Been very disappointed by today's discussion about, and coverage of, the Welsh Language Legislative Compensation Order (LCO). There seems not to be a clear understanding of the difference between an LCO and a 'measure' (new law). The current debate is not about what new linguistic requirements that may or may not be placed on the private sector. That debate would come later, if and when a majority of Assembly Members decided that's what they wanted to do. The current debate is about where the responsibility for taking decisions about Welsh Language legislation should lie. Should it be a matter for the UK Parliament at Westminster, or should it be a matter for the National Assembly in Cardiff.
As it happens, I would be very reluctant to put any extra costs on businesses in Wales at present - and for the foreseeable future. And I would expect a majority of Assembly Members to agree. I don't know what my party's approach to the Welsh Language LCO will be, but personally, I can see no reason to oppose it. There may well be changes needed to the LCO, but in principle, I welcome the idea of the National Assembly of Wales deciding on the status of the Welsh Language. It will be interesting to see whether my colleagues agree with me.
If the LCO is passed, a 'measure' to change Welsh Language legislation may be proposed at some future date. If we do reach that stage while this blog is still alive, I will be making two points. Firstly, it would be madness to impose additional significant costs on private businesses in Wales - particularly at a time when businesses are under pressure and jobs are being lost. And the second point I'd make is that the' big stick' of legislation is not the route to success. The key to the future of the Welsh Language is using it. Ask yourself. How many people do you think learned to speak Welsh as a consequence of some bureaucratic Welsh Language Scheme. The answer I suspect is 'none'. Its early years education that delivers our bilingual nation. And using it whenever possible. If I'm in the company of someone I know to be a Welsh speaker, I use it. And so often I see fully bilingual Welsh speakers in the Assembly delivering a speech in English. I accept that the media 'soundbites' need to be in English, but not the rest. So much easier to brandish the 'big stick' than to take personal responsibility.