Page 11, 12th November 1937

12th November 1937
Page 11
Page 11, 12th November 1937 — THE PROBLEM OF WALES

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Organisations: Swansea College Council
Locations: London


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WELSH NATIONALISM Self-Help the Only Solution

from a ttelsh Correspondent


Three speeches have lately been made in Wales. Two attracted the attention of the world, only one attracted the attention of Wales. That one was delivered by Mr. Saunders Lewis at Swansea.

It will he remembered that Mr. Saunders Lewis is the Welsh Nationalist leader who has recently been imprisoned for starting a tire at an R.A.F. aerodrome. Mr. Lewis contended that the construction of English military aerodromes in the Peninsular was contrary to Welsh national interests.

Whatever may be the attitude of the Swansea College Council, which dismissed him from his University post, there can he no doubt that for the workers of the Swansea valleys Mr. Lewis is a man to be listened to and to he followed.

The Welsh Responsible for Wales

The keynote of his speech was that only Welshmen can save the Welsh. It is neither possible nor desirable that anyone else should attempt this task.

He said that unemployment in Wales was the responsibility of the Welsh people and not of the Government and that it was the work of Welsh local authorities to alleviate misery in Wales. This was only a practical application of the law of charity, for on Judgment Day Welsh people will not be held responsible for Spain nor German nor Italy, but for Wales.

To abandon the question of unemployment to the Government was immoral and cowardly.

Altogether the contrast between the pronouncements of Mr. Eden and Mr. George and that of Mr. Saunders Lewis was most significant. The two former during their flying visits to Wales were entirely preoccupied with hypothetical situations in foreign politics.

Mr. Lewis, on the other hand, struck a note of realism and honesty which won loud and long applause from an audience composed chiefly of impoverished Welsh unemployed. Their welcome left no doubt at all as to the nature of political ascendancy in modern Wales.

A Petition

Three months ago a deputation composed of ministers of religion and social workers visited Mr. Neville Chamberlain in London and appealed for the rehabilitating of the distressed areas of South Wales.

Among the schemes mentioned as likely to provide work was the building of a bridge over the Severn to facilitate trans port between Wales and Western Finland. The deputation also recommended increasing the number of technical schools for the training of the young, and the raising of the school leaving age. The problem of the middle-aged unemployed worker was also raised—a question which is becoming increasingly serious in South Wales, where the wholesale emigration of youth leaves nothing but ageing folk behind.

The Reply

An answer has just been received to the points raised by the deputation—one which gives scant hope of Government help.

The Prime Minister says that the Severn Bridge scheme is vetoed until the rearmament programme is completed. There are more than enough technical schools, he says, and it is already within the power of the local authorities to raise the school leaving age. As for the middle-aged worker, his hope lies in the Government's small holding schemes, which at present provide for 250 families!

To put it briefly, the Prime Minister has said, "Settle your own problems and don't bother us."

To the whole problem Mr. Saunders Lewis' speech at Swansea provides the most timely answer—that Wales must be responsible for her own part of the world. Our thanks are unexpectedly due to Mr. Neville Chamberlain for illustrating so well Mr. Lewis's. point.

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