Monday, October 26, 2015

Thoughts on Tryweryn

I don't have a television so I missed the various programmes commemorating Tryweryn, I gather it even made it on to that cosy comfort blanket of the British middle classes Countryfile.  For a Welsh nation so anxious to be patted on the head by their big brother that must have been sweet indeed.

There was no escape though on my twitter feed, which was flooded with cloying terms such as tragedy, open wound, raw, poignant and the occasional trist and colled.  Really? There were quite a few tragedies in 20C Wales - the two wars, the depression, deindustrialisation, Senghennydd, Gresford, Aberfan .... But Tryweryn?  Meanwhile the on-going ethnic replacement of the Welsh-speaking heartlands continues with barely a murmur from the tweeting classes.

Of course Tryweryn showed the impotence of the Welsh MPs and Welsh opinion in general, but was anyone in any doubt that Wales counted for, still counts for very little?  It certainly didn't change  the political landscape, with Welsh folk continuing to vote for the usual Unionist time-wasters. Come to think of it the very real crime of Aberfan didn't produce much of a dent on those Unionist voting habits either.

I don't know if any of the commemorations mentioned the fact that the first physical attack on the Tryweryn site was the work of two English speakers from New Tredegar and Bargoed?  One thing I did learn from twitter concerned the Gwent village of Pwlldu which was demolished at around the same time as Capel Celyn. 

I already knew about Pantywaun, demolished to make way for open cast - you can spot it at the two minute mark of this youtube showing the last train from Newport to Brecon.  All history now.

Finally the brouhaha surrounding Tryweryn and Clywedog is supposed to have ended the process whereby Welsh valleys were drowned to supply English cities with water. Maybe that was more the result of declining demand but it certainly helped scupper Labour's plan for a town of 60000, mainly incomers, between Newtown and Llanidloes.  For that we have to thank the dynamiteers. 


Anonymous said...

We were discussing Tryweryn last week in the pub (the excellent Arvon Ales in Llan'dod) and everyone was surprised when I informed them that the direct action movement was predominantly English-speaking. It has simply faded from the national consciousness that nationalism during that revival period wasn't necessarily a Welsh language thing.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the "excellent Arvon Ales" comment! Laura