Sunday 11 October 2020

Nerd Church - Mr Trump, The USA Would Be Lucky To Look More Like Wales

 (Warning: this post discusses the Coronavirus/Covid 19, Lockdowns, and Donald Trump.)

Some little-known American politician named Donald Trump retweeted a journalist(..?) named Laura Ingraham in which she said: 'Your future under Biden: "'Rolling Lockdowns' will become norm in Wales"'

She then linked to a BBC article about the problems we're having with Coronavirus, and that we may be in and out of local lockdowns for a while yet. Which... yeah? We might.

I'm currently in Lockdown. I make no secret of that.

'Mr Trump, The USA Would Be Lucky To Look More Like Wales' with background: left-hand: USA flag - stars and stripes in red, white, and blue. Right-hand: Wales flag, a red dragon on a background of green grass and white sky

OK, my darling nerdlets, let me tell you a little open secret: Wales will always prioritise the lives of the Welsh people.

If there ever comes a time when we don't, we will have truly lost ourselves.

It's sad that the idea seems so strange to some Americans.

But, what I wanna know is, why did she pick Wales?

There are other countries which are struggling. Other regions which are going in and out of Lockdowns.

So why, this time, has she picked us?

Well, I think there's a mix of factors - first that Biden is from Pennsylvania.

In case you don't know, Wales and Pennsylvania have a joint history - many of our people went out there in the 19th Century because their industries - coal, steel, slate - were the same as our industries.

There are Welsh societies and language classes etc. in Pennsylvania today, and a lot of the places there are named after places here.

I'm also told the landscape is similar, but I wouldn't know.

I have no idea whether Biden has any Welsh heritage, but his Wikipedia page suggests his heritage is mostly Irish. 

So, Celtic, but of course it's never wise to alienate the Irish vote.

I don't know the exact numbers, but it seems likely that there are more people who consider themselves Irish-American, over Welsh-American. (Hillary Clinton, incidentally, has Welsh heritage.)

But maybe I'm giving Ingraham too much credit. 

Let's put the tinfoil hats to one side for a minute and look at why, aside for the Wales/Pennsylvania connection, she, and by extension Trump, might've picked us.

Well, it might be as simple as how small we are.

Torchwood - Ianto Jones to Gwen Cooper: Little bit bigger than South Wales
Via Giphy

We're small, relatively poor, and in Europe. It's easy to create whatever impression you want of us because we're far away and most Americans don't even know that we exist.

Therefore they just see the scary headline about going in and out of Lockdown, see the association between us and Biden, and hear whatever it is Trump voters hear when they're told about the Coronavirus*.

*...I'm not even gonna try to figure out what that is. It seems to defy all attempts at logic.

I think a lot of it, though, is that we're Socialist.

Before you go jumping to any conclusions: we're NOT Communist.

Communism =/= Socialism. 

Communism is a form of Socialism, not the other way around. 

(There are many, complex, forms of Socialism, that I honestly don't have the patience to go into.)

We have a Capitalist system here in Wales - it's just one with an emphasis on the state supporting its people, and workers' rights.

But Cee! I metaphorically hear you cry - aren't you in the UK? I thought the Conservatives (right-wing posh toffs,) were in power there?

Yes. Yes they are.

Arthur from BBC's Merlin: God have mercy
Via Giphy

Without going too far into it: under a system called 'devolution' there are some things that the UK parliament are in charge of, and some things which the Welsh government are in charge of.

Health, and therefore the Coronavirus restrictions, is very firmly within the remit of the Welsh government - albeit with co-ordination and co-operation with the UK government (if they ever bother to talk to our leaders, but that's a whole other issue!)

So, the Welsh government has, since its inception as the Assembly in the late 90s, been mostly under the Welsh branch of the Labour party, occasionally power-sharing with Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru are Welsh nationalists - which are a left-wing party who want independence for Wales, rather than British nationalists, who are racist fascists.

Labour are also left-wing. The Welsh branch of Labour (Welsh Labour/Llafur Cymru) are usually on the left-wing of the Labour party.

(I realise this is complex, but I will keep it as simple as I can without losing clarity!)

The Democrats are America's answer to the left-wing of politics.

(To get a general idea of left-wing vs right-wing in politics, here's a brief Wikipedia explanation that might help.)

But here's the thing: if the Democrats (Biden's lot,) were a party in the UK? They would probably be considered to be to the right of the Conservative party.

Welsh politics, on the other hand, is about as far left as you can get before you hit the, arguably, less practical forms of Socialism - Communism, Marxism, etc.

We would consider Biden a conservative and a traditionalist, and definitely on the right-wing.

So the equivalency is laughable to begin with.

The Welsh government is not comparable to what Joe Biden's Democratic government would look like, or the decisions they would make.

The USA is about as far from being Wales as you can get - we have a population of just over 3 million in total. If we were a city in the US, we - the entire country - would only be about the third largest, between Chicago and LA.

If the USA were more like Wales though, here's just some of the things it would be privileged to enjoy:

  • Free. Universal. Healthcare.
  • free prescription medication
  • free hospital parking
  • free emergency contraception ('morning-after' pill)
  • statutory sick pay
  • statutory maternity/paternity leave
  • statutory holidays (vacation time)
  • a national coastpath taking in some of the most beautiful scenery in the world
  • free access to the National Musuems
  • free school meals for the poorest children
  • a national standard for care homes which is transparent and rigorous
  • a recycling rate of over 60% of ALL waste
  • gun control

A lot of these things aren't perfect - there are flaws in any system; but the principles of not letting people die just because they earn less money than you stand firm.

More than all that, though, our government has created an impression throughout the Coronavirus pandemic that it gives a sh** whether each and every one of us lives or dies.

(Non-UK people: shielding = isolating due to underlying health conditions which may make an individual more susceptible to Coronavirus.)

I don't know whether he's still sleeping in the shed, but he certainly was at the end of July.

Yes, the leader of our country was sleeping in the garden shed in order to protect his vulnerable family members from Coronavirus.

...I think we can safely assume that Trump would never consider that.

(FYI: if you want to hear what Mark Drakeford thought of Trump and Ingraham's tweet, you can check out part of his last Coronavirus update here, where a journalist asked him that very question.)

And to me that sums up Wales: we are compassionate, caring, and strong.

The USA would look more like Wales under Biden? You would be privileged and honoured. Cymru am byth/Wales forever.

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  1. I loved this post, Cee! Thank you for sharing a bit more about Welsh politics and what makes your country so great. I don’t take anything Trump or his supporters say seriously. Ingraham doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

    1. Thanks Em! I get just a little protective over Wales (just like... a *little* bit! Lol.) So when a world leader (which Trump sadly somehow still is,) criticises us in such an ignorant and dismissive way... well, you end up with an entire blogpost! ;)

  2. Well as an American I would move to Wales in a heartbeat. And Laura Ingraham (and Trump)... well, i won't tell you what I think of them, but I will say this. Ingraham is about a journalist as much as my tree is. I've heard tha before, by the way... that our Democrats (left) would be on the right in most other developed countries. And our conservatives still sound the alarm about everything. It's like eye rolling of epic proportions over here- I mean, it's exhausting living here sometimes.

    Honestly, I just feel like much of Europe has better work/ life balance. and gun control- we're crazy here with guns.

    1. Honestly, Biden would be a Tory (Conservative). It's so weird when we see Trump faffing on about Biden bringing 'Marxism' to the US. Like... is the sky still blue in his world, do you think? Or is it just covered with a massive photo of his face, like some more-disturbing version of The Dome?

      Now, you say that about Ingraham, but didn't your tree win a Pulitzer? ;) Lol

      Yeah - I think it was all the centuries of starving peasants. It tends to lead to a general upward trend in labour laws! <3

    2. We (or at least some of us) are baffled by it too. Like- Marxism? From Biden? lol. Americans though... I have to say, many of us are just not that knowledgeable about stuff. I know people who fall for that all nonsense.

    3. I'm so sorry that I keep getting to your comments late - for some reason Blogger doesn't feel the need to notify me when you comment.

      I'm not going to pretend that Europe and the UK is full of politically astute voters but... we're not the US. Very few of us would put Biden on the left!

  3. I think you’re giving Laura Ingraham too much credit. Trump voters are her audience, and she says “scary” stuff to make them click on her nonsense and give her attention. Your info about Wales is really interesting, though! You’re right that Americans don’t know much about it, even though many of our ancestors came from Wales.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. I literally only know this woman from this tweet incident, but Greg says she's got the journalistic skills of his tree, and I'm apt to believe it!

      Honestly, we don't mind you not knowing much about us - we're far more concerned that England doesn't know much about us, but that's a whole other issue - it's just that using us in this way... Welsh people are passionate, and *fiercely* defensive of Cymru. (So yes, I will write an entire blogpost to explain why one ill-informed tweet was wrong! Lol.)


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