5 good things about Brexit for Wales
There’s no denying that Brexit is going to be very tough for Wales. At present 68% of the exports made by Welsh workers go to EU member countries outside the UK.
Some of Wales’ biggest industries could also lose out. Manufacturing and tourism will suffer, as so will our universities which contribute over a billion to Wales’ economy.
Agriculture will also inevitably be hit. Subsidies from the EU are worth about 80% of Welsh farmers’ incomes.
But we shouldn’t just focus on the negatives. It’s clear now that we are leaving the EU, and we need to make the best of a bad situation.
Every cloud has a silver lining, so here are five good things about Brexit for Wales.
1. We can avoid the United States of Europe
You may be pro or anti-Brexit but the call by Martin Schulz for a United States of Europe shows that, in the long run, we may have had a lucky escape.
Germany’s Social Democrat leader wants Europe to become one united nation-state and says that any country that doesn’t agree should be kicked out.
You could argue that such integration would have been impossible had the UK remained a member.
However, there are many who have long suspected that a United States of Europe was the end goal.
There’s nothing to suggest Wales would be better off on the periphery of a USE than in the UK. In fact, it could be even worse, with a government even more centralised, distant and neglectful than it is now.
And with the EU turning a blind eye to the government crackdown on democracy in Catalonia, the new USE doesn’t look like a promising environment for stateless nations.
If Wales does vote for independence in the future, we could always sign up for a Norway style deal which would allow us to keep control over our own government and retain our nationhood.
2. Brexit will shake Welsh politics to its core
Before Brexit Welsh politics has been stagnant for years, with a lack of clear vision about what to do with devolution and no real incentive to take risks.
Brexit will hit Wales’ economy and society like a wrecking ball. One way or another, it will force our elected politicians to take drastic action.
More than two-thirds of people in Wales have said that they aren’t willing to lose any money as a result of Brexit. So when the economy does inevitably take a hit they will want answers.
Radical solutions will be needed and politicians without the vision or capacity to deliver them will soon find themselves in the firing line.
And when people see that the post-Brexit restructuring favours the south east of England, many will realise that it was Westminster neglecting Wales all along.
3. Wales has had enough of the status quo
Say what you like about Brexit but it was proof that Wales is willing to take a risk and vote against the status quo when it feels the need to.
Rightly or wrongly, and in the face or dire economic predictions, that took courage.
Brexit was a sucker punch aimed not just at the EU establishment but the Westminster establishment as well.
A lot has been written about how undemocratic the EU is and how it isn’t working in Wales’ best interest.
But Westminster is the EU on steroids. We have a completely unelected House of Lords, and a Government clinging on without a majority under an archaic voting system.
And the less said about their continued neglect of Wales, the better for them.
If the people of Wales were willing to vote for democracy and fairness in one referendum, they will vote to take control of their own future in their own country, as well.
4. The ‘too small, too poor, too stupid’ argument is gone forever
The UK Government has always sought to undermine Welsh aspirations for further autonomy by arguing that we don’t have what it takes it govern ourselves.
Wales’ economy isn’t self-sustaining, its people aren’t clever enough compared to the Eton-educated upper class at the heart of Westminster, and the country isn’t big enough.
Post-Brexit however and it’s suddenly the UK that looks like a hermit kingdom, small and isolated on the world stage, and drowning in debt.
And as for a lack of intelligence, you just have to look at the bungled handling of Brexit for proof that despite their cut-glass accents the Tories aren’t any better endowed in the brain department.
Being brought up to think you’re born to rule doesn’t necessarily make you any better at it than anyone else.
Wales is surrounded by smaller, independent countries which are much wealthier than Wales per head, such as Ireland, Iceland, and Luxembourg.
They are proof that in the digital age a small economy is a flexible one and that smaller countries such as Wales have what it takes to make a success of governing themselves.
5. The EU bogeyman can be blamed no more
I have a sneaking suspicion that the supposedly Eurosceptic UK Establishment didn’t really want us to leave the EU all along.
After all, without immigration and Brussels’ eurocrats, who would they blame for the UK’s ills?
Post-Brexit the onus is suddenly on Westminster to deliver. They can no longer blame uncontrollable immigration or decisions made by others on the continent for what ails us.
It is clear that the people of Wales voted for Brexit in part because they wanted to rid themselves of what the Express and the Daily Mail told them were malign influences.
But once the UK has ‘taken back control’, who will be to blame but those who were actually at fault all along – the UK establishment?
As a result, the public will hold the UK’s elected politicians to account for their own decisions. And perhaps realise that they aren’t working in our best interests after all.
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It’s not at all clear that the present government will survive another month. Labour’s position is “hands off, keep quiet whilst the Tories tear themselves apart”, but what they’d actually do is unknown. As more and more leavers regret their vote, claiming that it’s clear we’re leaving is a bit premature.
15½ months is an age in politics.
Tripe. Thought you might have actual reasons, not old, tired, cliches, and the completely farcical ‘USE’ b******s.
Why isn’t there a byline? Who wrote this rubbish? MARTIN Schultz is a leader of a minority party in Germany. It’s ridiculous to to use his uttering as the will of the EU. You could just as well say Farages opinions are the will of the EU! Cymru will be in a dreadful state if we live the EU. 50% Tarrifs on meat are forecast. Tell that to Welsh farmers. The blame for austerity etc., was never the fault of the Ezu who cushioned Cymru from many of its worst aspects. Austerity and disenfranchisement in poorer areas of Cymru and… Read more »
Indeed, you make the point I was going to on No 1 very well.
Point 3 is just a rehash of point 2
Point 4 gives 3 ‘good roles models’ for Wales; small wealthy countries – and 2 of them are in the EU!
But the writer saves the ‘best’ to last. Point 5 is a real laugh(!!?) Things will get really bad and we’ll only have ourselves to blame…..Oh yeah? How about keeping things good, and learning what the EU actually does…
6. People who have always wondered what squirrel roasted over a burning car tyre tastes like will get the chance to find out.
Seriously, is this the best you can do?
Time to stop reading nation.cymru.
Like reading views I don’t agree with.
This was deluded and irrational.
Had hoped the site would replace Wales@home to some extent.
Wake us up if and when some editorial quality control is introduced.
What a load of demented gibberish.
Centuries of servitude to the Sais have obviously addled your brain.
An United States of Europe would be infinity superior to to the forelock tugging servitude Wales has to England.
The only good thing about Brexit is that those deluded fools who thought it was a good idea will have their farming subsidies and pensions slashed to the bone and. hopefully, will live to regret their stupidity.
Can’t see anything wrong with these comments myself, especially if it upsets the arrogant, self-opinionated, mifi, self-identifying crachach we seem to be saddled with in Cymru. Membership of the EU means the end of independence and self-government and any hope of digging ourselves out of the British Union hole we have been in for the last 1000 years.
The writer of the article was only pointing out potentiality of brexit. And in many cases,has probably hit the nail on the head.allthough I disagree with his/her thoughts on the USE.,my belief in the politics of the EU have been severely dented by their response to events in Catalonia
Mostly. Brexiters complain that the EU gets too much involved in domestic affairs of the UK… But no, you think they don’t get involved enough in the domestic affairs of another member, Spain…. Make your mind up! I’m not sure the Madrid government dealt with the Catalonia situation that well, but its not in the EU’s remit to charge in and take over.
Kind of. But nevertheless the EU does have minimum standards of democracy and human rights that it expects members to uphold. That’s one of the reasons why Turkey has struggled to meet entry criteria. You would imagine that having a constitution that denies the right to self-determination (a fundamental human right according to the UN) and gaoling elected politicians would at least lead to Spain having to explain itself at EU level.
The Government of Catalonia and all Catalan independence parties except for the far-left want to STAY in the EU.
The EU would have let Scotland in. They follow member-state policy. They are not a United States of Europe.
“The EU bogeyman can be blamed no more”
The Tories in London still blame Labour for stuff they did in office almost eight years down the line. Are people naïve enough to think that the same thing will not happen with the EU?
Remainers and leavers (and neutrals) should focus on the main goal of independence for Wales (a goal which ,because of brexit, may one way or the other come sooner than many of us previously dared hope). Once we have that we can then consider what sort of relationship we want to have with Europe and other states, blocks etc.
Points 2, 3 & 5 are all basically the same. Point 1 takes for granted that one might be opposed to a USE out of gut instinct. When I compare the inbred, elitist buffoonery of ‘our’ representatives to the cold, calculating efficiency of the EU, I find that if I am to be ruled over by a foreign government, I’d rather one that can actually govern competently. Point 4 is a bit iffy. I like the idea that staunch unionist. Brexiteers would be open to accusations of hypocrisy were they to ‘talk the country down’ so to speak however those… Read more »
Very good article. If anyone disagrees with it, write another article giving the opposite point of view!
Daiboy, I think the above comments have done that for you! Iawn – Nadolig Llawen, buti!
Great article. An additional point to the ones made here is the fact that Brexit is to all intents and purposes, England’s bid for Independence. You could say that this is the ‘love that dare not speak its name’ for so long- but it is now out in the open at last. This can only be good news for Wales ultimately. Brexit, and the other convulsions going on elsewhere in the EU, show that nations are back to challenge the empty, rootless and souless globalisation project. Wales can now step up to be a full part of this nation reclaiming… Read more »
A Christmas fairy tale surely! Pollyanna in the Best of All Possible Worlds
Oh god. We’re fucked. We’re absolutely, totally, utterly, completely fucked.
Most of the comments here seem to have missed the point of the article and jumped to the defence of the EU, an institution that is regarded with increasing suspicion in the west and has alienated most member countries in the east. So to pretend that it’s a happy ship with a united crew cruising to a glorious future is the real b******s. My understanding of this article was that it discussed the likely effects of Brexit on WALES, you know, the country to which this site is dedicated. And this is why I, a lifelong nationalist and supporter of… Read more »
I really think you got it wrong Royston. Brexit strengthens Westminster. Takes Wales out of a union which includes most of Ireland, Finland, Estonia, and a multitude of stateless nations. Almost every stateless-nationalist party aspires to EU membership, including all of the pro-Catalan parties except the Marxist one. One way it can be done is to exit the EU but stay in the Single Market and Customs Union, and accept all the rules and migration. This is what Iceland and Norway have done. It would be fine for Wales economically but still moves power to Westminster. You have got this… Read more »
You say the Catalan parties want to be in the EU. Is that still the case?
Yes it is absolutely the case.
Esquerra (left) and Puigdemont’s PdeCat (centre/centre-right) are pro-EU membership.
CUP (Marxist/far-left) is ambivalent-to-Eurosceptic.
Leaving the EU is not seen as credible in Catalonia due to the national identity and the common market with Spain.
Think about it more Royston.
Puigdemont’s party is called the EUROPEAN Democratic Party. He gave his latest speech in front of the EU flag.
He went to Brussels to escape Spain because it is his political second home.
I don’t dispute that Puigdemont is a committed European. That said, I think that his going to Brussels was also influenced by the support he received from Flemish nationalists. They could use him and, maybe, he hoped that if the worse came to the worst that the government of Flanders might grant him sanctuary or political asylum, or that the threat of such embarrassment might get the EU to apply a little pressure on Madrid. This is politics, diplomacy, influencing people, wringing concessions. It’s not, ‘I’m standing in front of this flag because I’m a bit twp and I support… Read more »
I agree with you there. The Flemish nationalists also support the EU. Catalonia needs to be inside the EU, its as simple as that. There is no Leave (the EU) movement there.
The lesson seems to be that Puigdemont and the Flemings can
oppose the EU Commission policy, whilst having a European identity and wanting to be part of it.
This happens to be my position, and is presumably where Plaid also gets the anti-Brexit stance from.
Which leaves us with the conundrum of how an independent Catalunya, or Flanders, or Scotland, or Corsica, or Brittany, or Wales, gets to join the EU.
And I suppose it means that Plaid opposed Brexit because it believed that it would be possible to become independent of the UK and seamlessly join the EU as long as the UK was in the EU.
Actually, if you think about it, with the UK out of the EU, there might be more of a welcome from within the EU for Scotland and Wales than if England was there to raise objections.
I’m not sure that most of the comments have jumped to the defence of the EU. To me they’re more ridiculing the poverty of the anonymous argument.
It’s all very well rejoicing that the collapse of the economy and the fracturing of society may (may!) lead to the eventual break up of the UK, but there are very many of us who can ill-afford the thirty years of economic woe that some economists are predicting. And don’t forget that times of uncertainty more commonly lead to the popularity of authoritarianism and centralism from the right than national liberation movements.
No one I’ve read is predicting the kind of meltdown Germany experienced in the 1920s, nor thirty years of economic woe. This is just scaremongering. The outcome in Wales depends to a great extent on who gets blamed. If we allow the debate to be monopolised by the English right then the EU will be blamed for the deteriorating economy, so it’s up to us – and this means ALL who want independence irrespective of their positions on Brexit – to make sure that the finger points at London. This is what I’ll be doing, but will ‘Welsh’ Labour do… Read more »
The thirty year figure was from a hard brexit-supporter who reckoned that was how long it would take to restructure the economy (basically win the race to the bottom) and then recover to the point that we would meet current (inside the EU) growth forecasts. But, yeah, scaremongering.
I can’t understand why a supporter of hard Brexit would predict 30 years of hardship. Do you have a link to this seer, that I might also enjoy his prognostications?
I can’t find the reference now – it was some months ago. I’m wondering if it was a catastrophe capitalist trying to make a stack of quick cash by shorting the UK economy.
Right On, Royston.
The EU likes the English milche cow. They sure gave the Scots the elbow.
Here in Finland they are fretting about how much more they will have to “contribute” once the UK has gone
coupled with suspicion of the new EU army, with a new poll showing 53% already against joining NATO.
These problems press upon the gov. as they are trying to pay back the national debt whilst the Left snipe.
Sounds familiar? A center-right course, and tight ship for Wales is the correct one.
Red Dragon Jim- you might be interested to know that in a meeting to support Catalunya in Caernarfon tonight- a local Catalan, who addressed the meeting , was asked this very question about Catalunya and the EU. His answer- the Catalan Independence movement has now turned big time against the EU after its shameful indifference towards Spanish violence in the Independence Referendum. They are now saying Independence, but not in the EU. He also made the very good point that not at any stage since the Referendum here last year have the EU shown any sign of seeking to understand… Read more »
Your readers may benefit from a Scottish insight into the departure of England from the EU and the break up of what the English think of as England, being that country to the easy of Wales and the South of Scotland, including those countries and Northern Ireland: