I’m sure it’s very nice of Richard Branson to have spoken out in support of the Welsh Government’s proposals for a soft opt-out on organ donation, but is it really the most important thing which happened yesterday, from a Welsh perspective? By making it the front page lead story, the Western Mail clearly thinks it is.
I’m not a fan of ‘celebrity endorsement’ in the first place. I don’t need to know which rich or famous people support or oppose a particular proposition before making my mind up on an issue. Indeed, such endorsement is generally counter-productive as far as I’m concerned. It tends to lead me to the conclusion that if the best that proponents of a proposition can come up with is a series of endorsements, then the proposition can’t be a terribly good one.
There’s another aspect to today’s story though. It plays to a peculiar trait of the Welsh character, to which even the most nationalistic of people sometimes fall prey. In the field of politics, it affects left and right alike. We seem to have a certain need for approval from others, rather then having the confidence just to say what we think.
It’s all too easy to blame that on some sort of inferiority complex resulting from our history; I suspect that it’s a great deal more complicated than that. Whatever the reason, lack of confidence in ourselves and our ideas is one of the things which hold us back. And a media which think that getting an endorsement from Branson is of such vital importance feeds the complex rather than helping us conquer it.
It doesn’t mean that we should be ungrateful for support and praise from outside Wales, but we don’t need to be quite so gushing about it.