2012 Proclamation Ceremony
Below is a copy of the comments of the Archdruid, Jim Parc Nest, at the Proclamation Ceremony in the Vale of Glamorgan, June 2011. The Archdruid is the leader of the Gorsedd of the Bards, and the Gorsedd and the Eisteddfod are independent of each other.
"Gorsedd Members and Friends of The Eisteddfod . . .
"We have come to the town of Barry to proclaim Eisteddfod Bro Morgannwg 2012 at Llandow. A short distance from the Eisteddfod site is Flemingston, the home village of that unique genius Iolo Morganwg, the instigator of The Gorsedd of Bards and its core inspiration. By singing the praises of this beautiful region, he succeeded to raise its profile immensely. His meticulous research into its history and its special literary traditions led him to become one of the cultural giants of Wales and the world.
"The Bro Morgannwg Eisteddfod will be held at the same time as the London Olympic Games. (I have to warn the Recorder that I can’t release him to run the marathon, although he has the stamina; nor the Sword Bearer to tackle the heavy weightlifting, although he has the strength; nor the Heraldic Bard to compete in the long distance walk, although he has the perseverance.)
"But seriously, let us turn to the flag that will be prominent during the Games. This will be the Union Jack, the symbol of Britishness that doesn’t acknowledge the existence of Wales. In the wake of the Acts of Union of England and Wales in the sixteenth century, Wales had been incorporated into the kingdom of England to such an extent that it wasn’t deemed necessary to show its existence on the Union flag. Three centuries later, English education inspectors compiled a report that became known as the Treachery of the Blue Books, which recommended that the Welsh language be supplanted by English as a medium of education. This was yet another step towards obliterating the identity of Wales.
"Between the Acts of Union and the Blue Books report, Iolo Morganwg was one of the foremost leaders in the struggle to retain Wales’ identity, in spite of the threat posed by Britishness. Following his great contribution to the cultural, religious and political life of Wales he is regarded as one of the founding fathers of the national movement.
"Today, Britishness still endangers the Welsh identity. We rejoice in the fact that at long last we have a parliament in Wales with powers to legislate in so many areas, and we wish the first minister and his government well as they take advantage of those powers for the benefit of the people of Wales. I hope it will be a government that will prioritise the values that Iolo so strongly propagated, such as the freedom to establish social justice, and peace between the nations of the world. And although militarism was given much prominence during the official opening of the senedd at the beginning of the month, I hope that it will be home to a government stressing the need for civilised, uplifting employment not dependent upon strife and war.
"Like many of my compatriots, I would not wish the Bro Morgannwg Eisteddfod to be held under the threat to establish a giant military academy at St Athan. Due to the recession, this project has seemingly been postponed; but if it is mooted again, I sincerely hope that our parliament will strongly urge the UK parliament not to build another bombing school in Wales.
"I have another aspiration. Since Eisteddfod Bro Morgannwg will be held at the same time as the Olympic Games, in addition to honouring all the Eisteddfod winners we will also be rejoicing in the success of Welsh medal winners at the Games.
"I call upon Welsh institutions such as the Gorsedd, the Welsh Government, the Churches, Merched y Wawr, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the Young Farmers’ Clubs, the Universities, and local authorities throughout Wales to urge the Olympic Games Authority to raise the Welsh Dragon, not the Union Jack, above individual Welsh medal winners, and to honour Welsh gold medal winners by playing Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.
"And from this logan stone I welcome other nations to join us in this aspiration, from Scotland to Cornwall, from Brittany to the Basque Country and Catalonia, and indeed all the nations of the world that are fighting to retain their identity. During the original Olympic Games, the city states of Greece were called together to compete with one another, rejoicing in their rich diversity. The modern Games should restore that original spirit. It is surely the duty of the Olympic Games to reflect, not the terminal throes of oppressive old empires, but the wonderful diversity of the nations of the world."