Wednesday, July 12, 2006

John Aizlewood doesn't like Wales

Ien 1867 , the London Times editorial carried this message.

`The Welsh language is the curse of Wales. Its prevalence, and the ignorance of
English have excluded, and even now exclude the Welsh people from the
civilisation of their English neighbours. .... If it is desirable that the Welsh
should talk English, it is monstrous folly to encourage them in a loving
fondness for their old language. Not only the energy and power, but the
intelligence and music of Europe have come mainly from Teutonic sources, and
this glorification of everything Celtic, if it were not pedantry, would be sheer
ignorance. The sooner all Welsh specialities disappear from the face of the
earth the better.''

It is no surprise that the paper now offers a platform to a certain John Aizlewood. I came across his name some years ago, when I bought a book called "Playing at Home" . I've long since disposed of the book, but it's anti-Welsh tone still grates. Here's the synopsis from Amazon:

Between August 1997 and May 1998, John Aizlewood went to a football
match at every one of the 92 football league grounds in England. This book
describes the matches, the grounds, the people he met there, their relationship
to the clubs and the towns they come from.

Anyone notice anything strange about that introduction ? 92 league grounds in England? Are there really ? Aizlewood's book is peppered with derogatory comments about the Welsh, reserving a particular animosity for the Welsh language. His ignorance angered me, but I consoled myself in the knowledge that he was likely to disappear along with the other post-Gazza football arrivistes.

I started buying the Times recently, to replace my usual Observer. I was tired of Amy Lawrence's sycophantic Arsenal-groupy articles, and features on hot new florists in the West End. The Times had Glanville and McAlvenny and the peerless Paul Kimmage. I was astonished to find Aizlewood in such company, even though he is only usually asked to compile the funnies and top 10 lists.

But he was at it again recently, talking about the FA Cup in The Sunday Times :

"Perhaps the Millennium stadium, with its migraine-inducing loud sound
system, its vertigo-inducing stands and its suspicion-inducing Welshness, was
not the correct venue for the final of what the FA bellowed as the “world’s
greatest club tournament”.

Suspicion-inducing Welshness? Well my Welshness has induced a suspicion. It's induced a suspicion that John Aizlewood is a racist.


Rhys Wynne said...

He does appear a bit of a knob, but he actually learnt Welsh at the end of his career - wierd bloke!

Eric the Red said...

Ah Rhys, you are thinking of Mark Aizelwood. Different bloke altogether. Mark was a Welsh international. He won Welsh learner of the year.

John Aizlewood, on the other hand, does seem a bit of a knob, as you say.

Rhys Wynne said...

Must. Read. Post. Properly.