Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Welsh language commissioner role to be scrapped

With some interesting timing the Welsh language minister Alun Davies job of Welsh language commissioner is to be scrapped as ministers try to hit an ambitious target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.
Ministers are to take over decisions on what language rules, or "standards", apply to which organisations, politicising the role
Mr Davies said he wanted to make the system as efficient as possible.
"We want to refocus our efforts on promotion and make changes to the way the Welsh Language Standards system works to make sure it is as efficient and effective as possible in giving people rights to use Welsh," said Mr Davies.
"I believe the Welsh Language Commission will be a powerhouse for achieving both these aims."
According to the BBC
Instead of a single figure-head, the Welsh Government wants to create a Welsh Language Commission to promote the language.
The commission would remain responsible for policing the system.
The changes are the Welsh Government's preferred options in proposals for new legislation outlined in a White Paper launched at the National Eisteddfod on Wednesday.
Any shake-up would need to be approved by AMs before becoming law.
The changes to the commissioner's role are likely to be amongst the most controversial.
 Manon Elin, from Cymdeithas yr Iaith, said: 


"We cannot allow rights to the language to be weakened, nor the powers available to make sure bodies comply with the standards."Indeed, we would campaign against a new bill if it tried to reduce the feeble powers that currently exist."
 The current commissioner, Meri Huws, has been in post since the job was created in 2012.
Earlier this week she launched an investigation into claims retailer Sports Direct had instructed staff to converse in English only. and this Blog queried  whether she had sufficient powers and  resources to bring about the intentions of the Welsh Language Acts.
Manon Elin, from Cymdeithas yr Iaith, said:
 "We cannot allow rights to the language to be weakened, nor the powers available to make sure bodies comply with the standards.
"Indeed, we would campaign against a new bill if it tried to reduce the feeble powers that currently exist."
The worrying thing is that under the proposed changes , how Welsh Language legislation is interperpetrated and acted on seemingly wil come under the whim of the minister.

Labour in the Assembly have proved to be more friendly to Cymraeg and its use though there still a number hostile within the "Welsh" Party.

It may not always be the case that a Welsh Government will push Welsh Language  legislation  and may event attempt to lessen it.

An Independent Commission is surely  more likely to look at Cymraeg and not be influenced by political views or prejudices.

What we need to do is strengthen the powers of the Commissioner and allow him or her to introduce sanctions and even fines of transgressors like Sports Direct.

I have long hoped that the future of the Welsh Language ceased to a political issue and all realise we are a Bilingual country and the need to expand the use of Cymraeg throughout our nation.

Handing control to Welsh Government Ministers  is not the answer.




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