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Opponents of independence are running out of arguments

15 Aug 2020 3 minute read
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Dr John Ball

It seems the opponents of independence, now running out of arguments, are getting desperate.

The Wales is poor argument has been proved to be fiction; the way forward on future taxes and currency has been presented and clearly laid out – so where do the opponents go next?

The answer was made clear by Mick Antoniw in the recent Senedd debate on independence. He said he believed “that all nations have the right to self-determination” and then with remarkable dexterity that “I’m not a nationalist, and I reject nationalism as a negative and divisive ideology”. Pity he forgot to add “narrow nationalism.”

The idea that being a nationalist is somehow negative and divisive needs to be addressed and summarily dismissed.  What marks out many of the small nations of Europe is precisely the opposite; many see their role in the world as positive and affirmative in facing the issues that confront us all.

Take just three examples. Norway has an outward looking international policy with diplomatic peace missions South Sudan, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Israel – Palestine.

Near neighbours Sweden and Finland have similar missions and have been at the forefront of assistance to the UN when called upon, unlike the UK. To their enormous credit, Sweden is currently involved in no fewer than twenty UN peace keeping missions and Finland in ten.


Perhaps the most interesting and much nearer home is the international role played by Ireland. A long, practical and honourable member of the UN, in June Ireland attained a seat on the Security Council, putting at the very heart of international diplomacy.

And it doesn’t end there. Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is president of the Eurogroup, an organisation of EU finance ministers; one of the major policy contributors of the European Central Bank is Philip Lane, formerly the head of Ireland’s Central Bank and the EU’s Trade Commissioner is another Irishman, Philip Hogan.

Ireland was central on persuading the richer EU counties – notably the “big hitters” France and Germany – to assist with alleviating the debt of the poorer southern states already struggling with economic problems worsened by the pandemic.

Along with six of Europe’s small nations (Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Netherlands and Sweden), Ireland is a member of the New Hanseatic League established in 2018 to share views and values on economic policy and potentially, a foreign policy to assist with the Middle East peace process and relations with Africa.

Excellent examples of “negative and divisive ideology” from Europe’s small nations don’t you think?

As the world struggles with political uncertainty, environmental calamity and a struggling developing world, we simply stand on the side lines and look.

Well done Mick on having another try! Feel free to argue for remaining a citizen of a decaying England’s last colony, ruled by an incompetent elite.

Me? I want to join the other 193 nations at the UN and play our part in the world. Join me!

Dr John Ball is a former lecturer in economics at Swansea University and a member of YesCymru.

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