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Wales must ‘have things in order’ if Scotland leaves the UK says former YesCymru chair

12 Sep 2021 2 minutes Read
Siôn Jobbins at the YesCymru march in Cardiff in 2019.

One of the founders of YesCymru has said they must put egos aside and ensure Wales “has things in order” if Scotland leaves the UK

Siôn Jobbins, who stood down as YesCymru chairman in July, told Radio Cymru “We must work together and ensure that independence for Wales is top priority.”

Mr Jobbins’ comments came after the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said this week she would try to secure a referendum on independence in Scotland before the end of 2023.

“We in Wales need to have things in order by then,” Mr Jobbins said.

“The starting gun has fired. Whatever our opinion about independence, I don’t think a lot of people want to be in a United Kingdom that has no Scotland, and I think Northern Ireland won’t stand around too long either.

“Hiding behind a sofa hoping that Westminster will give us cookies is naïve.”

Fight

Launched in 2016, the YesCymru group membership rapidly rose to 18,000 with pre-pandemic rallies in Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil and Caernarfon attracting thousands of people.

The former chairman Mr Jobbins told Radio Cymru he believed the sudden growth of the organisation was primarily responsible for the difficulties, which saw bitter online arguments about YesCymru’s leadership and direction

“The organisation grew very quickly but had no structures to deal with that growth – they are now in place, and we need to strengthen our systems,” he said.

“There is a need to look at staffing and ensure that day-to-day work is done by people who are paid. The Central Committee cannot discuss all decisions on Twitter, or nothing will be decided.”

In July, the organisation published an anti-harassment statement stating it was “aware of the targeted harassment of YesCymru central committee members and YesCymru staff”.

By mid-August the entire leadership committee resigned, citing harassment “beyond social media posts” which had “taken an incredible toll on mental wellbeing and can no longer be tolerated”.

It has now called an extraordinary meeting to write a new constitution and elect a new leadership team.

Mr Jobbins said he would not be looking to chair the movement again but would be “back to fight” for independence.

“A fight is going to come, and people will have to roll up their sleeves,” he added.

“YesCymru’s message is more important now than ever.”

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John Rogers
John Rogers
9 days ago

The whole of the central committee resigned because of harassment which took a toll on them mentally and physically. If they get this stressed now, what makes them think they have the backbone to govern a country ?!

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 days ago
Reply to  John Rogers

To lead and make a mess of a shouty movement which is full of rifts and petty divisions does little to prepare anyone for the tasks of leading a country through its independence processes.

Philip Jones
Philip Jones
9 days ago
Reply to  John Rogers

This is not true. The Undod/Momentum infiltraters drove out the sensible members of the Committee, took advantage of their positions to create havoc and indulge their particular beliefs which were nothing to do with independence. When their behaviour became known to ordinary members they were questioned and then resigned in a fit of pique, one of them even tweeting that she wanted to burn YesCymru to the ground.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
9 days ago

I agree, it’s now only a matter of time before Scotland leaves the Union we must get our act together before it does. Procedures must be in place that will allow us to have a vote as soon as they do. However, I’d rather we just gained independence first !

Vaughan
Vaughan
9 days ago
Reply to  Steve Duggan

“Only a matter of time”
You sound so confident!
Rumours of the death of the Union may turn out to be greatly exaggerated.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
9 days ago
Reply to  Vaughan

You need to believe in the cause if it is to succeed and there is no reason why it shouldn’t succeed. It also fills me with excitement that as a country we can make ourselves prosperous and drag the two thirds of our children, who are in poverty, out if it – that is the aim. It’s not so much ‘we can’ do it as ‘we will’ do it !

Hannergylch
Hannergylch
9 days ago
Reply to  Vaughan

In the 2014 referendum, 55% of Scottish voters ticked the box that let them stay as Europeans. If they’re still pro-Europe next time they have a referendum, they’ll need to tick the other box to start the process of getting their European citizenship back. The tables have turned!

Anyway, hasn’t the Union already died and been replaced with a weird cult?🤔

Vaughan
Vaughan
8 days ago
Reply to  Hannergylch

Dream on.
The latest polls is at 51% and that’s the highest it’s been for a while.
The Brexit referendum was in 2016.

Hannergylch
Hannergylch
8 days ago
Reply to  Vaughan

I was referring to the 2014 referendum, in which the “No” vote kept Scotland in the EU.

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
9 days ago

Fundamental to the success of the independence movement is developing a culture of tolerance, politeness, respect and generosity. The reality is that we are a nation of diverse opinions, identities and values.

We need to be able to focus on what unites us – the desire and confidence to take responsibility for shaping our own future, rather than moaning about Westminster rule whilst placidly accepting it.

Katy Fowler
Katy Fowler
9 days ago

An excellent and effective tool for focusing on our unity and making collective decisions are Citizens Assemblies and Citizens Juries. I hope Welsh Government put into practice the suggestions from the first Welsh Citizens Assembly held in Newtown in 2019. It would be a very powerful boost to democracy.

Andrea James
Andrea James
9 days ago

Though perhaps it’s also about accepting our incredible differences and experiences, as any society does, and seeing past it as a means to get independence over the line before England does try (and it will give it a go!) to rip the p**s out of us. What I didn’t like during the slog of Welsh election crap was the feeling of having to be civil to pricks who co-opted the independence movement because they were threatened by the genuine cultural transformation that could come from it, as racist and right-wing. Nationalism on its own is NOT fascism (especially Welsh nationalism!).… Read more »

hdavies15
hdavies15
9 days ago
Reply to  Andrea James

The big problem is how do you define “racists and fascists ” ? Do you use the commonly established determinants or does that term embrace anyone who doesn’t happen to share your world view ? Serious question because those terms, and others, have become devalued by glib overuse among people whose vocabularies seem stunted.

j humphrys
j humphrys
9 days ago

We shall have to wait until the national YES meeting, and voting-in of reps first.
Also, Labour may also have some suprises in store for us. Autumn may get quite hot.

Gill
Gill
9 days ago

Unfortunately some CC members without portfolio were harassing people on social media, stirring up their acolytes to do the same; conspiring to bully the only BAME member; uninterested in transparency,; no financial accountability on individuals’ vanity projects, see Most embarrassing video of the year; unnecesarily weaponising the trans issue when Yes Cymru is open and welcoming to all: not interested in fair play for disabilities; uninterested in democracy and threatened legal action against groups who exercised their democratic rights, when they raised concerns. And screamed and called members bigots and fascists when they lost the vote of no confidence. The… Read more »

Grayham Jones
9 days ago

Very true it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 A Free Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 the people in wales must stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh get the young people in your town’s out voting for new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Shan Morgain
9 days ago

There needs to be a brief training in courteous but forceful debate. It is not a natural skill and it’s inadequate to pick up bits and pieces. The main points can be summarised on postcard sized reminders so all can refer to them. //// 1) Speak first person as ‘I’ not claiming universal opinion. //// 2) Attack an idea or act, not a person. An idea or act can be [insert negative eg stupid] a whole person is not. //// 3) Use evidence, saying where your facts come from. (Ask for this too) //// 4) Swearing dirties what you say.… Read more »

Shan Morgain
9 days ago
Reply to  Shan Morgain

That was merely meant as an example.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
9 days ago

I totally echo YesCymru sentiments regarding Wales must prepare for when Scotland becomes independent in 2023. It’s going to happen. Currently we live under a Tory idiocracy. And due to our flawed Welsh devolution, can only protect Wales to a limited extent from Tory hostile interference in our affairs.. Cynically the Conservatives are using Covid-19 to mask their chaotic misrule. Not to mention the worst of Brexit is yet to kick in. And It’s said that due an ineffective Labour party led by Keir Starmer, the Tories will win the next UK election with ease thanks to the English block… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
9 days ago

That Siôn felt the need to stand down as YC Chair and close his twitter account is a sad indicator of just how toxic things became in welsh indy circles during the summer ☹️. We all need to remember that divisions between us only serve the interests of the opponents of welsh indy. So far as the welsh indy movement goes it really is a case of ‘united we stand divided we fall’.

Arwyn
9 days ago

I’ve come to the conclusion that YesCymru and Lab4IndyWales are distractions. Imagine if all the activism and pro indy votes associated with those two were done on behalf of Plaid Cymru. Lab4IndyWales claimed they’d conducted polls showing 50% of their voters supported independence. If they all voted Plaid Cymru we’d have a pro independence government at the Senedd right now. Voting Labour is a waste of time. In all seriousness, progressives in favour of Welsh independence should put their efforts behind winning Plaid Cymru majorities in the Senedd and of the Welsh MP’s. That will set us on our way.… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Arwyn
Duncan Brown
Duncan Brown
9 days ago

“We must work together and ensure that independence for Wales is top priority.” Sadly and reluctantly I must beg to differ… SECOND PRIORITY – the Climate Crisis has to be First. What use an Independent anything on a dying and degraded planet?

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
9 days ago
Reply to  Duncan Brown

“We must work together and ensure that independence for Wales is top priority.”….Siôn was referring to the independence movement Duncan – stands to reason a independence movement’s top priority should be…er….independence. Furthermore Welsh indy and battling climate change are not mutally exclusive, indeed many of us in the welsh indy movement do both.

hdavies15
hdavies15
8 days ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

The obvious well stated there Leigh. Climate crisis is too often used as a distraction with little real sincerity. See all these “thought leaders” jetting around as though their mode of transport is blessed with some clever carbon neutral widget. Then we have odd lifestyles where a cow farting in West Wales is taboo yet vegan foods are fetched in from the far flung extremities. We can go green and far more carbon neutral by localising our food chains and the supplies of other goods and services are far as possible, and cut out fads that are heavy in supply… Read more »

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