Archive for March 2014

Learnio a streivio

March 1, 2014

The Conservatives are creating a meritocracy. Your success in this new meritocracy is about your own talent and hard work. You can’t blame your failures on things that happened (or didn’t happen) in your childhood. And you definitely can’t claim that factors outside your control are limiting your potential for success as an adult. In this new meritocracy, we all have equal access to education and opportunities. You can try to blame others (or even use fancy terms like “structural inequality”) for your own failings, but it would be more sensible to acknowledge that your problems are of your own making and just work a little harder.

Given all this, I have a proposal. Why not make fluency in Welsh a requirement for becoming an MP?

MPs are already among the brightest and hardest-working people living in our British meritocracy. Most of them probably speak Welsh already – we all have access to the same opportunities, so it would be foolish to suggest that people brought up in Wales have an advantage here. (Anyway, I’m tired of hearing people whining about their childhood as if it had any relevance to their present situation.) And even if they somehow missed out on learning it early in life, such driven and motivated people will probably already have taught themselves Welsh – how can you govern a country if you only speak one of its official languages?

Let’s have all Parliamentary debate in Welsh, all business of standing and select committees conducted in Welsh. This new requirement will weed out all the lazier, less talented MPs and allow the real high-fliers to shine.

Any MP who still isn’t fluent in Welsh after all that encouragement will be made redundant as an MP, but given a free training placement where they can perform MP-like duties on an unpaid basis. These placements will teach them the basics of being an MP and help them on their journey back into work as an MP.

And no, there won’t be any need to hire translators or provide any teaching. That will just create a culture of dependence. Why should we subsidise services for MPs who just aren’t up to the job? Why should we spend money on support for people who don’t naturally thrive in this new meritocracy? If they’re left behind by these necessary reforms, there’s literally nothing I can do to help them.

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