Distinctive sound of wind

When one of the late John Osborne's wives called him "a Welsh Fulham upstart", she did, I concede, intend a triple-barrelled insult, but I think Stuart Austin (Letters, 19 March) has misconstrued Hunter Davies's mildly pejorative reference to Neil Kinnock. The phrase "Welsh windbag" does not mean Welsh and a windbag, but rather that Kinnock's alleged windbaggery was of a specifically Welsh kind. Most nations breed windbags, but the Welsh variety is, like that land's male voice choirs, instantly recognisable and wholly sui generis.

In Shaw's Pygmalion, Alfred Doolittle complains that Professor Higgins won't let him get a word in, adding: "I'm willing to tell you: I'm wanting to tell you: I'm waiting to tell you." Higgins comments: "Sentimental rhetoric! That's the Welsh strain in him." On the day after the 1992 general election, that line drew a round of applause from a National Theatre audience. I wonder if they had any particular Welsh windbag in mind.

Keith Norman
Oxford