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