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Opinion

Time to put aside the politics of division and focus all of our efforts on the politics of Independence.

08 Jun 2023 5 minute read
Gwern Gwynfil, CEO YesCymru

Gwern Gwynfil, CEO YesCymru

Here in Wales we have the knack of being our own worst enemies. We have long been masters of internecine conflict, of criticising each other, of the politics of envy when someone succeeds locally.

We can argue that this is an outcome of big neighbour dominance. Challenging the biggest person on the playground is too hard and we no longer have the confidence to step up and do so. Centuries of cultural oppression and economic domination will inevitably beat you down and impact on all aspects of people’s lives, individually and collectively, in a myriad unseen and unrealised ways.

No one needs to divide and conquer in Wales as we will do it to ourselves…

This expresses itself as an inability to come together and stand shoulder to shoulder even on issues where there is broad agreement. It makes us by nature polarised and partisan, it militates against an united front, it prevents us from making progress, it holds us back. It is the easy road to blame ourselves and each other, to make excuses based on our history, to avoid responsibility for our own actions by disempowering ourselves.

This is not good enough. These excuses are nothing more than nails to build a house of failure. Time to set such childish things aside and work for success, with confidence and maturity.

We’ve seen a microcosm of this folly this week. The appearance of a representative of a small, centre right, pro Independence party’s one and only elected politician on the Question Time panel at the YesCymru conference this weekend has raised hackles and led to childish and naive responses from those who should, by now, have the political maturity and breadth of vision to know better.

Inaccurate portrayal of the party in question has led to a mistaken assumption that they are a hard right group with nothing but toxic views when they are still a few degrees to the left of the current UK Conservatives. Ironically, the Conservatives are also represented on the panel but with no objections arising to their presence.

Subservience

Is this because subservience to Unionism is so deeply ingrained that there can be no objection to their political representation? Is it that there is no perceived political gain from attacking the Tories within the tiny bubble which these small organisations inhabit ? Is it that they are not really a Welsh party and couldn’t care less about the posturing of political children? Perhaps a reluctance to risk the humiliation of being ignored in the wider world when you can reliably have a tantrum in a tiny space? A little attention being better than total irrelevance?

No apologies for the harshness of this condemnation. Extrapolating current polling data in Wales suggests that up to a million people are now broadly in favour of Independence.

Pointless posturing, pandering to a few dozen ill informed individuals, is reductive when the time has come for the Independence movement in Wales to be expansive. We must appeal to the length and breadth of Wales. We must have the ambition of bringing 60%, 70% of the population to a belief in the strength, viability and success of Wales as an Independent democratic nation on the global stage.

You don’t do this by cancelling yourselves or attempting to cancel others because you have a distaste for their politics. One of the guilty parties is a nominally apolitical single issue campaign group itself, it will have centre right members in its ranks, what does it say to these?

Playground politics

The folly runs deep – not one of these organisations was even asked to share a platform with the group they sought to cancel. They were invited to participate on different panels across a full weekend of activity. This is the most pathetic type of playground politics – I’m not playing because I don’t like you. In fact, I won’t even use the playground because that person I dislike used it yesterday.

No more of this. Time to grow up. Time to look up. No more navel gazing and talking to ourselves in a tiny circle of exclusion, redolent with echo chamber narcissism.

We must address the millions in Wales who will decide the future of our nation. It is they who will take us to Independence and, when we get there, it is they who will decide what shape that Independence takes. It most certainly won’t be a few dozen dogmatic, naive and narrow minded individuals with a grudge and an iron belief that their way is the only way.

Have the courage of your own convictions, yes. Express that courage by being ready and willing to defend these through debate and argument in an open, public forum.

We must ask ourselves whether it is more important to attack other groups campaigning for Welsh Independence or to actually campaign for Independence. It is time to get on board or get out of the way.

Look up. Have vision. Be better.


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Dewi
Dewi
8 months ago

Interesting. I doubt that referring to those with whom you do not agree as having “childish and naive responses from those who should, by now, have the political maturity and breadth of vision to know better” is going to help. Well done.

wayne
wayne
8 months ago
Reply to  Dewi

Well written Gwern Gwynfil, Tribalism needs to be replaced with Unity for Independence, and Honesty and Transparency employed by all.

Last edited 8 months ago by wayne
SundanceKid
SundanceKid
8 months ago
Reply to  Dewi

Neither is trying to cancel people you disagree with.

Arthur Owen
Arthur Owen
8 months ago

What is this party? We don’t all watch Question Time.

David
David
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur Owen

What Gwern Gwynfil means is the Question Time panel at the YesCymru conference and not the BBC program.

David
David
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur Owen
wayne
wayne
8 months ago
Reply to  Arthur Owen

Gwlad

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
8 months ago

I agree with Gwern Gwynfil, CEO of YesCymru. Those who want to destroy the very fabric of Welsh society and remove Wales nation status want division not unity. And as the old saying goes. United we stand divided we fall. And those who want to abolish our Senedd also fear a confident bilingual inclusive Wales as it’s a threat to their plan to assimilate preferring a dependent infighting divided country. I know it. They know I know it. And you should be aware of their agenda too. The very existence of Wales as a country is under threat since we… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

Like a sea slug enveloping and consuming the nutrients of a shrimp*, every last precious metal will be ingested . The sands of the Mawddach and the slopes of Gwynfynydd filtered and stripped. The heart of Mynydd Clogau Bontddu torn out and crushed, and with it the most beautiful Mawddach despoiled for generations to come…

*Too much Springwatch, lovely to see the Menai Straits. Take your time to recover Iolo you’re no Spring Chicken anymore…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Google Rio Tinto Mawddach…

I’m the only one here who was at the meeting in the Neuadd Dolgellau in 1970 when Rio Tinto told those who had bothered to turn up about all the great things that Rio Tinto were going to do for us…

Richard Huw Morgan
Richard Huw Morgan
8 months ago

Cytuno cant y cant. Totally agree with you Gwern. I found such attitudes too hard to take. I just can’t understand why people don’t understand that differences of opinion will always exist. An Independent Wales should welcome differences, indeed must. Without difference you have a totalitarian state. We need to listen to everyone who wishes to speak, debate, disagree, argue. And not just once, but as part of an ongoing process, to build the independent Cymru that we all need.

David
David
8 months ago

Refusing to even attend an event that someone you disagree with is at?
Sounds like the self-cancellers are running scared from scrutinising other people, or being scrutinised themselves.

Not refusing to share a stage, refusing to share a building! Those tiny organisations are outing themselves as unionist plants. Good to know for the future.

Cameron Wixcey
Cameron Wixcey
8 months ago
Reply to  David

Not unionist plants. It is a purity spiral.

Frank
Frank
8 months ago

Bang on!!

Diawl Blin
Diawl Blin
8 months ago

These people have been a thorn in Yes Cymru’s side since its inception. Previous leaderships at least managed to push them into these meaningless little institutions they created, even if it cost them. Maybe Gwern can marginalise these freaks once and for all. It is also high time that the movement stopped being so naive, and recognised that the British state is very active in the movement. In the 70s, it was openly recognised, and even sung about openly (“Ciosg Talysarn” and “Rhywun yn Gwylio” spring to mind). Now, the mere suggestion is met with accusations of paranoia. On that… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago
Reply to  Diawl Blin

Hmmmm. ‘Fallai. There may very well be individuals (more think-tank types than intelligence agents, probably) who seek to undermine our movement. It could also be a case of some paid wumao types. Hell, we have had many prominent figures over the centuries who haven’t been against an extra ceiniog or two for their coffers to ‘disappear’ or to stand down so low that they’re effectively bowing (Hywel Dda, we’re looking at you – letting Constantine and Owain of Ystrad Clud down pretty much sealed our fate for 1000 years… plus your health board is meh). But I do think that… Read more »

Riki
Riki
8 months ago
Reply to  Diawl Blin

British (Brythonic) state?

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards
8 months ago

Come on! Is there nobody out there to argue in favour of what Gwern G calls ‘playground politics’? To argue that since Dafydd Wigley was kicked out, and Plaid went left, Plaid has been on the path to glory? And is, this very moment after 100years, on the verge of getting us Indy? Neb?

Diawl Blin
Diawl Blin
8 months ago

Ah yes, Cynog Dafis. My god, the damage that man has done.

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
8 months ago

Im all for no platforming far right organisations but the centre right party involved arent that. Gwlad certainly arent my cup of tea but worth pointing out that both the uk tories and uk labour are to the right of them in some areas at the moment. Just saying

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

100% this!

George Thomas
George Thomas
8 months ago

The indy movement will always be made up of various points on the political spectrum deciding that the need to have more mature political scene, less restricted by ancient traditions, is best served by independence and also more important than an individuals political persuasion. The indy movement will be as strong as the arguments that this “different way” can be achieved without making people’s lives much harder and will last as long as that proves to be the case. It’s a fragile coalition with obvious risk. Maturity is needed in the approach, talking about solutions to the difficult questions (not… Read more »

Wil Urwin
Wil Urwin
8 months ago

If I have learned anything from 60 years, it is the dangers of a frontier on land. Should it be the Tudor border. Monmouthshire in or out. The Maelor Saesneg? Pengwern. What about the people of Flintshire? Might it be safer to move it west to a defensible line along the Conwy/Cambrian Mountains. There is no end to this once you start.

CapM
CapM
8 months ago
Reply to  Wil Urwin

“If I have learned anything from 60 years, it is the dangers of a frontier on land. “
So you’ve learnt that the only European countries not in danger are Malta and Iceland!

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
8 months ago
Reply to  CapM

Malta, the most bombed country in Europe remained free at what cost in lives and riches, a story worth a George Cross…

Iceland, a fortress defending the Atlantic and Arctic convoys. If any younger folk are not familiar with either it would be advantageous to enlighten your selves of both their recent histories…

Last edited 8 months ago by Mab Meirion
wayne
wayne
8 months ago
Reply to  Wil Urwin

Repealing the act of Union of 1523 could be an option!!! We’d have a better selection of Rugby Players and a Good Rugby Union League to enjoy as well as having a few more County Cricket teams to make a game of Things.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
8 months ago

I wish to thank Gwern Gwynfil. This is a well written article. The whole independence movement needs to unite to make the birth of our independent nation in the world. We need to put our party political and cultural differences on hold until we gain independence, Those debates are for latter when we are free to decide our fate. Without an independent Wales it may not matter what we want because the UK and its majority English establishment will always decide our fate. We can learn from the only successful independence country on these islands: Ireland. Everyone did unite under… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
8 months ago

Wonderful post. The only caveat I have is that Plaid, at least for the foreseeable future, cannot simply become a Liberal party. There are very few liberals in their upper ranks. Merging with/overtaking the Greens? Efallai.

Richard
Richard
8 months ago

Some interesting and well thought out comments for sure. The tribal divide and rule practices of colonialism served the imperialism of the past but the future needs to build on a broader consensus where the maximum support for self determination is achieved. In the 1979 referendum campaign led by the late John Morris etc brought together the wide coalition of community and local groups drawn from across a wide political spectrum. This platform of joint liaison allowed it to be a springboard for the latter successful one. Sections of liberals, greens, plus much of Labour along with the powerful independent… Read more »

wayne
wayne
8 months ago
Reply to  Richard

To engage all, then we have to change the electoral system of electing our MS’s to a fare and transparent one, that is based on true proportional representation. Not 35% of the vote giving 50% of the seats.

Richard
Richard
8 months ago
Reply to  wayne

Agreed

Gareth Roberts
Gareth Roberts
8 months ago

So YesCymru’s model for self Government is based on the politics of the SNP/Greens?

Is that what we are signing up to?

No thanks. I think we can build a much fairer, more open and more prosperous nation than that.

Diawl Blin
Diawl Blin
8 months ago
Reply to  Gareth Roberts

No, their model is the revolutionary idea that the Welsh people should get to decide what an independent Wales looks like.

Imagine that? Trusting the people rather than trying to dictate to them. What a novel idea.

The Left would embrace it if their policies were even remotely palatable.

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