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Our outward looking indy movement stands in contrast with Brexit’s sovereignty obsession

11 Dec 2020 4 minute read
The second National March for Welsh Independence July 2019, Caernarfon, Gwynedd. Picture by Llywelyn2000 (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Huw Prys Jones

We all know that whatever ‘deal’, if any, is reached between the UK and the EU this week, it will be infinitely inferior to the one we already have.

The severance of ties between Britain and mainland Europe will also have profound implications for any future aspirations for Wales.

The failure of so many politicians to stand up to the utter futility and idiocy of embarking on such a course, especially in the middle of a pandemic, is deplorable.

Even among leading figures of the national movement in Wales, there seems to be some reluctance to point the finger of blame.

This is deeply regrettable. Despite the desperate situation, this is no time for capitulation, or certainly for ‘moving on’, but rather to redouble attacks on the Brexit establishment and all that it stands for.

The success of the national movement in Wales depends on its ability to maximise any potential backlash against the Anglo-British nationalism that is the very essence of Brexit.

And it is very much in our national interest that the culture war of Brexit continues to cause the deepest possible divisions at the heart of the Anglo-British state.

This, however, is not just a matter of venting our anger and frustration at the wanton destruction being done to our economy and reputation.

Far more importantly, it is an opportunity to underline and highlight the stark contrast between the aspirations of national movements in Wales and Scotland on the one hand, and the narrow-minded Anglo-British nationalism of Brexiteers on the other.

Most of us may well understand how modest and reasonable the powers sought for Wales and Scotland are in comparison to the Brexit establishment’s uncompromising obsession with sovereignty at all costs.

Much more, however, must be done to shout this from the rooftops. Our movements are in tune with the needs of the interdependent 21st-century world; when Brexiteers who dream of making Britain great again are determined to turn the clock back.

Whilst independence has a distinct appeal as a rallying cry for greater self-government, greater clarity may also be needed when the very same word is so widely used among Brexiteers to mean something completely different.



It is clear that we are seeking a far lesser degree of independence for Wales than they do for Britain. We could however do far more to express our derision and contempt towards Brexiteers’ outdated view of sovereignty and blind adherence to the nation-state.

Their notion of countries having absolute power over everything within their boundaries is not only unrealistic, but seriously damaging and a major obstacle to the creation of a better world.

One of the greatest problems facing our world is that countries have far too much sovereignty as we saw over the disastrous past four years in Donald Trump’s America. Unfettered sovereignty means the ability to trash the environment and ride roughshod over international treaties. Its tragic consequences can be seen at their worst in Bolsanaro’s deliberate destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.

Had European leaders immediately after the Second World War followed this doctrinaire of absolute sovereignty, the Nuremberg Trials could never have taken place. There would be no European Court of Human Rights that is causing such anguish to Brexiteers.

When we see the Brexiteers celebrating their warped view of the world, now is the time to renew our pride in our long and honourable internationalist tradition.

This belief in the inter-dependency of nations is among the core values of the national movement in Wales from the time of Saunders Lewis and other early leaders of Plaid Cymru.

It was borne out of a sense of shared European identity, something that it seems that many English people have a problem with.


I think that our attitudes also reflect a pragmatic realisation that a degree of pan-European governance framework is the only way to curtail an unconstrained English domination of our island. Otherwise, such domination is inevitable whatever the constitutional arrangements between its nations may be.

When we have to put up with one Tory Brexiteer after another boasting ‘now that we have regained our independence as a nation’, it is clearly a sign of things to come in Brexit Britain.

Indeed, our national movement in Wales may well be facing its greatest challenge in our history. There must not be any let-up in ensuring that the Anglo-Brexit establishment becomes an object of international derision.

Let them also be ruthlessly blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong over the next few months and for years to come.

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