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Journalist sparks debate after Welsh language ‘bore-fest’ jibe

Nigel OwnesA top international rugby referee was among those to criticise a journalist for describing a Welsh language cultural event as a “parochial bore-fest”.

Freelance sports journalist Marcus Stead drew criticism after a Twitter rant about the National Eisteddfod of Wales, which is currently being held close to his home in Cardiff Bay.

The Eisteddfod is an annual festival of Welsh language literature, music and performance.

Marcus began his career with work experience on both the South Wales Argus and Barry & District News, and has since gone on to work for organisations including BBC Wales and Made in Cardiff TV.

In his rant, he took aim at what he termed “Crachach types” – a pejorative term sometimes used to refer to a perceived small Welsh-speaking elite.

Marcus wrote: “A lot of noise is coming from the Eisteddfod site near my flat. I can’t work out whether the people ‘on the mice’ are speaking Welsh, or are just very drunk. Probably both. We’ve got a week of this parochial bore-fest to run.”

The comment received more than 100 replies, including one from 2-15 Rugby World Cup Final referee Nigel Owens MBE who tweeted: “Very disappointing to read this Marcus. Respect it may not be your thing.

“But its value to the survival of our language, culture and our unique identity as a nation is of huge importance. Something we all in Wales should cherish. Shame you can’t respect that.”

In a later post, Marcus wrote: “Dear Crachach types (Dafydds, Esyllts etc) please stop tweeting me with your parochial rubbish.

“I have absolutely no interest in debating with you. Go back to your Eisteddfod bore fest or salivate over books about your favourite racist and anti-Semite, [Plaid Cymru co-founder] Saunders Lewis. Nos da [good night in Welsh].”

Speaking to the North Wales Daily Post, Marcus further criticised the “foul-mouthed” online abuse he received from people he described as “Welsh language activists”.

When asked if he understood why some people may find his comments offensive he said: “We live in a free country and I have not sworn at anybody and I don’t go out of my way to upset anyone.”

Marcus added: “I am Welsh born and bred, I have lived here all my life, but the fact is English is the main language in Wales, 80pc of people can’t speak Welsh.

“Welsh should not be subsidised as it is, the viewing figures for [Welsh language TV channel] S4C are terrible – I look at the BARB figures every week.”

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  • August 12, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Not sure how Marcus Stead reconciles his claim “I don’t go out of my way to upset anyone” with his suggestion that people speaking in Welsh sound drunk. This strikes me as rather more offensive than the name-calling he has suffered as a result. I’m not condoning online abuse but if you don’t show respect to others you aren’t likely to be shown any in return.

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