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January 6, 2023

“POOR DRIVING CONDITIONS”, said the sign at the side of the M4 only in Wales, please remember, evidenced by the Welsh version “AMODAU GYRRU GWAEL” being interspersed repeatedly at the roadside with a red triangle and a yellow exclamation mark.

The driving conditions coming back from Bristol over the Severn Bridge on Friday were NOT poor but, presumably, these public health and safety communications chiefs who seem to think that some people need to be told that it is raining to turn their windscreen wipers on and that some of those will not understand it if it is not written in Welsh (the bilingual infantilisation of everyone now dominating everything in Wales with the assumption that we have to have everything spelled out slowly) would not be able to justify the wanton waste of cash by flashing “NORMAL DRIVING CONDITIONS” on roadsides.

No such repeated exclamations – a wanton waste of electricity and the cost of the signs themselves – are considered necessary on the English side of the bridge, nor do they need to be repeated again and again in a language practically nobody uses as a first language. So why here?

A much more appropriate sign would be “ECONOMICALLY POOR CONDITIONS MADE MUCH WORSE BY WASTEFUL REPETITION OF POINTLESS, INACCURATE INFORMATION IN TWO LANGUAGES” flashed inside a red triangle with a yellow exclamation mark.

Now repetitive bilingual advertising online and on radio promoting Welsh government (the government, by the way, not the firms they try to help) as business friendly with a discrete Welsh business department apparently trying to encourage trade, innovation and entrepreneurship here is the off-road equivalent of this wanton wastefulness. Governments, not trade or business, paying for advertising is bad news and usually a sign of desperation. What you want is a booming private sector jostling to advertise new business on exciting new commercial ventures popping up everywhere but everything is contracting not expanding and there appears little evidence of revival or boom.

I am assuming that someone somewhere within Welsh government has decided to make the Welsh language integral in business strategy perhaps as THE unique selling point to personify and give special appeal to differentiate and enhance their communication (a novelty value, if you like) above that of others. Perhaps they have also concluded that this emphasis on Welsh language will also encourage more and more people to use it and adopt and embrace traditional Welsh culture and literature, though Census information suggests that this is not working.

A Welsh Labour ruling group in bed with nationalist Plaid committed to a “deliberately ambitious” aim of having one million Welsh speakers by 2050 appears to be invested in emphasising our difference to rather than similarity with England – hence the force-feeding of Cymraeg and increasing talk of “borders” when none exist because we carry British passports, use sterling currency within a Bank of England and Corporation of London finance system and nearly all tax, welfare and benefits will always be British.

Vaughan Gething went to Qatar to talk business deals as Welsh economy minister – that seems to indicate that there is now a discretely different economy in Wales to that in other UK countries but without passports, banking and nearly all tax, welfare and benefits system and, it appears, any kind of accountability, true responsibility or even the democratic certainty that Mr Gething might lose his job if he fails.

A discretely different economy in Wales is unsustainable due to the older age of the population when compared to other parts of the UK, with too many English retirees in beauty spots clogging up hospital beds, and too high a percentage of needy dependents on costly public sector care and treatment draining resources with much too few young venture capitalists in the private sector emerging to generate new profit needed to even begin to fund the difference.

We remain heavily dependent on English funds, taking more from them than we give back – more so now than ever because of a race to the bottom with a new race being set up when we get to that bottom due to our combination of statist protectionism, outdated trades union approaches and monopolies and a dependency culture in depressed areas which has worsened badly due to the health pandemic and the resulting closures, lockdowns and restrictions.

Yet this Welsh Labour government paid #13,000 of our money to send Gething, first minister Mark Drakeford and four civil servants to Qatar to make Wales more prominent in the minds of worldwide investors.

The only justification for their World Cup freebie was to generate new business, so have they? If the BBC had to enter a Freedom of Information request to get the cost of flights and hotel stays then my suspicion is that they have not.

The Welsh World Cup football team will be remembered for one kung-fu kick far more than for any creative play as it was an embarrassing horror show of ineptitude on the pitch.

But Drakeford and Gething can now sheikh it all up, justifying their trip and easing our pain by presenting us with new foreign money, deals and beneficial exchanges to fund all kinds of exciting things (maybe even pay for that ridiculous M4 signage with something like “VISIT QATAR!” in small print).

We wait with bated breath.


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