Wales is trapped in a war between two factions that don’t care about our nation

Picture by EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (CC BY 2.0)

Benjiman L. Angwin

We in Wales need to remove ourselves from the fight between Labour and the Conservatives that is ongoing in England.

This archaic, 20th century Left/Right war has been going on for over a century and is utterly without merit for us. Wales taking a side in this battle is like Norway taking sides during the Wars of the Roses.

The Celtic periphery are just props in this war to be used or discarded as needed. May has ignored Scotland’s Remain vote but had to bend over backward to the DUP to maintain power in England.

Neither side cares about what is best for us. And in recent years both have gone to further and further extremes, both of which are hugely damaging to Wales.

One the one hand we have the Conservative Unionism of May, who has rejected what little tolerant moderation was in the Liberal-Conservative coalition that proceeded her.

Her civil liberties record shows she is not fit to be Prime Minister. Echoing Franco’s Spain, May has used ‘extremist’ and ‘separatist’ together in relation to the SNP and Plaid.

On the other, we have the authoritarian socialist conformity of Corbyn who seeks to take us back to the 1970s.

Continuing to enlist ourselves in this ideological war between Labour and the Tories is théâtre de l’absurde. It’s just silly.

Neither side have any interest in Wales or the policies that will help us grow as a nation.

Liberty

Liberalism, and its emphasis upon non-conformity and civil liberties, is more Welsh than the more recent construct of socialism.

And Wales has always done best for itself as a nation when we have followed this centrist, liberal tradition.

This is the tradition that gave us the laws of Hywel Dda and our greatest period of growth as a nation in the 19th century.

Liberalism is the belief that the right to be free from conformity, whether imposed by the state (socialism) or by powerful individuals (conservatism), is a human right.

Most famously, the Liberal MP Clarence Willcock, used this to justify civil disobedience against ID Cards following World War II, leading to their abolishment.

Unknown to many, the threat of ID Cards being introduced by an increasingly authoritarian Labour under Gordon Brown, was among the chief reasons why the Liberal Democrats went into coalition with the Conservatives.

I deeply respect Nick Clegg for almost single-handedly preventing the imposition of ID Cards through Liberal compromise.

Fusing liberalism with Welsh Nationalism would give Wales something radically different to the statist Labour party that is now running Wales into the ground.

One need merely look at Mácron’s new French revolution to see what is possible through Centrist Liberalism.

The Left and Right have been bickering for a century like children over who gets what toys in what order.

The 20th century is over. Let’s take control of our own destiny, forge our own political direction and put the good of our own nation first.

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Graham John Hathaway
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Graham John Hathaway

Couldn’t agree more. Politics is shifting in a more radical way then convention wishes it to. It’s trying to understand its new direction or better, what is best for Wales. What’s explained might suit Wales and its history of non conformity and liberalism. Seamus Heaney once wrote “At home in Ireland there’s a habit of avoidance, an ironical attitude towards the Authority figure”.
I wonder if that applies to all Celtic nations. We must think the unthinkable, and start new political dialogue.

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

How do we know for sure that the general population of Wales were ever strong supporters of liberalism – before 1884 very few people in Wales were able to express their opinions or could actually vote – certainly no women.

paul-neath
Guest
paul-neath

Liberals ha ha ha ………………….. Do us a favour. They were proved to be Liars 2 Elections ago and then criminally supported the Tories in their attacks on the Welsh workers, poor and disabled. They did the same as the lunatic Union flag waving Rangers mob from Ulster. Stop talking tripe.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

I’m not sure I referred to the general population of Wales ….. . Rather the twin forces of liberal and non conformity as bed fellows that made its mark in Wales. Non conformity is written as a significant influence in Wales from (18th to (20th . The Welsh Methodist revival of (18th was one of the most significant religious and social movements in the history of Wales. Ref Nonconformity in Wales. Howell Elvert Lewis. For Liberal Wales , then the Liberal Council for Wales , founded by David Lloyd George in 1897 , making it the oldest political parties in… Read more »

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

I was almost thinking aloud really. To me non-conformist religion gave people something they needed. The Anglican church was AWOL most of the time and objectionable for the rest, but people needed religion and found another way to do it. We did the same with the travelling schools when we needed education. We need a rivival in pragmatic, co-operative resourcefulism, with clear goals. We need to understand what the big needs are and for who. We need something that works to help people be more successful and contented in some way. We need aspirational communities and cooperatives. Of course we… Read more »

glasiad
Guest
glasiad

“We need a political movement that is created from the bottom up, by the people who will vote for it.”

This really is the key. I could not agree more. This is what could galvanize the Welsh nation as opposed to the Anglo-Norman approach of top-down concentration of power, prevalent in all our current institutions and political discourse. This is the real revolution waiting to happen. This approach warrants an essay in its own right.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

I am greatly encouraged by the reference to aspirational communities and cooperatives. It’s where we should be heading. If we can find the entrepreneurial talents. I believe they exist. Look no further than our Universites. In the classical sense liberalism is about freedom with emphasis on economic freedom. There is the primacy of individual freedoms that Clegg and others championed against identity cards. The ones that jump out in today’s political dilemmas people face is simple exploitation. Of global giants, industrial muscle of foreign investments, multi national chains growing daily in local towns and cities restrictive employment legislation and much… Read more »

Benjiman L. Angwin
Guest
Benjiman L. Angwin

@ Trailorboy,

It has taken us too long to build Plaid Cymru (repairing the bwlch left by Saunders Lewis’ irreconcileable ideas of stable civilisation when compared with reality), too long to build something brand new now.

We need a solid group of Liberals within Plaid Cymru, who eventually become leaders.

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

all the old labels are tainted these days. I have no idea what liberal means anymore.

I personally don’t want to undermine Plaid, but they’ve never been my party, even though I vote for them

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

I really don’t think it wise to unthink liberalism. Agreed on labels and contamination of fine ideals ruined by cheap political decisions. This is thinking about a route map to freedom. The main drive of liberalism is freedom from human constraints that bind you. What is more graphic than living in a Country in a self serving Union.

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

how about this for an idea then, neither socialist, liberal or Conservative, but maybe all three rolled into one. Step 1. Max everyone out on income-tax. take the maximimun we can from everyone. Step 2. Give it all back. Well with strings. Step 3. Set up a bast. rd bank that lends under the most stringent of lending criteria, making it the safesat bank in town and tell everyone that have of the money they get back will havr to sit therebforbten years earning zero interest until their eligible to take it out. Step 4. The interesting bit. The other… Read more »

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

hopefully you get the gist despite all the typos.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

Loved the expressions. Or rants, in a fair world all things considered.

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

This has brightened my morning greatly. Tell it as you see it. Somewhat overly stated I must say but I do feel your angst of the socially liberal thinking elite. Like all policies of any party, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. I fail to see the great dividend to ordinary folk brought by the two main political parties of the U.K. By current standards of life anywhere. Only unnecessary wars and the rise of the far right. It was Plaid Cymru and the Liberals under Charles Kennedy, bitterly opposed to warfare. And proved do right. Who… Read more »

Gerald Francis
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Gerald Francis

What we certainly do need is electoral and policy co-operation between Plaid and Liberals.
To Paul of Neath please let me know what these so called lies are.

Hilton Marlton
Guest
Hilton Marlton

Leaving coal aside, Wales greatest export over the centuries has been its industrious people. Wherever Welsh people settled, they took with them the values of both the chapel and the predominant political thinking of the country, which was overwhelmingly liberal in Wales. The Welsh contributed to the establishment of stable democracy and the rule of law in countries like Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Setting aside the rights and wrongs of empire and colonialism, we should be proud of this. Liberal politics served Wales well for many centuries and enabled it to punch well above its weight. The middle ground… Read more »

Cymru Rydd
Guest
Cymru Rydd

Good analysis of Wales’s current situation but unsatisfactory answer to our problems. Liberalism sounds fine as an abstract concept, but when you apply it to Wales”s own history, both past and recent, you can see where it really falls down in real time terms. I suggest the author reads Simon Brooks”s excellent book ‘Pam na fu Cymru’ to see how Liberalism wedded Wales to Britishness and a relentless emphasis on English as a means of individual enhancement from the mid 19th century onwards at a time when Wales had all the potential to become an independent nation,( 80 per cent… Read more »

Graham John Hathaway
Guest
Graham John Hathaway

I fear I can’t let this pass. The facts as I know them and can relate to them, fall short of my understanding . It reads as emphatic and a complete analysis of fact. If you base you opinion on Mike’s experience then boy o boy I’d to read others from their experiences of fighting seats on the sWales valleys. It’s endemic in all parties. Ruthless pusuit of victory. Placing the demise of Welsh independence on the slow and telrntless erosion of our basic rights of Welsh living is to white wash the elitism in Wales that grew wealthy on… Read more »

sianiflewog
Guest
sianiflewog

Hmm! Simon Brooks in his book Pam Na Fu Cymru: Methiant Cenedlaetholdeb Cymraeg, argues that liberalism was at the root of our present and very great troubles. More recently, liberals under a certain nic leggue, connived with Cameroon and üsbawn in introducing tuition fees at universities (very liberal that, i don’t think); passed a measure that deprived all on low or average incomes of the right to marry ‘foreigners’ despite that right being in the universal charter on human rights; and introduced the universal credit system as a way of yet further impoverishing the sub-working class. Liberals, pseudo-liberals, liberal democrats… Read more »

Edeyrn
Guest
Edeyrn

Benjamin, appreciate the argument put forth…but can you be more nuanced with your attack on archaic left/right.

I feel the bigger issue is top-down authoritarianism of either left/centre/right………I am a libertarian of the left variety at heart…and consider the centralised authoritrian states of franco/ stalin / north korea / saudi arabia / argentina right wing…..more problematic

The authoritarian left/right speaking from london gives little empowerment to us in the state’s periphery

Richard Perkins
Guest
Richard Perkins

We are a very strange and diverse WE as the claims in this debate illustrate. Not all of us even occupy that Western peninsular which in turn has no economic unity beyond the statistical fictions of government. Wales is a range of ideas predicated on a language spoken by a minority. Wales has a porous border allowing us, its people and resources, to be exploited by its nearest big neighbour and many of us being seduced on and off by the idea of us being part of a bigger and better whole. The future, like the past of Wales will… Read more »