Welsh Journals

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The Claim of Wales a Statement By the Right Hon. ANEURIN BEVAN, M.P., Minister of Health In view of the great public interest and controversy over the Government's attitude towards Welsh devolution, policies and cultural problems, we have invited the Minister of Health, who replied for the Government during the second Welsh Day at Westminster, to express his standpoint in Wales. Mr. Bevan had promised to write for us more fully a little later on,' but owing to the Fuel Crisis he has enclosed a leader he wrote in the Tribune on the Claim of Wales some time ago, with the message "If you would care to make any use of this I should be very happy for you to do so. I am afraid that things are so hectic at present that I cannot do better than this." — Editor. For many years Welsh Members of Parliament have clamoured for special consideration to be given to the claim of Wales. It was natural and inevitable that they should do so, for Welsh national sentiment is very strong, and so far from declining there is plenty of evidence of an upsurge of national self-consciousness even in those parts of Wales where Welsh is not the language of the home. People from other parts of the country are surprised when they visit Wales to find how many Welsh people still speak Welsh, and how strong and even passionate, is the love of the Welsh for their country, their culture, and their unique institutions. In all this there is nothing to deplore. On the contrary, it is very much to the good that distinctive cultures, values, and institutions should flourish so as to counteract the appalling tendency of the times towards standardisation, regimentation and universal greyness. Further- more, a wholesome patriotism should be cherished when it is the only custodian of these precious verisimilitudes, and multi-coloured flowerings of human experience. A passionate dedication to, and jealousy of, national cultures have inspired some of the noblest achievements of mankind, and we should lose touch with much that helps now to adorn our world if the super-state were allowed to obliterate all the differences which people have from each other. There was therefore plenty of sympathy for Welsh M.P.'s when they insisted on their right to have a Parliamentary Day set aside for the exclusive discussion of Wales and Welsh subjects. But we doubt whether the experiment should be repeated. Consideration for specific Welsh questions was inevitably overlaid by the intrusion of subjects which are common to England and Scotland. Coal and steel, agriculture and the location of industry, along with the fate of State factories are questions of national policy affecting the rest of the country as well as Wales and can be settled only by decisions which embrace all. To try