Why I’ve gone from IndyCurious to IndyFurious

Picture by Senedd Cymru

Huw Cook, Health Communication Officer

I’ve been struggling to write recently.

For me, working in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been all-consuming, exhausting, emotionally and physically draining and often quite upsetting.

Each day I sit at my desk trying to do best by the people of Wales promoting well-being and trying to ensure key public health messaging makes it through to the people who need it most; in a way that is relatable and accessible to them.

Although I spend much of my day drafting copy and writing briefs, for me writing is usually a release; a chance to reflect on my work in the wider context of the world around me. But as of late I have found it more and more difficult to tolerate the actions of those who ultimately hold the keys to unlocking success for the world around me. I’ve found it difficult to witness the undermining of the health messaging I am promoting by unprincipled journalist, ignorant ministers and many of the wider public they represent.  I’ve found it difficult to watch the hypocrisy of a central government that has actively undermined and questioned the important role devolved health policy plays in facilitating measures that fulfil the specific needs of the nation in question.

And I can’t even begin with the Cummings saga because there truly are no words to describe how deeply damaging and inconceivable it is.

Which brings me nicely on to my point- when I say I have struggled to write, what I mean to say is that I have struggled to put into polite words the fury, sheer disbelief and heart-wrenching frustration I feel watching possibly the most inept gaggle of fools completely betray the people of Wales – putting their lives at risk, and making a mockery of the adverse experiences we have had to endure as a nation over the last x number of weeks.

 

Why now?

I’ve just signed up to the Yes Cymru movement.  Having grown more and more Indy curious over the last year, for me an Independent Wales represents an opportunity to build a global Wales. A forward-thinking Wales with well-being at its heart and the pathway to prosperity laid before each of its citizens.

An independent Wales, free from the shackles of Westminster-enforced austerity, could seek to end poverty within a generation, build resilient and cohesive communities nourished by a foundational economy that works for them, and most importantly measure ourselves not on what we continue to produce as a nation but how well, happy and empowered we are as a people.

An independent Wales could fully embrace the head start we gave ourselves by introducing the worlds’ first Future Generations Commissioner; and use that focus, that commitment to sustainably build a unified nation to really deliver for, protect and inspire the people of Wales to be their best selves and make sure they have the opportunity to do so.

The behaviours we have witnessed throughout this crisis and actually throughout the whole Brexit debacle have shown that none of this will ever be possible so long as Wales remains a part of – and I’m going to hate myself for using this cheesy line but I’m going to do it anyway- so long as it remains a part of this Dis-United Kingdom. We will not prosper, we will not have true freedom and will not be given the equity to be the healthiest, happiest and safest we can be.

Many will argue that we cannot afford it but there are equally as many people, if not more who have proved that we can. To truly be in charge of our economy, to not rely on Westminster handouts and not spend years arguing over access to funding for an ugly stretch of road; will mean we have the freedom to develop a unique economy that works for Wales.

Too idealistic?

Some may read this and think what a load of tosh, they may think it a ramble of hopeful nonsense but in all honesty, it really doesn’t have to be. Being in control of our own laws, our own money, our own way of life, kicks the door of possibility wide open. We could introduce a four-day week, more flexible working hours, a Universal Basic Income and ensure everyone is able to fulfil their right to safe housing and food.

Yes, it is all very hopeful, but what we need right now is hope. The only resemblance of hope that I have found throughout this crisis is the thought of an independent Wales no longer restrained, hindered or mocked by the Westminster machine.

I won’t ask you to join the movement for an independent Wales – but I will ask you to not dismiss it. Whatever the reason, whether it be political affinity, fear, lack of awareness or even if you’re happy with the way things are, I’d invite you to just do a bit more reading on it. Take yourself down an independence rabbit-hole and see if you end up with a vision of a Welsh wonderland. And when you’re done put all of the cards on the table and ask yourself what sort of a future you want, and which road is most likely to get you there.

It won’t happen overnight, and yes there is still much to discuss, plan for and think about. But we can do more than make an independent Wales work. We can make an independent Wales and its people thrive like never before.

Suggestions

Below are a few articles that I’ve banded together, not necessarily because they all accurately reflect my view but because they raise some interesting discussion points. There were a few others I can’t seem to find now that previously made some very persuasive cases for both sides of the argument; so please do get in touch if you have further reading suggestions for me to add in or please comment below.

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James WilliamsSteve Dugganmax wallisCeriEifion Recent comment authors
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Chris Skelding
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Chris Skelding

While I may respect and possibly agree with some of your views, since when is it appropriate for a public servant to comment on government policy?

Mathew Rees
Guest
Mathew Rees

I was going to say the same…

Stern words at the office on Monday.

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

Time for public servants to shake off those daft constraints and pipe up. Often they are in positions of vantage where they see government nonsense in its formative stages. If they feel the urge to speak out, that’s healthy and a damn sight healthier than bending the knee and sucking up the nonsense.

Llewellyn
Guest
Llewellyn

Problem with that argument is they work for an elected government, elected on behalf and for the public. In most cases we cant elect civil servants- that’s where the problem with that argument lies. Yes minister?

Carol Loughlin
Guest
Carol Loughlin

He would appear to be employed by a health authority rather than the Welsh Government. If you feel that he should not air his views then surely it should be the same for all NHS staff, who are also public servants.

Jim Dunckley
Guest
Jim Dunckley

Yes because it’s not like there’s any kind of political bias amongst civil servants is there? LOL.

Some people are very naive…

Gareth Wyn Jones
Guest
Gareth Wyn Jones

is this ironic?

Llewellyn
Guest
Llewellyn

Shouldn’t a civil servant in wales or else where be politically neutral? I would class this article as inappropriate, especially given the current times.

I’m on the fence on independence but I cant help think we would be moving from nepotistic Westminster to a cardiff one.

We would just be changing the master but not the record.

Jonathan Gammond
Guest
Jonathan Gammond

Tat fence is so wide it could be classed as a platform or even a grandstand. There is no guarantee just moving the capital changes anything systemically unless it involves changes in how politics is done, change in the relationship with the wider population, change in the kind of people attracted to and allowed to hold the levers of power, change in the way they view the exercise of power, the aims of government and its timeframe. Otherwise it is just a powergrab from one lot by another lot.

Frank Jenkins
Guest
Frank Jenkins

An independent Wales could have a written constitution that would have sufficient checks and balances to ensure all your concerns can be addressed. Unfortunately the Westminster establishment are too powerful and controlled by the lobbyists for it ever to change in a progressive way.

Llewellyn
Guest
Llewellyn

To the -15 who down voted my comment, just to play devils advocate, if this individual had of given a unionist argument and also still stating his job position, would you still agree hes entitled to say it?

Or does it only work one way?

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

While hiding your own identity, of course?

John Young
Guest
John Young

Llewellyn. Surely the point is that at the moment the choice of master and record is not in our hands. Our votes count for almost nothing in deciding how we are governed.

In an Independent Wales it would be the people of Wales who would decide. No one else. And we would be able to change the master and/or the record at every election if we so decided.

John
Guest
John

He does not state support for any political party.

Jeff Williams-Jones
Guest
Jeff Williams-Jones

And it’s OK for one of the most senior civil servants, Dom (!) Cummings constructively to express his opinions by flouting the regulations and, arguably, to break the law? Have I missed something? Cook is a health communication officer and he has a duty to let us all know what’s going on.

Jonesy
Guest
Jonesy

Health Comms Officer, it does not saycivil servant, so I assume that he is a freelance gun for hire or could be working for a charity, or other body maybe, o’r it could even be a pseudonym from a pissed off civil servant?

Kerry Davies
Guest
Kerry Davies

He works for Public Health Wales but is still entitled to an opinion as long as it is not party political. It is a fine line but I don’t think he has crossed it this time. Yes Cymru is All Under One Banner and non-partisan.

Tudor Rees
Guest
Tudor Rees

More and more feel it is not health for Wales to be dominated by our larger neigbour. We should aspire to have the same type of relationship with England that Irish citizens enjoy under the CTA. “The UK, for the purposes of the Common Travel Area, covers England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Irish and UK citizens have the right to live, travel, work and study within the Common Travel Area. Irish and UK citizens can live in either country and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including: • Access to social benefits •… Read more »

Dai Hand
Guest
Dai Hand

Da iawn Huw. May I politely suggest that the stream of comments below are an embarrassment . The article was about proposing people take more interest and research Welsh Independence. It’s pretty pathetic to make it more about the author’s eligibility to share his views. This Nation Cymru is a fantastic platform that facilitates debate and discussion about the most important issues in Welsh society today – let’s try to keep focused on the important matters. Thanks to Huw for sharing his personal story and views – this is the kind of Wales and Cymry ( people thereof) we are… Read more »

Gwyneth Wynn Ui Ghaora
Guest
Gwyneth Wynn Ui Ghaora

Cytuno yn llwyr. Fel un sydd yn byw yn Iwerddon am rai blynyddoedd dwi’n teimlo mor rwystredig wrth weld fel mae Cymru’n cael ei hanwybyddu ar y platfform rhyngwladol a’r ddelwedd Englandanwêls yn rhy amlwg o lawer. Pam ddyle fod hawl gan Cummings i ddweud ei farn ac na ddyle Huw Cook osod y ddadl yn bwyllog o’n blaen?
Chwarae teg iddo!

Llewellyn
Guest
Llewellyn

Is it an embarrassment because you dont agree with the comments, and if you did agree with the comments would they still be embarrassing? Is it not embarrassing not to allow diversity of opinion? Is it a case you can have any opinion you want but as long as you agree with it? Surley for an informed debate you have to listen to opinions, even ones you disprove of, and not mock them politely, in order to assess what the best outcome is? The problem wasnt with an individual expressing their opinion, it was the vague position they hold potentially… Read more »

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

But he is quite open about his position, and does not hide.

Geoff Hollett
Guest
Geoff Hollett

Far from the discussion on whether Wales should be independent, is whether the Welsh Government will continue to exist? There are growing signs that the U.K. Tory Government is preparing an ‘all out‘ assault on the current provisions for a Welsh Government! Mark Reckless (exTory, ex UKIP, ex Brexit, current Tory – reckless by name?) was giving forth his views, that the Welsh Government was a distraction and should be abolished in an interview with BBC Wales. Some of the newly elected Tory MPs in North Wales have expressed similar views. The Tories, are, obviously, gearing up for an all… Read more »

Jonesy
Guest
Jonesy

It is worth listening back to the Shrewsbury o’r Shropshire MP o’n Vaughan Roderick fantastic weekly political programme on Radio Wales this Morning ( the only thing worth listening to bar Frank Hennessy) . He is obviously colouring with newly elected Welsh tory MPs to undermine a d denigrate devolution. Plz do not go on social media and slag him off as it does not serve independence’s purpose

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

Everyone with whom I discuss the issue which you’re highlighting seems to think I wholly exaggerate the likelihood that the Conservatives will at some stage kick off a campaign to reverse We;sh devolution.

But I agree with your prediction that it’s a definite possibility at some point during the present Westminster parliament, assuming that a series of repeated Covid-19 spikes doesn’t distract from ‘routine’ politicking. The politicians now overwhelmingly ascendant in the Conservative party are the faction of old-fashioned ‘British imperial’ types who were most opposed, ideologically, to devolution when it was first mooted

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

Fortunately, so far its balls up after balls up, and the English people are just as cheesed as we. Sorry to be crude.

Jonathan Gammond
Guest
Jonathan Gammond

If anyone has some time on their hands, I would recommend checking out the talk by Roman Krznaric on the Hay Festival website. Very relevant whether you are indy curious, indy furious or just think the current UK government is incompetent. There have actually been a stack of inspirational talks very relevant to the future of Wales taking place this past week such as those by Paul Dolan and Mererid Hopwood.

Mathew Rees
Guest
Mathew Rees

Wales doesn’t need independence and will never be independent.

Wales just needs a strong private sector economy in the south east and north east of the country, enabling public sector jobs to move to the west and north to sustain what’s left of the Welsh-speaking communities.

The results of the 2021 census will be a wake-up call for all of us.

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

Do you have a crystal ball? Wales needs independence if it is to survive as an entity, there is no real alternative. Those jobs you talk about probably won’t even materialise. The way that AI is progressing most jobs will be automated and, unless things change massively, the workers who did that work will become part of the unnecessariat.

Laurence Holder
Guest
Laurence Holder

I drive from Pembrokeshire to Mancehster each week and have been thinking much the same. For the real protection of welsh indentity (or the language), move the assembly to aberystwyth and let the economic regions focus on free market enterprise. this amorphous ‘welsh’ intelligentsia that live within 3 miles of ‘the bay’ is failing this country both socially and economically

Steve Duggan
Guest
Steve Duggan

Wales has been trying to establish that for years – but we’ve been held back by Westminster policies and a lack of funding. We will get a strong private sector when we have self determination and are able to produce it unhindered – ourselves.

Erisian
Guest
Erisian

Time an English parliament I think. I am cross and getting crosser by the day. They think only of themselves and impose their parochial views on the devolved nations. This is not a sustainable position

Colin Mann
Guest
Colin Mann

I think it is good that we hear from people in all walks of life. Are some trying to stiffly this because they don’t agree with the views in the article?

Colin Mann
Guest
Colin Mann

Typo – you will have probably guessed that ‘stiffly’ should be stifle

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

Yes, but we all do it. To Answer, I am furious, as far as I can be, that Nation Cymru is so prone to trolling. They are
all over the shop, probably some with more than one computer. And no effort at all from NC. Very sad and naive.

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

As a Christian Democrat, there’s no party I can put my heart into working for. That’s why I’m joining Yes Cymru.

Sian Ifan
Guest
Sian Ifan

Indy Curious, I perhaps sadly no more as for Indy Furious been thru that in the ‘SIXTIES’ up to recent times but after the experience of fighting back furiously on ‘STRYVELAND’ whilst most so called ‘nationalists’ buried their heads in the mud of ‘WIND FARM PLANTATIONS’ I can clearly see now so called ‘nationalists’ have no fight back guts and just want to talk! talk!. All that being furious is just puffed up futility , i may be raining on the ‘Cyber Nat parade but get real it is ‘ CYMRU GAME OVER’. Do you seriously think our people will… Read more »

Eifion
Guest
Eifion

Ydach chi yn mynd yn rhy bell-“traitor Iwan” Sian deud mae Dafydd dwi’n siwr mae amser i bobl iau na fo neud y protestio rwan

Morris Dean
Guest
Morris Dean

Lol

Ranting isn’t going to change hearts and minds. Huw’s contribution was worth 1,000 of this comment

Richard Griffith
Guest
Richard Griffith

There needs to be one Wales before there can be a prosperous independent Wales. The Welsh government have had 20 years to sort out north south transport infrastructure and have done nothing about it. Divide and keep conquered perhaps?

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

They Labour against it. But the public flood, even of our Anglos is taking Mark Drakeford’s canoe with it?

Jase
Guest
Jase

Separation obsessives on this blog can talk about it till the cows come home but its not going to happen because support is around 10% … 15% tops

More want to abolish devolution altogether …… keep dreaming

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

Ha ha, same to you, whoever you are!

Eifion
Guest
Eifion

“Union obsessive” ydach chi felly Jase?

Rosa Ashby
Member
Rosa Ashby

We joined YesCymru last week and glad to have done so. After living and working in England for 37 long years. Glad we moved to Wales on the 5th of March. Neither of us were born in England but look forward to a future living in Wales.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Are you intending to join a Welsh language class?

Ceri
Guest
Ceri

Croeso i Gymru! Very glad to hear that principled individuals such as yourself have decided to make Cymru your home. If you are interested in learning Cymraeg, there are many great options both online and in classes all over the land. Should you wish to simply live alongside our language, rest assured it is always there for you to pick up should you wish.

max wallis
Guest
max wallis

A pity that Huw Cook as Welsh officer of the British Lung Foundation did not look back at Wales’s experience and policy on epidemics, as described in the earlier article by the well-qualified Welsh public health official (retired) Dr Carl Clowes, He would have appreciated that isolation hospitals taking those infected and with live-in staff was quite the opposite of leaving infected people in care-homes and trying to run Covid and non-Covid wards in the same hospitals (with staff mixing). Huw would then have appreciated the stupidity of the official message “Protect the NHS” by discharging sometimes infected people to… Read more »

max wallis
Guest
max wallis

Correction: Huw left BLF early this year, now works for Public Health Wales. Gives him responsibility for acknowledging the Care-homes scandal in Wales: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/28/why-did-so-many-people-die-of-covid-19-in-the-uks-care-homes

Steve Duggan
Guest
Steve Duggan

Like yourself Huw I never really looked at the posibility of Wales becoming independent. However, now in my 50s I’ve seen enough to recognise that if Wales is to drag itself out of poverty the only way is through self determination. In our present predicament any future is going to be hard but at least we will be the ones creating it and not relying on our bigger neighbour. Our future in our own hands not with a neglectful institution hundreds of miles away. Covid-19 has shown, well or not, we can make decisions ourselves and with the Welsh people… Read more »

James Williams
Guest
James Williams

Thank you Huw Cook your commentary on unscrupulous journalists and government officials was spot on I only wish we had such honestly outspoken leaders here in the United States who vocally lead instead of pandering to party politics and conspiracy nutters whether about covid-19 (trust the science please) or race relations (accept the truth of racial injustice) .