British Museum collections, £12.99
'Strike a light for Wales' badge
Wales, early 1980s
Many people derive a strong sense of identity from where they were born or where they live, and express this by displaying flags and other symbols representing places. This badge was worn by sympathisers of the extremist Welsh nationalist group Meibion Glyndwr (Sons of Glendower). Between 1979 and 1989 they conducted an arson campaign on unoccupied Welsh holiday homes owned by English people (known as 'white settlers'). More than 150 second homes and 34 estate agencies dealing in Welsh property were firebombed.
According to an opinion poll in 1989, most Welsh people deplored the extremists' methods, but there was general support for the preservation of Welsh language and culture. A growing consensus led to the provision of Welsh language teaching for children aged between five and sixteen and legislation putting the Welsh and English languages on equal footing in public life in Wales. The UK government published proposals for Welsh devolution in July 1997 and these were endorsed by a referendum on 18 September that year. Parliament passed the Government of Wales Act in 1998 and the National Assembly for Wales formally came into being on 1 July 1999, taking over responsibility for many areas of Welsh public life, including education and the arts.
P. Attwood, Status symbols: identity and b (London, British Museum Press, 2004)