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