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Wales since 1939$

Martin Johnes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719086663

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719086663.001.0001

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‘Nationalists of Many Varieties.’ 1951–70

‘Nationalists of Many Varieties.’ 1951–70

Chapter:
(p.212) 8 ‘Nationalists of Many Varieties.’ 1951–70
Source:
Wales since 1939
Author(s):

Martin Johnes

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719086663.003.0009

Abstract and Keywords

Chapter eight explores the rise of popular Welsh nationalism in the late 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s as a response to the changing structure of Wales. It considers the direct action campaigns of the Welsh Language Society, the emergence of Welsh terrorism and the political and popular responses to the nationalist challenge. The effect of more extreme Welsh nationalism campaigns on the success of Plaid Cymru, as both a help and a hindrance, is also discussed, culminating in the party having developed a significant political base by the 1970s. The chapter shows how a new, more confident and aggressive nationalism was emerging amongst young Welsh speakers but also that it often remained marginal to the dominant strand of Welsh public opinion, as many youth campaigns tend to.

Keywords:   Nationalism, Plaid Cymru, Welsh Language Society, Terrorism, Politics, Action campaign

In that part of Wales lived nationalists of many varieties – writers of letters to the Western Mail and the Welsh Nation, authors of tracts about Welsh water and Welsh mutton, Baptist ministers who sprinkled their sermons with sly jokes about the English, rural councillors with Cymru badges on their cars, young farmers who liked a bit of fun with petrol and a Union Jack.

Paul Ferris, The Dam (1969), 133

None can deny that these days it is exciting to live in Wales. There is the sense of participating in a drama in which the end is hidden.

Letter to Western Mail, 2 February 1968

IN 1949 A YOUNG ACTOR called Richard Burton made his screen debut in a film about plans to flood a Welsh village in order to supply Liverpool with water. As The Last Days of Dolwyn unfolds, it is revealed that Lord Lancashire, the wealthy English peer behind the scheme, did not actually know the village was inhabited and the blame passes to his Welsh agent. The story thus becomes one of personalities rather than the politicized tale of class and nationality that the actual history of reservoir building in Wales maybe deserved. When plans emerged from Liverpool City Council in the 1950s to build another reservoir in Wales the response was anything but apolitical. Liverpool initially favoured a site in Montgomeryshire but anticipated opposition because it included the historic home of a famous hymn writer. Instead, it chose Tryweryn, on the basis that, of the possible locations, this would cause the least public opposition. Building a reservoir in that valley meant the removal of six farms and the village of Capel Celyn, with its forty residents, school (with nine pupils), burial ground and post (p.213) office. Another ten farms would also lose land.1 The villagers claimed they found out about the plans only when surveyors arrived there. They were naturally upset but the scheme angered many others too. A Welsh-speaking community was being destroyed (or at least moved) to provide water for an English city that seemed deeply reluctant to discuss it with the people whose homes it was taking. It was easy to see the project as another piece of the English imperialism that was killing the Welsh language and way of life. Iorwerth Peate, a prominent nationalist and curator of traditional Welsh life, claimed the flooding was part of the ‘gradual murder of the Welsh national personality by various forces from beyond the Dyke’.2 Led by nationalist activists, a campaign against the plans began. Its most poignant moment came in November 1956, when nearly the entire village marched in Liverpool bearing placards that asked the city to save their homes and reminded it of how the village had taken in evacuees from Merseyside during the war. Gwynfor Evans, the Plaid Cymru leader, told Liverpool City Council that Capel Celyn was ‘in the middle of, perhaps, the most cultured part of the whole of Wales. These people have values apart from material values.’ But appealing the case of ‘poets and singers’ was not going to win when the city thought it needed water. The council voted by ninety-four to one to flood Tryweryn and a bill was introduced into Parliament to facilitate that.3

Conservationist groups did not oppose the decision, even thinking that the marshy landscape might be improved by the reservoir. But those in Wales who saw the landscape in human rather than aesthetic terms were outraged. The Ministry for Welsh Affairs received 680 letters of protest, some of which even threatened violence.4 The minister responsible for Welsh affairs during the parliamentary bill's first stages was Gwilym Lloyd George. That Wales was being despoiled by the Welsh-speaking son of perhaps its greatest national hero deepened the anger. One letter he received trusted he would ‘not sell Wales and be a traitor’, while another declared ‘Wales' destiny is in your hands. For the sake of everything, Sir, and for the sake of your family name, save us.’ A Wrexham preacher just asked, ‘I wonder what your father would say about it?’ A letter from Swansea summed up the dominant tone of the complaints received by the government: ‘We in Wales are fighting to the last ditch to defend our language and our culture. We dread to think that a power like Liverpool Corporation has the freedom to walk into our country and steal our water and our land in this tyrannical way.’5 The natural beauty of the area, the question of human rights and the economic future of Wales were also recurring themes and many of the complainants stressed that they were not nationalists. Some even drew parallels with opposition to communism or pointed to God's judgement. (p.214) Other groups had more specific concerns, such as what it would do to salmon fishing on the river Conwy. Many trade union branches also voiced their opposition in a forgotten dimension to the affair. It took place against a backdrop of rising unemployment and there was much concern that the transfer of water to Liverpool would hamper future industrial development in north Wales, perhaps by attracting companies to Merseyside that might have otherwise come to Wales, had the reservoir's resources been kept there. But even such concerns, though not motivated by concern for the Welsh language or the community being drowned, were still understood within the context of Welsh resources being taken by England. Indeed, for all those not personally affected, the key issue was the fact that the flooding was being imposed on Wales and that awoke the normally unfocused sense of popular Welshness. One woman told a journalist that she would not have minded so much had the water stayed in Wales ‘but it's all going to England, don't you understand?’6

In Parliament few English MPs and lords seemed to give much weight to arguments based on either the rights of individuals or Welsh culture. They preferred to look at the collective British good. As an English lord put it, ‘After all, Wales is just one part of these islands’.7 The government, however, did acknowledge the validity of the cultural arguments but also concluded that they were exaggerated. The minister's briefing for the bill's second reading noted that Welsh culture would be affected but that ‘the community is very small and it is doubtful whether less social damage would be done on any alternative site. The intensity of the objection is a reflection of the sensitivity of “Welsh Wales” to the tremendous “foreign” pressure on its culture. It is a feeling which, for tactical reasons alone, needs to be respected.’8

No matter how much contemporaries and national mythology portrayed Tryweryn as a valley flooded by the uncaring English authorities against the wishes of Wales, the reality was more complex. At the Liverpool Corporation bill's first reading, thirty-five of the thirty-six Welsh MPs voted against it. But the Labour figures who campaigned against the flooding also understood Liverpool's need for water and tried to combat the anti-Englishness that was emerging in the affair. They pointed to the benefits of the flooding: new modernized housing would replace much older stock, while the reservoir would also serve the needs of proposed local nuclear power stations, all objectives that Plaid Cymru also supported. David Llewellyn (Conservative, Cardiff North), the only Welsh MP in favour of the measure, argued that opponents did ‘an ill service to Welsh culture by suggesting that its survival depends on sub-standard houses, a dog-in-the-manger attitude to untapped resources, and a callous indifference to the prosperity of Merseyside, where (p.215) there are far more Welshmen than in the whole of Merioneth’.9 Nor was opposition in Wales either as widespread or as sustained as is often made out. Campaigners claimed that only 3 per cent of people in the Bala area had refused to sign the petition. Yet Plaid Cymru worried that its campaign was meeting apathy; Bala Town Council itself declined to support it, while Merioneth County Council did so only on a second vote and then it was close decision. There were those in the surrounding area who saw the issue as a waste of time and Capel Celyn as ‘an unremarkable, unromantic backwater’. As the legislation passed through Parliament, opposition petered out. Only twenty-seven Welsh MPs voted against its second reading, with the rest abstaining. By the third reading just twenty voted in opposition. Denbighshire County Council and other organizations withdrew their objections, leaving Merioneth County Council and a parish council as the only formal objectors. After the legislation was passed, Plaid Cymru's calls for a strike of support by miners and steelworkers got nowhere.10 One man who had farmed in the valley for over fifty years wrote to the government: ‘So much is said about this Valley by people who do not know anything about the place’. He complained that many of the members of the Capel Celyn defence committee were outsiders and Plaid Cymru members who did not know the conditions that locals had been living in. He had a clear sense of the community's decline. When he had been at Capel Celyn school there were fifty pupils there. Now there were fewer than ten. He saw how many farmhouses had become unfit for habitation and how the land had declined because of flooding and forestry planting. Whether this farmer represented local views is unclear but it certainly shows that the community was not united in outright opposition. The government was also told by a local trade union representative and justice of the peace that ‘many of those affected by the dam did not really regret it, but did not like to say so in view of the pressure from the Nationalists’.11 The village defence committee had ended up being run by outsiders because of a lack of volunteers from within the community. The villagers had had to be persuaded by the Plaid Cymru leadership to protest in Liverpool itself. They did not expect to be listened to as, in the words of one farmer's wife, they were just ‘a few village people from Wales’ who did not speak English well. By 1957 Gwynfor Evans was being told by an adviser that ‘the vast majority’ of Tryweryn residents were ‘more than satisfied’ with the compensation and were ‘satisfied for the scheme to proceed’.12 After all, many had the opportunity to move to the new modern homes that so many in rural communities were leaving in search of. Moreover, as the government later concluded in an internal review of the episode, since people were being rehoused only three and a half miles (p.216) away their Welsh culture should be strong enough to withstand the move. By the end, to some dissent within the party, even Plaid Cymru's hierarchy had accepted the inevitable and had shifted to trying to keep some of the wealth in Wales by proposing that the construction be done by Welsh workers and a new water board established to run it with representatives from local government in Liverpool and Wales. When the reservoir was built, the Wrexham Leader at least was impressed; noting the use of natural stone rather than concrete, the paper decided the dam was ‘a new wonder of Wales’.13

IN BRIEFING THE BRITISH EMBASSY before Gwynfor Evans visited the USA, the Ministry for Welsh Affairs concluded:

It is difficult to decide how far the widespread agitation over the Tryweryn issue was due to the influence of the Welsh Nationalists. Many people who were not members of the party felt very keenly on the issue and this showed that the emotional reaction which causes some people to become party members is felt in a lesser degree by a much wider circle of Welshmen. It showed also that Welsh nationalist feeling can be inflamed more easily than might be supposed.14

But what was becoming clear was that the emotional reaction had only a limited electoral impact. By the end of the 1950s Plaid Cymru did not appear to have advanced much since 1950, when it had won 17,580 votes in the general election. At the 1959 general election, the first after the Tryweryn affair, the party took over 20 per cent of the vote in both Caernarfon and Merioneth. It also secured 17 per cent in Rhondda West, showing that there were people outside Welsh-speaking areas who were voting nationalist. Yet, overall, the party secured just 77,571 votes, 5.2 per cent of the Welsh total. The Tryweryn affair had in many ways struck discord among nationalists rather than inflaming them. The failure to take any decisive action against the flooding brought deep criticism of Gwynfor Evans' leadership of the party. Some even called him a traitor.15 Evans himself was always more of an idealist than a strategist but he was trying to broaden the party's focus. Tryweryn, however, reinforced the notion that Plaid was a party for the Welsh-speaking countryside. Its own research in the 1950s showed that voters thought the party too right wing, too middle class and too hostile to English-speaking Wales. The party struggled to change this image, not least because it did not have access to party political broadcasts. In the mid-1950s the BBC had intended introducing ‘regional’ party political broadcasts and extending them to all parties that put up three or more candidates in Wales. However, the Conservative government, after confirming that the Labour (p.217) Party agreed with its position, refused to allow such a move. In 1958 the Sunday Times claimed that the odds against Plaid Cymru ‘ever becoming a serious political entity are infinite’.16 But Tryweryn was a clear warning shot that Welsh patriotism could easily be inflamed.

Fears about the economic future in the late 1940s and early 1950s had also created demands within the Labour Party for some official recognition of distinct Welsh needs and a distinct Welsh identity. In an acknowledgement that Wales did at least exist as an economic, administrative and cultural unit, the Council for Wales and Monmouthshire had been set up in 1949 as a non-elected advisory body to the government. It came under the chairmanship of Huw T. Edwards, a Caernarfonshire trade unionist whose profile through the 1950s saw him dubbed the ‘unofficial prime minister of Wales’. Looking back in 1958, a civil servant argued that the Council had probably been intended as ‘relatively meaningless sop’ but Edwards' personality had seen it gain a good deal of importance. Through the 1950s the Council did keep up the pressure on the government to create a Welsh Office and Secretary of State, framing its demands more in terms of effective government than national recognition. The Council was taken seriously by government but Edwards resigned in 1958 after it became apparent that a Secretary of State would not be introduced.17 The government interpreted the Council's demands as a desire for parity with Scotland but feared that, should that be granted, Scotland might demand further devolution. Given that Wales was operating under the same legal system as England, the government foresaw that any Secretary of State would have to follow different policies to England in order not to make the position superfluous. This, it feared, would be difficult to explain and would lead to inequalities that would be especially manifest in the Marches, where social and economic ties crossed the border. It also worried about the costs and administrative complexity of forming yet another department and feared controversy over the position of Monmouthshire, which it regarded as an English county but one that by tradition would have to be included in Welsh administration.18

There was some popular support for devolving selected powers from London. In 1956 the Parliament for Wales campaign presented a petition with 240,652 signatures, representing some 14 per cent of the Welsh electorate. Gwynfor Evans estimated that 80 per cent of the people asked had signed it. This was the culmination of a six-year campaign that had included leading figures from Labour, the Liberals and Plaid Cymru. But it won no sympathy with the government or most of the press. The Cardiff Labour MP George Thomas thought the Welsh people needed saving from themselves, while David Llewellyn, a Tory MP in the same city, even drew (p.218) parallels between the campaign and Mein Kampf. The lack of specificity in the campaign's claims probably made it easier to collect signatures but the internal disagreements within the campaign over what Wales' problems actually were and how a parliament would solve them undermined its political influence. At the end of 1956 one of the leading figures in the campaign reflected, ‘All the petition's papers are now in cardboard boxes, one on top of each other, rotting through dampness’. The campaign did help raise the profile of Plaid Cymru and was another step towards the gradual construction of a proto-Welsh state but ultimately its failure marked a widespread satisfaction with the status quo. This was clear when the south Wales area of the National Union of Mineworkers voted against the campaign, fearing it would undermine the UK bargaining position of the union.19

The Tryweryn revolt, the reports of the Council for Wales and Monmouth-shire and the Parliament for Wales campaign may not have secured their immediate objectives but cumulatively they encouraged government to take specifically Welsh interests seriously. In 1958 civil servants anticipated that Plaid Cymru could grow if Welsh feelings were ‘handled tactlessly’ and if there was a fusion between the party and elements within Labour that were ‘more Welsh than Socialist’. The key to avoiding this, they felt, lay in persuading Wales that the government was taking its economic welfare seriously and in dispelling the ‘widespread notion that people in England neither know nor care whether the Welsh and Welsh culture fare well or ill’.20 Seven months earlier the Prime Minister had told his cabinet,

There is a general feeling among Welsh people that their particular interests are not receiving the attention which they should and we shall need to be specially careful and sympathetic in our handling of Welsh affairs at the present time if we are to prevent the Welsh Nationalist movement from gaining ground.21

In response to pressure from Welsh MPs for a Secretary of State for Wales, the Conservatives had already introduced a Minister of Welsh Affairs in 1951, a post held by an existing cabinet member with a different portfolio. Although the Minister did not have a government department, the position did ensure there was someone within the cabinet with a specific remit to look after and act on Welsh interests. The first holder was the Home Secretary, Sir David Maxwell Fyfe, a Scottish lawyer, who tried to defuse criticism that he was not Welsh by claiming that one of his ancestors had led an army from Scotland which tried to join Owain Glyndŵr. He proved the worth of the post by shelving unpopular forestry and military plans for Welsh land.22 Although there were still the occasional controversies – (p.219) such as the government's 1960 appointment of someone who did not speak Welsh as national governor of the BBC in Wales – there were significant signs of increased sensitivity to Wales. In 1958 a Festival of Wales was held under the government's auspices. It culminated in the holding of the Empire Games in Cardiff and the announcement by the Queen that Charles would be made Prince of Wales. The introduction of county rather than national referenda on Sunday opening in 1961 was a concession for rural Wales, as was the main mid-Wales railway line's survival of the Beeching axe.23 The government began giving financial support for the publishing of Welsh-language school books in 1954, and the 1959 Eisteddfod Act allowed local authorities to support financially the National Eisteddfod. In 1958 a new steel development went to Llanwern rather than Scotland after anger in Wales that the construction of the Forth Bridge had been given priority over a bridge across the Severn, despite the Minister for Welsh Affairs arguing the Severn's case to combat the ‘wide and deep distrust of the Government's attitude towards Wales’.24 Cardiff was made the official capital of Wales in 1955 and four years later government pressure on Buckingham Palace led to the Red Dragon being declared the official national flag.25 These Conservative concessions were the result of external pressure on the party but they also show how the existence of a Minister for Wales and then sensitivity over Tryweryn increased the influence of Welsh interests in government. In contrast, internal pressure from Labour MPs, not least James Griffiths, led that party finally to commit itself to creating a Welsh Office and Secretary of State for Wales, a promise which it honoured when it returned to power in 1964. Not everyone in government was enamoured. In his diary Richard Grossman called the Welsh Office an ‘idiotic creation’ and ‘completely artificial’.26 There was also some concern in the north that Wales' voice in cabinet would actually diminish because the post meant Welsh affairs would be treated separately after England had been looked at. The Secretary of State would be ‘a lone voice, and one can only hope for the best’, one paper surmised. But one immediate benefit was felt. The new department took the importance of expanding the M4 far more seriously than the Ministry of Transport had done and plans were quickly put in place for a series of new sections that would open through the 1970s.27

DESPITE THE PIECEMEAL advances in the official position of Wales within government, there was, by the 1960s, a small but increasing minority within Wales who felt that constitutional politics had failed the nation. After all, as Gwynfor Evans himself later recalled, Tryweryn showed (p.220) that ‘even a united Wales was powerless’.28 The arson of an RAF bombing school in Penyberth in 1936 by leading members of Plaid Cymru meant the party did have a history of direct action. Less spectacularly, in 1951 Plaid Cymru members blocked a road in protest at the siting of a military camp at Trawsfynydd, while complaints over Welsh-language broadcasting led to 151 people being summonsed for non-payment of radio licences in 1955.29 At the start of the 1950s, led by a Swansea barrister, a somewhat more sinister group called the Welsh Republican Movement broke away from Plaid Cymru. They were suspected by MI5 of having firearms and explosives and links with the Communist Party. Most of their action was limited to burning Union Jacks but in 1952 they did try to blow up Fron aqueduct and a member was convicted of possessing explosives. But their muted approach was evident when plans to blow up the first post box to bear the initials ER were dropped because of the risk to life.30

Flirtations with explosives or road blocks won little support among most nationalists in the early 1950s but Tryweryn raised the stakes for a handful, leading to open discussion of extra-parliamentary action. In 1957 the editor of the Western Mail told the Minister for Welsh Affairs that ‘the seeds of an Irish problem’ had been planted. Two years later Plaid Cymru's leadership did briefly decide upon a course of non-violent resistance to the construction of the Tryweryn dam but then relented in the face of some internal party opposition.31 In 1960 a Welsh-language newspaper published an anonymous article calling for a secret movement to fight for Wales and resist the government. It said that reasonable and constitutional argument had met with continued disrespect and reminded readers that the blood of medieval princes ran through their veins, before asking, can ‘we leave the old nation to be murdered by men like Macmillan, Brooke and Brecon without striking a blow for it?’32 Words turned to action when, in September 1962, two Plaid Cymru members vandalized an electricity transformer at the Tryweryn construction site, with the prior knowledge and approval of Gwynfor Evans. The following year explosives were used to damage the site itself and a pylon taking electricity there. Such actions put Plaid Cymru in a difficult position. Evans was left saying that he did not morally disapprove of all violence but that he did reject it as a political weapon. He tried to use the problem to his advantage when he told the Welsh Minister that he feared Plaid Cymru was being pushed towards violence by the indifference of the government. The government was certainly anxious to avoid the emergence of a militant splinter group and it worried that support for extremism was wider than the police claimed.33 Violence, even if it was aimed at reservoirs rather than people, made many nationalists uneasy but more inspirational (p.221) was the example of Eileen and Trefor Beasley of Llangennech. Between 1952 and 1961 this miner and his wife fought to receive a rate demand in Welsh from Llanelli Rural District Council, where all the councillors and much of the population spoke Welsh. They appeared in court sixteen times for nonpayment of their English-language demands and had their property seized by bailiffs three times. But they were eventually sent a demand in Welsh.34

One man impressed by their actions was Saunders Lewis. He had been imprisoned himself for his part in the Penyberth arson of 1936. The fact that his trial was moved to England won him much sympathy but his hatred of socialism and desire for the Welsh people to return to the land contributed to the marginalization of Plaid Cymru, the party he had helped found in 1925. Furthermore, as an intellectual with a penchant for fast cars, good food, fine wine and bow ties, he was hardly a member of the Welsh peasantry. Thus he was quite right when he remarked in a 1961 television interview that his aim had been ‘To change the whole course of Wales, and to make Welsh Wales something living, strong, powerful, belonging to the modern world. And I failed absolutely.’35 But Lewis ensured himself a more meaningful place in history on 13 February 1962 with a radio lecture entitled ‘Tynged yr Iaith’ (‘The fate of the language’), which warned that Welsh would ‘cease to exist as a living language towards the beginning of the twenty-first century’. He argued that politics and economics were ‘against the survival of Welsh. Nothing can change that fact except determination, will power, struggle, sacrifice and effort.’ Success, he maintained, ‘can only come through revolutionary methods’. Noting the example set by the Beasleys, he called for a wider unconstitutional campaign, with tactics such as not paying for licences available only in English. He anticipated ‘a period of hate and persecution and strife’ but thought the language's survival was the ‘only political question deserving of a Welshman's attention’. Self-government before Welsh was an official language of administration would just hasten the language's demise. The rallying call was ‘Go to it in earnest and without wavering, to make it impossible to conduct local authority or central government business without the Welsh language’.36

How many people actually heard the lecture is unclear. Lewis himself probably intended just to galvanize Plaid Cymru members and undermine Gwynfor Evans' strategy of constitutional politics. The lecture certainly annoyed Evans' allies. Yr Herald Cymraeg thought it ‘hazy talk from the secluded study’ about a language that had ‘long since died’ in much of Wales.37 But the lecture did hit a nerve beyond Plaid Cymru, even though its dire predictions for the future of the language were hardly new. Even the Western Mail was sympathetic, noting how ‘Economics, established practice and apathy’ were (p.222) against the language and if it was to be saved people had to ‘spontaneously show more signs of wanting to preserve and expand its present use’.38 Some were already doing that. At the start of 1962 a dispute began over the refusal of the legal service to issue a bilingual summons to a young Plaid Cymru member who was arrested for giving his girlfriend a lift on his bike's crossbars. Eleven days before Lewis' radio talk, a protest was held at an Aberystwyth post office where students plastered posters on the building with the hope of being arrested so they could refuse the English-language summons. When no one was arrested they did the same thing on a council building and the police station, before sitting down in the middle of a road bridge. Again, no one was arrested but the protest did attract the attention of newspapers and, against the background of Lewis' talk, the Home Office approved the future use of Welsh-language summonses. Inspired by this success and Lewis' rallying call, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (discussed further below) was formed in October 1962, a group that was to have a profound influence on Wales and which completely undermines historians' claims that the British student protests of the 1960s were ineffective and unimportant.39

Such protests, the lobbying of MPs and the Conservative government's general sensitivity to Welsh opinion after Tryweryn led to it setting up an inquiry in 1963 into the status of the language. David Hughes Parry, a Welsh-speaking law professor, was appointed as its chair because he was thought conservative and cautious. A permanent secretary at the Ministry for Housing, Local Government and Welsh Affairs summed up: ‘we don't want to get landed with suggestions for a considerable enlargement of people's legal right to use the Welsh language’.40 The inquiry found that Welsh was little used in central government, the health service or the nationalized industries and recommended legislation giving equal validity to the two languages in law and public administration. This meant that official forms should be available in Welsh where people wanted them. It also proposed that heads of government departments should have to speak Welsh so that public administration could cope.41 A Western Mail editorial was unimpressed:

under the guise of righting an ancient wrong a minority in Wales would be imposing on the majority an irrelevant and hampering burden. The Welsh language, as the tongue of the hearth and the living literature of our nation, must be helped in every way possible – but short of sacrificing sense and logic in the conduct of our public affairs.42

One member of the inquiry concluded that there was not ‘opposition to the increased use of Welsh so much as nervousness at the prospect of change’. Welsh-speaking public servants were unsure if their command of (p.223) the language was good enough to use in law or administration and some even doubted the language itself was flexible enough for such purposes.43 Councillors supportive of the language, meanwhile, worried about the financial cost of giving Welsh equal legal status. In the weeks that followed, the Western Mail received little correspondence on the issue and concluded there was a general apathy.44

The general marginalization of Welsh cultural concerns from the popular political agenda was again evident at the 1964 general election, when twenty-one of the twenty-three Plaid Cymru candidates lost their deposits. Its general secretary had conceded that year that the party remained synonymous with the Welsh language, scarcely known and suffering from an image as old fashioned, puritan and wanting to turn the clock back. He accused Evans of being ‘shy, weak, unimaginative, lacking in drive’.45 At the 1966 general election Plaid won 8,000 fewer votes than it had in 1964. Shortly after that general election Megan Lloyd George, Carmarthen's Labour MP, died. This meant a by-election in the constituency that Gwynfor Evans lived in, at a time when the Labour government was enduring much criticism of its financial policies and having to cope with internal strife. Within the constituency there were concerns that local collieries and rural schools were threatened with closure, while farmers worried about small-business taxes. The Labour candidate was a shy north Walian who was perceived to be condescending, none of which endeared him to the local party and its supporters. Plaid Cymru, in contrast, fought an effective campaign, using different slogans and different linguistic emphases for its leaflets in the rural west of the constituency (‘For a better Wales’) and the industrial east (‘For work in Wales’). Despite the circumstances, few anticipated a Plaid Cymru win and bookmakers were apparently offering odds of 2,000 to 1 on Evans taking the seat. Thus when he won, with a majority of 2,436, what was Plaid Cymru's first ever Westminster seat, there was considerable surprise. Outside the count, a crowd of 2,000 sang the national anthem and waved Welsh flags. The headline of the local paper declared ‘Election of the Century – Plaid's Astonishing Win’.46 Evans' nationalism was rooted in a deep personal patriotism but also a belief in the value of democracy and small communities. This, together with his personal dignity and lack of pretension, made him a genuinely popular figure with the electorate and young nationalists. When he took his seat in Parliament, the Daily Mirror described it as ‘one of those highly-emotional occasions the Welsh do so well. All leeks and flags, hymns and chants as they invaded the capital by rail and coach.’ The group sang the national anthem five times outside Parliament and gave Evans a reception with the ‘fervour and enthusiasm they usually reserve for (p.224) a winning try at Cardiff Arms Park (against England, of course)’. A porter at the House remarked, ‘There's been nothing like it since the Beatles were here’.47 Welsh nationalism had come of age and Gwynfor was its icon.

There was a positive reaction to the win and to Evans himself in much of England, not least among the right-leaning press, which saw it as a welcome blow to the government and a departure from old party politics. The Daily Post thought Evans' win would ‘tickle the long-dormant sympathies of the suburban little Englander’.48 In 1970 one English commentator looked back on the election as part of the trend of ‘Orpington man’, the ordinary voter who resisted the might of central government. The nationalist feeling was thus ‘mere top-dressing, which provided the character and flavour of the movement without necessarily expressing the fundamental truth in what was affecting its supporters’. For this commentator, Evans' victory was evidence that ordinary people were feeling alienated and lost, with no control over events. In the wake of the election, a Daily Express cartoon showed people leaving a floundering ship called the UK in a lifeboat labelled ‘independence for Wales’, with James Callaghan, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, telling the captain, Prime Minister Harold Wilson, ‘you can hardly blame them for wanting to take to another boat’.49 The reactions in Wales were less sympathetic and drew on all the tensions that surrounded the Welsh way of life. Above all, nationalism was seen as a distraction from economic issues. A Caernarfon newspaper pointed to the economic situation, ‘which shows up more vividly the irrelevance of what he represents. The peoples of Britain – all of us – stand or fall together’.50 Gwynfor Evans noted in his maiden speech at Parliament that ‘For many, the death of a nation and the awful waste of great moral and spiritual resources matter nothing as long as people are well fed, well dressed and well housed’. Perhaps afraid of what he stood for and its potential impact on their own base of support, some Labour MPs refused to speak to Evans or even look at him. Some of them feared any concession to the nationalists and were mistrustful of even their Welsh-speaking Labour colleagues.51 One such colleague was Cledwyn Hughes, Secretary of State from 1966 to 1968. He tried to create an elected Welsh Assembly as part of a reform of local government but that was a step too far for many in Labour and there were fears in cabinet that it would encourage nationalism in Wales and Scotland and affect plans for English local government. Hughes was thus replaced by George Thomas, who was Secretary of State from 1968 to 1970 and seemed to have a virulent and paranoid hatred of nationalism and the Welsh language. He was particularly worried that the BBC and teachers were indoctrinating people and he complained to the Prime Minister in 1970 that the Corporation was ‘firmly in the grips of Welsh nationalists’ and (p.225) that entertainment programmes were being used for propaganda.52 The petty antagonism within Labour extended beyond MPs. When Gwynfor Evans was invited to speak on Welsh history at a Workers' Educational Association summer school in a local-authority building in Ferryside (Carmarthenshire), the Labour-controlled council insisted that the event be cancelled unless the invitation was withdrawn. The Western Mail was also hostile to Plaid Cymru and its news editor in the 1960s remembers that the paper actively ‘sought to suppress the party's rise to prominence’.53

Such responses intensified in the late 1960s because the Carmarthen result seemed to open the floodgates for Plaid Cymru at a time when industrial communities were becoming deeply pessimistic about their future (see chapter 9). In the year after the by-election, the party claimed its membership had doubled and it started talking of winning eight seats at the next general election.54 In 1967, amid concerns at rising unemployment, Plaid won 39.9 per cent of the vote at a by-election in Rhondda West, reducing a near 17,000 majority to just over 2,000. The following year in Caerphilly it reduced a Labour majority from over 21,000 to 1,874. James Griffiths, an MP since 1936 and Secretary of State for Wales from 1964 to 1966, had to be persuaded to stay on in Llanelli because of fears that the seat was vulnerable to Plaid Cymru's local candidate, the rugby coach Carwyn James. Suddenly, the Labour hegemony in Wales seemed under real threat. These votes owed much to dissatisfaction with the Labour government but the fact that large numbers of working-class voters were willing to turn to Plaid Cymru to make their protest was an indication that the sands were shifting and that popular patriotism could become political. But, among the masses, nationalism still had a long way to go. At the 1970 election the party contested every Welsh seat for the first time but twenty-five of its thirty-six candidates lost their deposits, while Gwynfor Evans was defeated by nearly 4,000 votes. Overall, Plaid won over 20 per cent of the vote in only seven constituencies and it secured only 175,016 votes (11.5 per cent) in Wales as a whole. Despite this failure to make any electoral gain, the party had at least shed something of its image of being only concerned with the language and traditional culture. It had also shown itself to be electable and put on the agenda serious discussion of whether Wales could be self-governing in any way. That all fed into the new sense of confidence among young Welsh people (see chapter 7). By 1969 a magazine could declare, ‘Wales herself is today at the start of a renaissance. The old shell of introversion is being chipped away by a new generation of awareness. Slowly, but inevitably, the old barriers of resentment, insecurity and isolation are being broken. Self-assurance and national confidence is emerging at an entirely new level’.55

(p.226) THAT CONFIDENCE WAS most evident in Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (CyIG; the Welsh Language Society). Its membership was just 2,000 at its peak at the start of the 1970s; its most active members were students, ‘young, long-haired, budding revolutionaries’ in the words of one member.56 Free tuition and grants that covered the cost of living meant the 1960s was a good time to be a student and those studying had both the time and resources to devote themselves to political activism. The expansion of higher education in the 1960s also brought Welsh people from north and south together on a scale hitherto unparalleled. Other forums of Welsh-speaking life, such as the Urdd, the National Eisteddfod and sporting internationals, also became far more accessible because of rises in disposable income and they offered places for the young to meet and feel a common identity that transcended regional differences. A group of friends from Blaenau Ffestiniog who went to Dublin to watch Wales play rugby recalled: ‘There were these girls from Carmarthen – nurses and teachers – and we talked with them late into the evening. And we all felt it was great, do you understand? To feel there were people like us all over Wales and that we could get together like this.’57 Such feelings underpinned the growth and success of CyIG. Despite the society's small numbers and narrow social base, its influence on Welsh public life and individuals' thinking about Wales was far greater. Edward Heath, the Tory leader, dismissed nationalism as ‘flower politics for flower people’ but the motives of the language movement (which Heath confused with nationalism) were far more serious and better thought out than the romantic idealism of hippies.58 There was a sense of urgency in the society because it believed that the Welsh language was ‘in dire peril of its life’.59 Furthermore, when Saunders Lewis articulated in Tynged yr Iaith the sense that the language was at the heart of Wales and Welshness he was speaking for a great many, probably the vast majority, of Welsh speakers. Not all would have claimed that you had to speak Welsh to be Welsh but Welsh speakers' own sense of nationality was intimately entwined with their mother tongue. Thus if the language was in danger then so too was their nation. After its first flurry of activity, CyIG held back on further direct action while the government's inquiry into the legal status of the Welsh language took place. But, by the autumn of 1965, civil disobedience had begun again, with people refusing to license their vehicles until they could do so in Welsh. In April 1966 Geraint Jones became the first member to be sent to prison after he refused to pay a fine for not having a taxed vehicle. That year, CyIG had rejected violence, at least partly out of political pragmatism, but it stepped up other forms of civil disobedience, such as sit-ins and vandalism. The media became a particular source of complaint; BBC radio, (p.227) for example, was said to broadcast more hours in Arabic than in Welsh, leading to its studios and transmitters becoming targets. There were more humorous protests too, such as throwing paper aeroplanes down on the chamber of the House of Commons, gluing the locks of Conservative Party offices and jamming the telephone lines of utility companies. By 1976 a total of 697 individuals had appeared in court and 143 had been imprisoned for their part in the society's actions.60

Wilson's Labour administration, where a quarter of the cabinet was Welsh and four ministers spoke Welsh, reacted to the mounting tensions by passing the 1967 Welsh Language Act. The recommendation in the report of the Hughes Parry inquiry (see above) that Welsh speakers be given preference for jobs in central and local government was not implemented but the Act did give the two languages of Wales equal validity, although English had primacy if there was semantic dispute. It specified that ‘further provision’ should be made to allow people to use Welsh in ‘official and public business’. But that provision was not defined or facilitated. The government did promise that Welsh forms would be issued where there was ‘fair demand’ but noted that this would not be done regardless of cost.61 The Act thus meant that people could not insist on using Welsh in dealings with the state and it failed to introduce anything remotely resembling full bilingualism in public life. Campaigners were unimpressed and quite right that the abstract principle of equal status was of no consequence unless it was put into practice. Where government departments did respond to the legislation and requests from the public by translating forms into Welsh, the resulting documents still often had to be asked for, something which some working-class people were apparently reluctant to do for fear of drawing attention to themselves. CyIG also argued that if forms had to be asked for, then this was a kind of oppression, as it placed the person in a position of inferiority. The government was even accused of instructing that Welsh forms were not to be put on public display.62 The Post Office initially refused to accept official Welsh Ministry of Transport motor licence applications and courts found themselves in difficult positions when people were prosecuted for refusing to re-license using the English forms. Nonetheless, by 1969 there were over 250 government forms available in Welsh, whereas there had been only eleven in 1964. This made the Act a milestone, even if the government received little praise or thanks from the language movement.63 Indeed, the significance of its specification that all future legislation had to distinguish Wales from England was widely unappreciated, despite the fact that it marked an important advance in the official status of the nation. The Act ensured all future laws had to address rather than assume the existence of (p.228) Wales and it encouraged the use of Welsh where the will existed. But it was too shrouded in ambiguity and the disappointment led to the campaigns of CyIG gathering momentum at the end of the 1960s. Popular attitudes also remained sharply divided: a 1968 opinion poll conducted for the Western Mail found that just 52 per cent of people thought that all official forms and signs in Wales should be bilingual.64

In the wake of the government inquiry advocating equal status for Welsh, Machynlleth Urban District Council decided to make its information signage bilingual and contacted the Welsh Office about its plans. There were already signs that used Welsh to welcome people to all counties except Glamorgan and Flint and town signs were often bilingual in the north. But beyond that most public signage was in English only. Machynlleth's plans caused debates among civil servants over which translations of ‘toilet’ and ‘car park’ could be fitted on signs without pushing up the cost too much. They feared the issue was just about making a political point but were also unsure whether bilingual signage would help or hinder tourism and they worried it might affect the decisions of industrialists looking to relocate in Wales, by giving a ‘constant reminder that one is not in England’. In the end, the Welsh Office simply decided to offer its suggested translations and keep out of the matter.65 As more requests came in the Welsh Office continued its tactic of trying to defer the matter back to local authorities but, after George Thomas took over as Secretary of State in April 1968, its line hardened into demanding requests be made for each individual sign. In response, road signs became CyIG's main focus, with the tactic being to deface or remove English-languages signs. In Cardiganshire, over 100 were defaced in just one week in February 1969. The importance of bilingual signage was symbolic rather than practical. It perhaps did not matter greatly that Swansea was not signposted ‘Abertawe’ since few locals used that name for the city but the failure of road signs to call Cardigan ‘Aberteifi’ was more serious since that what was what most people in the area actually called the town.66 In an abstract way, they were being dispossessed of where they lived.

Cartoons in the Sun joked about Welsh protestors not knowing what their own placards said and about vandals having such fun that they would be rather disappointed if home rule did ever come. But in Wales the reaction to the campaigns was more serious. A 1969 Welsh Office internal briefing note said that it wanted to further the interests of the language but was worried that the protests were ‘achieving the exact opposite effect. The antics of recent months are scandalizing all shades of opinion and are beginning to create the impression that the Welsh language is the preserve (p.229) of fanatics.’67 In the same year, a Western Mail editorial called for the full force of the law to be used, claiming that the ‘vast majority of Welshmen are heartily sick of these destructive and self-indulgent antics’. This came after an incident where a group of sign-painters had been caught by ten local men in Rhayader, who boarded the protestors' bus and knocked some of them out cold. A Cardiganshire survey suggested that only 19 per cent of Welsh speakers and 7 per cent of non-speakers thought that pulling down signs was sometimes justified as a form of protest. In Denbighshire some councillors wanted to know whether bilingualism would mean that English translations would have to be drawn up for Welsh place-names and another asked what, if pressure groups were going to be bowed to, would happen if Chinese or Pakistanis requested their languages be used.68 By 1970 the state was using harsher powers to control the protests. There were arrests for conspiracy to destroy signs, people were imprisoned for heckling court cases and there were incidents of police brutality. Over 185 cases of criminal damage were brought. In contravention of the Welsh Courts Act, in 1969 a man was ordered to pay a three-guinea fee for a translator if he wished to give his evidence in Welsh. One Welsh-speaking magistrate even insisted on calling the prominent campaigner Dafydd Iwan ‘David’ in court.69 In England the treatment was no better. In 1970 fourteen campaigners were sentenced to three months for contempt after demonstrating at the High Court against the imprisonment of one of their peers. Faced with such treatment it was little wonder that some protestors ended up hunger striking in their cells. One philosopher summed up that those who fought for the language ‘suffer every sort of curse and disadvantage. They are accused on all sides – as dangerous, irresponsible romantics, traitors and supporters of narrow mindedness and disunity, bitter fascists, parochial, fugitives to the past and enemies of progress, and – above all – as anti-Christian, enemies of the Christian emphasis on the similarity and brotherhood of all men.’70

Increasingly the tensions became as much about a generation gap and attitudes to public standards. As one short story put it, ‘Questions of Welsh nationalism affected him in the same way as a wholly English counterpart might be similarly provoked by encounters with advocates of illegitimate birth, CND or permissive television’.71 A Caernarfon paper said the defacing of road signs revealed ‘not only ignorance and failure to grow up, but also incivility and plain malice’. Such reactions crossed the linguistic divide. Glanmor Williams, a Welsh-speaking historian who became chairman of the Broadcasting Council for Wales, remarked in his 1968 diary: ‘It must be great fun and give a deep sense of having struck “a blow for Wales” without any of the painful responsibilities of having to think out what the (p.230) consequences of demands are’.72 After protests at the BBC in 1968, the newspaper Y Cymro dismissed CyIG as ‘a band of cantankerous, naive, noisy, negative, disorderly and unkempt youths whose sole aim is to destroy, to trade slogans, to insult everybody in authority and to intrude without consent on other people's properties’. The unease the society caused within parts of the Welsh establishment was unsurprising because the movement thought of itself as challenging not just English and British oppression but also the worst restrictions of Nonconformity and Puritanism. They quite consciously held their meetings in pubs; this drew criticism but it made a point.73

Protestors also clearly saw themselves as part of a wider global movement. They were inspired by Ghandi and Martin Luther King particularly but also the Czechoslovakian rising of 1968 and the 1969 student protests. A biography of King was one of the best-selling Welsh-language books of 1969; it claimed that, having being held down for centuries themselves, Welsh people could understand the oppression of black Americans.74 In the USA, the spirit of youth and rebellion was encapsulated by Bob Dylan and Wales had its own version in Dafydd Iwan, the society's chair from 1968 to 1971. He was an architect by training and the son of a teacher and Nonconformist minister. Influenced by Dylan, he wrote scores of protest songs and became Wales' most famous campaigner and prison inmate. His lyrics had all the defiance of youth and called Wales ‘to battle’. But Iwan also recalled there was always fun, comradeship and exhilaration in the campaign. That did not undermine its political significance – Iwan was acutely aware that they were fighting ‘for the continuation of the whole nation’ – but it did make it easier to carry out those protests.75

The controller of BBC Wales told his governors in 1972 that CyIG had ‘a few hundred activists, a few thousand active sympathizers and a perhaps a hundred thousand passive sympathizers’.76 Part of the anger that Iwan and others felt owed much to the fact that there was widespread sympathy for CyIG's cause but not its tactics. As Iwan pointed out with exasperation, sympathy was not enough to save the language. But there was active support for CyIG from parts of the Welsh-speaking establishment, not least because that establishment included their mothers and fathers. Older sympathizers paid fines and wrote letters of support to the press. When protestors appeared in court for criminal damage and the like, lenient fines became rather common. In 1972 two defendants, protesting at the paucity of Welsh-language broadcasting, pleaded guilty to using television sets without licences but were given absolute discharges by a Cardiff court. That same year a Swansea magistrate was forced from the bench after objecting to a fine imposed by fellow magistrates on a CyIG member and then paying (p.231) that fine herself. When Iwan was imprisoned in 1970 for refusing to pay a fine, twenty-one magistrates contributed to a fund to have him released.77

The cause of the support of older members of the Welsh establishment was clear in the words of the philosopher J. R. Jones, who wrote of:

the experience of knowing, not that you are leaving your country, but that your country is leaving you, is ceasing to exist under your very feet, is being sucked away from you, as if by an insatiable, consuming wind, into the hands and possession of another country and another civilization What we have on our hands is war … the struggle of the conquered for their very existence, the struggle to save their identity from being trampled into oblivion.78

Quite simply, for Jones and many others, Wales would cease to exist as a distinct nation if the language was lost. This meant that neither the society nor direct action was exclusively a young people's forum. At one point there were three ministers on CyIG's senate. A few older people, like Sali Davies, who refused her pension because she could not apply in Welsh, endured considerable personal hardship for the language. Even the Women's Institute was becoming more radical and in 1966 its Parc branch was expelled from the national organization after members withheld membership fees because the forms were not available in Welsh. They formed their own organization instead, which quickly grew into a national movement for Welsh-speaking women called Merched y Wawr. In 1969, the magazine Barn led a successful campaign to secure bilingual tax discs and over 600 of its readers vowed not to display English discs. Of the 642 people involved in the campaign, 41 per cent were teachers and 28 per cent clergy or university staff.79 The campaign was seen as a test of the government's attitude to putting the 1967 Act into practice. Initially, it claimed that Welsh discs were not technically possible because of the computer system. Internally, civil servants in the Welsh Office were frustrated at the way the Department of Transport was brusquely dismissive instead of showing that ‘everything is being done to meet the legitimate requirement of those who are Welsh speaking’.80 Eventually internal political pressure and the revolt of the Welsh-speaking establishment meant that Welsh discs were issued. Lobbying and quiet campaigning by the Welsh establishment also played their part in making advances for the language. In 1965, for example, the Urdd, a Welsh-language youth organization, failed to get its bank to accept bilingual cheques but the issue then reached a senior London official at Midland Bank who happened to be Welsh. His influence led to banks issuing and accepting Welsh cheques, although local branches could still be very stubborn on the matter.81

(p.232) Whereas such pressure could work, responding to more militant tactics was not so easy. In 1970 the Secretary of State was advised by senior civil servants that he could not give in to road-sign protests since that was ‘the way to anarchy and tyranny’. Although the Welsh Office was happy to allow local authorities to make their information signs bilingual, it did not want two languages on directional signs because it feared the presence of Welsh might distract drivers and endanger safety. It also worried about practical issues such as whether bilingual road signs meant making the text smaller (which it thought dangerous) or making the signs bigger (which it thought would annoy householders who had already complained about their size). It also anticipated complaints from small towns that were not currently allowed to appear on signs because of a lack of space. The Welsh Office was, however, seemingly happy for local authorities to drop the English versions of place-names if they wanted, something not even CyIG suggested.82

Local authorities were indeed making changes to information signs. Following a request from Merched y Wawr, Cardiff City Council decided to give ten central streets bilingual nameplates, even though they had only ever been known by English names, and to erect new bilingual signs welcoming people to the city. Some local authorities in strongly Welsh-speaking areas were also ‘Cymricizing’ their spellings in the late 1960s and thus Dolgelley officially became Dolgellau, Llanelly became Llanelli and Conway became Conwy. This was generally uncontroversial, thanks to some sensitive handling. In Llanelli, for example, there was no requirement that local businesses adopt the new spelling but it was already in use by some and quickly became accepted by the others.83 Transitions were not always so smooth. Amid fears that it would be seen as giving into vandalism, Denbighshire County Council's roads committee voted by just one vote to introduce bilingual signs. The clerk to the council even complained that ‘This has been brought about by the fact that you have anarchists in your community’. Despite being in a Welsh-speaking area, Aberystwyth Trades Council voted by a majority of one that bilingual signs were a waste of money.84 Typically, the Welsh Office, now under Tory control after the 1970 election, tried to defuse such tensions with an inquiry into road (rather than information) signs. Ten of the thirteen Welsh counties told it that they were in favour of bilingual signs, although the objectors included Glamorgan, the biggest county. In contrast, only nine of the sixty-five urban district and municipal borough councils had passed resolutions in favour of bilingual signs. The inquiry noted that there was perhaps indifference ‘in many quarters to the issue’.85 The inquiry's committee itself was divided but the majority reported in favour of mandatory bilingualism on all traffic signs, mostly on (p.233) the grounds of ‘natural justice’, with Welsh placed first. The estimated cost was more than £3 million and it was finance that held back support among some local authorities. After much hesitation, the Welsh Office ended up encouraging but not requiring local authorities to put Welsh on their road signs but requiring that English be given priority. Central and local government implementation of this was hit by the economic problems of the 1970s, by when CyIG's main attention had moved on to other issues, reducing the external pressure. Even Gwynedd County Council, which still wanted signs with Welsh first, ended up putting its plans on hold.86

THE OFICIAL CEREMONY to open the Tryweryn reservoir in 1965 was a farce. The 400 guests were outnumbered by 500 protestors and were met with a barrage of booing and chanting. Fireworks were let off, someone tried to burn a Union Jack and stones were thrown at the platform, one of which struck the project's engineer. The official speeches had to be curtailed after the microphone lead was cut.87 Among the protestors was a group of uniformed young men calling themselves the Free Wales Army (FWA). Over the course of the late 1960s the FWA not only paraded in public but also made outlandish claims about its size, equipment and readiness to wage guerrilla war. The leader of its twenty-odd members was William Julian Cayo-Evans, a horse-breeder who had been educated at an English public school and had served in Malaya during his national service. His patriotism (and his army's) was, however, both genuine and deeply felt. One member, a lorry driver from Bridgend, told Y Cymro, ‘It is difficult for you who are born Welsh speakers to understand how much the language can mean to us who are born without it’. He got interested in the language after the eisteddfod at Port Talbot and coming across the saying ‘A nation that loses its language loses its heart’.88 The Army did have access to guns and some contact with the IRA but despite its grand assertions – which it fed obsessively to the media and ranged from having 7,000 members, dogs trained to carry mines and access to a nuclear bomb that could blow up the Severn Bridge – the FWA was more talk than action. Their one attempt to actually lay a bomb failed because they forgot to attach a detonator.89

What fed the publicity surrounding the FWA were its claims of responsibility for a series of explosions around Wales in the 1960s that were actually nothing to do with it. The real perpetrators went under the name of Mudiad Amddiffyn Cymru (MAC; Movement for the Defence of Wales) and they sought to ‘reawaken the national consciousness of the Welsh’.90 Their first actions had been two of the attacks on the construction site of the Tryweryn (p.234) dam in 1963, attacks which led to a café owner and student being sentenced to twelve months in prison. The group's operations then escalated with the growing involvement of an army sergeant named John Jenkins, under whom MAC gained not only more technological knowhow but also a more sinister side, in that it was prepared to risk loss of life in the fight to save the nation. MAC was not just Jenkins, however, and the small handful of active members were supported by some fifty people who gave alibis, shelter and food.91 The next incident was in March 1966, when there was an explosion at the Clywedog reservoir. That was followed by four more explosions in 1967–8 on pipelines and an aqueduct taking Welsh water to England. More threatening were the five bombs that were successfully set off at buildings, including the Welsh Office itself, in 1967–8. One of them, planted at an RAF station in Pembrey, seriously hurt a serviceman (although former MAC members continue to deny responsibility for this attack). The Observer thought it changed the attitude of many Welsh people, who had previously seen the bombs ‘as a daring gesture, at worst an irresponsible prank’. The Wrexham Leader agreed: ‘For a long time it was a game of fireworks which happened to give discreet satisfaction to the politically minded’. People came to their senses, the paper thought, when someone was hurt.92

The extremists put Plaid Cymru in a difficult position, especially since Labour did its best to associate the party with the violence. Despite the very strong sympathy for their objectives, there was a strong feeling within the party that both the language campaigners and the bombers were alienating pofential support. Saunders Lewis did not help when he declared that any resistance to the building of dams, what he called an ‘irresponsible violence on the land of Wales’, was ‘wholly just’. He told another reporter that his ‘heart leapt’ with news of every explosion.93 Evans, in contrast, was forced into expelling FWA members from the party and into a series of condemnations of the ‘vicious and degrading cult of violence’. He was, however, also suspicious that the British intelligence services were trying to undermine popular sympathy for Welsh nationalism and feared they were trying to create a sex scandal by laying ‘honeypot’ traps for him.94 Following the explosion at the Welsh Office in 1968, he suggested publicly that British security services might be responsible, claiming there was an explosion every time an important election came up for Plaid Cymru. An editorial in the Western Mail took the theory seriously, noting the timing of many of the explosions, although the Home Secretary dismissed such accusations as ‘ridiculous’. Special Branch was certainly watching ordinary Plaid Cymru members and there were more accusations that agent provocateurs were offering guns and explosives to students.95

(p.235) The government had sought to prevent any escalation of either the violence or support for Plaid Cymru by looking for ways to placate and recognize the Welsh nation. This led to Swansea being made a city in 1969, despite it not meeting the criteria needed by English towns. The grand plan, however, was to use the Prince of Wales to remind people of their British loyalties. After much government badgering of the Palace, it was announced in May 1967 that Charles would be invested as Prince of Wales at Caernarfon Castle. There was derision in nationalist circles, encapsulated by a Dafydd Iwan song entitled Carlo, the Welsh for Charles and a popular name for a dog, which declared the Prince the best Welshman ever. Young people held sit-ins, hunger strikes and demonstrations; they complained that the event was a political stunt, a colonial imposition and a waste of public money. The Caernarfon press blamed nationalist teaching in colleges and on television for fostering such nationalism. A Wolverhampton man who farmed in north Pembrokeshire was threatened with legal action for keeping his children off from school, where he believed they were being ‘indoctrinated’ after being told a foreign prince was coming to Wales.96 Plaid Cymru's leadership were more circumspect in their attitudes, fearing alienating its youthful supporters by endorsing the event or the wider population by opposing it. In the end its official line was to ignore the investiture as much as possible.

To offset the criticism, Charles was sent to university at Aberystwyth for a stint at learning Welsh. Despite a bomb-disposal specialist being stationed in the town and plenty of security officers mingling with the students, the university's principal expressed grave fears about the climate there and said he could not accept responsibility for the Prince's safety. Given the bombing campaign, Harold Wilson also wondered whether Charles's stay at Aberystwyth should be cancelled but MI5 advised him that the risk was ‘more of a matter of personal embarrassment than of physical harm’.97 As it turned out, crowds lined the streets every day to watch him walk from his hall of residence, while a protest by ‘an ill-assorted gaggle of student anarchists and extreme Welsh nationalists’ was repulsed by buckets of water thrown by other Welsh-speaking students.98 Charles himself acted with dignity and said the right things. He told the BBC, ‘I don't blame people for demonstrating like that. … I've hardly been to Wales, and you can't expect people to be over-zealous about the fact of having a so-called English Prince come amongst them’.99 Indeed, Charles' determination to recognize the national question worried George Thomas enough for him to write to the Prime Minister with his fears that the Prince had come under too much nationalist influence at Aberystwyth. He suggested the Queen have a quiet word with her son.100

(p.236) Violent threats from the FWA created an atmosphere tense enough in the build-up to the event for the editor of the Western Mail to insist on seeing all articles on the investiture and CyIG. George Thomas later claimed he was getting almost weekly threats to his life. Wilson was worried about the safety of the special train and wanted troops employed if necessary. The atmosphere forced action and the attorney-general decided that there should be prosecutions of those who wore uniforms and carried arms and explosives, to make a point.101 The leading FWA members were arrested on public order and explosive charges and put on trial to coincide exactly with the date of the investiture. The boasts they had made to journalists proved their undoing when they were used as evidence. The day after the investiture, Cayo-Evans was sentenced to fifteen months; two other FWA members were imprisoned and another three given suspended sentences. The judge said the lenient sentences were because the defendants' motivation was a misguided love of Wales. That image was played up to when one of the imprisoned men told the judge, ‘I will not forget Wales in my lonely cell. My prayer is for heroic men, and I pray [to] God he will grant them every strength to bring back Wales free from chains.’ Saunders Lewis, not unreasonably, called the trial a ‘cruel persecution’ of ‘harmless-romantic lads’.102

Evidence at their trial suggested the FWA was planning some sort of armed rising at the investiture. How real these plans were is unclear and there were numerous hoax calls around the event. Even the KGB discussed disrupting the investiture by blowing up a bridge and creating the impression that it was the British security services trying to discredit Plaid Cymru. The real threat was MAC, which had already that year caused four explosions at public buildings, tried to blow up a monument in Holyhead dedicated to the Prince of Wales and encouraged copy-cat incidents when a letter bomb was sent to a police officer. The group planned four bombs for the day of investiture, none of which was probably designed to kill Charles but all of which were potentially lethal. Indeed, two members of MAC were killed on the day before the investiture when the gelignite they were carrying exploded. On the day itself another bomb exploded harmlessly near the garden of the chief constable of Gwynedd. Four days after the investiture, a ten-year-old holiday-maker lost a foot after tripping on explosives planted in an ironmonger's yard that Charles had passed. Another bomb was left on Llandudno pier but failed to explode. In November 1969, John Jenkins and Frederick Alders, an aerial rigger and a key MAC member, were arrested. The following year Jenkins was sentenced to ten years in prison and Alders to six for causing explosions, conspiracy and possessing and stealing explosives. Although other perpetrators remained at large, this brought the MAC bombing campaign to an end.103

(p.237) Despite the bombs, the investiture went ahead at Caernarfon Castle on 1 July 1969. Again, Charles said the right things, recognizing Wales' determination to protect its heritage and remain a nation. Crowds of 90,000 watched the royal procession to Caernarfon, far short of the 250,000 first anticipated. But the local press still gushed as their town became the ‘central spot of Britain enacting an ancient ceremony in a brilliant way’. That ceremony cost the public purse £200,000 but there were optimistic promises of as much as £30 million in indirect benefits to the Welsh economy through tourism and advertising. The Daily Mirror thought Charles had ‘triumphantly and spectacularly draped his ermine-trimmed mantle around the shoulders of a nation and received more than an affectionate hug in return’. A special magistrates' court to deal with any incidents on the day had to preside over only seven cases, two of which were for indecent exposure. Two men were charged with possessing offensive weapons (a sheath knife and a lump of lead), while three were charged with behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace. Two of them had made V signs at the Queen as she passed in her carriage, after which the ‘extremely angry and hostile’ crowd turned on them. A sixteen-year-old was bound over for throwing a banana skin under the feet of the Household Cavalry.104

Opinion polls suggested that three-quarters of the Welsh population supported the event, although about a quarter of young people seemed to be hostile. The popular support was also evident in a backlash against the protestors. Dafydd Iwan received hate mail and was threatened in the street. The feeling against him was particularly strong in Welsh-speaking Wales. A letter to a Caernarfon paper called him a ‘little tin god’ and argued that he did not represent the youth of Wales, who ‘are sick and tired of having the skeletons of long dead princes dug up and rattled before them until the dust from “dem dry bones” nearly chokes them’.105 Some nationalists despaired at the popular support for the investiture and saw it as representative of a nation heading towards its own death. The Argus concluded that:

the inbuilt tension cannot disguise the fact that for the vast majority of people in Wales the investiture is a joyful and memorable occasion. For the ordinary man and woman in the street the abstract political arguments are less imposing than the reality of a colourful ceremony involving a young prince and his family who, in the past week or two, have come to be more intimately alive and real thanks to film, photographs and interviews in the Press and broadcasting media.106

The fact that many businesses and schools gave their workers and pupils a day off probably did no harm to the event's popularity either.

(p.238) DESPITE NATIONALIST CLAIMS that the investiture was a tool to impose Britishness on the Welsh, it was a Welsh event and a celebration of Welsh nationhood, even if firmly within a British context. The Rhyl and Prestatyn Gazette even claimed, ‘Welshmen in general are discovering in themselves a new pride. The Prince of Wales has by his interest in things Welsh, his obvious desire to identify himself with us, brought to us a new sense of nationhood.’107 But the event's popularity, like the low tally of votes for Plaid Cymru and the ambivalence towards to the campaigns of CyIG, showed that separatist nationalism still remained marginal to the dominant strand of Welsh public opinion. The debates over the political future of Wales and its language were mostly conducted among the middle class. Indeed, some sociologists speculated that the ‘comparatively sophisticated argument’ surrounding the language largely passed ‘over the heads of the loyal Welshmen of the farming and lower manual working class’. Their study of Cardiganshire concluded that most people were neither romantic nor unrealistic about the possibilities for the language. Most had some concern with its future but were not political, disliked agitation and ‘wish to live their lives in home, work or chapel, speaking the language they find it most convenient to speak’. Nationalism thus still faced considerable hurdles before it could grow among the mass of ordinary people. The memory of the Second World War also hindered Plaid Cymru. One Liberal activist in Cardiganshire remarked in 1971 that nationalism was ‘forty years out of date’ and associated with war and violence.108 The uncertainty over the economic future of both rural and industrial communities did not help the party either. While there was always the danger, as happened in the mid to late 1960s, that economic fears might lead to an upsurge in Plaid Cymru votes in the short term, in the longer term they kept people wedded to the safety net that the British welfare state provided. This was evident when Plaid Cymru's share of the vote in Rhondda West collapsed from 39.9 per cent in the 1967 by-election to 14.1 per cent at the 1970 general election.

But attitudes were slowly changing. In 1958 an article in the periodical Wales dismissed nationalists as ‘fellows more inclined to romanticism than realism’ and their ideas as ‘farcical’. The writer said he was proud to be Welsh but the Wales he wanted lay in the ‘future’ not ‘the Druidical past’.109 By the 1970s, while some people still held such attitudes, Plaid Cymru had developed a political base and was a serious force in Wales. Here it was both helped and hindered by the emergence of a violent strand of nationalism. While this may have alienated some potential supporters and increased the ire of parts of the Welsh Labour Party towards Plaid Cymru, it also forced the government to take nationalism seriously and do enough to placate it (p.239) to ensure that violence did not spread. This contributed to the setting up in 1969 of a royal commission to investigate the possibilities of devolution. Some of the institutional straitjackets that had held Plaid Cymru back were also receding in a climate where nationalism had to be accepted. The Committee for Political Broadcasting, which Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party were both denied membership of, decided, without consultation, that for the 1970 general election the nationalist parties could have one five-minute broadcast on both television and radio on their national transmitters. Plaid Cymru pointed out that 10 per cent of the Welsh population could not receive Welsh television broadcasts and others tuned into English transmitters by choice. The Committee, however, decided that only parties which put up fifty candidates could receive UK-wide broadcasts, which immediately discounted Plaid since there were only thirty-six Welsh seats. Two academic commentators noted, ‘even someone with no sympathy for the smaller parties could feel that they were treated less than courteously and fairly’. At the 1970 general election, twenty-five of Plaid's thirty-six candidates lost their deposits, but the party's overall vote had doubled since 1966 and it saved its deposit in every one of the six seats where more than 70 per cent of people spoke Welsh. The party was now firmly established as a viable political voice for Welsh-speaking Wales.110

Central to that was a developing feeling that the British state was not only not looking after Welsh interests but actively endangering the future of the Welsh language and nation. The flooding of Tryweryn was a powerful example but there were others to stoke people's resentment, such as the 1965 attempt by a factory in Blaenau to ban its workers from speaking Welsh. In a 1971 survey of Cardiganshire, 37 per cent of fluent Welsh speakers agreed that the Welsh people had suffered under English rule.111 Such were the levels of mistrust of the British state that even an economically beneficial project like the Severn Bridge could come under attack because, in the words of one nationalist, Wales' ‘political impotence … makes this improvement in communication a potential source of disintegration’ for Welsh society.112 Voting Plaid Cymru, especially in industrial areas, was also part of the same disillusionment with the direction and actions of the state that gave vent to English anger at immigration from the Commonwealth. Government was increasingly perceived to be distant from people's lives and needs. A small 1964 Welsh survey suggested that a third of people thought there was no or not much difference between the parties. A quarter said they had no or not much interest in politics.113 Supporting a more localized party like Plaid Cymru was one response, even if it was taken up by only a minority of people.

(p.240) The emergence of nationalism as a serious force may have offered some English monoglots in Wales a patriotic protest vote but most were less sure how to react. Nearly all deplored the violence once it became clear that was what it was, but, as with so much of youth culture, reactions to the language protests varied from outright hostility to bemusement. Yet the subsequent consequences of the rise of Plaid Cymru and especially CyIG did, very gradually, impact on how English monoglots thought about Wales. Dafydd Iwan was right when he wrote to the Secretary of State saying that the majority of people did not have much contact with the Welsh language and that the provision of bilingual forms would help close the gap between the two linguistic communities.114 The provision of bilingual signs did the same. It reinforced what the media had begun to do regularly and what sport could do periodically: it reminded people that they lived in a different country, a country with distinctive needs and a distinctive identity. Even where people disagreed with the protests, it was impossible to ignore the fury surrounding the language issue. For some English monoglots, it helped generate a resentment that history had denied them the ability to speak the tongue of their nation; for others there was a fierce resentment that their inability to speak Welsh disenfranchised them in the job market or somehow implied that they were not properly Welsh.115 But, whatever the reaction, Welsh nationality had become more than a matter of sentiment. The growing importance and profile of the Welsh language, extremism and Plaid Cymru in the late 1960s all created a greater consciousness of the fact that Wales was a separate country in the present rather than just the past. It created a consciousness that maybe this mattered on a political level. With time, the implications of this would become less controversial. And, in both its development and the government's concessions to it, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that both peaceful and violent direct action did far more than the ballot box to help the Welsh cause.

Notes

(1) NAW. L. Jones, Cofio Tryweryn (1988)

(2) I. Peate in The Times, 27 July 1957.

(3) Daily Mirror, 22 Nov. 1956. Guardian, 22 Nov. 1956.

(4) O. G. Roberts, ‘Developing the untapped wealth of Britain's “Celtic fringe”: water engineering and the Welsh landscape, 1870–1960’, Landscape Research, 31:2 (2006), 130.HC Deb

(5) The letters can be found in NA, BD 24/174.

(6) J. Morris, ‘Welshness in Wales’, Wales, 1 (Sep. 1958).

(7) M. Cunningham, ‘Public policy and normative language: utility, community and nation (p.241) in the debate over the construction of Tryweryn reservoir’, Parliamentary Affairs, 60:4 (2007), 627.

(8) NA, BA 11/2975.

(9) A. Edwards, ‘Answering the challenge of nationalism: Goronwy Roberts and the appeal of the Labour Party in north-west Wales during the 1950s’, WHR, 22:1 (2004), 137–9. The Times, 30 July 1957.

(10) NAR. Evans, Gwynfor Evans: A Portrait of a Patriot (2008), 164–7, 185.Hansard

(11) Letter, 14 Dec. 1956, NA, BD 24/174. Briefing note, 20 Nov. 1956, NA, BD 11/2975.

(12) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 165–77, 179. This is not always accepted: see W. L. Jones, Cofio Capel Celyn (2007).

(13) NAEvans, Gwynfor Evans, 192–3. WL, 28 Aug. 1964.

(14) Briefing note, June 1958, NA, BD 25/59.

(15) Evans, Gwynfor Evanschs 6 and 7

(16) New Statesman, 22 July 1966. Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 128. Broadcasts (political), 1955–6, NA, PREM 11/1211. Sunday Times, 30 Nov. 1958.

(17) R. M. Jones and I. R. Jones, ‘Labour and the nation’, in D. Tanner, C. Williams and D. Hopkin (eds), The Labour Party in Wales, 1900–2000 (2000), 251. H. T. Edwards, ‘Why I resigned’, Wales (Nov. 1958).

(18) See NA, CAB 129/85.

(19) M. Jones, A Radical Life: The Biography of Megan Lloyd George, 1902–66 (1991), 232. J. G. Jones, ‘The Parliament for Wales Campaign, 1950–56’, WHR, 16:2 (1992), 207–36. E. Chartte, ‘Framing Wales: the Parliament for Wales campaign, 1950–1956’, in T. R. Chapman (ed.), The Idiom of Dissent: Protest and Propaganda in Wales (2006), 75–96.

(20) Briefing note, June 1958, NA, BD 25/59.

(21) Memorandum by the Prime Minister, 29 Nov. 1957, NA, CAB 129/85.

(22) The Times, 24 Jan. 1952. J. G. Evans, Devolution in Wales: Claims and Responses, 1937–1979 (2006), 54.

(23) NANAJ. G. Jones, ‘Spitting in the face of the Welsh people’, Pl, 145 (2001), 83–93.

(24) Memorandum by H. Brooke, 15 Nov. 1957, NA, CAB 129/90.

(25) R. Weight, Patriots: National Identity in Britain, 1940–2000 (2003), 279–83.

(26) Evans, Devolution in Wales, ch. 3. R. Crossman, The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister, Vol. I (1975), 117.

(27) CDHW. J. McCoubrey (ed.), The Motorway Achievement, Vol. III: Building the Network (2009), 538, 548.

(28) G. Evans, Fighting for Wales (1991), 97.

(29) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 155.

(30) NAThe Times, 21 Oct. 1952.

(31) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 106–7, 135–7, 181, 190–1.

(32) Baner ac Amsersau Cymru, 7 July 1960.

(33) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 220–1, 227–8. ‘Welsh National Party (Plaid Cymru)’, NA, BD 25/59.

(34) E. Beasley, ‘Papur y Dreth yn Gymraeg’, Y Ddraig Goch, 31:3 (1959).

(35) B. Griffiths, Saunders Lewis (1979), 123. Quoted in translation in A. R. Jones and G. Thomas (eds), Presenting Saunders Lewis (1983), 78.

(36) E. Edwards (trans.), ‘The fate of the language’, Pl, 4 (1971), 13–27.

(37) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 217. Yr Herald Cymraeg, 19 Feb. 1962, quoted in R. Smith, ‘Journalism and the Welsh language’, in G. H. Jenkins and M. A. Williams (eds), ‘Let's Do Our Best for the Ancient Tongue’: The Welsh Language in the Twentieth Century (2000), 295.

(38) Y Cymro, 5 Dec. 1957.WM

(p.242)

(39) D. Sandbrook, White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties (2006), 510.

(40) G. P. Davies, ‘The legal status of the Welsh language in the twentieth century’, in Jenkins and Williams (eds), ‘Let's Do Our Best’, 239.

(41) Welsh Office, Legal Status of the Welsh Language: Report of the Committee under the Chairmanship of Sir David Hughes Parry, 1963–1965, Cmd 2785 (1965).

(42) WM, 26 Oct. 1965.

(43) G. Williams, A Life (2002), 125.

(44) CJ, 3 Apr. 1964. WM, 9 Nov. 1965.

(45) CDHEvans, Gwynfor Evans, 236–7.

(46) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 259–60. B. Levin, The Pendulum Years: Britain and the Sixties (1970), 159. CJ, 22 July 1966.

(47) Daily Mirror, 22 July 1966.CJ

(48) LDP, 7 Aug. 1966.

(49) Levin, The Pendulum Years, 166. Daily Express, 16 July 1966.

(50) CDH, 22 July 1966.

(51) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 272. Evans, Devolution in Wales, 105–6.

(52) V. Bogdanor, Devolution in the United Kingdom (1999), 163.NA

(53) G. Evans, The Fight for Welsh Freedom (2000), 147. J. Humphries, Freedom Fighters: Wales's Forgotten ‘War’, 1963–1993 (2008), 33.

(54) North Wales Weekly News, 21 Dec. 1967.WM

(55) South Wales, winter 1968–9.

(56) G. Miles in Jones and Thomas (eds), Presenting Saunders Lewis, 19. D. Phillips, Trwy Ddulliau Chwyldro? Hanes Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, 1962–1992 (1998), 63.

(57) I. Emmett, ‘Fe godwn ni eto: stasis and change in a Welsh industrial town’, in A. P. Cohen (ed.), Belonging: Identity and Social Organisation in British Rural Cultures (1982), 178.

(58) Levin, The Pendulum Years, 160.

(59) Letter from D. Iwan to Secretary of State for Wales, 28 Apr. 1969, NA, BD43/139.

(60) D. Phillips, ‘The history of the Welsh Language Society, 1962–1998’, in Jenkins and Williams (eds), ‘Let's Do Our Best’, 479. Phillips, Trwy Ddulliau Chwyldro, 68.

(61) HC Deb, 17 July 1967, vol. 750, cc. 1462–98.

(62) Letter from D. Iwan to Secretary of State for Wales, 28 Apr. 1969. Minutes of meeting between Secretary of State for Wales and Cymdeithas yr Iaith, 3 May 1969, NA, BD 43/139.

(63) Briefing for Secretary of State for Wales, 3 May 1969, NA, BD 43/139. Commission on the Constitution, Minutes of Evidence V: Wales (1972), 84. Barn, 57 (1967).

(64) Commission on the Constitution, Minutes of Evidence V: Wales, 86.

(65) NA, BD43/139.

(66) Cardigan and Tivyside Advertiser, 28 Feb. 1969. N. Thomas, Welsh Extremist ([1971] 1973), 86. P. Merriman and R. Jones, ‘“Symbols of justice”: the Welsh Language Society's campaign for bilingual road signs in Wales, 1967–1980’, Journal of Historical Geography, 35 (2009), 350–75.

(67) Sun, 31 Oct. 1968, 2 June 1969.NA

(68) WMP. J. Madgwick, N. Griffiths and V. Walker, The Politics of Rural Wales: A Study of Cardiganshire (1973), 133.LDP

(69) Phillips, ‘The history of the Welsh Language Society’, 474. ‘Cymdeithas yr Iaith, the courts and the police’, Pl, 12 (1972), 9–16. Commission on the Constitution, Minutes of Evidence V, 85. D. Iwan, Dafydd Iwan: Cyfres y Cewri 1 (1981), 56.

(70) J. R. Jones, ‘Need the language divide us?’ (1967)Pl

(71) A. Richards, Dai Country (1973), 131, 135.

(72) CDHG. H. Jenkins, ‘“Am I walking a tightrope?” Religion, language and nationality’, in G. H. Jenkins and G. E. Jones (eds), Degrees of Influence: A Memorial Volume for Glanmor Williams (2008), 153.

(p.243)

(73) NAIwan, Dafydd Iwan, 52.

(74) T. J. Davies, Martin Luther King (1969).

(75) Iwan, Dafydd Iwan, 82, 48.

(76) J. Davies, Broadcasting and the BBC in Wales (1994), 294.

(77) Y Cymro, 30 Apr. 1969. Davies, ‘The legal status of the Welsh language’, 236. M. Davies, ‘The magistrate's dilemma’, Pl, 12 (1972), 46–58. The Times, 5 Feb. 1970.

(78) J. R. Jones, Gwaedd yng Nghymru (1970), reproduced in translation in M. Stephens (ed.), A Book of Wales (1987), 157.

(79) M. Löffler, ‘The Welsh language movement and bilingualism’, in Jenkins and Williams (eds), ‘Let's Do Our Best’, 496–7. Barn, 77–83 (1969). A. Butt Philip, The Welsh Question: Nationalism in Welsh Politics, 1945–1970 (1975), 246–7.

(80) Internal note, nd, NA, BD43/139.

(81) G. Davies, The Story of the Urdd (1973), 311.

(82) Briefing note for Secretary of State, Dec. 1970, NA, BD 43/139.

(83) SWELlanelly Star, 8 Jan. 1966.

(84) Denbighshire Free Press and North Wales Times, 5 Feb. 1971. WL, 9 Feb. 1971. Cambrian News, 7 Mar. 1969.

(85) R. Bowen (chairman), Bilingual Road Signs, Cmnd 5110 (1972), 26, 40.

(86) HC Deb, 26 Jan. 1978, vol. 942, cc. 1805–16.

(87) WM, 22 Oct. 1965.

(88) Welsh Extremist, 116.

(89) Humphries, Freedom Fighters, 50. The most notable examples of press coverage are: Daily Telegraph (colour supplement), 30 Aug. 1968, and Town, Dec. 1967.

(90) Humphries, Freedom Fighters, 108.

(91) Humphries, Freedom Fighters, 67.

(92) Observer, 15 Sep. 1968.WL

(93) Quotes from Thomas, Welsh Extremist, 62, and G. Talfan Davies, At Arm's Length: Recollections and Reflections on the Arts, Media and a Young Democracy (2008), 53.

(94) Quoted in Levin, The Pendulum Years, 161. Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 283, 296–7.

(95) WM, 27 May 1968. Guardian, 14 Nov. 1968 and 7 Aug. 1973. P. Williams, ‘Yr Heddlu Cudd’, Pl, 12 (1972), 39–45.

(96) J. Beckett, ‘City status for Swansea, 1911–69’, WHR, 21/3 (2003), 534–51. J. S. Ellis, Investiture: Royal Ceremony and National Identity in Wales, 1911–1969 (2008). CDH, 11 July 1969. Observer, 29 Sept. 1968.

(97) Ellis, Investiture, 195–6, 230. G. Thomas, Mr Speaker: The Memoirs of Viscount Tonypandy (1985), 119. Investiture of HRH The Prince of Wales: security arrangements, NA, PREM 13/2903.

(98) E. L. Ellis, The University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1872–1972 (1972), 325.

(99) T. Nairn, ‘All manner of folks’, Pl, 62 (1987), 8.

(100) G. Thomas to H. Wilson, 22 July 1969, NA, PREM 13/2907.

(101) Davies, At Arm's Length, 38–9. Thomas, Mr Speaker, 118. Investiture security arrangements, NA, PREM 13/2903.

(102) The Times, 2 July 1969. Griffiths, Saunders Lewis, 122.

(103) Investiture security arrangements, NA, PREM 13/2903. R. Clews, To Dream of Freedom (1980). Humphries, Freedom Fighters, ch. 11. A. W. Thomas, Wales and Militancy, 1952–1970, PhD thesis, Swansea University (2011).

(104) Ellis, Investiture, 179, 242. CDH, 4 July 1969. Daily Mirror, 2 July 1969.

(105) Ellis, Investiture, 239–40. Iwan on Dragon's Breath, episode 3, BBC Radio Wales (2001). CDH, 13 June 1969.

(106) G. Lloyd Owen, Cerddi'r Cywilydd (1972), 18. South Wales Argus, 1 July 1969.

(107) Y Cymro, 6 Mar. 1969. Ellis, Investiture, 256.

(108) Madgwick et al., The Politics of Rural Wales, 111, 131, 217.

(p.244)

(109) B. Hopkins, ‘Patriots all’, Wales, 4 (Dec. 1958).

(110) D. Butler and M. Pinto-Duschinsky, The British General Election of 1970 (1971), 204, 340, 402.

(111) Yr Herald Gymraeg, 21 June 1965. Madgwick et al., The Politics of Rural Wales, 73.

(112) New Statesman, 5 Aug. 1966.

(113) D. Tanner, ‘Richard Crossman, Harold Wilson and devolution, 1966–70: the making of government policy’, Twentieth Century British History, 17:4 (2006), 557. I. Crewe, N. Day and A. Fox, The British Electorate, 1963–1987: A Compendium of Data from the British Election Studies (1991), 182, 164.

(114) Letter from D. Iwan to Secretary of State for Wales, 28 Apr. 1969, NA, BD43/139.

(115) See for example a letter from a teacher in WL, 13 Feb. 1970.

Notes:

(1) NAW. L. Jones, Cofio Tryweryn (1988)

(2) I. Peate in The Times, 27 July 1957.

(3) Daily Mirror, 22 Nov. 1956. Guardian, 22 Nov. 1956.

(4) O. G. Roberts, ‘Developing the untapped wealth of Britain's “Celtic fringe”: water engineering and the Welsh landscape, 1870–1960’, Landscape Research, 31:2 (2006), 130.HC Deb

(5) The letters can be found in NA, BD 24/174.

(6) J. Morris, ‘Welshness in Wales’, Wales, 1 (Sep. 1958).

(7) M. Cunningham, ‘Public policy and normative language: utility, community and nation (p.241) in the debate over the construction of Tryweryn reservoir’, Parliamentary Affairs, 60:4 (2007), 627.

(8) NA, BA 11/2975.

(9) A. Edwards, ‘Answering the challenge of nationalism: Goronwy Roberts and the appeal of the Labour Party in north-west Wales during the 1950s’, WHR, 22:1 (2004), 137–9. The Times, 30 July 1957.

(10) NAR. Evans, Gwynfor Evans: A Portrait of a Patriot (2008), 164–7, 185.Hansard

(11) Letter, 14 Dec. 1956, NA, BD 24/174. Briefing note, 20 Nov. 1956, NA, BD 11/2975.

(12) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 165–77, 179. This is not always accepted: see W. L. Jones, Cofio Capel Celyn (2007).

(13) NAEvans, Gwynfor Evans, 192–3. WL, 28 Aug. 1964.

(14) Briefing note, June 1958, NA, BD 25/59.

(15) Evans, Gwynfor Evanschs 6 and 7

(16) New Statesman, 22 July 1966. Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 128. Broadcasts (political), 1955–6, NA, PREM 11/1211. Sunday Times, 30 Nov. 1958.

(17) R. M. Jones and I. R. Jones, ‘Labour and the nation’, in D. Tanner, C. Williams and D. Hopkin (eds), The Labour Party in Wales, 1900–2000 (2000), 251. H. T. Edwards, ‘Why I resigned’, Wales (Nov. 1958).

(18) See NA, CAB 129/85.

(19) M. Jones, A Radical Life: The Biography of Megan Lloyd George, 1902–66 (1991), 232. J. G. Jones, ‘The Parliament for Wales Campaign, 1950–56’, WHR, 16:2 (1992), 207–36. E. Chartte, ‘Framing Wales: the Parliament for Wales campaign, 1950–1956’, in T. R. Chapman (ed.), The Idiom of Dissent: Protest and Propaganda in Wales (2006), 75–96.

(20) Briefing note, June 1958, NA, BD 25/59.

(21) Memorandum by the Prime Minister, 29 Nov. 1957, NA, CAB 129/85.

(22) The Times, 24 Jan. 1952. J. G. Evans, Devolution in Wales: Claims and Responses, 1937–1979 (2006), 54.

(23) NANAJ. G. Jones, ‘Spitting in the face of the Welsh people’, Pl, 145 (2001), 83–93.

(24) Memorandum by H. Brooke, 15 Nov. 1957, NA, CAB 129/90.

(25) R. Weight, Patriots: National Identity in Britain, 1940–2000 (2003), 279–83.

(26) Evans, Devolution in Wales, ch. 3. R. Crossman, The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister, Vol. I (1975), 117.

(27) CDHW. J. McCoubrey (ed.), The Motorway Achievement, Vol. III: Building the Network (2009), 538, 548.

(28) G. Evans, Fighting for Wales (1991), 97.

(29) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 155.

(30) NAThe Times, 21 Oct. 1952.

(31) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 106–7, 135–7, 181, 190–1.

(32) Baner ac Amsersau Cymru, 7 July 1960.

(33) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 220–1, 227–8. ‘Welsh National Party (Plaid Cymru)’, NA, BD 25/59.

(34) E. Beasley, ‘Papur y Dreth yn Gymraeg’, Y Ddraig Goch, 31:3 (1959).

(35) B. Griffiths, Saunders Lewis (1979), 123. Quoted in translation in A. R. Jones and G. Thomas (eds), Presenting Saunders Lewis (1983), 78.

(36) E. Edwards (trans.), ‘The fate of the language’, Pl, 4 (1971), 13–27.

(37) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 217. Yr Herald Cymraeg, 19 Feb. 1962, quoted in R. Smith, ‘Journalism and the Welsh language’, in G. H. Jenkins and M. A. Williams (eds), ‘Let's Do Our Best for the Ancient Tongue’: The Welsh Language in the Twentieth Century (2000), 295.

(38) Y Cymro, 5 Dec. 1957.WM

(39) D. Sandbrook, White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties (2006), 510.

(40) G. P. Davies, ‘The legal status of the Welsh language in the twentieth century’, in Jenkins and Williams (eds), ‘Let's Do Our Best’, 239.

(41) Welsh Office, Legal Status of the Welsh Language: Report of the Committee under the Chairmanship of Sir David Hughes Parry, 1963–1965, Cmd 2785 (1965).

(42) WM, 26 Oct. 1965.

(43) G. Williams, A Life (2002), 125.

(44) CJ, 3 Apr. 1964. WM, 9 Nov. 1965.

(45) CDHEvans, Gwynfor Evans, 236–7.

(46) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 259–60. B. Levin, The Pendulum Years: Britain and the Sixties (1970), 159. CJ, 22 July 1966.

(47) Daily Mirror, 22 July 1966.CJ

(48) LDP, 7 Aug. 1966.

(49) Levin, The Pendulum Years, 166. Daily Express, 16 July 1966.

(50) CDH, 22 July 1966.

(51) Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 272. Evans, Devolution in Wales, 105–6.

(52) V. Bogdanor, Devolution in the United Kingdom (1999), 163.NA

(53) G. Evans, The Fight for Welsh Freedom (2000), 147. J. Humphries, Freedom Fighters: Wales's Forgotten ‘War’, 1963–1993 (2008), 33.

(54) North Wales Weekly News, 21 Dec. 1967.WM

(55) South Wales, winter 1968–9.

(56) G. Miles in Jones and Thomas (eds), Presenting Saunders Lewis, 19. D. Phillips, Trwy Ddulliau Chwyldro? Hanes Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, 1962–1992 (1998), 63.

(57) I. Emmett, ‘Fe godwn ni eto: stasis and change in a Welsh industrial town’, in A. P. Cohen (ed.), Belonging: Identity and Social Organisation in British Rural Cultures (1982), 178.

(58) Levin, The Pendulum Years, 160.

(59) Letter from D. Iwan to Secretary of State for Wales, 28 Apr. 1969, NA, BD43/139.

(60) D. Phillips, ‘The history of the Welsh Language Society, 1962–1998’, in Jenkins and Williams (eds), ‘Let's Do Our Best’, 479. Phillips, Trwy Ddulliau Chwyldro, 68.

(61) HC Deb, 17 July 1967, vol. 750, cc. 1462–98.

(62) Letter from D. Iwan to Secretary of State for Wales, 28 Apr. 1969. Minutes of meeting between Secretary of State for Wales and Cymdeithas yr Iaith, 3 May 1969, NA, BD 43/139.

(63) Briefing for Secretary of State for Wales, 3 May 1969, NA, BD 43/139. Commission on the Constitution, Minutes of Evidence V: Wales (1972), 84. Barn, 57 (1967).

(64) Commission on the Constitution, Minutes of Evidence V: Wales, 86.

(65) NA, BD43/139.

(66) Cardigan and Tivyside Advertiser, 28 Feb. 1969. N. Thomas, Welsh Extremist ([1971] 1973), 86. P. Merriman and R. Jones, ‘“Symbols of justice”: the Welsh Language Society's campaign for bilingual road signs in Wales, 1967–1980’, Journal of Historical Geography, 35 (2009), 350–75.

(67) Sun, 31 Oct. 1968, 2 June 1969.NA

(68) WMP. J. Madgwick, N. Griffiths and V. Walker, The Politics of Rural Wales: A Study of Cardiganshire (1973), 133.LDP

(69) Phillips, ‘The history of the Welsh Language Society’, 474. ‘Cymdeithas yr Iaith, the courts and the police’, Pl, 12 (1972), 9–16. Commission on the Constitution, Minutes of Evidence V, 85. D. Iwan, Dafydd Iwan: Cyfres y Cewri 1 (1981), 56.

(70) J. R. Jones, ‘Need the language divide us?’ (1967)Pl

(71) A. Richards, Dai Country (1973), 131, 135.

(72) CDHG. H. Jenkins, ‘“Am I walking a tightrope?” Religion, language and nationality’, in G. H. Jenkins and G. E. Jones (eds), Degrees of Influence: A Memorial Volume for Glanmor Williams (2008), 153.

(73) NAIwan, Dafydd Iwan, 52.

(74) T. J. Davies, Martin Luther King (1969).

(75) Iwan, Dafydd Iwan, 82, 48.

(76) J. Davies, Broadcasting and the BBC in Wales (1994), 294.

(77) Y Cymro, 30 Apr. 1969. Davies, ‘The legal status of the Welsh language’, 236. M. Davies, ‘The magistrate's dilemma’, Pl, 12 (1972), 46–58. The Times, 5 Feb. 1970.

(78) J. R. Jones, Gwaedd yng Nghymru (1970), reproduced in translation in M. Stephens (ed.), A Book of Wales (1987), 157.

(79) M. Löffler, ‘The Welsh language movement and bilingualism’, in Jenkins and Williams (eds), ‘Let's Do Our Best’, 496–7. Barn, 77–83 (1969). A. Butt Philip, The Welsh Question: Nationalism in Welsh Politics, 1945–1970 (1975), 246–7.

(80) Internal note, nd, NA, BD43/139.

(81) G. Davies, The Story of the Urdd (1973), 311.

(82) Briefing note for Secretary of State, Dec. 1970, NA, BD 43/139.

(83) SWELlanelly Star, 8 Jan. 1966.

(84) Denbighshire Free Press and North Wales Times, 5 Feb. 1971. WL, 9 Feb. 1971. Cambrian News, 7 Mar. 1969.

(85) R. Bowen (chairman), Bilingual Road Signs, Cmnd 5110 (1972), 26, 40.

(86) HC Deb, 26 Jan. 1978, vol. 942, cc. 1805–16.

(87) WM, 22 Oct. 1965.

(88) Welsh Extremist, 116.

(89) Humphries, Freedom Fighters, 50. The most notable examples of press coverage are: Daily Telegraph (colour supplement), 30 Aug. 1968, and Town, Dec. 1967.

(90) Humphries, Freedom Fighters, 108.

(91) Humphries, Freedom Fighters, 67.

(92) Observer, 15 Sep. 1968.WL

(93) Quotes from Thomas, Welsh Extremist, 62, and G. Talfan Davies, At Arm's Length: Recollections and Reflections on the Arts, Media and a Young Democracy (2008), 53.

(94) Quoted in Levin, The Pendulum Years, 161. Evans, Gwynfor Evans, 283, 296–7.

(95) WM, 27 May 1968. Guardian, 14 Nov. 1968 and 7 Aug. 1973. P. Williams, ‘Yr Heddlu Cudd’, Pl, 12 (1972), 39–45.

(96) J. Beckett, ‘City status for Swansea, 1911–69’, WHR, 21/3 (2003), 534–51. J. S. Ellis, Investiture: Royal Ceremony and National Identity in Wales, 1911–1969 (2008). CDH, 11 July 1969. Observer, 29 Sept. 1968.

(97) Ellis, Investiture, 195–6, 230. G. Thomas, Mr Speaker: The Memoirs of Viscount Tonypandy (1985), 119. Investiture of HRH The Prince of Wales: security arrangements, NA, PREM 13/2903.

(98) E. L. Ellis, The University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1872–1972 (1972), 325.

(99) T. Nairn, ‘All manner of folks’, Pl, 62 (1987), 8.

(100) G. Thomas to H. Wilson, 22 July 1969, NA, PREM 13/2907.

(101) Davies, At Arm's Length, 38–9. Thomas, Mr Speaker, 118. Investiture security arrangements, NA, PREM 13/2903.

(102) The Times, 2 July 1969. Griffiths, Saunders Lewis, 122.

(103) Investiture security arrangements, NA, PREM 13/2903. R. Clews, To Dream of Freedom (1980). Humphries, Freedom Fighters, ch. 11. A. W. Thomas, Wales and Militancy, 1952–1970, PhD thesis, Swansea University (2011).

(104) Ellis, Investiture, 179, 242. CDH, 4 July 1969. Daily Mirror, 2 July 1969.

(105) Ellis, Investiture, 239–40. Iwan on Dragon's Breath, episode 3, BBC Radio Wales (2001). CDH, 13 June 1969.

(106) G. Lloyd Owen, Cerddi'r Cywilydd (1972), 18. South Wales Argus, 1 July 1969.

(107) Y Cymro, 6 Mar. 1969. Ellis, Investiture, 256.

(108) Madgwick et al., The Politics of Rural Wales, 111, 131, 217.

(109) B. Hopkins, ‘Patriots all’, Wales, 4 (Dec. 1958).

(110) D. Butler and M. Pinto-Duschinsky, The British General Election of 1970 (1971), 204, 340, 402.

(111) Yr Herald Gymraeg, 21 June 1965. Madgwick et al., The Politics of Rural Wales, 73.

(112) New Statesman, 5 Aug. 1966.

(113) D. Tanner, ‘Richard Crossman, Harold Wilson and devolution, 1966–70: the making of government policy’, Twentieth Century British History, 17:4 (2006), 557. I. Crewe, N. Day and A. Fox, The British Electorate, 1963–1987: A Compendium of Data from the British Election Studies (1991), 182, 164.

(114) Letter from D. Iwan to Secretary of State for Wales, 28 Apr. 1969, NA, BD43/139.

(115) See for example a letter from a teacher in WL, 13 Feb. 1970.