If Plaid Cymru wants to appeal to all of Wales it needs to ditch republicanism

Queen Elizabeth II

Abraham Somers Cocks

If Plaid Cymru wants to make headway amongst the bulk of voters in Wales they need to drop their opposition to the monarchy.

In the grand scale of things, having a monarchy just isn’t a big enough problem to make it worth squandering the votes of the majority of the people in Wales who support the Royal Family.

A Constitutional Monarchy doesn’t make this country any less democratic.

According to the Democracy Index report of 2016, the five most democratic countries in the world were 1) Norway, 2) Iceland, 3) Sweden, 4) New Zealand, and 5) Denmark.

Four of these are monarchies and only one, Iceland, is a republic.

Yes, there are constitutional monarchies which are authoritarian, like Saudi-Arabia. But to compare the modern UK, or indeed an independent Wales to any of them, is laughable.

Plaid Cymru should look at the much more pragmatic SNP.  They have made it clear that they have no intention of abolishing the monarchy in an independent Scotland.

Does that make them any less of a nationalist party than Plaid Cymru? Of course not.

But it does make them much more appealing to the Scottish electorate, which in turn has made them much more likely to win independence.

Both Owen Donovan and Ifan Morgan Jones, have recently written articles about the growing popularity of anti-establishment parties.

But being anti-monarchy has not made Plaid Cymru any more ‘anti-establishment,’ or ‘of the people’ – because the people, in general, support the monarchy!

All it’s done is make Welsh nationalism palatable to a much smaller proportion of the populace. According to YouGov, just 8% of the population of Wales are actively opposed to the Monarchy.

Ditching republicanism won’t lose Plaid Cymru any votes. If you’re a republican and a nationalist, there’s nowhere else to go.

So Plaid Cymru has a choice: it can either be anti-monarchy and lose the support of voters who are pro-monarchy, or be like the SNP and win the votes of both republicans and monarchists.

Tradition

Some may argue that Welsh antipathy to the royal family goes back to the conquest of Wales and the death of the Welsh tywysogion.

But what is apparent when you go back and look at the Welsh nationalism of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century is that the current antipathy towards the Royal Family is a largely recent phenomenon.

Saunders Lewis was, in his own words, a ‘strong monarchist’.  So too was David James Davies, who was also one of the founding members in 1925.

Lewis was a radical conservative but Davies was firmly on the left back then and looked to the Danish model of both social democracy and constitutional monarchy as a goal for Wales.

So, when I talk about tuning down on the republicanism, I’m not talking about a great break in the tradition but the reversal of a more recent trend.

Republicans will complain that the Royal Family are ‘English’ or even ‘German’. But in truth they’re just a mish-mash of European Royal families – including Welsh.

Prince George is descended from Llewelyn the Last on both sides of his family, because Welsh and English nobility intermarried quite a bit.

So Plaid Cymru needs to stop shooting itself in the foot by being so vocal in its opposition to the monarchy.

I’ve met plenty of people in Wales who would never consider voting Plaid under Leanne Wood precisely because of her anti-monarchism.

There are much more important issues facing Wales today, and Plaid Cymru shouldn’t allow this one trifling issue to stop them gaining power and setting Wales right.

Such a move away from republicanism could well create a new tradition in the party’s history – that of winning national elections and governing Wales.

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59 Comments

  1. The YouGov poll linked to in the above article does not give separate figures for Wales – “Midlands and Wales” for some reason. In that breakdown, 19% is given as the percentage of people who believe that there should be an elected had of state rather than a monarch.

  2. If Wales is to be independent, it needs free citizens – not subjects. The monarchy is the cornerstone of the Unionist establishment. Sticking to a principle is the best way to impress voters, not fudging the issues.

  3. I may have taken Abraham’s article more seriously if his Facebook profile didn’t show him wearing a Team GB shirt. Is this really the best Nation.Cymru can do?

  4. I’m a Republican through and through and think the Royal Family are an anachronism. However I do appreciate Abraham’s point here. There are a number of issues on which Plaid Cymru need to decide whether they want to be ‘right’ or pragmatic.

    The bulk of the SNP’s membership are also republicans but the party itself has taken a very pragmatic approach on those issues that could alienate the bulk of their voters. The SNP would no doubt be a republican party in an independent Scotland, but in order to win independence has decided to ignore the issue.

    Perhaps it’s best for Plaid Cymru to take a similarly ‘one at a time’ approach. Win power, win independence and THEN deal with the monarchy. You can try and fight every battle at once and lose them all or take them on one at a time and win.

    This doesn’t mean Plaid Cymru have to be pro-Monarchy, of course. Just not have an official POV on the issue and ignore it as much as they can. To be fair, I think this is largely what they’re trying to do but LW’s anti-monarchy views are very well known after the whole ‘Mrs. Windsor’ affair.

  5. Judging by several other recent polls which are far more reliable than a YouGov poll, such as the last several dozen General Elections, the best way for Plaid Cymru to appeal to all of Wales is to abandon its quest for independence.
    Are you seriously suggesting that the Party should put its “appeal to all voters” first, and abandon all of its hard-fought principles in favour of popularity and a tenuous grasp of power?
    You saw how well that worked with the Lib Dems in 2010.
    How Politics works is that you have principles, you stick to them, and you do all that you can to win the voters round to your way of thinking, not sell yourselves out in favour of cheap and fickle popularity.

    • I would argue that how politics work is that you decide which issues you *really* want to campaign on and which issues are less important ones that you can compromise with the electorate on.

      The Lib Dems’ problem in 2010 is that they compromised on an issue – tuition fees – that betrayed a constituency that made up the bulk of their support in many electoral areas. They were just bad negotiators. They should have compromised on the Alternative Vote referendum which was a terrible system anyway.

      Plaid Cymru’s one core issue is more autonomy for Wales. If they need to compromise a little bit on a few others things to get that then that’s fine by me. I’m a republican by principle but it isn’t on the top 10 list of things wrong with Wales that need fixing.

  6. Dafydd Thomas

    Hands up those who think the monarchy has a well oiled publicity machine.

    For Wales, a country which has a desperate need to take over its own affairs, control of economic levers etc. We need to limit the battles we have to fight to get there. The monarchy is a low priority issue.

    Australia and others debate the monarchy from the comfort of controlling their own country.

  7. I’d be perfectly happy to see us go down the same path to independence as Ireland. That is, secure meaningful political independence as a first step, and then deal with the symbolic trappings of the British state. I say this as a republican, but a pragmatic one. Let’s secure full political sovereignty first, and worry about the monarchy later.

  8. I agree with the principle that the party should be pragmatic and pick the important battles to fight. Like Ifan I am philosophically a republican and find the concept of a monarch quite distasteful, however I also recognise that many people like them for whatever reason and that it really is not important enough to refuuse to compromise regarding.

    Having said that, I also dont see any evidence that Plaid’s position on the Monarchy has had any sinificant impact on their electoral success. Where is the evidence for this?

  9. ‘A Constitutional Monarchy doesn’t make this country any less democratic’ – well first off i’d like to remind Mr Cocks that britain isnt a ‘country’ it’s a a state. The island of britain is in fact composed of three countries, england, scotland and wales. Secondly i strongly suspect these ‘voters’ he claims to have spoken to wouldnt vote for plaid because of leanne’s republicanism also wouldnt vote for plaid because of its aim is independence for wales. So to follow Mr Cocks ‘advice’ maybe plaid should abandon their goal of independence for wales to.

    Yes the SNP stated they would keep mrs windsor as their head of state during the indy campaign – and a lot of good it did them as well. The british state unleashed a campaign of black propaganda and lies against the indy movement not previously seen in modern times. But i suspect the prime motive of people like Mr Cocks in wanting wales to adopt the queen of england as its head of state even after our people have voted for indy is that above all else he wishes to maintain the existence of the british state – and what better way of doing this than by the people of wales continuing to bow and scrape to a representative of the rotten house of windsor even after our people have voted for independence.

    Republicanism as a movement has been around for some considerable time, and indeed is now the norm across the world. People have come to recognise that the concept of a heriditary monarchy is a hangover from the feudal era and has no place in the modern world. So I look foward to a self governing wales catching up with the rest of the modern world and electing our head of states when wales becomes an independent nation and we take our place at the united nations alongside every other country in the world. That is what independence actually means

    • Abraham’s twitter account includes entries which suggest that he is as concerned as the rest of us about the survival and growth of the Welsh language and the promotion of Welsh identity, whatever his views on the British establishment and its power over Welsh minds.

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      Republicanism has been around a long time… and its fallen and risen as many times as Monarchy. In some cases they’ve risen and fallen together. Don’t forget that Republicanism has a bloody history and when it goes wrong it really, really goes wrong. There must be a balance Autocracy and Republicanism are both extremes.

      As the writer pointed out – Constitutional Monarchies are some of the most democratic in the world. Best of both worlds… but the British monarchy goes a little over the top with all its palaces and the amount of money they have. Electing a head of state in the American sense led to Donald Trump – divisive. Electing in the Irish sense leads to political jostling – divisive. If we are an independent nation fighting our own political ideologies when we become Independent then we are truly screwed. England will interfere in our divides… that’s why we are where we are. Because they agitated between our leaders… don’t think they won’t do the same with political ideologies.

      Those who seek power should never be given it. Do you trust the future of your nation in the hands of those who would seek power? Whether they be Unionist or Patriot? Majority of people just want their country run well – they want well paying jobs and opportunities for themselves and their families. They want health care and sufficient education to progress. Can you truly tell me that Republicanism will really provide this any better than Constitutional Monarchy? It’ll be the same people in power regardless – but as I said – exploitable divides.

  10. Red Dragon Jim

    I would defuse the issue of the monarchy to one side and be neutral.

    Leanne Wood has met the Queen and I thought that came across well, but nothing was ever made of it. Perhaps that should have been highlighted more.

    Rhondda is believed to be a very monarchist area but as with the rest of Wales, people will overlook it as a topic of importance if you highlight other issues in its place. Nobody has to change their principles then, it’s a case of prioritisation.

  11. I say this as someone who is fundamentally opposed to the “British” monarchy specifically because I see is as an English institution, and not because of any republican conviction (of which I have little): the point here is the republican/monarchy debate is a distraction and a pointless one at that. If anything, diverting any energy Welsh nationalism has to the republican cause essentially moving the focus away from independence to a reformed union.

    I don’t want a British republic even slightly more than I want a British monarchy. It changes sod all with regards to the national question: from that perspective, better a Belgian-style monarchy than the oppressive republicanism of France. As many have said in the comments, let’s leave this one until after independence.

    However, I don’t think Plaid Cymru is or has ever been officially a republican party?

  12. I would rather suck a lemon than suck up to the Royal Family. The pyramid of privilege which overshadows our nation has at its apex an unelected Head of State born to reign over us. Despite the prevalence of brown tongue disease amongst our population I would rather be counted amongst those who dream of a Free Wales made up of citizens rather than subjects, where our leaders are chosen according to their ability rather than their descent from our blood-stained oppressors.

  13. It is important to put forward what you believe in as a democratic political party. Pretending you have a different stance to buy votes is deception. To be frank I’ve never heard anyone even bring it up at election time as the royal family are totally irrelevant to most people and there are many more issues that would win or lose votes.

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      If they were irrelevant they’d be gone. I think its more some kind of apathy over it. But I wouldn’t underestimate how well liked William is – part due to the media… but YougGov also puts him as significantly more popular than any politician.

  14. Some thoughts on this issues …

    Plaid’s strategy of not giving this issue airtime or official status in its policy platform. There is, however, no need to muzzle Plaid politicians in relation to the expression of their personal views.

    Generally, it is utterly pointless expending time, effort and political capital on issues over which the Welsh electorate has no control, and will have no control until after independence. I would place the issues of currency and NATO membership in the same bucket. Ireland accepted the monarchy from the establishment of the Free State in 1922 until 1937, when they moved over to an elected head of state.

    The standing of the house of Windsor is not the same in Wales as it is in England and Scotland. The monarchy has the same legitimacy in Scotland as it has in England. It was, however, a institution imposed in Wales by conquest. Only in 20th century did the monarchy make any serious efforts to create a narrative of legitimacy in Wales through the invention of the Caernarfon Investiture in 1911, along the lines of the Delhi Durbar in the same year, involving the acclamation of the royal heir by selected representatives of Wales. The English queen still has no official residence in Wales, and there are no distinctive Welsh traditions to be found in the English monarchy. It does not follow that what is good politics in Scotland on this issue is necessarily good politics in Wales.

    In Wales (unlike Scotland), attachment to the English monarchy is almost certainly inextricably linked to unionism and belief in the British state. I have yet to meet someone with a profound attachment to the monarchy who seeks an end to the British state and establishment of a democratic, self-governing Wales. There are however many in Scotland who see the monarchy and its Scottish traditions and aspects as central to their Scottish identity, and believe passionately in an independent Scotland.

    • An excellent comment of the first degree by JE Lloyd. Borne out of historical knowledge and an understanding of lessons learnt (especially in the Irish context) rather than sentimentalism or emotion.

      Scotland, as you rightly pointed out JE, is rather a different animal, given it’s history (James was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603). They come at the question of a monarchy from a totally different angle.

      By contrast, our last King Llywelyn ap Gruffudd (Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf c. 1223 – 1282) was betrayed and slaughtered at Cilmeri on the 11th of December 1282, and his head hacked from it’s body. It is known that it was sent to Edward I at Rhuddlan and after being shown to the English troops based in Anglesey, Edward sent the head on to London. In London, it was set up in the city pillory for a day, and crowned with ivy (to show he was a “king” of Outlaws and in mockery of the ancient Welsh prophecy, which said that a Welshman would be crowned in London as king of the whole of Britain). Then it was carried by a horseman on the point of his lance to the Tower of London and set up over the gate. It was still on the Tower of London 15 years later. Not quite the same as the fate of the Scottish monarch of 1567 is it?

      As for Plaid’s stance. In my humble opinion more prostitution of principle in the hope of a handful of votes. The stamp of a political harlot – very much in the mould of the Lib-Dems, you can gauge the result of such behaviour from their spectacular demise. But you can’t blame them can you? If you’re bankrupt of ideas you just go north to crib a few ideas from the SNP. Who ironically have done the opposite themselves. Instead of running to hide behind the sofa on issues like like independence, they set out their stall in truth and uncompromising bravery. They won people over to their views and later reaped the rewards. Compare that to the abysmal and cowardly track record of Plaid in modern times. It is time to look further afield to a party that has guts and backbone.

  15. This article is a joke.

    Plaid gets stick for not sticking to its core principles enough so to suggest that it should ditch republicanism is ridiculous.

    Almost as ridiculous as using a survey that bundles Wales and the north of England into one and then uses the results to suggest that Wales by itself thinks something.

    Na – ddim diolch.

  16. Benjiman L. Angwin

    Mr. Cocks

    Well done. Some responses here have shown what republicanism can oft form as: reactionary hatred.

    Cymru Fydd (born largely out of Liberals), sought home rule and saw the Royals as part of our Welsh culture.

    Canada is a wonderful nation, and goes out of its way to celebrate its royal connections.

    Let’s stop shouting about a Republic like spoiled middle class teenagers in 1968 Paris, and actually move Wales ymlaen.

    • With respect, I don’t see any sign of “reactionary hatred” in the comments on this piece. Just valid questions about whether the house of Windsor has any positive contribution to the past, present or future of Wales.

      I would also question whether Cymru Fydd took a united position on the monarchy. The reaction to republicanism at that time would anyway have been shaped by the sectarian prejudices stirred up by the Irish Home Rule issue, and by attitudes towards the British imperial project. Hopefully, neither of those impulses has any place in contemporary Wales (outwith UKIP).

      Canada is also a special case as it struggles to assert an identity that is distinct from its dominant neighbour to the south. By that logic, Wales should adopt a republican model to underscore its distinctiveness from the dominant neighbour to the East.

      • Having done a little more checking, I think it is very difficult to associate Cymru Fydd with fulsome support for the monarchy. The greatest ideological influence on Cymru Fydd was Giuseppe Mazzini, an ardent republican

    • Monarchy is not a friend of your liberal ideology Benjamin ….. your contradictions stand proud now

  17. Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro (+ North Carolina)

    JE Lloyd has it right. And Ifan.
    I am a republican because I have now lived in a republic (USA) and a Monarchy there;s just no contest, Politically, the thing should start with We the People and you go from there. Moreover, I have a suspicion that the UK Monarchy, using its underestimated soft power, has held the UK (and therefore Wales) back from developing as political adults. BUT
    The republican in me says that when Wales grows up it will be as follows:
    Assembly legislates for an elected Welsh Constitutional Convention. The Welsh elect the delegates.
    What does the Convention discuss and vote on? Here’s the Agenda
    – police: county, Wales or county/Home Office, as now. Vote.
    – Court buildings: Wales or Ministry of Justice, as now. Vote
    – criminal law: Wales or Englandandwales, as now. Vote on it.
    – family law: on the whole the same choice. Vote.d
    – establish a Welsh Treasure ie secede from the UK one. Again, vote.
    – written constitution with separation of powers, bicameral lawmaking, elected Governor. Vote.
    etc etc
    And the Monarchy. Yes – vote on it during a Convention. Not much point in debating it till then. Wait for a vote of the Welsh people.
    Just my personal view, but it seems likely that Wales would do the Australian thing, or the Irish over time. So this republican might be happy if he lives that long!
    When Hungary broke away from Austro-Hungary, they left the Monarchy right to the end. The Scots are right – no need to antagonise the Windsors. Just wait for Wales to grow up and then to take its own decisions.
    I really don’t know why Plaid doesn’t think this through a bit more clearly, How to you get from here to where we need to be? Where’s the road map? Here’s mine
    2018 Wales….Dominion Status….Independence. Simples. Why, you might even get the Labour party to back this!

    • jim humphrys

      Agree, Jon.

      Has anyone mentioned Wales has no place on the r.coat of arms, or the union flag?

      One takes Abe’s has a point though. Thanks for that.

  18. Republicanism versus royalty is an interesting issue . . . that doesn’t bother anybody in the context of Welsh independence until someone brings it up.

    My position is that as republicanism is usually allied with left wing views – as exemplified by Leanne Wood – I am very wary of zealots for the cause of republicanism.

    Scotland has been mentioned, but the history is totally different. Scotland and England were first united when James VI (of the House of Stewart) came south to take the throne of England in 1603. Which explains why many Scots to this day support the Jacobite cause.

    Which means that for Scots the idea of royalty is much more nuanced, and certainly not a straight choice between the House of Windsor and republicanism. So in this regard the SNP is simply being pragmatic and playing to both Houses. Wales of course is different.

    So the real issue for Welsh republicans remains, are we opposed to monarchy per se, or just the English monarchy? If there was a Welsh royalist movement, promoting a claim to the independent throne of Wales, would Welsh republicans still be hostile? If so, then I suggest they’re more republican than Welsh nationalist. For I would – fists clenched and teeth grinding – accept a Welsh socialist republic if it was the only way to achieve independence.

    But the very words republican and republicanism have different connotations in different parts of the world, just think of Ireland, where ‘Republicanism’ means Sinn Fein, the IRA, and all that goes with it. Now this might not matter to die-hard leftist republicans in Wales, but it is guaranteed to alienate the very people Plaid Cymru, or any nationalist party, needs to win over.

    And of course, Scotland’s historic ethnic, cultural and economic ties with the Six Counties provide yet more reasons for the SNP to avoid the republican label. SNP pragmatism again, for the party won’t win over Rangers fans by calling themselves republican.

    In Scotland it’s a non-issue, but Leanne Wood and her cohorts would rather have a debate that’s best not had.

    • Personally, I find history a critical pillar of national identity, and — as a Welsh person — one can only swallow a house of Windsor monarchy by taking a large draught of historical amnesia. The English monarchs are of course the lineal successors of Edward Longshanks who made us foreigners in our own country, a condition we continue to endure in many respects to the present day.

  19. Anarchist and Welsh Nash

    I also have no time for Royalism. As someone else has said, it’s an integral part of the zombie British state which keeps people in a state of virtual subject captivity.

    But, it’s hard for Plaid to make any headway with opposing the monarchy at this stage because of various factors.

    I wonder though could the new soon to be launched national party, take a more assertive and daring approach here?

    Its very newness can allow it to say things that other parties can’t. And get a fair hearing from the public as they won’t be tainted by all the mistakes of the past.

    Why don’t the new party say that they would seek to end the monarchy in Wales once the present Queen passes away?

    It could respect the fact that we have to factor in a lot of public sympathy for an elderly, quite dignified lady, who has had a lot of family problems over the years.

    But, it could also at the same time appeal to those who look forward to a Welsh future where we can be free of the monarchy at last .

    A mix of pragmatism and vision.

  20. E.R.II remains the Queen of 16 realms, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Wanting to be ‘free’ of the monarchy just seems a pointless waste of effort as it is clear a country can be 100% free and self governing even if the Queen is still, officially. reigning there.
    I don’t need a monarchy but a lot of people still seem to like feeling ‘ruled’ even though they are actually governed from Westminster. Let them keep their royal comfort blanket.Why pick a fight about something irrelevant?

    • Personally, I think it is an issue that is fundamental to our national identity for the reasons I have set our in earlier comments. However, I am happy to join the near universal consensus that this is not an issue for now because it is completely outside the control of the Welsh electorate until we are a true self-governing democracy. i.e. independent

  21. Gwylon Phillips

    Republianism is not Plaid policy. To most Cymry Royalty is as irrevelant as the Monarchy itself.

    • jim Humphrys

      True Gwylon, but last year I had to frame a photo of the queen and hang it by my mom’s front door!
      My brothers chortled, but I didn’t mind. They both came through the war, my mom was Land Army in Betws Y Coed
      and Elizabeth did her bit. She has been a pretty good queen.
      Though now, some English folk are thinking she could be Elizabeth the Last . Let’s leave it alone.

  22. Habib Steele

    I’m a member of the Scottish National Party, a republican, and I’m living in Wales. As far as Scotland is concerned, the issue of monarchy or republic can be dealt with after independence. What matters is that we choose, and England does not choose for us. Only by independence can we have a choice. Independence is the most important thing right now. I suggest that this is also true for Wales. Let the people of Wales decide if they want a monarchy or a republic. Only after independence can the people of Wales decide. Before independence, the people of England decide for you, and you have no choice.

  23. CambroUiDunlainge

    This is going to be a long one.

    Welsh nationalism is a constantly evolving beast. But its roots are still in the original fight started by Aberffraw and Dinefwr in the 1100’s. We still have later Owain Glyndwr and his flag – the ultimate symbol of Anglo-Welsh identity – we can work as hard as we can but we will still only be Welsh over the dyke. Then and today. Has so many meanings. But why has Republicanism surged? That same unfairness – Wales in poverty. The difference then and now? Aberffraw and Dinefwr… whatever is left is as lost as the rest of our identity. Monarchy wasn’t based on father to son hereditary law back then… you need to inspire faith or your followers would desert you. Gruffydd ap Rhys ap Tewdwr had this problem when returning from Ireland. The older Lords were reluctant to join him. Owain struggled to gain support from some corners too. Then when the Tudors gained power they were able to offer those Lords more and Dinefwr joined Aberffraw in irrelevance. The beginning of the end followed. Welsh nationalism evolved without part of its own soul and the surge under the foot on Imperial England saw an uncontrolled lashing out.

    Now… Prince George and his ancestry. Yeah.. no. Doesn’t count. Half of West and North Wales are related in the same way from Rhys ap Gruffydd or Owain Gwynedd (or both through the former). But there’s the small case of Welsh succession law… and when that was twisted in the past it led to some pretty brutal in fighting. We all share blood at some point – Charlemagne is supposedly related to most of modern Europe. Nonsense point. Especially considering the fact that both Dinefwr and Aberffraw still exist in the modern. Ultimately its not about blood – never was. It was that individual who could inspire belief – and there were many, many people to choose from.

    But lets go into the bigger picture: The English Monarchy is one of the state apparatus that keeps us within the UK. Even if we were to become a Republic that link must be broken in the mind of the average Welsh citizen – otherwise it’ll just remain a shared part of identity with England. Unionism will not die when we become an Independent nation and those shared values we have failed to severe through ideological blindness. We could end up with a Unionist party in power, with pro-Union lobbyists and be in the same situation as many south american nations are in relation to the USA: puppet states. Or worse we could end up back in the Union – and that would be the end. For good. The value of our own monarch – above our politic divides, representing our identity will be far harder to remove than feeling that every election could be the one which sees us back where we started. People will not vote to remove part of their identity.

    I believe Wales as a sovereign nation should be out of the hands of politicians post-Independence. I believe the English Monarchy works for England – it does not work for us. But a Welsh one along the same lines would certainly work for us – especially considering the struggles we have with divides in our identity and ideological beliefs. We just need something Welsh to unite us. Nothing more, nothing less. What better option is there?

  24. I’ve been pondering this issue for a few years now. Yes, Plaid Cymru’s republican stance is yet more evidence of their distance from ordinary Welsh people and almost certainly a deliberate choice to keep them in the comfortable position of avoiding taking power in Wales, clearly preferring to remain in perpetual opposition.

    In contrast, Welsh nationalists in earlier decades, including, possibly, Saunders Lewis, were in favour of restoring the House of Aberffraw (currently represented by the Anwyl family of Tywyn) to give Wales a native Prince of Wales and more importantly to use a home-grown constitutional monarchy as a protection against re-annexation by a future Westminster government. Estonia tried to do exactly that by inviting Prince Andrew (or was it Prince Edward?) to become their king shortly after they gained independence from the Soviet Union, as a constitutional bulwark against Soviet re-occupation, by showing that they were now well and truly in the Western European camp.

    It’s hardly a burning issue, but it’s one that a future pro-independence party may well have to consider at some point in the future, and would have every chance of being well-received by this monarchy-loving Welsh majority that Abraham Somers Cocks claims exists. He’s probably right that fawning over a president has little appeal this side of Offa’s Dyke. Very well – Wales can choose our own prince. They’ll love all that.

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      I don’t think it was Aberffraw. Not sure if people were widely aware of the Anwyl family then – though there are supposedly other branches. Gwynfor Evans suggested the Rice family of Dynevor or a member of the Windsors. Heard that about Estonia before.

      I think if we were to choose to have a home grown monarchy any future English investiture should be the point we assert it though. While still part of the UK.

      • The Anwyls have the legitimate claim, but it’s ‘third cousin twice removed’ stuff – no direct descendents. Good enough, though, for the purposes of meeting the requirements of Cocks’s Welsh monarchist hordes.

        They can choose Max Boyce if it will strengthen the cause of Welsh independence.

        • CambroUiDunlainge

          Anwyls are descendants of Rhodri don’t think they need to be related to Llywelyn in any direct directional sense… though so much intermarrying they could be through the female line I suppose. When Rhys ab Owain of Deheubarth died some time earlier it was his second cousin who rose in his place – Rhys ap Tewdwr. A supposed brother of Rhys ab Owain, named Meredudd tried to claim the throne some time later (he probably reached 28 years of age) and failed. Succession wasn’t a certainty by birth.

          What do we learn from that? Too many Rhys’s and Owains!

  25. Clwyd Davies

    I agree with Abraham. I’m a Plaid member and a republican, I have nothing against the Royals, I quite like Charles he’s a bit of an old hippy but so am I. I never have or will ever support an undemocratic monarchy that’s based on privilege, class and blood lines.

    But many people do like the monarchy system. I attend the local Plaid branch meeting, and sometimes this subject pops up and I’m quite surprised how many members are monarchists.

    So yes, need to ditch republicanism if Plaid are to appeal to a broader section of society.

  26. Steve Collings

    This is a great comments section. We need so much more discussion of the nature of independence and strategies for getting there rather than pretending we are already in the middle of a yes/no style referendum. The route of the Irish free state, Canada, dominion status, home rule, federation; the important thing is to bring home enough powers so that we can really start to make decisions for ourselves and redevelope our own economy. And the only way to get there is to create a Plaid Cymru government first. Its easy to forget that the SNP formed its first government by talking about social and economic issues and gained wider support for its indy platform from there, not the other way around.

    • Daniel Cavanagh

      I think Plaid have actually now recognised how the SNP have been so successful and are attempting to copy it. They don’t speak much about independence. It’s more social and economic issues, as you say

  27. Graham John Hathaway

    A union has the storms and rains, the hidden sun, the moon has fled and the stars like lead. I view them not, nor the raging rivers, for in our baptism, to the regal horses, lie one unpalatable truth that indoctrination is an indelible ethos, like a stick of rock, an invisible monument , a lighthouse, visible night and day.

    You cannot miss it or avoid it. It barks like a dog at night, as silent as the grave in Spring. Perpetual and ordained.

    Be aware of the ides of March. And Julius Caesar. No heads to roll please , let’s settle our debts first and cry Ceasar.

  28. Gareth Rogers

    Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf had one daughter who spent her whole life imprisoned. It is highly unlikely that George or any other living member of the royal family is descended from him. Edward deliberately made sure he had no descendants who could succeed him.

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      Llywelyn Fawr had a daughter Gwaldus Ddu who married one Roger de Mortimer – the Mortimers eventually became claimants to Richard II’s throne which (Sir Edmund Mortimer of Owain Glyndwr fame was protector of his nephew who had been named as Richard II’s heir – but Henry IV/Bolinbroke took the throne by force) passed into the House of York through Anne Mortimer (I think). Presumably that’s what the writer is referring too. None the less irrelevant to any kind of claim there – no more or less than half of North Wales.

      • Gareth Rogers

        But Llywelyn Fawr != Llywelyn Ein Llyw Olaf.

        No doubt most welsh speakers in the north of Wales can trace their ancestry back to Owain Gwynedd – but not Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, which was the claim in the article.

        • CambroUiDunlainge

          Indeed bit of an oversight of the writer. I don’t think they necessarily need be Welsh speakers either – lots of families moved out of the rural Wales during industrialisation. You’d be surprised at how far removed people can become from their roots and identity.

  29. Tim Richards

    When the thrust of this article is that Plaid Cymru will only make headway amongst the bulk of voters in Wales if they drop their opposition to the monarchy I have to ask where is the evidence for this argument? I remember when Plaid Cymru did not even mention the Monarchy and when some Plaid Cymru Councillors welcomed the Queen on visits and it did not lead to a surge of support for Plaid Cymru – far from it. It just left many voters wondering what the point of Plaid Cymru was – so can the author of this article explain what the point of Plaid Cymru is? If it is just to win votes then so what? More to the point, I can speak from experience as a Welsh republican for decades, that in fact the trend is TOWARDS republicanism. The author does not appear to understand that the essence of English rule over Wales has, throughout our colonised history, required that we bow down to an English monarch and accept a “Prince of Wales” who is actually their Prince for Wales.

  30. Dafydd Williams

    The entire article is based on a false premise. Why not campaign for independence instead of indulging in sectarian politics?

  31. I am appreciate the hard work to write an article….but seriously….this is non-news.

    Plaid Cymru are not losing many votes because they are not that fond of the English monarchy.

    They mainly lose votes to the “They will never win, its a wasted vote” grouping…the “I do not trust left politics ” brigade…or the “no time for worrying about Welshness” cultural cringe brigade

    • Gwir y gair. That’s why there’s a need for a re-boot, with the focus on independence and what’s best for Cymru and it’s people. Not vacuous arguments about royalty.

      We need to convince everyone that living in an independent sovereign country benefits everyone, on every level. We can burn effigies later!

      • CambroUiDunlainge

        Got to polarise Welshness and Englishness first. Cannot do it ideologically. I think its all pretty intertwined with monarchy and defiance of it… and that one “occasion” and how we approach and deal with it – especially considering it’ll be on the global stage. Or maybe I’m just a romantic about it. 🙂

  32. here’s the question. would ditching republicanism gain Plaid more votes? Probably not. I don’t think Plaids lack of appeal to many voters can be attributed to its republicanism standpoint.

    • Plaid’s lack of appeal at present, and for some years, is its pathetic image – a kind of wetness that’s nothing to do with that tired old left-right dichotomy but more to do with taking up “Causes” and “Issues” that are mostly passing fashions or in some other way remote from the grim reality of the lives of so many people here in Wales. It’s a strange wetness because it often chucks up a burst of faux militancy which then fizzles out as the “thought leaders” shift on to the next big thing.

      One day Royalty/Monarchy will once again become flavour of the month but don’t bet on anyone making a meaningful stand on the issue, just a bit of hot air from some people while other veterans of the “struggle” will find the flexibility of stance to climb on board the Charabanc and head to Caernarvon for a good day’s schmoozing with other sycophants and their betters.

  33. If mrs Windsor really wants to make an impression on me, a follower of human rights, she should return y croes naid to us. it was nicked by edward 1.

    If one agrees with the statement that all people are equal – first statement in the united nations charter on universal human rights – and if you don’t i assume you ar akin to a nazi, one would resign the job of ”monarch”.

    In hungary’s quest for national survival, they tolerated the habsburg ‘royal infrastructure’ as a means to further national self-rule, and ultimately full independence.

    Monarchies in Scandinavia and holland are qualitatively different to the excressence of empire that is the english house of windsor.

  34. T N D Anderson

    As one small part of the struggle for Welsh independence, we must assert our right to choose our own Head of State. Whether we might also be a monarchy is for a later debate. I know where I stand – viva la republica!

  35. Tame Frontiersman

    The issue of monarchy v republicanism is a something that independence minded politicians would be advised to leave well alone. The very nature of monarchy is its direct appeals to the populace over the heads of the politicians. The Anglo-Scottish monarchy will eventually either wind itself up because the heir doesn’t want the job or doesn’t want it for the children or because the title holder will disgrace him or herself unrecoverably in some way in the eyes of the public (Remember how quickly public opinion turned against the monarchy after the death of Diana) or the public just get bored and the royal family slip down the list of fav celebrities..

    Start a debate and what you will get is yet another polarised, binary, emotionally charged, angry shouting match in which once someone has taken a position, no amount of argument will shift him or her. It’ll be on-going distraction from issues with a direct impact on people’s lives.

    Equating independence with ditching the monarchy is likely to prove more harmful than beneficial to the independence cause because it means there are not one but two status quos to be simultaneously overturned in a society many argue is more conservative than revolutionary in spirit

    If challenged a pro-independence politician should simply reply: Wales will become independent as a Commonwealth Realm like Australia, Canada etc. If pressed further: the head of state issue is a debate for another day,

    I do question the wisdom of Carles Puigdemont in declaring a Catalan Republic. Had he perhaps led a charm offensive against the Spanish King Filipe VI, might he have won independence for Catalonia under the Bourbon Monarchy? Was it not courageous of Michael Collins to compromise on the Irish Republic in 1921/22 and accept George V as King? –something that led to Collins’ assassination in August 1922, but allowed for the creation of the Republic of Ireland by 1949

    Focus on the goal; think about the path(s) of least resistance to independence. On the question of head of state: pragmatism over idealism; biting of tongues if necessary; heads over hearts.

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