In the interest of BBC-style “balance”, here’s a positive New Statesman article from 2001, which makes many good points, including the one I’ve highlighted below.
There is no doubt that the impossible strangeness of the Welsh language is what most upsets the English. I’ve asked dozens of English people to explain why they don’t like Wales and the response invariably includes a story about finding yourself in a shop or pub, and faced with people speaking Welsh.
If the same thing happens in Italy or France we, the English, don’t mind. It’s because we know the Welsh can speak English, and, secretly, because we think they’re in our country, that we take use of the language as an act of gratuitous hostility. The colonial master is not amused. This is precisely the thoughtless, gut reaction that the English must put behind them, if they are to shape up to questions about their own and other national and community identities.