SOMEONE once said that great orators are made. If this is true, then surely some of them were made in Wales.
On St David’s Day, Port Talbot born actor, Michael Sheen, made an impassioned speech on his disapproval of NHS privatisation at Tredegar, Monmouthshire.
Speaking against the cuts to a vast crowd, the Hollywood actor made a rousing speech, saying the proposed cuts are a far cry from the original passion which built the foundations of the NHS, and went on to praise its creator, fellow Welshman Aneurin Bevan.
To celebrate great Welsh orators of past and present, The Cardiffian has put together its own list of its top five Welsh orators.
Born in Tredegar, Monmouthshire to a coal miner and a seamstress, Aneurin Bevan was a champion of social justice, rights for working people and socialism. His most famous accomplishment came when, during his time as Minister of Health, he established the National Health Service. He resigned from his post in opposition to the decision made by the Atleee government to transfer funds from the National Insurance to pay for rearmament. In the below video, he is speaking at the Trafalgar rally, where he accused the government of a “policy of bankruptcy and despair.”
David Lloyd George
Born to Welsh parents in 1863, David Lloyd George was the Prime Minister of the Wartime Coalition Government between 1916 and 1922, during and immediately following World War One. The last Liberal and (so far) only Welshman to serve as Prime Minister, he was a key figure in the introduction of reforms, which laid the foundations of the modern welfare state.
The prominent historian and television and radio broadcaster was born in the Rhondda. In the mid-eighties, he was commissioned to write a concise history of Wales by Penguin Books, which he wrote in Welsh. Hanes Cymru was later translated into English due to popular demand. Below is John Davies speaking at the 2012 LGBT History Month Cymru event. He was invited back to speak again in 2014 – a year before his death.
An only child, Neil Kinnock was born in Tredegar in 1942. He served as a Member of Parliament from 1970 – 1995, for Bedwellty and Islwyn, respectively. He also served as Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1983 – 1992, making him the longest-serving Leader of the Opposition to date. The video below is Baron Kinnock making the famous ‘That Speech’ to the Labour Party Conference in Bournemouth, October 1985.
Noted for his baritone voice and talent for acting, Richard Burton (born Richard Walter Jenkins), was born in the village of Pontrhydyfen, Neath Port Talbot. Establishing himself as a great Shakespearean actor in the 1950s, he won a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and a Tony Award for Best Actor later in his career. He is buried in Switzerland, where he lived in the later years of his life. Below, he is reading Winston Churchill’s “Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat” speech, first heard in May 1940.