Support our Nation today - please donate here

Labour has ‘dismissed independence as about separatism’ for too long says minister

23 Nov 2020 2 minute read
Lee Waters. Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

A Welsh Government minister has said that Labour has dismissed independence supporters as “separatists” for too long.

Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, made the comments on the Hiraeth podcast, where he challenged his party to engage with the issue.

Mr Waters, the Member of the Senedd for Llanelli, said: “I think there’s a real challenge for the Labour Party to properly engage with this, and for too long that too many people in the party have dismissed independence as about separatism, as if this kind of gets you off the hook from intellectual engagement with the issue.

“You just call them separatists and therefore suddenly you’re off the hook from engaging with the issues and I just think that won’t wash anymore.”

The First Minister, Mark Drakeford has previously dismissed nationalism as an “inherently right-wing creed” that is incompatible with socialism.

A YouGov poll commissioned by grassroots pro-independence group YesCymru has put support for independence at 33 per cent. The figure stood at 22 per cent in early December 2019.

Another YouGov poll suggested 51 per cent of those who voted Labour in the 2019 General election would vote for Welsh independence.



Lee Waters also lamented the way that Wales is covered in the UK media in the wide-ranging discussion on the podcast.

He said: “I think we’ve seen a couple of examples during the pandemic where there’s been some real shockers. I think what we’re getting now is far more name checking, so some editors make sure there’s a distinction between England and the rest is more clearly labelled.

“But what will tend to happen instead, they’ll say in England and this announcements been happening, without then curiously asking well what about the rest of the UK.

“So I think there’s a huge long way to go culturally for us to accept what a quasi-federal system looks like and the role that the media has to make sure the electorate is informed, and the move towards clickbait and analytics led journalism as they call it, works against that.”

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.