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Every day when I wake up ..?

Betsan Powys | 10:58 UK time, Thursday, 2 April 2009

I had no idea that there was such a thing as a Dictionary of Difficult Words but it's just come in very handy.

Patriarch, patriotic, patrician - with you so far - but what exactly is a "patrial connection with Wales". And I mean exactly. It's important that we understand exactly what it means because former Conservative Minister, Lord Tristan Garel-Jones has suggested that those with "a patrial connection with Wales" ought to have a vote in a referendum on Wales' future as a devolved nation.

Not having one and watching Wales coming to a decision without the Cymry-oddi-cartre (the best kind if you, like our family, had a copy of the Dictionary of Difficult Welsh Idioms handy) or the Welsh diaspora, he suggests, would be "hurtful." It is, says the former Electoral Commissioner Glyn Mathias, "an interesting idea" though not one, you suspect, that many people will take seriously.

"What we're saying" says Lord Garel Jones, "is that we would like our opinion to be listened to because we feel Welsh. If you went to Bethesda chapel every Sunday until you were 7 years old you carry that in your heart for the rest of your life and I can't get away from that. I am Welsh". However given Lord Garel-Jones left Wales soon afterwards and that quite a few significant votes have happened since then, we must assume that this is hurt that has built up over the years.

The Dictionary of Difficult Words suggests the meaning of patrial is "pertaining to, derived from, or signifying native country. n. British, person having at least one parent or grandparent born in Britain". For British, then, read Welsh. So all of those with at least one parent, or perhaps grandparent, born in Wales ought to have a vote in the referendum.

Lord Garel-Jones recognises that there may be trouble ahead. "Clearly" he says on tonight's Dragon's Eye, "one wouldn't want to reach the point where a couple of hundred thousand people in Southern Argentina, who left Wales in 1850 were voting, but I think if the principle of Welshness is accepted then I think it would be good."

Before you say it, I've looked it up and this time the Dictionary of Difficult Words can't help me. I can't find a definition of the "principle of Welshness" anywhere, at least not one that would satisfy finicky people like Electoral Commissioners.

Perhaps we could come up with a test? Or suggest a threshold of Welshness, of the tortuous over- £200,000-public-subsidy kind that's included in the Welsh Language LCO.

Over to you.


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