IT sounds like a silly school playground insult, but “Farteg” could be on signs welcoming people to the village of Varteg.
Consultation was launched at the beginning of the year on 22 Welsh place names for communities across Torfaen.
The aim was to encourage the use of the Welsh language and celebrate the countries heritage with places that have just ‘English’ names like Pantygaseg and Varteg getting new Welsh translations to go alongside their ‘English’ counterparts on things like road signs.
But the potential for a bus to be seen rolling on with Farteg emblazoned across the electronic destination display has proved too much for many who have turned to Torfaen’s long-serving MP, the former cabinet minister Paul Murphy for help.
Mr Murphy called the whole naming process a “rather a dubious one.”
“I have to say I back local people in Varteg and their Councillors on this one. ‘Varteg’ is not an English word, and so translating it is totally unnecessary. It is a name that reflects our rich history and culture in the Eastern Valley, with its Welsh Language and English Language influences.
“I’m supportive of sensible steps to help the Welsh Language, but this is not the way to achieve that – it will only fuel resentment.
“Why should people in Varteg be told how to spell their own place name?
“The whole process, it strikes me, is rather a dubious one, in that it seeks to ignore the history of place names in our area and the linguistic mix they reflect, and replace it with an imposed uniformity.
“The key to promoting the language is to recognise our differences across our communities in Wales, not to stifle it.”
A council spokesman said: ‘This new consultation follows a three week public consultation in January which considered twenty-two Welsh place names across Torfaen. After discussion with the local councillor the ‘Farteg’ was considered inappropriate and was not adopted at the time. The Welsh Language Commissioner has proposed the alternative name ‘Y Farteg’ , upon which the residents of the Varteg community will be able to express their views.’