerth, yn ystod ymgyrch yr is-etholiad yn Ynys Mon.
Mae’r Blaid wedi cadw caead ar bethau yn ystod yr etholiad ond gall rhywun synhwyru y bydd y “forces of hell” (chwedl Alistair Darling) yn cael eu rhyddhau ar ol i’r blychau pleidleisio gau. Mae Blogmenai eisoes wedi addo “dod at y tour de force mewn idiotrwydd narsistaidd yma – ond ar ol yr is etholiad”.
Os nad ydych chi wedi bod yn dilyn y saga, dyma rai o berlau Syniadau:
We do not need dishonest politicians like Rhun ap Iorwerth. If he’s elected on Thursday he will be a liability to Plaid Cymru for years to come, because he clearly isn’t interested in Plaid’s policies for Wales. He is a cuckoo who has duped his way into our nest in order to follow a private agenda of his own, or the agenda of a narrow interest group within the party that refuses to accept democratic decisions made by the membership as a whole.
Supporting Wylfa B is a betrayal of what Plaid Cymru stands for. If Rhun ap Iorwerth is elected, it would be a tragedy for Plaid Cymru, for Ynys Môn and for Wales.
Digwydd bod rydw i’n anghytuno â sylwadau Syniadau ar Wylfa B. Rydw i’n tueddu i gefnogi ynni niwclear, yn bennaf am nad ydw i’n gweld ynni adnewyddadwy yn llenwi’r bwlch sydd wedi ei adael gan danwydd ffosil. Rwyf hefyd yn falch y bydd Wylfa B yn dod a swyddi i’r ardal, er nad yw hynny yn ei hun yn ddigon o reswm dros gefnogi’r datblygiad.
Dydw i ddim chwaith yn argyhoeddedig bod y mwyafrif o aelodau Plaid Cymru sy’n byw yn y gogledd-orllewin yn gwrthwynebu Wylfa B, fel y mae Syniadau yn ei honni (beth bynnag yw barn y blaid yn genedlaethol).
Ond er nad ydw i’n cytuno â barn Syniadau, dydw i ddim yn credu y dylid ei feirniadu am ddatgan y farn honno. Mae perffaith hawl iddo gael dweud ei ddweud ar bolisi’r blaid. A dweud y gwir mae’r fath drafodaeth gyhoeddus yn hanfodol i iechyd unrhyw ddemocratiaeth. Mae gan y pleidiau Llundeinig nifer di-ben draw o flogwyr lleyg sy’n dweud eu dweud yn blaen ar bob datblygiad yn San Steffan.
Bydd rhai’n dadlau mai amseru Syniadau sy’n anffodus fan hyn – y ffaith ei fod wedi penderfynu dweud ei ddweud mor ddi-flewyn ar dafod yn ystod ymgyrch etholiadol sydd mor bwysig i’r Blaid. Ond y cwestiwn yw, pryd arall allai fod wneud gwneud hynny?
Un o nodweddion unigryw ymgyrch Rhun yw nad oedd neb yn gwybod beth oedd ei farn ar amryw o faterion cyn iddo gael ei ddewis. A hyd yn oed ar ôl cael ei ddewis roedd ei bolisi ar Wylfa B yn niwlog a dweud y lleiaf, nes dyddiau olaf yr ymgyrch.
Petai Syniadau wedi cael cyfle i geisio darbwyllo’r ymgeisydd a’i ymgyrch i newid ei feddwl fisoedd neu flynyddoedd cyn yr etholiad rwy’n siŵr y byddai wedi gwneud hynny.  Ond dyma’r unig gyfle oedd gan Syniadau – a dyw disgwyl iddo gau ei big nes ar ôl yr etholiad, pan na allai ddylanwadu neb na dim, ddim yn deg iawn. 
Gallai Syniadau fod wedi dewis ei eiriau yn fwy gofalus  – roeddynt yn ymylu ar fod yn rhy bersonol ar adegau. Ond mae wynebu beirniadaeth o’r fath yn rhan annatod o fod yn wleidydd. Rwy’n siŵr bod Rhun wedi magu croen digon tew ar ôl blynyddoedd o newyddiadura i allu goroesi ambell i air cas gan flogiwr.
Pob parch i Syniadau gen i – mae’n amlwg bod ynni niwclear yn fater sy’n hynod o agos at ei galon, ac yn bwysicach iddo ef na llwyddiant etholiadol yn unig. Mae aelodau Plaid yn aml yn beirniadu Llafur a’r Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol am fod yn geiliogod y gwynt sy’n fodlon aberthu eu hegwyddorion er mwyn sicrhau pleidleisiau.
Nid timoedd pêl droed yw pleidiau gwleidyddol, i’w cefnogi beth bynnag a ddaw – nid yr ennill ar bob cyfrif sy’n bwysig, ond beth fyddwn nhw’n brwydro drosto ar ôl ennill.
Rwy’n darogan y bydd Plaid yn ennill yr etholiad heddiw yn weddol gyfforddus. Os felly, yr unig niwed y bydd Syniadau wedi ei wneud yn y pen draw, fydd i’w enw da ei hun o fewn y Blaid.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Plus ça change

Wrth edrych ar ddiwidrwydd, diniweidrwydd, a theyrngarwch ein cenedl, yn nghyd a’i sefyllfa foesol a deallol yn gyffredinol, yr ydym wedi synu peth at anngharedigrwydd ein brodyr o’r tudraw i Glawdd Offa tuag atom. Ychydig yw y breintiau neu y manteision ydym ni yn eu derbyn oddiar eu dwylaw. Nid yw ein hiaith, ein llenyddiaeth, ein defodau, na’n harferion yn eu bodloni. Y mae yn mron bob peth o’n heiddo yn annheilwng, iselwael, ffol-ddigrif, a di-werth; a mynant daeru pethau fel hyn yn ngwyneb ffeithiau ag sydd mor lluosog ac amlwg i’r gwrthwyneb. Y mae yr ymddygiad anfrawdol hwn yn anesboniadwy i ni. Nid ydym mewn un modd yn medru dyfod o hyd i athrawiaeth y pwnc—fod cenedl onest, ddiwyd, ddi-ddrwg, deyrngar, oleuedig, gwareiddiedig, a dwfn-grefyddol, yn wastad o dan farn o gondemniad gan gydgenedl ag y mae ei hamcanion, ei dybenion, a’i hegwyddorion gwladlywiaethol bob amser yr unrhyw. 
Ond paham y synwn gymaint at ymddygiad cenedl estronol, pan y mae genym rhai yn mhlith ein cenedl ein hunain ag sydd lawn mor amddifad o deimlad cenedlgarol. Ysgogynod yw y rhai hyn wedi cael tipyn o flas ar, ac elw oddiwrth, eu hymdrafodaeth a’r iaith Seisnig, ac yn tybio mai eu hanrhydedd a’u dyledswydd yw gwadu y Gymraeg, a rhoi iddi bob an air, drwy ei chyhuddo o fod yn arw, clogyrnog, a phrin mewn adnoddau i amlygu syniadaua golygiadau gwyddonol, &c. Un arall a ddaw, wedi cael ychydig o fisoedd o addysg yn un o golegau israddol ein gwlad, ag a ddywed nad oes genym un llyfr o awduraeth wreiddiol yn yr iaith. Un arall a ddaw ag a ddywed nad oes genym ddim gwell na ffregod o farddoniaeth yn ein hiaith. Hoff waith y tylwyth hyn yw diraddio iaith a llenyddiaeth eu gwlad, a dynoethi gwendidau, diffygion, a gwaeleddau eu cenedl o flaen y byd. Pa ryfedd, ynte, yn ngwyneb camwri or fath oddi wrth ein brodorion ein hunain, fod estroniaid yn cymeryd y fantais arnom i’n gwawdio a’n diraddio, ac edliw i ni ein hisraddoldeb.
Pwy a gredwn ynte? Ai Dic-Shon-Dafyddiaid ein gwlad – ai crach-feirniaid a chrach-ysgolheigion ein mwyn-gloddiau, ein trefydd, a’n dinasoedd, ynte gwyr o safle ac awdurdod? Boed i ni, annwyl gydwladwyr, beidio gostwng ein penau yn herwydd y saethau gwellt y mae rhagfarn, eiddigedd, a choegdyb yn eu hanelu atom. Boed i ni fynwesu mwy o hunan-hyder a hunan-barch, gan edrych wrth fyned heibio ar y sawl a geisiant ein darostwng gyda’r difaterwch neu y dirmyg a deilyngant.

-Y Gwladgarwr, Dydd Gwener Rhagfyr 13, 1878

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Tu chwith – allan

Fe fydd yna gopi Eisteddfodol o gylchgrawn Tu Chwith ar werth ar y Maes eleni. 
Rydw i wedi cyfrannu stori fer ac felly eisoes wedi derbyn copi drwy’r post. Dydw i heb gael cyfle i ddarllen yr holl beth eto – ond gallaf weld ei fod yn cynnwys nifer o erthyglau gwerth eu darllen, e.e. sgwrs  â y cyn-weinidog â chyfrifoldeb am y Gymraeg Leighton Anrews, a trafodaeth rhwng Rhodri ap Dyfrig a Carl Morris
Mae’n ddiddorol cael gwybod beth mae’r genhedlaeth nesaf o Eisteddfodwyr yn ei feddwl o ddyfodol y brifwyl! Da iawn i’r criw golygyddol am eu gwaith caled.

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Ifan Morgan Jones: Rhagor am Wylfa…

Where there’s a Wyl there’s a way…

Mae’n ymddangos bod Rhun ap Iorwerth yn cefnogi adeiladu Wylfa B wedi’r cwbl, yn ôl yr ymateb yma i un o’i ddarpar-etholwyr ar ei ffrwd Trydar:

@theNukeGuy Ha!Yes,I’m pro Wylfa B,& will fight to ensure our young people& communities benefit.Can’t put it clearer than that!All the best.

Mae hwnnw’n ateb llawer llai amwys na’r un a gynigiodd i’r Daily Post ar ddechrau’r ymgyrch.
Mae’n ymddangos felly bod Plaid Cymru wedi dychwelyd i’w safbwynt pan oedd Ieuan Wyn Jones yn AC ar yr Ynys – yn erbyn ynni niwclear ymhobman ond ym Môn.
A yw’r safbwynt yma yn un gonest, a chynaliadwy, i’r blaid? Mae yna ddadl gref o blaid ynni niwclear erbyn hyn, gan dderbyn nad yw ynni adnewyddadwy yn mynd i ddisodli llosgi tanwydd ffosil yn y dyfodol agos. Ac mae ynni niwclear yn llawer saffach nac y bu (gan gofio nad yw’n debygol y bydd daeargryn a tsunami yn taro arfordir Ynys Môn). 
Rwy’n gwybod wrth gwrs bod y gwrthwynebiad yn mynd yn ddyfnach na hynny. Mae rhai yn gwrthwynebu ar sail y bydd creu swyddi yn dod a pobl i mewn i’r ynys ac yn tanseilio’r iaith Gymraeg. Ond mae troi hwn yn ddadl iaith v yr economi yn gam perygl yn fy marn i – bydd pobl yn ochri efo’r economi.
Oes unrhyw obaith am newid barn ymysg rhengoedd y Blaid ar y mater yma o fewn y blynyddoedd nesaf – neu a fydd y gwrthwynebiad i ynni niwclear yn cymryd amser hir i ddadfeilio?

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Ifan Morgan Jones: A Rhun by any other name…

Mae fy mreuddwyd o gynrychioli y Blaid Lafur mewn etholiad ar ben – a hynny oherwydd fod gen i enw rhy Gymreig!

Dywed llefarydd di-enw y Blaid Lafur, wrth drafod ymgeisyddiaeth un arall sy’n gorfod ysgwyddo baich enw o’r fath:

“Most people in Wales won’t even be able to pronounce his name, and it’s difficult to imagine someone called Rhun ap Iorwerth going down well in Islwyn, or that the party will be able to make advances in the Valleys.”

Mae’r Blaid Lafur yn hoffi gwneud pethau’n hawdd i’w hetholwyr gydag enwau cyfarwydd fel Ed, Tony, ambell i Ed arall, a Gordon. Ond efallai nad yw’r llefarydd (sydd wedi dewis cadw ei enw ef yn anhysbys) wedi sylweddoli nad yw enw cynrychiolydd presennol Islwyn – Gwyn Price – yn tarddu o’r Home Counties. A nad yw Don Touhig, Simon Danczuk a Chinyelu Onwurah erioed wedi cael unrhyw drafferthion wrth ddenu pleidleisiau eu hetholwyr nhw.

Ta waeth am hynny, beth sydd fwyaf diddorol am yr erthygl yw ei fod yn awgrymu bod y Blaid Lafur eisoes wedi symud y tu hwnt i’r is-etholiad ym Môn ac yn wir yr etholiad yn Sir Gaerfyrddin yn 2016. Mae’n nhw’n derbyn y bydd Rhun ap Iorwerth ac Adam Price yn cael eu hethol, ac yn canolbwyntio ar danseilio cenhedlaeth nesaf ACau Plaid Cymru. Pe bawn i’n Tal Michael neu ddewis y Blaid Lafur yn sir Gaerfyrddin ni fyddwn i’n hapus iawn i ddarllen sylwadau o’r fath yn y Western Mail, dwy etholaeth y gallen nhw eu cipio pe baen nhw’n mynd amdani o ddifri. Parhau i ddarllen