Westminster’s too-late lockdown shows that Wales would be better off running itself

A lockdown too late? Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash.

Alex Heffron

I’ve been ‘indy curious’ for years. I wrote my first few pieces exploring Welsh independence a couple of years ago but since then have swayed a little.

In truth, the prospect of a genuinely socialist Labour running the UK Government party turned my head. Perhaps there was hope of reforming the British state, after all.

However, the leaked report into the Labour party, showing how hard the party’s centre tried to scupper Corbyn’s chances of winning the election, along with evidence of institutionalised racism and antisemitism, shows how deep-seated the problems are.

The appointment of Keir Starmer as leader does little to persuade me otherwise. Welsh Labour persuade me even less, particularly with their handling of the coronavirus. We may as well have the Tories in charge, given the Welsh Government has largely moved in lockstep with the UK Government’s disastrous policies.

The other hurdle that obscured my path to support Welsh Independence is that I’m not a nationalist. I don’t want to create a hard border between England and Wales. I spent several years living in England and I feel as much in common with English people as I do Welsh.

But being pro-Wales isn’t being anti-English. An independent Wales is for people of all nationality. And let’s face it, Brexit has unearthed the worst of Britain.

The British problem is that the British state is an intrinsically violent, imperialist and hegemonic state, and I think it’s beyond redemption. Inequality is too heavily inbuilt into its makeup.

The position of the monarchy, the power of the upper-class elites, the presence of the Tories - they can’t be escaped. They will always come back, and they will always impose austerity or some other violent political agenda in order to further intensify the wealth of the rich. The right wing newspapers of Britain will always support this.

The British state, by its very design, aims to transfer wealth into fewer and fewer hands, at the expense of the many. I now believe it is beyond reform.

 

Ambition

In Wales we have a different option. We can choose to start afresh. We can reject the monarchy, reject the power of the House of Lords, we can choose a new form of economics.

We can embrace universal basic income, we can place high taxes on the wealthy, we can prioritise the rebuilding of the NHS, we can tax fossil fuels to invest in green energy, we can implement proportional representation, we can improve our public transport infrastructure, we can scrap tuition fees, we can support small businesses not large corporations, we can invest in local communities rather than offshore profits, the list goes on.

We will never achieve this under the British state. The UK has contempt for Wales.

The Covid-19 crisis shows that the British state will do whatever it can preserve the wealth of the elites. They were abysmally slow to order the lockdown, even when seeing the disastrous consequences in countries such as Spain and Italy (who we passed last week in daily Covid-19 deaths).

Instead they went for a herd immunity plan. No 10 have denied that the plan was “protect the economy, and if that means some pensioners die, too bad” as reported in the Sunday Times. However it’s hard to conclude anything other than that fear of crashing the stock market (the stock market ended up crashing anyway) held them back an earlier lockdown that could have saved the lives of thousands of people.

The ideological pursuit of so-called ‘herd immunity’ — a double-speak term for laissez-faire or ‘do nothing’ — proves the malice at the core of British politics.

Even when No. 10 eventually sprang into action there is a strong argument that Wales and Scotland would be better off handling the crisis themselves. On testing kits and PPE Welsh and Scottish governments and care services have been left in the lurch by a Westminster government who have insisted on running everything centrally – badly.

Meanwhile smaller, nimbler nations have more readily adapted to the crisis. Wales has the opportunity to join the other small nations of Europe and pursue a progressive form of politics.

The desire for Welsh sovereignty and the importance of self-determination is not the other side of the coin to the ugly nationalism of Britain. The liberation of Wales is in part a defensive act against a violent state, but more than that, it’s the ambition for a better future for our children.

That’s why I now support independence for Wales.

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vicky moller
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vicky moller

not just for Wales but for UK, someone has to lead out of the airless hole Once one part of the island of Britain is out in the fresh air, maybe the resit will notice and follow.

Jonathan Edwards
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Jonathan Edwards

My wife’s State North Carolina held the first Re-open protest. Then Michigan protested. Today all 50 States under Trump have a plan. Wales could lead. Question is why it doesn’t. Labour/Drakeford are compromised, can’t lead. Plaid too close to Labour, not got the inside track to lead, too little oomph, too few votes. The Welsh people need leadership. Where is it? Look at the graphs coming out now from St.Deborah Birxx MD. This flu is no worse than normal flu.

Lyn Thomas
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Lyn Thomas

So wrong on so many levels Jonathan, another denier as to the seriousness of this epidemic. Trump has no plan just a series of slogans, not a model for any sensible state

j humphrys
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j humphrys

The USA is like a third world country but rich. Get back on thr rails, J.E. Get Biden or Mario Cuomo in asap!

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Whoops! Sorry Andrew.

Steve Duggan
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Steve Duggan

I agree. This isn’t about nationalism but what is the best for our children. We’ve had years, no centuries, of neglect and our children have been worse off as a result. It can’t go on, for their sake we must orchestrate a change of direction.
Ultimately, only as an independent country with the ability to set our own laws, will we have a chance of improving their future.

K. K
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K. K

I agree with the sentiments completely. It isn’t that people in Wales are inherently anti-English it’s more the fact that it’s class based and run by exactly the same people since 1066 more or less. The middle and upper classes have a superiority complex and that is evident not only when they come larging it in their holiday homes but also amongst the less fortunate in English society too. Case in point: Grenfell Tower fire. The likes of Rees-Mogg blamed them and the better off burnt effigies of them. Their biggest fear isn’t Wales or Scotland wanting independence it’s the… Read more »

Ceri
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Ceri

Damn it I’m torn by this article. There is, I fear, a fatal flaw inherent in this type of political based support for independence – what if a socialist republic is not what the Cymry want? If one or more elements on your socialist shopping list are unavailable, will you no longer want independence? Many leftists, including articles written by Plaid Ifanc members on this platform, have indicated as much – without policy x being realised there would be no point having an independent nation. In my opinion, you may as well say you do not support independence, but rather… Read more »

Ceri
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Ceri

To clarify: The cart is so far in front of the horse here that I’m afraid the leftist wing of the indy movement can’t even remember there was ever a horse at all. I do not wish to see anyone precluded from the indy movement based on their own political stance (save the obvious hooligans jabbering away far outside the bounds of the Overton Window – violent extremists, far Right and Far left), but predicating ones support for a separation in the UK purely on ideological grounds will never result in the desired outcome. The writer states as much; when… Read more »

T N D Anderson
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T N D Anderson

Croeso, Alex, you’re welcome to join us! But to have an independence worth having – that is, markedly different from now and from rUK – there will have to be a hard border. But don’t worry – the English will build it to keep out progressive ideas! An equitable, peaceful and sustainable society and culture will require a strong exit – a Sexit – from the UK. Independence in name only – a weak exit or Wexit – would mean replacing elite rule from London with elite rule from Cardiff. What’s the difference? AUOB and YesCymru should sponsor real political… Read more »

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Starmer is singing the Federal song below Scotland’s balcony, but they should shout “gardeloo”.

stuart stanton
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stuart stanton

Enjoyed and appreciated this very coherent article. I am currently completing an M.Phil study at Bangor that has Welsh War Memorials as its central theme. As part of this I have produced a case study of events in Newport prior to the unveiling of the city’s memorial. No-one is surprised by history repeating itself but for an example of English Imperialism prevailing and then being successfully challenged, the Cymru Fydd destruction in January 1896 and the Arthur Gould Affair one year later are well worth looking at. This latter seriously undervalued in its lasting value to the concept of Welsh… Read more »

John Evans
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John Evans

oh well I am a nationalist, but that really is less important than independence. We can all argue about the future model of our politics once we have secured an independent future for our children (as previous comments have said). Until then regardless of position on the spectrum we should stand together for our country’s independence. Hard border please.

j humphrys
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j humphrys

I would rather us be in the position of Jersey, as I feel this has a friendlier feel to it and enables fairly seemless trade. But I now think Unionists would delay forever. So I have decided to come over to Indy and hard border.

Ceri
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Ceri

I think I’d prefer a hard border too but am more than willing to be swayed. For example, if there was an offer for Cymru to be an internationally recognized independent state, independent judiciary, total fiscal independence, a shiny new constitution but a Benelux-style permeable border with, say, the Queen as a ceremonial head of state, I’d bite your hand off. Would I campaign for ‘further’ independence? Maybe, probably…I don’t really know. It’s all hunches or pre-existing ideological standards ’til then. That is why I’m politically agnostic until my Nation is born

O.R
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O.R

Why the obsession with a hard border? Besides being a reason for a vast majority to vote against independence, why would we want it? We’d still need to trade with England so why put up unnecessary barriers? And seeing as we’re not in the EU anymore what would be the point pf one? An independent Wales could control migration and issues with housing etc without the need for a hard border.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but by my reckoning it’s a non starter