A Siren Call and a Lagoon:
Elusive Welsh Utopias

From Planet 226

by Jamie Harris

Jamie Harris goes in search of Welsh utopian visions, via folklore, history, literature, politics, art and architecture. With the Far Right gaining a foothold in the Senedd, he reflects on the consequences of the Welsh political leadership’s resolutely anti-utopian stance.

In 2016, the UK voted to leave the European Union, Donald Trump was voted the 45th President of the United States, and Thomas More’s Utopia celebrated its five hundredth anniversary. To quote Big Bird, ‘One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong’.

Of course, to suggest that Trump and Farage et al. are somehow un-Utopian is misguided. Indeed, More’s inaugural utopia was predicated on slavery, castigation of foreigners, and ethnic cleansing. Its ruler, King Utopus, was also stronger on immigration. While he didn’t promise to build a wall, he did dig a fifteen-mile wide trench to turn a small peninsula into the island of Utopia. Geographically speaking, Wales and Utopia share some similarities.

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