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Welsh independence has gone from ‘joke’ to ‘part of mainstream political debate’ says Huw Edwards

18 Oct 2022 3 minute read
Left, Welsh independence march. Right, Huw Edwards

The cause of Welsh independence has gone from a “joke” to “part of the mainstream political debate” according to broadcaster Huw Edwards.

Speaking during his new documentary Wales: Who Do We Think We Are? shown on the BBC, Huw Edwards said that the number of people who backed Welsh independence had “risen sharply” since the Brexit vote in 2016.

He added however that he needed to sound a “note of caution” as it was clear that support for Welsh independence was far from the majority.

Filming at the independence march in Wrexham in July, he said: “You know, it’s quite easy to get swept up. With all the applause and the enthusiasm, people get swept along with all of that.

“I think it’s fair to inject a note of caution though. Because as things stand, there is clearly no majority for independence in Wales.

“But support is growing. And what I can say after 35 years of reporting on these things is that when I started the notion of independence in Wales was a joke. Or today, it’s very much part of the mainstream political debate, and that’s why this crowd is here today.”


During the show, Huw Edwards also asks whether Wales is on the “long march towards independence” or whether that is a “load of piffle”.

“Since the Brexit vote, the number of people in Wales who identify as ‘strongly Welsh’ has risen sharply,” he says.

“The number of people who say they would back an independent Wales has risen sharply. It could be as high as 25 and 30%, so there’s a lot of energy in this debate.

“It’s got a long way to go. But I sense that the dynamic is growing.”

Huw Edwards said that a decade after his history series The Story of Wales was first broadcast “it was right to take stock and see how a turbulent decade had changed things”.

“What did the tour of Wales teach me?” he asked in an article for the BBC. “In all honesty, the journey was both uplifting and unsettling. It gave me hope and worried me at the same time.

“But there was one binding thread. Many of the people I met pointed to decisions taken by the Welsh government when talking about their own sense of identity.

“Culture and sport, I think it is safe to say, have been joined by a third dimension when it comes to the defining characteristics of Welsh identity.

“It does not mean that you have to believe in a Welsh government to have a complete sense of Welshness.

“Not at all. But the identification of Wales and Welshness has expanded beyond rugby, choirs, the Welsh language and castles. It now includes a political dimension, whether you support that model or not.”

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Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
Y Tywysog Lloegr a Moscow
1 year ago

And this from the “strongly Unionist” but “proudly Welsh” Huw Edwards

Geoffrey ap.
Geoffrey ap.
1 year ago

I think Huw has made a poor choice of words, independence was never a joke. The election of Gwynfor Evans, followed by the by-election in Caerffili and Merthyr, sent shock waves of fear around the British political establishment. MAG and Mebion Glyndwr chose a different path, but none of this was a joke. It was always a minority movement, the entrenched labour party all in safe seats were happy for Cymru to remain in its place at the bottom of the pile, the Tories always content to play at being the leaders of empire, while a serious movement was taking… Read more »

Malcolm rj
Malcolm rj
1 year ago

If you want to be independent you only have to teach true Welsh history in school’s To the Welsh school children we would soon be a free country

1 year ago

The increased support for an independent Wales that has taken place and will probably continue, is due to the growing strength of feeling amongst the people that they have been getting a raw deal from UK central government for many years. Wales was a major contributor to the wealth and prosperity of the UK through its natural resources and industry throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. Since the decline of that industrial base UK central government has done little for Wales allowing it to fall well behind in terms of economic prosperity. The situation has been exacerbated in the last… Read more »

DAI Ponty
DAI Ponty
1 year ago
Reply to  Ceramike

The best recruitment has been a tory government for Welsh independence

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