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Westminster rejects ‘vassalage’ of the EU while asking Wales to accept the same deal in the UK

02 Dec 2018 5 minute read
One of the lions underneath Britannia Bridge. Picture by Christine Courtney (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Steffan Gwent

The dictionary of Modern Welsh translates ‘Vassal State’ as ‘Gwaswlad’ – or in other words, a servant country.

The use of the obscure word vassalage by the Johnson brothers (Boris and Jo) during the ongoing Brexit Crisis made me consider what it is in their psyche that made them reach for such a negative concept to describe the UK’s predicament should it leave the EU under Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Old Etonian Oxbridge types such as the Johnsons will often have studied the Classics. Boris has on many occasions used Latin to make his political points. Such pseudo-intellectual claptrap is his ‘modus operandi’.

The irony, of course, is that they are effectively saying that the UK would never be able to accept a settlement that they are simultaneously telling Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland is in their own best interests.

Having laws handed down to them by a parliament over which they will have no control is an outrage for the British state, but it’s the arrangement we have had to live with for hundreds of years.

So why does Britain reject becoming a ‘vassal state’ of the EU while Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland do not reject a similar arrangement with the British establishment?

It could be argued that the British State has always been better at nationalist propaganda than the EU. They have enchanted us with visions of imperial grandeur and a nostalgic mirage of a past that never existed.

Symbols of Empire have always been incorporated into the architecture of colonial buildings in an attempt to brainwash the locals into a kind of Stockholm syndrome.

Britannia herself still dominates the roof of the General Post Office in O’Connell Street, Dublin 102 years after the Easter Uprising.

The G.P.O. Britannia has survived much longer than the former nearby Irish Nelson’s Column which was severely damaged by an explosion (and later destroyed) in 1966.

Such as statue was also meant to adorn the Britannia Bridge between Gwynedd and Anglesey, but they eventually settled for four stone 12-foot high lions instead.


The pomp and ceremony of the British Empire is something that has been rejected by fifty-one now Independent States that have left London control since the end of the Second World War.

But we in Wales will never act in our own best interests until we are able to see past the world as presented to us by the British establishment and see it as it really is.

Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price’s new book has used the title ‘Wales, the First and Final Colony’. He recognises that knowledge of the history of Wales is now key to our continued survival as a nation.

The first stirrings of a Welsh rejection of what would become British nationalism can be traced back to Henry II’s visit of 1162 to Pencader, Carmarthenshire.

There he was confronted by an old man who told him:

“This nation may now be harassed, weakened and decimated by your soldiery, as it has so often been by others in former times; but it will never be totally destroyed by the wrath of man, unless at the same time it is punished by the wrath of God.

“I do not think that on the Day of Direct Judgement any race other than the Welsh, or any other language, will give answer to the Supreme Judge for all this small corner of the earth.”

Three years later a clever ambush up in the Berwyn mountain range along with the timely arrival of heavy rain defeated the King and allowed us to survive to fight another day.

But how many of our fellow people of Wales know this story, and others? The only version of history available to them is the British one, and that is why they have accepted it wholesale.


Having subjected so many lands across the globe to their version of vassalage then being a servant country of the European Union will be a humiliating reality that awaits the remnants of the British State post-Brexit.

In this crisis lies an opportunity that must be taken for Wales to ensure that we cease to be a ‘Gwaswlad’ of a Westminster establishment that does not represent Wales or care about us.

Our Celtic cousins in Ireland nearly a century ago unwittingly laid the fault lines of the ‘temporary’ Ulster frontier that ultimately led to the unsolvable Brexit ‘Back Stop’ riddle.

The Scots played their part too. Would David Cameron have recklessly gambled and lost the 2016 Brexit Referendum if he had not narrowly won the 2014 Scotland Independence two years prior?

A thickening Celtic mist has descended over the political landscape resulting in a constitutional quagmire that is sapping the life force out of the British Political Establishment.

The old Britain is dying, so let it die. It can no longer sell us the fool’s gold of a non-existent Empire.

Now is the time to escape from a drowning, convulsing Britannia which with her flailing, grasping tentacles is determined until the very last to take anything that remains of her precious Empire down with her.

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