I don’t have Welsh in my family tree – but I’m Welsh and fighting for independence

Roopa Vyas (left).

Roopa Vyas

As someone who has been a silent advocate for Welsh independence but has only recently “made it official” by joining the ‘IndyWales’ movement on Twitter, I still have a lot to learn.

It is not necessarily a simple decision which can be made instantaneously. Nevertheless it is one that can be made to forge a better future for Wales and its people.

I have had my doubts. I am Welsh, but I don’t speak fluent Welsh. I’m Indian by ethnicity and Welsh by birth. I don’t have Welsh in my family tree, going back generations. Am I really the right person to join the fight for Welsh independence?

But if not me, then who?

When you’re born in Wales, patriotism isn’t optional. It is ingrained from a young age, through learning the beautiful language and traditions in school, and it only grows with you. I moved away from Wales for university and I believe that is when my patriotism truly came to light. Surrounded by English and Irish students, I felt it was my duty to promote and defend Wales in all topics; football, rugby, politics all included.

During my time in Liverpool, I began to understand the harsh impact of “Thatcherism” and austerity. I felt as though I was in a city where I could relate to the hurt and anger felt towards the government, because Wales and Liverpool can relate on many levels. This is a city which is still haunted by Tory cuts and people are suffering in so many ways as a result.

I honestly find it a privilege to be able to say “I’m Welsh” – it is a land full of diverse culture, nature and endless spirit, but Wales has consistently found itself undermined by those in power at Westminster, as we have seen more recently during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Welsh Government’s liberated approach to easing lockdown at a steadier pace has demonstrated their capability to act freely and make positive choices for the Welsh, which gives encouraging outcomes, reflected in lower death rates in this case. I believe that is down to the more cautious approach taken by the Welsh Government, compared to mismanagement at Westminster, whereby the health and interests of public health were evidently put before economic welfare.

 

Neglected

It is time the dragon puts its foot down and admits that enough is enough. The only way for “little old Wales” to be taken seriously by Westminster politicians is to stand up and put ourselves first. It makes perfect sense for a Welsh government to have control over decisions that directly affect Wales.

It has already been confirmed that no new cash will be coming to Wales for investment as part of the Prime Minister’s post-coronavirus recovery plan. Why? Why is Wales being neglected and the wealth is centralised in London?

Three million Welsh people deserve to have their voices heard. There are many issues that need to be tackled and they should be done with the best interests of Wales in mind, by a Welsh government. We deserve to have a future full of hope and ambition, not economic decline and minimal authority to change that. The ‘United Kingdom’ seems to be anything but united at present and with each passing day, there seem to be more reasons to be on board with the growing movement for independence.

All of the above drew me to seek further information of the potential future for Wales. I had heard about YesCymru through posts by friends on social media. One day, something clicked in my head and I decided I needed to do something myself to enforce a change instead of just thinking about it from time to time, even if it just involves spreading the word on social media.

It is time that decisions were made with Welsh interests at heart, not the interests of people who couldn’t be further detached from Wales and the culture of our country. This is a very important issue that we, the population of Wales, the people suffering from neglect by the UK government, can ensure goes to a referendum to decide the future of Wales.

Awaken the sleeping dragon. Annibyniaeth i Gymru.

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