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Academics ask: ‘How much longer can Wales afford not to be independent?’

25 Oct 2021 3 minutes Read
Money on a Welsh dragon

A pair of academics have taken aim at the suggestion that Wales is “too small” and “too poor” to be independent.

Dr Edward Jones and Dr Brian Jones both of Bangor University, argued that Wales need to move away from that “received wisdom” and “abandon” that “narrow view” if the country is to tackle “key problems” facing the economy.

In an article for the IWA think tank they also criticised the “Westminster Government” for its “disrespectful lack of engagement with Wales’ elected leadership”.

They hit out at the UK Internal Market Act, which “over-rides devolved powers” and accused the Conservative government of “deliberately” removing “significant areas of economic control from Cardiff”.

They wrote: “Whether people are already committed to independence or cautiously ‘indy-curious’, any conversation on the subject soon turns to a question posed in many different ways, but ultimately summed up as: ‘Can Wales really afford to be independent?’

“On key indicators, such as productivity, educational attainment, income, material deprivation, health, housing, Wales performs badly.

“A different question might be, ‘How much longer can Wales afford not to be independent?’, if it is to have any real say in its economic destiny.

“In conversation, there appears to be a received wisdom that Wales is ‘too small’ and ‘too poor’ to ‘go it alone’, as an independent country, but it is far from being the smallest or the poorest in Europe. The Baltic states of Lithuania (2.8m), Latvia (1.9m), and Estonia (1.3m) and also Slovenia (2.1m) are all smaller, while Croatia (4.1m) and Ireland (5.0m) are bigger than Wales (3.1m).

“They make interesting comparators as they have all rebuilt their economies since joining the EU, and all are independent states which were formerly subordinate parts of a much larger political entity.”

‘Size of a country’ 

They added: “But what about being ‘too poor’? Does the size of a country influence its economic growth? The existence of a so-called scale effect on economic growth is a recurring question in economics. The fast development of small East Asian economies in the 1970s and 1980s, captured by Schumacher’s phrase “small is beautiful” (1973), fuelled a new branch of literature documenting these economic miracles.

“Again, there is clear evidence that Wales is not ‘too poor’ to be independent. Given the size of its population, it ranks 27th (out of 38) on employment rate, and the Welsh economy, as measured by GDP, in a comparison of GDP with other European countries excluding potential Candidate Countries and Norway, is ranked 23rd (out of 34).

“By allowing ‘too small and too poor’ to become the received wisdom, Wales has lost its way and needs an ambitious economic strategy, if it is to take independence seriously.

“We cannot move on from the key problems facing our economy until we abandon this narrow view of Wales being ‘too small’ and ‘too poor’.”

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Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

It’s obvious that Wales is capable of independence, economically, culturally and strategically just as soon as the most cursory examination of comparable nations is made. One can but wonder why a nation of three million people would swallow the kind of unionist drivel that would have us believe in our own uselessness in order to further the interests of a bigger neighbour country, one that pays off our “leaders’ with a pat on the head and a meaningless title.

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago
Reply to  Quornby

Hundreds of years of propaganda, lack of our history being taught in schools, and continual voting for unionist parties, take time to reverse. Fortunately, the young of our country are no longer blinded by loyalty to “queen and country” as the older generation were, and as eyes are now being opened to the reality, which has always been there, but not seen, the move towards independence moves closer.

HywelE3
HywelE3
1 month ago
Reply to  Quornby

Media, Quornby. The vast majority of Cymry take their everyday information from English newspapers and media sources who have bought up and emasculated our local papers, so there’s no balanced debate about the issues.
We also need to have control of broadcasting in Cymru, to allow output that can again provide the information for balanced debate.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  HywelE3

Are newspapers read by young people?

George Bodley
George Bodley
1 month ago
Reply to  HywelE3

I read the newspapers avidly .It is my one form of continous fiction(Nye Bevan)

Last edited 1 month ago by George Bodley
Meredith Tranter
Meredith Tranter
1 month ago
Reply to  HywelE3

Have you considered that people find Wales only reporting narrow?

You talk about Iceland, San Marino etc. I promise you they don’t consume a continual diet of their own issues.

This website is a brilliant example. Hugely biased clickbait aimed at roughly five or six regular posters being blinkered and bigoted towards England.

Hardly the New Yorker is it?

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
1 month ago

Spot on what haven’t we got in Wales that other countries got?

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
1 month ago

Modern Monetary Theory, aka the magic money tree, and our own fiat currency hold the key to Cymru’s future. Independence is a much better option than England could ever offer us, and easily affordable if we are clever about it. With due respect to the Drs Jones, may I suggest that they turn their attention to Stephanie Kelton’s The Deficit Myth and Richard Murphy’s blog Tax Research UK? The solution is there. As for growth, forget it – the Earth cannot afford conventional economic growth – we need to move first to degrowth and then to steady state (Daly, Czech).… Read more »

David Charles Pearn
David Charles Pearn
1 month ago
Reply to  Neil Anderson

Hear hear 👏👏👏.

Meredith Tranter
Meredith Tranter
1 month ago
Reply to  Neil Anderson

So how would that currency hold the same value as other global ones?

Because that is what would need to happen. If a pound bought three of it, then the country would eke towards bankruptcy.

YesCymru has little to offer in terms of ideas other than selling water and electricity. Little understanding that demand for the latter will increase anyway and that it is generated by global companies and there would be no dream scenario of holding England to hostage over that and water.

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
1 month ago

I anticipate that our currency would be attacked relentlessly (er…following free market logic) by those lovely people, currency traders, from Day 1. For an initial period (1 month, 1 year?), I envisage our currency would be fixed at the value of the pound sterling while shadowing a basket of currencies of our major trading partners. Then once we were confident enough in our own fiscal and monetary management processes, we move to linking it to the basket then allow it to float (a managed float) with periodic adjustments in tune with our changing trading pattern. YesCymru, to my knowledge, does… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

The idea Wales is incapable of being independent is rediculous. The country of Iceland has a mere population of 122,853 and is independent. Also there are micro nations in Europe such as San Marino. Lichtenstein and Andorra who are geographically smaller than Wales ,whose populations combined are less than the City of Swansea happily survive as independent states. So the idea Wales with its wealth of resources and population of 3 million is too weak to survive on our own is lie peddled by British Unionists with a vested interest not only in our resources but maintaining the status quo… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Y Cymro
Richardo Harrez
Richardo Harrez
1 month ago

As the great home economist and gender theorist Judith Butler advocates, we should act “performativly”. As if we were actually already a world leader in technology, finance and academia. We would soon find ourselves accepted at our word. So “self declare” individually as Independent and as personal centres of excellence. Do not wait for Constitutional niceties and public consent. Onwards.

Meredith Tranter
Meredith Tranter
1 month ago

Surely acting as if :  we were a world leader in technology and finance

Would entail being one?

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
1 month ago

I’ve given my presentation on ‘Independence and Currency’ once so far, but I’m hoping for other opportunities anywhere in Cymru.

Rhisiart
Rhisiart
1 month ago

With the UK Labour party wanting to allow more English people live in Cymru to have their tax contribution if tax was deolved. Putting areas of the Welsh speaking heartlands the housing stock as second holiday homes, forcing the young people of those areas out of Wales to look for jobs in England. Ethnic cleansing can be performed it seems with out killing them but destroying a Language, culture to grab the Democratic powers to aid them in this distruction of the first nation peoples is a crime against humanity.

j humphrys
j humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhisiart

Thank God a growing number in the Welsh Labour party are coming over. Don’t give up!

Meredith Tranter
Meredith Tranter
1 month ago
Reply to  Rhisiart

With the UK Labour party wanting to allow more English people live in Cymru

Is that an avowed policy then I am yet to see it debated in parliament?

What defines a “first nation people” because if the UK government is committing genocide then the UN needs to know.

Dafydd ap Robart
Dafydd ap Robart
1 month ago

Os nad hil-laddiad, yna rhowch gynnig ar hyn.

https://www.wordsense.eu/culturicide/

Andrew
Andrew
1 month ago

On average, every 6 days a country somewhere in the world celebrates it’s independence from our empire. Let the empire end where it started, with the Cymru cutting off it’s shackles.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

I’ve read many articles, blogs and books on how we can achieve independence as a small nation. Nothing the Unionists can say will stop me believing we can and will be successful. Don’t get me wrong it won’t be easy but we will be in charge – not some uncaring lot 150miles away. However, Ultimately I believe it will be the emotions and belief in ourselves that will eventually see us gain independenence, rather than whether we can do it economically or not.

R W
R W
1 month ago

Thank goodness more and more people are realizing that Wales is neither too small nor too poor to be independent. We will no longer fall for these lies that are constantly peddled by Unionists.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

Not quite sure what independence is – from whom
– and how you achieve it – but self determination and a connunity empowement that engages all of society to deliver for the many is certainly needed…asp

Grayham Jones
1 month ago

It’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 kick all English party’s out of wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 we in wales have got to stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh

Dafydd
Dafydd
1 month ago

In the world of the future small is best – a small country like Cymru, relatively sparsly populated with many natural resources, resources that are about to be highly sort after (water and electricity in particular) needs to get out from under the peticoats of the agining aunt Britannia as soon as possible – otherwise were doomed to share in her slowly decling health until we too are as sick and decrepid as she..

Meredith Tranter
Meredith Tranter
1 month ago
Reply to  Dafydd

Shame English companies own the reservoirs and germans own the power stations, isn’t it?

Pitman Roger
Pitman Roger
1 month ago

Western Power own reservoirs aka Philadelphia Power and Light Company.

Neil Anderson
Neil Anderson
1 month ago

Nothing that nationalisation cannot fix, Meredith!

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