Welsh - English Relations
If the English did not exist, the Welsh would have to invent them. To a very great extent, the Welsh define their national identity in terms of the English:
"The English are X, so we are not."
"The English like Y, so we do not."
"The English dislike Z, so we absolutely love him/her/it".
Some people say that the Welsh have a love-hate relationship with the English but they are, in fact, 100% wrong. For a start, there is precious little love involved. Yet hate is also conspicuous by it's absence which is surprising, given that the English conquered the country through treachery, killed it's last native ruler in a particularly nasty manner, and over a period of several hundred years comprehensively looted its natural resources.
The Welsh attitude to the English may be more accurately summed up as 10% resentment, and 90% pity. The resentment is not personal - it is a standard Welsh reaction to anyone who is, for any reason, better off (a Welshman will never accept that anyone can succeed where he fails without having some dishonest advantage).
The pity is also a standard Welsh reaction, in this case for anyone who has has the incredible misfortune not to be welsh.
The Welsh feel sorry for the English in the same way that a social worker would make excuses for a criminal from a broken home :"True, they did break into our country and steal everything they could get their hands on, but the poor things are English, after all." No doubt the English would be upset to find out how much the Welsh look down on them - which wouldn't worry the Welsh at all.
If the butt of a Welsh joke has to be effete, callow, pompous, ignorant, or generally substandard in any way, nine times out of ten he will be an Englishman.
First Welshman: "Excuse me, but you look like an Englishman."
Second Welshman: "No, I'm not English - I only look like this because I've just been sick."
The Welsh are traditionally mad about rugby. Rugby gives a tiny impoverished nation the opportunity to beat another with more then ten times the population - and to beat it decisively and regularly.
Rugby is the chance the Welsh have to humiliate the English at the game they invented. Rugby gives the Welsh their pride back. Rugby gives then revenge.
The Welsh are extremely proficient at rugby. They enjoy it and take it seriously. This is because rugby - with its physical aggression, tactics, disciplined use of brute forced organised violence - is the closest thing modern day life can offer by the way of Wales' traditional national sport: WAR.
The Welsh military scorecard is impressive: convincing away wins for the Welsh longbowman in Ireland and France (Agincort, Crecy, etc.), and some honour as part of a mixed team in Scotland (Welsh archers being the only part of the English army at Bannockburn which didn't break).
True, they lost the series to England on a technicality after a despicable foul on the Welsh captain put him out of the game, but only after some solid wins at home and away (which are, curiously, rarely mentioned in English history books). South Africa, then as now, was something of a bogey, but the points deficit at Isandhawana was decisively made up at Rorke's Drift.
Alas, rugby, like warfare itself, once open to all, is being ruined by professionalism. Wales is a small nation (in both population and average height) whose only advantage was enthusiastic amateurism. It is difficult to see how, in the long term, such a few poor, short people can produce teams to oppose larger numbers of taller people with the money to spend on selective breeding programmes.
Other regular favorite sports include boxing (because it can be almost as violent as rugby), and snooker, darts, and cards (because they can be played whilst drinking).
Welshmen drink beer. It would be accurate to say that Welshmen drink a lot of beer. This is confirmed by official statistics which consistently put alcoholic consumption per head in the 'Celtic fringes' - Wales, Scotland, and Ireland - above average for the UK
These figures, however, only tell part of the story because, if one excludes teatotallers (a higher percentage of the population in Wales where religion was often associated with temperance) and that proportion of any nation who prefer, for some reason, to remain moderate in their drinking, the consumption per head of the remainder of the population in Wales is astonishing.
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