Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Wales in London

Could Wales be a winner in tomorrow's election for London Mayor? It's estimated that more than 70,000 Welsh people live in the UK capital and Wales in London wrote to the four main candidates asking for their views on transport, trade and Welsh issues.

You can see a full list of the mayoral candidates on the BBC website. Under Welsh issues, Wales in London asked these detailed questions:

a) Will the Mayor support a Welsh Week, centred on St David’s Day, as part of that programme?

(b) Will the Mayor give support to organisations which seek to preserve Welsh cultural heritage in London - such as the Welsh School [Ysgol Gymraeg Llundain] and the proposal to place a monument on Primrose Hill to mark the beginning of the Gorsedd of the Bards of the Isles of Britain and Iolo Morganwg?

Twenty four hours before polling day there's been no response from Sian Berry of the Greens or Boris Johnson. Ms Berry's first name may hint at Welsh ancestry while Mr Johnson was once related by marriage to Owain Glyndwr and did fight Clwyd West during the 1997 general election (Clwyd West won).

He did speak to a Wales in London gathering recently so may be forgiven for not responding directly to the questions.

There were detailed replies from Ken Livingstone and the Lib Dem Brian Paddick. You can see them here.

Brian Paddick: "I would be happy to talk with the Wales in London Association about how we could work together on promoting a Welsh week and preserve the Welsh cultural heritage in London."

Ken Livingstone's response was rather lengthier: "I would be very happy to work with Welsh organisations and other Welsh interest groups in the capital to develop an appropriate celebration of Welsh culture in London.

"Another way that we have promoted the different cultures that go to make up our great city is through Visit London - our tourism agency for London. They have produced a series of on-line guides - a guide to Jewish London, African London, Irish London and so on. A guide to Welsh London would be a very appropriate addition to this if you could help us with finding the content.
This would also be a way to promote organisations like the Welsh school and others that seem to promote and preserve Welsh heritage.

"Finally, on the monument on Primrose Hill, in principle I am keen to see all ways of marking the history of the city, the contribution it has made to different cultures, and the contribution they have brought to it. The proliferation of civic style statues is something I would like to see us move beyond - although they clearly have their place - and to bring more imagination and creativity to bear in the monuments or memorials that we put up. But I am sure that a monument to the Bards would give great scope for this!"

If the winning candidates delivers that pledge, he might yet end up being offered a white robe of his own....


David Jones said...

Boris actually fought Clwyd South in 1997, David.

David Cornock said...

He did indeed. Apologies for my mistake and thanks for pointing it out. Whatever happened to the actual Tory candidate for Clwyd West in 1997....?