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Welsh politician resigns over newsgroup rantings

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A senior politician in Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru, Gwilym ad Ioan, has been forced to resign following racist remarks posted on two Welsh newsgroups.

Mr ab Ioan, vice-president and a member of Plaid Cymru's National Executive, had to step down when his comments - including that Wales had become a "dumping ground for England's oddballs and misfits" - were called "entirely unacceptable" by Plaid Cymru's chairman, Elin Jones.

The postings took place on two newsgroups, soc.culture.welsh and uk.local.north.wales, at the start of the month and included such gems as:

"If we don't [wake up soon] we'll be so full of foreigners in our own land that our voice will be drowned out forever - along with our language and culture"; "our language and culture is wilting at an alarming rate because of the over powerful and unbalanced effect and influence of the alien culture has within our nation"; "In my experience the vast majority of people who settle in Wales are either: 1.Past their working age... 2. Are unemployed and/or suffering from long term illness... 3. Are social dropouts from the cities of England."

Mr ab Ioan was less than pleasant when other posters disagreed with his strongly-held views. He asked one: "Are you an indigenous native from Wales or a foreigner?"

The story comes on the back of more anti-English sentiment from Plaid Cymru politicians. Earlier in the year, Simon Glyn said he felt Welsh-speaking areas were being overrun by a "tidal wave" of English-speaking people. He also claimed English migrants were "a drain on resources".

The Plaid Cymru leadership is very sensitive about such racism, and condemns it. But, like the Conservative party in England, it recognises that many of its members hold similar views.

In response to Mr ab Ioan's remarks, a colleague on the Today programme on Radio 4 argued that unless Mr ab Ioan persuades Welsh-speaking people to stop selling their houses at a greater price to English-speaking folk, then he should keep such inflammatory language to himself. ®

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