Thursday, 20 September 2012

A Rant about Freedom of Speech

People from the whole length of the Ebbw Fach, from Soffryd to Brynmawr, met us in Blaina Library today. With the generosity we've come to expect, many of them allowed us to record their stories. 

What we did not expect was a repetition of something that has happened several times in the last couple of weeks. And it's prompting our first Mythbusterstories rant.

To our surprise, we are finding more and more people who are unwilling to record their stories. Why? Because they are not Labour voters. They have thought intensely about life and come to conclusions that go against to main-stream Labour voting pattern of the Valleys, and do not feel free to express them.

"Why?" we ask.
"Persecution," one person tells us.
Someone else rang us up to withdraw permission for the use of their contribution. We had arranged for their anonymity, but they were still suffering sleepless nights for fear that they be might be identified.

All these people can articulate their views and argue their cases with vigour and clarity, but they are gagged. "It's the close-knit community," one of them explains.

The Valleys are part of Wales. Wales is part of Britain. Britain prides itself on allowing freedom of speech. What price Valleys freedom?

(P.S. Photos by Hannah, one of our non-political, non-anonymous storytellers with a superb secret photography habit.)

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