Culture and Identity

I’m Welsh and I’m British – that’s no contradiction

If, like me, you logged on to social media on Saturday ahead of the much-anticipated Wales v England Six Nations game, you would have understandably seen a lot of posts, pictures and good luck wishes from fans of the game here in Wales writes Sam Kurtz. 

Any game against the ‘old enemy’ always sees added spice but this year saw the traditional ‘English Welsh’ banter side-lined for something a little more sinister. 

We saw Welsh supporters turn on Welsh supporters because of their political affiliations. Perhaps my own naivety thought it possible for us to focus on only rugby for the afternoon?

After a hard-fought win, in which the French made up for their ill-fated invasion of Wales in 1797 with some generous refereeing, I naturally took to social media to read thoughts and opinions of ex-pros and pundits. 

Sadly, what I saw most was tweets from nationalists reading like patronising titbits. “Wales is for life, not just for 80 minutes” as if a voting intention or political persuasion should have any bearing on supporting your country at rugby, football or any sport. 

No one ‘side’ owns our national sport. That is its beauty. 

But as we edge closer to polling day, it is a stark reminder of the growing theme of this election.

We Welsh Conservatives are now unquestionably the advocates for the Union in Wales. We believe in it economically, culturally. We see it as a strength both at home and abroad. While it may not be the first and last thing on our minds each day, we can understand the reasons why and how together, we are stronger. 

Labour though, much like their Brexit stance, are not sure exactly what side they are on or indeed what they believe. 

We see pro-independence Labour candidates selected for the Senedd election yet Welsh Labour MPs in Westminster speaking up for the Union.

In an effort to be all things to all people, Labour’s ‘indy-curious’ experiment could cost it if latest opinion polls are to be believed. 

So as our gaze narrows towards May 6th, let’s not take our eyes off of the battle lines being drawn in the years ahead. We should always be ready to speak up for the benefits the United Kingdom brings us.

And there is no contradiction in being Welsh and being British. You can be fiercely proud to be Welsh. You can sing the anthem, speak the language and live and breathe our Welsh culture. 

But don’t you dare tell me I have to vote a specific way to do so.

Sam Kurtz is the Welsh Conservative Senedd candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire.

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