10 arguments that will make you support Welsh independence

Picture of Pentre Ifan by Annerley Johnson (CC BY-ND 2.0), Cardiff Bay by Fred Bigo (CC BY 2.0), St. David’s 2 by EG Focus (CC BY 2.0), Blaenllechau by Viking Visual (CC BY-ND 2.0)

 

With Indyfest coming up on the 16th of September, here are 10 reasons why it’s time to support independence for Wales…

1. Wales’ vote has no influence on who governs us

Wales only elects 40 out of 650 MPs, which is 6% of the total. And before the next General Election there are plans to cut the number of MPs in Wales to 29.

It doesn’t really matter how Wales votes – it is England, with 533 of the 650 MPs, that chooses the next Government. In fact, Wales’ vote has only influenced the makeup of the UK Government at two elections – 1964 and 1966.

Wales hasn’t voted Conservative at any point since the 1860s – before most the population were given the vote – but has been ruled by the Tory Party for half the time since then.

The only way for our country to ensure that we have control over our who governs us, beyond the handful of meagre powers devolved to our own Senedd, is independence.

2. It’s the only way to rid ourselves of an undemocratic Westminster establishment

Whatever your opinion on the positives and negatives of Brexit, the result indicated that the people of Wales were tired with the establishment and wanted a change.

We heard a lot during the campaign about how the EU Commission is unelected and undemocratic. But the truth is that Westminster is even worse!

It has a completely unelected legislature in the House of Lords. And the archaic First Past the Post voting system ensures that a party can win a majority with the backing of only three in ten of voters.

This voting system also ensures that we have little choice between Conservative and Labour if we want to influence the makeup of the next government.

Our Senedd in Wales, while not perfect, is already superior in that every member is elected, and a proportional representation system ensured that the votes of the majority count.

But Westminster retains control over the vast majority of powers that govern our lives in Wales.

The Westminster establishment isn’t going to change the rigged system that keeps them in power.

The only way for the people to take back control is independence.

3. Westminster doesn’t care about Wales

Imagine that you’re the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. You’re in charge of 70 million people, 14 million of whom live in three of its largest cities.

The economy is largely driven by London, so for understandable reasons, you keep throwing investment at that city. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

In that context, why would Wales even register? Why would 3 million of those 70 million people, who live in an under-developed economic backwater, keep you up at night?

There’s no reason to blame Westminster for its neglect of Wales. There’s no particular reason why they should care about us.

It’s not Westminster’s fault that we choose to remain in a union in which we’re inconsequential, at best.

However, from our point of view – us who have to live in the poorest country in Western Europe – this state of affairs is not sustainable.

If you started off in the valleys, you would have to walk 1,000 miles before you came across a poorer community. You would have to walk to western Poland! And the rest of Wales isn’t much better off.

The UK is one of the richest nation-states on earth, but that wealth is centralised in London, and very little of it trickles out to us. Our communities have been allowed to stagnate and die.

If we’re going to improve our lot at all, we need a government that cares about us. Unfortunately, the UK Government has made it completely clear that they have no intention of investing in our prosperity.

Infrastructure is a good example. Over £2,500 is spent on infrastructure per head in London a year. Wales comes in at the bottom of the pile, with just over £100 spent on infrastructure per head.

On the same week it was revealed that the cost of the high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham, HS2, had ballooned to £104bn, the UK Government announced that they were ditching their promise to electrify the Great Western Mainline from Cardiff to Swansea.

London is getting Crossrail and HS2, and will then get Crossrail 2 and HS3. Meanwhile, Wales is the only country in Europe alongside Albania and Moldova without a single mile of electrified track, and by the time these projects are finished, it may well be the only one.

The Catch-22 argument is that the UK Government is only meeting demand. Investment in London’s transport links boosts the economy which creates more demand which justifies investment in better transport links.

Meanwhile in Wales, a lack of investment results in low demand which is used to justify a lack of investment.

But this is a circular argument in which Wales will always lose out. We will never break out our economic rut without public investment in infrastructure in the first place.

Infrastructure is just one example where the UK Government’s continued neglect means that we can’t prosper as a nation.

As long as we remain in this union, Wales will be forever stuck on the sidelines, a rusting coal carriage from the industrial revolution with no practical use today.

If an institution isn’t giving you the attention you need to invest and develop, the natural step is to build your own institution in order to meet your own needs.

4. Small is beautiful

Within the context of the rest of the UK, Wales seems to be a small country. After all, we have a neighbour that has a population over ten times our size.

But a small population is no barrier at all to success as an independent nation-state – in fact, it is key.

A small nation can be flexible as a speedboat, responding quickly to a changing economic climate. A large nation is more likely a super-tanker, with a slow turning speed, and more passengers that want the boat to go in different directions!

Within Europe alone there are 18 independent nations with a smaller population than Wales.

Iceland, a rich, tiny nation of 300,000 people, had its economy decimated by the financial crash in 2008. By 2011 it was out of recession and today it’s back to enjoying staggering growth of 7.2% GDP.

The Republic of Ireland, our nearest independent neighbour, with a population of less than 2m more than Wales, has a GDP per head of £50,000, double Wales’ GDP of around £23,000.

There is absolutely no evidence that Wales’ size would hinder its economic success – quite the opposite.

It’s being a small, ignored, nation within a larger nation-state that has damaged our economic prospects.

5. We could invest in our economy

Wales can’t afford to be independent, is the usual cry. There’s too much of a gap between what the country raises in tax and what it spends.

Yes, there is a deficit there. But if Wales can’t afford to be independent, neither can the UK. The UK has a deficit of £100 billion a year and is in debt to the tune of £1.83 trillion.

What about the United States? It has a yearly deficit of £440 billion and a debt of £18.96 trillion.

The joke is that the money Wales is given every year ‘because we can’t pay our own way’ is added to the UK Government’s deficit – money it must borrow from elsewhere because it can’t pay its own way.

Only about 50 of the world’s 200+ nation-states – many of them oil-rich nations – have a budget surplus.

Yes, an independent Wales would probably have a small deficit to start with. But pretty much every country has a deficit.

As long as your deficit doesn’t reach the point where your borrowers worry that you’ll default on your debts, as was in danger of happening to some countries after the financial crash in 2008, you’re OK.

And a lot of what is claimed to be ‘Wales’ deficit’ – around £14 billion – is actually Wales’ share of money spent on transport, infrastructure and the military across the UK.

Yes, money spent on things like HS2 and the Olympic Games in 2012 is counted as money spent on Wales.

As discussed above, very little of the money spent on the UK’s infrastructure projects actually find their way to Wales, so losing that investment would make little difference.

The UK government also claims to spend £1.7 billion on defence in Wales every year. Wales wouldn’t need to spend that much on its own army.  Ireland spends less than 0.5% of GDP – a few hundred million – on defence.

Like Ireland, Wales probably wouldn’t be invading a Middle-eastern country any time soon!

As an independent country, Wales would be free to borrow its own money. The ability to borrow to spend would allow us to invest in things like infrastructure which creates further wealth down the line which pays for the borrowing.

Wales could certainly afford to be independent. While severely underperforming compared to independent neighbours such as the Republic of Ireland, we would be a comparatively wealthy nation compared to most nation-states.

We already have a trade surplus of around £5 billion a year, and could start charging for goods such as electricity and water which we currently export to the rest of the UK for free.

The question isn’t really whether Wales could afford to be independent – we certainly could. The question is, can we afford not to be independent?

Wales is simply handed a block grant from Westminster and told to spend it. Apart from offering companies cash to set up shop in Wales there’s very little that can be done to encourage economic growth.

We can’t even borrow the money needed for badly needed large infrastructure projects without the UK Government’s consent.

An independent Wales could:

  • Set up a development bank
  • Invest in infrastructure such as transport and broadband
  • Take advantage of our natural environment to develop large energy projects to generate electricity that could be sold to our neighbours
  • Develop a competitive rate of tax in order to attract industries.
  • Join the EU if that was to our advantage or set up bespoke trade deals that would benefit us

Westminster doesn’t want us to do these things – they don’t want a competitor taking jobs from the South East of England. They want a subordinate.

We could be much richer, and only an independent Wales can do it.

6. Devolution alone isn’t working

Since 1999, some powers have been devolved from Westminster to the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. These include powers over health, education, and some economic matters.

However, the truth is that what Wales can do with these powers is very limited.

For example, from 2019 onwards Wales will be given some power over income taxes. However, it will only be able to vary them a limited amount, and only with the UK Government’s consent.

And there is a long list of powers Westminster refuses to give to Wales even when they’re devolved to English cities. For instance, policing is set to be devolved to Manchester but MPs decided Wales couldn’t have the same thing.

Energy generation, such as the building of energy-generating sea lagoons, is another power you would think it would do no harm to devolve to Wales. But alas, no.

Broadcasting is also retained at Westminster, meaning that the news people in Wales see reflects very little of their own lives and is usually decidedly London-centric.

When Wales has decided to plough its own furrow and do things differently from Westminster, it has faced opposition. For instance, when Wales put forward a plan for an opt-out organ donation law, which could save thousands of lives, the UK Government tried to block it and the case was referred to the Supreme Court.

People complain that devolution hasn’t achieved much. But it’s a little bit like tying someone’s hands behind their back and then asking them to build a country.

Like a young person dealing with an overbearing, controlling parent, the only way for Wales’ to escape Westminster’s dominance is to grow up and move out – declare its independence.

7. What is unique about Wales is being destroyed

Wales has its own culture, it has its own language, and its own politics. We have our own national institutions, such as the national library, museum and universities. Our country already has all the unique linguistic, cultural and political characteristics that make up any independent nation-state.

Unfortunately, there are many who would rather that Wales’ differences with the rest of the UK ironed out. They consider Welsh nationhood to be an ‘alien’ element within a British nation-state.

It’s also about power. The UK establishment may not care enough about Wales to ensure that our country is well-run and prosperous. But losing Wales would result in a loss of power and face.

From the UK establishment’s point o view, the best way to stop Wales from becoming independent is to destroy the national characteristics that are the foundation of its claim to being a country – its culture, its language, its institutions.

This isn’t just about the Welsh language – all communities in Wales have their own uniquely Welsh culture of which they can be proud.

Cultural variety is a good thing. We don’t go on holiday abroad to see the same culture as we would at home, and tourists to Wales won’t come here if we’re exactly the same as everywhere else, either.

Over hundreds of years, Wales has slowly been absorbed by a manufactured British identity, a process that will not stop until it’s a county of a country called Britain, not a country in its own right.

The only way to stop that happening is through independence.

8. To protect our sports teams

We all support Wales in the football and the rugby. Who can forget the national euphoria when we won that first Grand Slam after 27 years, in 2005, or when Gareth Bale and his team took us to the semi-finals of the Euros in France in 2016?

Having a sporting team is not, of course, the be all and end all of being a nation state. And there is a danger that many shout ‘Wales!’ for 90 minutes in the stands but don’t concern themselves with the economic and social problems that make Wales so poor 365 days of the year.

However, it must be noted that, within the context of the UK nation-state, the Welsh football and rugby teams are a historical anomaly and there are many who would like them to be integrated within ‘Team GB’.

We have already seen this in action with calls for UK football and rugby teams at the Olympics, which FA Wales has opposed as it could put their independent status within FIFA under threat.

And with Scotland and Northern Ireland packing up to leave the UK, the rationale behind separate sporting teams will continue to diminish.

If Wales disappears as a cultural and political entity, the Welsh football and rugby team could become UK teams, or just ‘England’ in the same way as the cricket team.

Unless we strive for independence, we’ll all soon be supporting England with one or two Welsh players thrown in.

9. An immigration system that works for us

Whatever system of immigration is decided upon when the UK concludes its Brexit negotiations with the EU, you can be sure that it won’t have Wales’ best interests at heart.

Whether you believe that we need the same, more, or less immigration is beside the point – the important thing is that it works for Wales.

Because of our highly-centralised economy, Wales suffers from a brain drain that tends to draw our best and brightest out of the country.

There is an argument therefore that we should have our own immigration system that prioritises those skills – such as doctors – which are in short supply in Wales.

There are also many that argue that as Wales’ population ages we should encourage a younger population to move to Wales that puts less of a strain on our services.

There is also the issue of housing associations potentially moving people, against their will, to Wales’ towns and rural areas.

Whatever your view on these issues, surely if we are to abandon a system of EU freedom of movement, Wales should have a say in what replaces it. It will only have that say if we’re independent.

10. Westminster would take Wales more seriously

Perhaps you’re still unsure about Welsh independence. Perhaps you’re ‘Indycurious’, or even opposed. However, there is a good reason to support a Welsh independence movement even if you’re not yet sure if Wales should become an independent country.

At the end of the day, Wales’ inability to get Westminster’s attention derives from a lack of political clout. There are only two things that the establishment at Westminster fears:

  1. Losing power
  2. Losing part of the UK

Wales can’t threaten the first – we only represent 6% of the votes in the UK. How we vote doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

But Wales can threaten to leave the UK. The vast majority of Westminster politicians are staunch British nationalists, who fear the continued break-up of the UK more than anything else.

This is why Scotland has been able to command so much attention over the past ten years. It’s not because of how they vote – even 56 SNP MPs didn’t seriously threaten the Westminster status quo.

No, the reason they’ve commanded so much attention is that they represent the Westminster establishment’s worst nightmare, which is to lose a part of the UK.

The thought of Wales breaking away as well, even if they don’t care how Wales gets on the rest of the time, would be enough to make them reconsider their neglect of the country.

Wales would become the subject of debate in the corridors of power and the media, and the country’s problems given serious consideration at long last.

Westminster is incapable of solving those problems – only an independent Welsh Parliament could do that – but it would represent an improvement on the current tendency to ignore Wales completely.

Conclusion

The UK is going through its largest upheaval in hundreds of years. The Government is pressing ahead with plans for Brexit, against the wishes of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Scotland is on the brink of independence while the possibility of a ‘hard border’ between N. Ireland and the Republic of Ireland has reignited calls to unite the island as one nation-state.

If Scotland and N. Ireland do leave the UK, Wales faces becoming a ‘mini-me’ to England, unable to forge alliances with the other devolved nations to push forward a devolved agenda forward.

Wales faces becoming an economic backwater, with power and economic might even more centralised in the South East of England.

While every other country in the UK is acting in its own self-interest, Wales can’t simply sit back and wait to see where the chips land. We too need to put our own best interest first.

The only way to control our own destiny in these fast-changing times is independence.

If not now, when?

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Indycurious? Why not find out more about the Yes Cymru movement. Want a more in-depth discussion about independence? Check out the Independence Index.

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34 Comments

  1. You say that “We never get the government we vote for” yet Wales voted Labour in 1997, 2001 and 2005 and we got a Labour government. (England actually voted Tory in 2005).

    You also state that the number of MPs is to be cut from 650 to 600 (and 40 to 29 in Wales) yet if you read the news yesterday (6th Sept you’ll see those plans have been dropped)

    • Wales would have got a Labour Government in 1997, 2001 and 2005 regardless. That’s the point, that however we vote it doesn’t matter. It’s a coincidence that the way the country voted and the Government it got lined up

      • But you could make that argument about Scotland or any region (or even any collection of seats you fancy) of England.

        If you discounted the Welsh seats from 97, 01 or 05 Labour would be returned with a smaller majority.

        Your argument only seems to make sense if you say a government can get away with a majority of 1.

        • Gareth Rogers

          Wales and Scotland are not ‘regions’, they’re countries. The comparison with regions of England is a false one. The real question that should be asked for a direct comparison is ‘How often does England get a government it didn’t vote for?’ I think you’ll find the answer to that is never. The worst that happens to them is that they get a minority government that needs to go into coalition instead of a majority government – but it’s still the party they voted for in charge. And even that has only happened a couple of times in the last hundred years.

          • I didn’t say that Wales and Scotland were regions.

            I said ‘OR’ region of England.

            • Christopher Parker

              That’s the point. Why should a country in the UK be barely as important as a region of England?

              Asking as an Englishman who agrees pretty much entirely with this article.

  2. Pleased to report we’ve got something organised in Swansea on the 16th September too https://www.facebook.com/events/123522608272683/

  3. Capitalist and Welshnash

    There are simply not enough good jobs in Wales, nor is there a proper upper class, because it’s deluded and absorbed by English establishments. Even our traditional wealthy families have even been absorbed by Britishness and gradually moved into England over the last few centuries.

    Anyone fed up with this being the case, decade after decade, should back independence.

    • Do we really need a ‘proper upper class’? Why do we need a class of people who are parasites? If we did have such a class people like me would have to campaign to have it abolished. Being exploited by a bunch of parasitic Welsh aristos is pretty much like being exploited by a bunch of parasitic English aristos I would have thought. Ditto for capitalists, being exploited by them, whether they are Welsh or English or Chinese for that matter, is still being exploited.

      Capitalists and the elite are always telling us that they got to be in their positions through hard work, but they always seem very reluctant to tell us exactly whose hard work it was. It certainly wasn’t theirs.

      • Capitalist and Welshnash

        The fairest and happiest nations on earth have upper classes. The 2017 World Happiness Report ranked Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and Finland as the most equal nations in the world regarding income. We’ve tried true social equality; it ended in fascism and a permanent war upon individual liberties. it does not work.

        Norway has a strong tradition of old families bolstering their traditions and culture. National revenue is bolstered by oil, gas and wood manufacturing corporations.

        Denmark is a monarchy. And look how well they work in regards to equality and happiness.

        Iceland’s system is propped up by those families which trace their lineage back to Viking times who were written about in their sagas, and these more often then not are the ones who propel Icelandic literature and culture forward into modern usage and new adaptations. They have also been those who by and large have forced through legislation protecting Icelandic from English.

        Switzerland’s cantons are each heavily run by those who have invested and contributed most to the mercantile factory belt between Bern and Zúrich. Switzerland has fused capitalism with family ethos and localism in a way that would work splendidly in Wales.Not to mention combining this familial localised capitalism with language protection via a canton-based system, which Wales could learn a great deal from.

        Finland had propelled global companies on a capitalistic and hierarchical model such as Nokia and the OP Financial Group within a legal system promoting fairness and equality. Naturally, by the very nature of humanity, this has formed a class of people which are able to maintain relative control over their nation (without cruelty or complete lack of fluidity between the classes mind), and a stability and strength that has gained the respect of a nation as aggressive as Russia.

        • The likes of Sweden, Denmark and Norway haven’t abandoned the goal of social equality – they’ve got some of the most extensive social welfare systems in the world. A cradle to grave welfare state which certainly helps helps account for the happiness levels in such countries (rather than hangovers from feudalism like a monarchy)

  4. For the doubters…..remember two points:

    1) You can be a non-nationalist who doesn’t believe in strict borders and a top-down state and STILL believe in the decentralised self rule of Welsh communities.

    2) Power + Land (+ education) = Wealth creation – too much dependency is a bad thing in life. That is why colonised areas are never wealthy themselves.

    n.b. Education is becoming much easier to attain with the internet, so the big question is: Are we happy with a few people owning the land and power and making vast profits off our backs?

    P.S. If you call youself ‘anti-nationalist’ but think Wales should always be ruled by Westminster or UK…..you are a hypocrite NATIONALIST…….

  5. Ro’n i’n efo’ch bob gair nes i chi ddweud “upper class” Ydyn ni wir angen y dychweliad y ‘Tywysogion’ ffroenuchel (oligarchs y tro hwn), gwastraffu eu hymdrechion efo bradychu’i gilydd?
    Yn wahanol i’r Kievan Russ, does dim angen i ni galw am ‘rywun i ddod a theyrnasu drosom ni’.

  6. Ardderchog – Fantastic. I can’t wait for independence for my Cymru.

    Tipyn o gywirdeb – reality check ladies and gents: if Scotland couldn’t get independence – and i think they’r ready for it – economically as well as emotionally, how on earth are we going to persuade our people to vote ‘Ie’?

    We need a new political party that can prepare us for independence: such a party will be green – just think of all those jolly little tornadoes . . .; it will be concerned with a fair deal for all – no bashing poor people because the rich have siffoned off all the money; and it will have Cymru as its national construct – not Wales.

    Wales is the Englishman’s construct for this piece of land. We the Cymry don’t figure, because to colonial types: Russians, Chinese, united staters, as well as your Englishman, other nationalities just clog up a nice piece of ‘real estate’.

    Our present set of political parties have failed. Eukip – just what is the English nationalist partei doing in our Cynulliad?

    Tories – another set of fascist scum.

    Liberals – best friends of fascist scum

    Plaid Cymru – i saw dafydd iwan (PC) in our village campaigning for the ultra rich in a big sort of car ( i don’t know – i can’t afford a motor bike) and a leather jacket whose leather was so thick it could’ve acted as flak jacket – perhaps he was aware of his unpopularity and dressed accordingly. Plaid Cymru is just a rich Cymro’s version of fascist scum. Clecs diweddaraf – latest hot gossip – dafydd iwan has become a vicar – anghred – well actually not – if a hypocrite, will do as a hypocrite does.

    Greens = vegetables = dear old dithering english hippies

    Which leaves us with our dear old Plaid Lafur – Labor Partei of Wales – yes Wales, not Cymru. Wales is the English Labor Partei’s compliant partner – England says, LPW bends over backwards. You’ve read the articles: We in Cymru get nothing of the ‘largesse’ of the british government, and do the LPW do anything? Not a lot. Been in power too long, very unlikely to lose power, so utterly unconcerned about our realities.

    Is it true that LPW is corrupt? No idea, but it makes sense: Been in power too long, no-one to challenge ’em. Power corrupts, total power totally corrupts.

    Sad to say it, but our real problem is the Welsh Labor Partei. If we are to move forward, we have to kick a great dent in their power.

    Anyone up for forming a new party – Plaid newydd rhywrai?

    • Henrietta Sandwich

      Very well said, Sianiblewog. And your new party idea is the best I’ve heard in a long time. Count me in.

    • You are giving yet another reason to stay attached to the English system which obviously is not working for Wales. A new Party? What a load of Bollocks!! Give us what’s required and that’s Independence for Wales.

  7. Sef: remarks by a capitalist and welsh nash (Dafydd Iwan, ie?) It is intrinsically unfair that a breintiedig rhai – what’s that in english – ah, the privileged few to own,control and dispose as they see fit all the resources of this fair planet.

    Great wealth is undemocratic: the rich man has many more levers to further his own self interest. i have a vote, the rich man has the vote, and can influence governments and others in ways i can only dream of.

    Great wealth ultimately destroys what little is left after the rich have sequestered wealth unto themselves: wealth/money can be thought of as energy. In order to concentrate wealth or energy, a great deal of extra money/energy has to be expended. This money/energy is never recoverable. So for a wealthy person to concentrate yet more wealth involves using up a graet deal of wealth which could be used for the common benefit.

    Great wealth is a childish obsession: I’d love a gorgeous girlfriend, to be ultra rich and to live for ever – dream on! My getting rich necessarily means impoverishing the many. The environmental effects of wealth are self evident – environmental degradation leading to the loss of fantiastic animal and plant species, and planet nearing catastroffe.

    United Nations Charter on fundamental human rights: first paragraff: ‘All humans are equal’

  8. Capitalist and Welshnash

    Independence will require the entire nation, not just the left.

    • left, right, centre, – all terms which are overused deliberately by manipulators to confuse the picture, introducing schisms where they are not needed. Gullible folk take up these terms and prattle on ad nauseam about the “need for an upper class” or the “need to wipe out the upper class” or some other ldealised cliche, but they are unaware that their own prescriptive style offer the scope to introduce yet another new ruling clique if they ever get to their goal/objective. Therein lies a contradiction of accepting the left-right dichotomy as a precondition of debate.

      By all means discuss how we should conduct the distribution of wealth created through surpluses generated, by all means seek out ways of avoiding, even undoing, the horrors of increased inequality suffered by many within the UK over the last 20 years. No one rewrote any rules, the select few in positions of unaccountable power in banking and commerce, aided and abetted by those elected but compliant “representatives” in our parliament and Cynulliad,just took it upon themselves to tilt the table and let more of the loot roll into their buckets and stuff the vast majority of the populace.

      People wearing the label of the Left are just as guilty of participating in this orgy of selfish disproportionate “reward” as some of those on the Right, the traditional betes noir of our political panto theatre.

      So if Cymru is to be worthy of a differentiated identity that justifies its call for independence it needs to junk this baggage and engage in a serious debate about 1. What kind of society are we going to be . 2. How do we go about creating the resources to support/sustain that vision and 3. Having “baked the cake” how do we share it, and how can we make sure that the model has long term traction ?

  9. Essentially I agree with EVERYTHING in the original article. Quibbles would be trivial and counterproductive. If only we could get the majority of people in Wales to understand these points, but there are far too many outright Quislings, Stockholm Syndrome sufferers (some of my best friends, alas), and, frankly, immigrants who cannot even comprehend much less countenance the idea of Welsh autonomy or independence, independence being the sort of thing that is granted to downtrodden ex-colonies or sufferers under the Soviet boot. And before anyone accuses me of racism against the poor misunderstood English (or anyone else who doesn’t or won’t understand), I believe that an independent Wales should happily accept anyone from anywhere as a citizen, just so long as they entirely accept they are living in Wales, a nation, not a theme park, and commit as fully to the building of a better nation as anyone born here should.

  10. Tame Frontiersman

    Devolution is a constitutional cul de sac. No amount of re- branding (devo-max, federation, confederation “dominion status” etc) can make England and Wales equal partner

    Devolution was a mistake. Wales had been in economic decline for 80 years; its language and culture in territorial retreat for centuries. By the 1990s Wales’ great industrial strength lay in ruins. The railways that liked Welsh community with Welsh community ripped up. The miners asked for coal, they got dole. Once Wales could pride itself that it produced the coal to keep the wheels of industry turning and the steel to for construction and machinery. The people of Wales have been robbed of a sense of purpose. The Welsh with one voice should have placed before Westminster an ultimatum. Put this right! We demand the same deal as London and the English Home Counties. Instead Wales voted for limited transfer of powers from those in London who had the means to do something to stem the decline, but no incentive or interest in doing so to a Labour government in Cardiff Bay who didn’t have the money and knew that Wales’ poverty would keep them in power forever. The ultimatum to London would have fallen on deaf ears. Wales would now be independent.

    My fears are that if Wales does not choose independence soon, then its future will be to drift apart Deeside will be absorbed by the “Northern Powerhouse”, the Cardiff and Swansea City Regions will merge with Bristol into a Severnside “Western Powerhouse” and “Arfor “ neglected by all apart from English settlers may become the “Western Workhouse”

    Leaving the UK is not of course the answer to Wales’ many problems. But it forces the people of Wales to face them. If they cannot find solutions no-one else will. The speech Ron Davies made Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on 19.11.97 nearly 20 years ago “Good morning – and it is a very good morning in Wales” rings hollow. The day of Wales’ independence may be a day of rejoicing, but it will be a day of sombre reflection too. The speeches made that day need to spell out honestly the many challenges facing Wales and the world and capture the words of J F Kennedy: “We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard”

    • Capitalist and Welshnash

      The day Wales obtains its independence is when those of us in Plaid Cymru who are not Leftist finally get to form our own party and fight back.

      • And that right wing attitude is exactly one of the reasons people won’t vite for independence.
        Fight back against what exactly when you’ll have that independence?

  11. Gwylon Phillips

    I can’t say that I disagree with anything in the article. Setting up a new Party is not the answer. What we need is to reform Plaid and follow Leanne not the traditional right-wingers who are Tories in everything except name. We also need to concentrate on exposing corruption in the Welsh Labour party which is evident increasingly in our proud country. We don’t need nuclear power or weapons. We are rich in natural resources if only we are allowed to develop it.

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      Leanne seems pretty resistant to any kind of change. When on BBC Radio 2 before the election one question put to her was whether she felt Plaid needed to make any changes… she didn’t shoot the question down she merely said it was “a very interesting point of view” and her tone was one I’d describe has politely dismissive. So my point… reforming Plaid and following Leanne are incompatible because she doesn’t want the party to change – at least not in a meaningful way. It’s one or the other.

      • Capitalist and Welshnash

        Im not going to rail against Leanne Wood, as much as I disagree with her socialist stance. We only have space for one nationalist party under the present system. And so she has my support.

        But after Leanne Wood steps down we must address a deep issue within the nationalist movement. Since the centre and the centre-right are part of our country, how are we going to give them a Welsh nationalist voice

  12. If Wales remained a member of the EU by leaving the UK then I’m all for it. An independent Wales outside of both the EU and the UK could be a very difficult position to sustain both economically and politically.

    • An independent Wales could, should and would become an EU member. And also, usefully, forge close ties with (independent) Scotland and Ireland, countries with more than simple geographic similarity, to the mutual benefit of all. England may well apply to be the 51st State, which some believe has been the plan all along.

      • But Wales voted leave by 52-48.
        Remember that.

        For Wales to join (and it would be join not rejoin) we wouldn’t get the rebate the U.K. has/had nor an opt out from the Euro.

        Good luck selling that to the public!

  13. It seems to me that there are a number of split points on the issue of Independence, devolution and more.

    There are some of us in Wales who believe that Independence is of itself the only rational answer. We are of the left, the right and the inbetweens but we are a minority in our view compared to the rest of Wales. There are those of us who are happy with devolution as a gradual process, growing our self-control to a point where we are effectively independent at which point the UK becomes a Federation like the US or separates politely like Norway and Sweden. They seem to me to be mostly of the left and centre. And there are those who believe in Britain who will not countenance change or progressive devolution. They tend to be older and are shared between a Conservative and centrist Labour section. Like the Brexiteers, they will be dead soon and they are a minority.

    The majority of the people of Wales are either undecided or uninterested, i. e. they can’t see that independence would make a worthwhile difference or they only care for their family, immediate social and economic environs and the bigger picture stuff is irrelevant to their lives. Or so I feel. All the arguments above are valid and yes, we will only get independence of all of us can see the benefits. So how should we proceed? I suggest:

    We need to accelerate the devomax process and bring as many decision-making powers into our Assembly/Senedd because only we will care about our future.

    We need to work on our political parties. It may be their job to have ideas but WE can force them to debate OUR future in all levels of Welsh public life by challenging them. We should be doing this within our own party structure and in forums like this.

    Mi ddylem wneud hynny yn y ddwy iaith. Chawn ni ddim camu bellach nes i annibynniaeth cael ei gwahanu o’r ddadlau dros cadw ac ymgryfhau’r iaith a diwylliannau Cymru.

    We need our Universities, our media and our government structures researching how this has been achieved elsewhere. One of the reasons South Africa is buggered is that they allowed the banks to operate outside the government’s control.

    Our political parties need to be made to change. At the moment we have mostly honest and decent people in our public life who are stymied by the historical status quo. Much as I admired and loved Rhodri Morgan, Labour in Wales see themselves as our natural rulers and are following and uncourageous vision of a post war consensus that no longer exists. They can’t even constitute themselves as a Party in Wales that affiliates to the UK movement. Until they do this they are another imperial organ in disguise and will not embrace either devolution or independence. The Tories seek representation at our Assembly but do not offer a vision for Wales for us to embrace. It is perfectly legitimate to be a Tory and in favour of Independence and those of us who are Tories need to work to make that the norm. UKIP are a red herring in the long run, but in the short term they offer a dustbin for the disaffected and legitimise fascism and racism. They can’t help it their billionaire funders are swivel-eyed madmen who write in green ink and want more freedom to sack us and steal our infrastructure. No matter how passionate the Kippers are in Ebbw Vale as a working class party, UKIP are a front for fascist money. The LibDems in Wales are simply “Tories in rags” who claim top rep[resent a middle voice in our middle classes and farming communities but in the end side with the tories if they can and Labour when they have to. Plaid are undecided. I’m a member and am constantly congratulated from England on Leanne Wood’s performance but for me it has an existential crisis to resolve. It is either the Party of Wales or it is the Party to challenge, defeat and replace “Welsh Labour”. It can’t be both and win. It it wins the argument for independence for all of Wales it no longer has a role and if it replaces the Labour Party, it is the party of the majority but not all of Wales.

    For my own part, I could never return to the Labour Movement despite being a Trade Unionist all my life. It would mean accepting the end of my country without a reciprocal internationalism that ended all other countries and preserved diverse, local cultures. But I am not the only person interested in my country’s future, which is why I believe that we need to settle on an open and inclusive version of the independence we want. I want to emulate the Scandinavian countries with strong controls over equalities and inclusivity. I’d be happy with that, with a school system like Finland and a social /welfare system like Norway. I would love an independent socialist republic, but that won’t happen, so we need to make major compromises on what we can work together for. The differences are not that great once honest discussion begins on this and we don’t have the DUP imitating the terror tactics of Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi sending murderous gangs into townships to get his way.

    As a Maori said to me in Santiago, “How do you think New Zealand manages to be independent? We decided to be independent and then we did it.”

    So if not now, when? If not us, who?

  14. Martin Johnes

    Simply being independent is not automatically going to make things better. There are small wealthy countries, as this article points out, but there are plenty of poor independent countries too, of all sorts of sizes. The case has to be built on what an independent country would actually do differently. The only actual suggestions here seem to be:

    Set up a development bank
    Invest in infrastructure such as transport and broadband
    Take advantage of our natural environment to develop large energy projects to generate electricity that could be sold to our neighbours
    Develop a competitive rate of tax in order to attract industries.
    Join the EU if that was to our advantage or set up bespoke trade deals that would benefit us

    None of these are bad things but they don’t all require independence and lowering taxes, at least in the short term, will also means cuts or higher deficits. They are also not going to read like reason enough to break away for most people. Everyone knows the problems. Basing the case for independence on that is not enough. What people want is the answers. They want to know how will independence work? How will it make Wales better?

    They will also be more distrusting because of Brexit. There the Leave campaign sold an imaginary better world where we would be able to do our own thing free of the evil EU. No one said what our own thing would actually be (beyond cutting immigration) and thus you have all the problems we now all face when the details have to be worked out. An indy Wales has to be better than selling the idea of a better world that will be better simply because it is free of the evil UK.

    People will have practical questions. What will the border be like? Will we have the £? Will we have a monarch? Even will be able to still watch Strictly? Unravelling 40 years of semi-political union is proving a complete nightmare. Unravelling 500 years of complete political union would be immensely difficult. If people want Wales to be independent they have to convince 3 million not that the union is problematic (we know that already) but rather how you actually take it apart and build something new.

  15. Do the people of Wales enjoy being ruled & governed by parasites monarchists, con men & paedophiles of Westminster ? Scotland seems to have fared a lot better on the rocky road for Independence ! Wales surely deserves to at least give it a try ! If not Wales shall remain as the top paupers & beggars of Europe !

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