There seems no stopping wokery in the Welsh administration, even as it is being discredited and driven back elsewhere. Its iconoclasm has personal approval from Mark Drakeford, or he is playing coward in the face of its demands.
He has not yet said that he will demolish the innumerable castles of Wales, but logically, if he is consistent, that would be his next step.
Had it been just been that he let the statue-toppling activists run amok and make fools of themselves on paper, that could be dismissed as a weak but harmless bit of virtue-signalling. Instead he actually, unbelievably, seems to be taking them up on it. The activists’ report came out in November 2020 (to outrage from all sides in society the length and breadth of Wales). Then Drakeford scraped back in at the election in May 2021, and has published a government programme that includes a pledge to “Address fully the recommendations from the Monuments and Street Names Audit”. That suggests he actually means to do it.
If you employ a committee to find ‘problematic’ street names and monuments, there are two consequences:
- Those putting themselves forward to sit on the commission will be the most virulent of activists;
- They will do the job with glee – they can hardly come back with “there is no problem really”.
“This is not about rewriting our past or naming and shaming”, they say in the report. Actually, that is exactly what it is about. Listing names and placing against each your condemnations is literally “naming and shaming”; and obliterating the memory of heroism and nobility in favour of narrow criteria for condemnation, then effacing the knowledge of the honour of the subject is literally rewriting our past.
The list of those named and shamed could be torn apart easily enough: Nelson condemned by a forged letter; Gladstone, the arch liberal, because he inherited money; Iolo Morganwg condemned not for being a forger and fraud but again for mere passive inheritance. Many are the examples. Intellectually it is so defective, so void of method that it would be scandalous if meant in earnest. Still, if a committee is paid to find names, it will scrape the barrel for them.
If the issue is eliminating the symbols of division, and even street names must go, how can the castles stand?
Welsh castles are monuments to division and hatred and brutal feudalism. The Middle Ages were a ferocious time: rival petty princes ravaged Wales, wasting villages and valleys for personal gain or feud. Norman or Cambro-Norman lords joined them in the mêlée of continuous civil war. This age is portrayed by habit of oversimplification as struggles between Welsh and English, but that is a nonsense, not least because the distinction between the two identities was unreal, lost by generations of intermarriage and adoption of shared customs.
Yet the castles stand, portrayed as a collective monument to tribal war and hatred. The ‘historic’ presentations available in print and on video about each castle cheer or boo and portray the English (however defined) as ruthless invaders and despoilers. It is a ridiculous, sub-Marxist way of looking at it, but this portrayal is widely believed: you will not speak for long amongst Welsh political activists before one tribe is accused of being an eternal oppressor of the other. That is division and hatred at a massive scale.
If therefore a social problem in the far off United States is enough to demand that statues be torn down here and roads people live on be renamed, because of an off-chance that someone will choose to be upset, what of those great stone legacies that, by socialist interpretation, breed tribal hatred? They surely must go.
The castles can be portrayed however you wish. The Iron Ring of King Edward’s castles was constructed to bring peace, by force if necessary, and it did, ending feudal wars so that for the first time the farms and towns of those lands could flourish.
Others see them as symbols of oppression, and a longer lasting one than that in distant islands, a more direct one than the chance of an honest man’s inheriting some money from a slaveholder. Logic then would add every castle in the land to Drakeford’s hit list. They need protection from this madness.
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