Ceri Shaw


 

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A new book, Finding Wales, reminds us that there is more to Britain than just England

user image 2018-07-10
By: Ceri Shaw
Posted in: New Titles

finding_wales.jpg In a new book titled Finding Wales , author Peter Daniels writes in praise of the Welsh and what drives Welsh exiles such as himself to return to Wales.

Mark Easton, BBC News’s Home Editor, has recently enlightened us with the results of his study into English identity, The English Question Project, in which he claims that ‘interlaced English and British identities remain an important part of how the people of England see themselves. For many it seems the two are almost interchangeable’. ‘Britishness’ means Shakespeare, the House of Commons, idyllic English country villages, the stiff upper lip, being conservative and traditional.

According to Llanelli born and Llantwit Major based author Daniels, “This doesn’t sound like the talkative, passionate, warm, open hearted Welsh. So perhaps we should remind Mark Easton and the world at large what the Welsh are like, and how we actually differ from the English.”

As a Welsh exile in England, Peter had a successful career in market research, but the strong ties he retained with his homeland through the London Welsh RFC and the London Welsh Association led to a fascination with his own national identity. And in his first book, In Search of Welshness, published in 2011, he charted the ways in which exiles living in England attempted to hang on to their Welsh characteristics and values in a London dominated social and cultural scene.

In Finding Wales he delves into the reasons why such exiles, including himself, have returned to Wales. Some admittedly have been forced to return because of family responsibilities or economic necessity. And others speak of a value for money ‘good life’ that is to be had in Wales, against a backcloth of its scenic beauty. But many yearned for more, for the friendlier community spirit that they feel exists in Wales, or an even deeper hiraeth for either the Welsh language and culture, or for a less class ridden way of life than they had encountered in England.

These returning exiles need however not only to sing the praises of the Welsh, but also to raise their voices in an attempt to wrestle back from Westminster a far greater degree of self determination in their everyday lives. But for the moment let’s just wallow in Welsh character, friendliness and humour as we follow the exploits of Peter Daniels’s returning band of Welsh exiles.

And what better time to study Welsh personality and culture than in National Eisteddfod week. Both books will be available at the stall of publisher, Y Lolfa, throughout the week.

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