There was an interesting meeting today in St David's, where a number of us mulled over the need for a coherent welsh narrative, and discussed how best to use it as a means of increasing Welsh self- awareness, self-esteem and pride. We agreed that not enough people have a clear concept of what our story is in Wales, or of how it differs from the stories of Scotland and Ireland. In those two countries there have been deep national traumas associated with the Great Famine and the Plantations and Clearances -- and also mass exoduses of people to the New World. In Wales, there have been traumatic episodes, but never on such a scale that millions have died -- and overall the story is not one of people leaving, but of people flooding in to fuel the Industrial Revolution that took place particularly in the nineteenth century. So the population was not decimated, but grew as people from all over the UK and further afield arrived and settled in, resulting in great ethnic diversity and the establishment of a very large population of settlers who did not speak Welsh. There is to this day a tension between "Welsh Wales" and "English Wales"........ but that does not have to be looked on in a negative light. Indeed, it may be counted as an asset, as many observers have agreed.
We agreed at our meeting that Michael Sheen's narrative of Wales as a victim, exploited and suppressed by a powerful and predatory neighbour, was not entirely accurate, and is a difficult to use in the context of tourism marketing! Far too negative. Something much more nuanced is appropriate, flagging up positives. I remain convinced that the "potted narrative" needs to be something like this: