Don’t sing the National Anthem?

Bit of politics and culture tonight, my friends. It is Ireland week after all, so we need to remind our Celtic cousins about our superior cultural heritage, don’t we?

Siôn T. Jobbins’ book about our National Anthem is going to stir up a fair bit of debate. In the week where the latest census revealed that Welsh speaking is declining in many of its traditional heartlands, the author of this pocket guide to our National Anthem is urging those who don’t agree with the words not to sing it.

Whilst I support Jobbins’ desire to defend our language and recognise its significance to our wider culture, history and identity, I don’t think we should be telling people they can’t sing a song at a rugby match.

For a start, what would we sing if we didn’t sing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau? Hymns and Arias? And do we have to stop singing Cwm Rhondda because we don’t believe every word of the Old Testament? Course we don’t.

Our anthem is the nitro we add to the fuel tank just prior to kick off. It’s one of the most spine-tingling experiences in the world to hear it belted out at the Millennium Stadium, and I’m pretty sure its proudly sung by everyone who knows the words. Or some of the words.

The key line for Jobbins is the final line of the chorus (we only sing one of the verses):

“O bydded i’r hen iaith barhau” – in English, “May the language endure for ever.”

For many Welsh people the language is an intrinsic part of the national identity; a key component of our culture. Without the Welsh language, what is left of Wales to distinguish it from its neighbours?

The author ends with a challenge to “politicians and weak-willed people” to do more than just allow the language to “endure.” He says we should all be standing up for Welsh and actively promoting it. And that means a lot more than belting it out before a rugby match.

“The Welsh National Anthem” is published by Y Lolfa

My New Year’s Resolution

It’s now 13 years since I started as an Admin/Editor at What a lot has happened in Welsh rugby since the start of the millennium. Gwladrugby was a pioneering site in many ways. A blog before the word was invented. Social media before Twitter or Facebook came along.

The site doesn’t make a penny of profit. Aside from a couple of failed attempts at advertising, we’ve never been able to make any money out of the site. However the Gwladrugby charity fundraising rugby matches, now a regular fixture in the calendar, have made an impressive amount of money for charity and have contributed to the upkeep and maintenance of the website itself.

@gwladrugby now has over 6000 followers on Twitter, and the numbers are growing at a rate of dozens a week. This is amazing when you consider it’s all done in my spare time with just a smartphone and a list of rugby news feeds.

So what’s this New Year’s Resolution all about then?

This year I’m going to be running the London Marathon in aid of Whizz-Kidz, a charity which does amazing work for disabled children and their families and carers. I’ve pledged to raise £2000 for this great cause. And you, dear readers, can help me. You can make a donation over on my page, or even easier, just send a text message containing “GWLD77 £1″ to 70070 to donate £1 to my target. I know this time of year can be difficult financially, what with Six Nations trips and detox products to be paid for. But if each of you lovely 6000+ followers gave just £1 each, that would smash through the target straight away.

If you want something in return for your donation, I can promise some exclusive merchandise, which will soon be available to buy on the interwebs. Stay tuned for more details of that.

In the meantime, please donate whatever you can, if you like, and tell your friends on Twitter, Facebook and in the real world about my New Year’s Resolution.