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.
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.
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.
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.
- IWA Economics PT1
- IWA Economics PT2
- Business Live- The economic case for Welsh independence
- The Decade of Welsh Independence
- Will the coronavirus pandemic stop Welsh independence in its tracks?
- Comparing the Scottish and Welsh independence movements