- 8 May 08, 11:46 AM
You may speak Welsh, you may not.
You may choose to fill out forms in Welsh, you may not know nor care that such things exist.
You may run a company that provides services in Welsh, you may not.
Either way this snippet from an interview between the Culture Minister and Rhun ap Iorwerth on Good Morning Wales is worth noting:
Rhun ap Iorwerth: Is it still your intention to make those bids for assembly powers as you mentioned, to bring private companies into line too and if so when?
Rhodri Glyn Thomas: Very much so. We have committed to do that and we will keep to that commitment. As for timing ...
Quite a commitment and not one I've heard before.
So how? How does the Culture Minister intend to bring any part of the private sector under the scope of any new powers the Welsh Assembly is given by the UK government? How does he intend to set down on paper which companies are in and which are out?
In other words how does he catch big companies that provide services to the public in Wales in his net but not force chippies in Chepstow to offer the regulars "selsig mewn cytew a phys slwtsh"?
A suggestion: what if he were to turn his sights only on companies that are regulated because they provide key public services? Might he, as I've heard suggested, be considering whether he can specify companies that come under the regulation of those bodies that seem to start with OF - OFCOM, OFWAT, OFGEM to name but a few? Isn't that one option, one which would mean that giant mobile phone companies would find they must provide services in Welsh "where appropriate and practicable" but that chip shop owners could get on with frying fish, instead of answering calls from curious journalists?
But of course the other question is how much work will it take for the Culture Minister to get those powers from the UK government in the first place, if colleagues in London know he "very much" intends to take on - or perhaps work with - the private sector?
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