More than 10000 marched in Bangor with joy, hope and the desire for a better, brighter future, for themselves and for others
Gwern Gwynfil, CEO YesCymru
An interesting day of contrasts. In Bangor over 10000 marched with joy, hope and the desire for a better, brighter future, for themselves and for others. The crowd, yearning for an independent future for Wales, was incredibly diverse with representation from every part of Wales – in every sense.
There were whole families there spanning generations. There were people from every corner of Wales and even further afield. There were those born in Wales and large numbers of relatively new arrivals. The latter have moved here and seen how unfairly Wales is treated within this Union. Justice alone has brought them to believe in an indy Wales.
Meanwhile, in Cardiff, fewer than 200 marched to protest at the changes to default laws on speed in built up areas. They were angry, annoyed that their lives had been marginally impacted, many of them have misunderstood the nature, impact and purpose of the change. Far from thinking of a brighter, better future they were thinking only of the short term minor inconvenience this may cause for themselves.
Selfish, insular, hopeless. So beaten down by the appalling state of the Union, where little, if anything, works well or efficiently, that they cannot look up and out towards the future and see there is a brighter, better way. Not just for themselves and their families and friends but for a whole nation.
That future is not some distant dream either. It is very real and very close. Across Europe there are small nations showing Wales how it’s done, from Latvia, to Croatia, to Slovenia, from Estonia to Denmark – even just across the Celtic Sea in Ireland. The hope and optimism of Bangor is no fever dream but a recognition of the realities of the 21st century. Our world has become a wonderful place for small, vibrant, innovative nations.
Welsh polling has shown consistent growth in the realisation that there is a better way for the country, that taking charge of our own destiny gives us the agency to change and improve lives, to create a Welsh Way of doing things. Fresh, new, innovative, problem solving – confident, brave and ambitious, with the firm intent of making our world a better place and leaving our world a better place for future generations.
Most recently that polling has been consistently in the mid to high 30’s. This is one in three in Wales in favour of independence, up from one in ten just a decade ago. A trend which comfortably puts us on two in three in favour within another decade.
Some data also suggests that there are a further one in four in Wales already supportive of independence but only if Scotland becomes independent.
But why wait? Why do we in Wales have to seek Scottish consent to support our own independence? Are we so downtrodden that we need a guide to point us in the direction we know we should be going? If you are one of the quarter of the population who would reassess support for independence if Scotland leaves, reassess it now – what Scotland does should not impact your decisions about your future and your nation. Why wait? The UK is diminishing rapidly, it offers Wales nothing.
The longer we stay attached to our far larger neighbour, the more we lose to them. The more rents they collect from us, the more assets and resources they suck out of us, the longer we have to labour under their systems, taxes and laws which were simply not designed for an economy or country the size and shape of Wales.
Some of you are now saying to yourselves – this is a social union, this is our insurance policy, we can work to make it better, incrementally improving devolution and self government, campaigning for federalism, confederalism, radical federalism.
Wonderful aspirations. Totally unrealistic. Surveys and polling of the majority in England, the 55 million, show categorically that none of this will fly. They are not interested because theirs is a nation, a country, a single unit. One day they too will realise that independence is the way forward, a pathway to renewal and rebirth for England too. They need it as much as we do after all.
The longer we wait the worse we are allowing things to become for the people of Wales. For over 50 years we’ve tolerated being the poorest part of the UK. For over fifty years we’ve tolerated the highest rates of child poverty in the UK. For over fifty years we have tolerated being unfairly treated in a Union which at least gave us the vague comfort that standards of living were rising.
Today, living standards are in decline, quality of life is in free fall, Wales is getting poorer, faster than any other part of the UK. There are more children than ever in relative and absolute poverty in Wales.
But we have good infrastructure, we have excellent schools, universities and colleges, we have a skilled and well educated workforce, we have natural resources, we have a stunning country, diverse and beautiful, we have a majestic coastline and much more.
In short, here in Wales we have all the ingredients for an incredibly successful, wealthy, healthy and vibrant nation. We can’t and won’t be able to capitalise on this until we have the freedom to do so. That freedom only comes with independence.
Over 10000 people in Bangor marched with joy and happiness because they know this. It is a knowledge that can only grow and spread throughout Wales and it is inevitable that we will reach a tipping point and a majority for independence.
So I ask you again – Why Wait?
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