Machynlleth is not, and never has been, defined by the language that is spoken here.

We are bigger than that in this town People here are not valued by what comes out of their mouths, but by what they give from their hearts.

The overwhelming characteristic of our area’s inhabitants is our community spirit, the collective will to bind together, both at times of jubilation and of severe adversity.

It is being demonstrated in our togetherness right now and countless times before. The language we speak comes secondary to all of that.

Contrary to what some are currently claiming, the true definition of a bilingual area is not one where everyone can speak in both English and Welsh – it is one where each language is equally respected, one where people live together in harmony side by side, speaking in whatever tongue they wish, where everybody is an equal stakeholder and each individual is valued for how they enrich our society.

Machynlleth is, and has always been, that truly bilingual, welcoming community for generations and so it should remain.

Any educational system anywhere should reflect the community in which it is situated.

It should not be used as a political tool in an attempt to falsely redefine its surrounding area.

Machynlleth is a town where the Welsh and English languages have always happily co-existed. Neither one regarded as more worthy than the other and nobody feeling obliged to speak both.

That is exactly why we have a dual stream educational system here – it’s quite rightly a reflection of our town’s heritage, culture and unique togetherness.

To remove either of those streams would be a travesty. But some appear intent on doing so.

Those who are seeking to foist a Welsh language only school on Machynlleth are indulging in a politically motivated vanity project.

They have scant regard for our community’s heritage - their motivation is purely political.

The young people and children of Machynlleth have, maybe more than most, been through a particularly challenging time in the last decade.

They do not deserve, nor should we allow them to be used as guinea pigs in a political experiment at the potential expense of their future and their community’s cherished unity.

Never in my lifetime here, until recent years, were people sidelined or frowned upon for not speaking both languages. Sadly though that appears to be changing.

As a first language Welsh speaker I am the last to allow my language to play second fiddle. But first and foremost must come the welfare of our future generations.

That is being jeopardised for cheap political gain and must be resisted for the sake of our areas renowned togetherness.

Gareth Jones