Yes Cymru can: a roadmap to IndyWales within a decade
Gwern Gwynfil, former CEO YesCymru
‘Of course, it will never happen in my lifetime’ – variations of this phrase are endemic in any conversation around independence with those over a certain age. Sadly some of those expressing this sentiment are younger than I am (and I turn fifty next year).
After fifteen months at the Indy coalface in Wales it is clear that we need not wait this long. There are pathways to a free and independent Wales within a decade. Effort will be needed. Ambition, bravery and confidence will be essential. A clear strategy targeted at every aspect of Welsh society is a must. Clarity in pursuit of our goal and a plan to get us there will give us wings.
Within this scenario YesCymru, as an active, vibrant and dynamic organisation, has a key role to fulfill. It is the conduit for conversations about independence, with ordinary people, community leaders, politicians and other national leaders. This does mean that the organisation needs individuals who can speak with all of these sectors of society.
Within each community YesCymru must have a voice which speaks to that community, this includes at leadership level, where it needs leaders that can speak to their peers as equals. Chair, Vice-Chair, Director, CEO, whatever label is given to the leadership, those who occupy the role must step forward and relentlessly pursue conversations and influence with those who have influence.
Whilst important, banners, leaflets and marches can only do so much. Influence and persuasion must be on many levels.
A Road to Independence
How do we get there? Firstly, YesCymru needs to continue to evolve into the effective, organised and powerful campaign group it can and should so easily become. There is passion and activism, there is growing support, there are very lively hubs of indy fervour blossoming as nodes across the length and breadth of Cymru. They need the freedom to innovate and act for independence within their communities but they also need an understanding of a core strategy and plan in the pursuit of that goal. This must come from the centre.
It must be ambitious, clear and straightforward. It must be communicated well and often. It must be guided by good management and given good leadership. The relationship must be symbiotic and open between the grass roots and the centre. There is no room for gatekeeping if YesCymru wishes to be successful. There is no room for those with feet of clay. Transparency and openness at every level and every aspect of the organisation at all times.
With YesCymru becoming an effective, national, skilled campaign group, able to deploy hundreds, thousands of activists across Wales and represented in every community, then it becomes a force to be reckoned with.
If it can evolve and learn then in 2026, all independence supporting candidates for the Senedd elections in that year, whatever their party political affiliation, stand to benefit from the approval and support of an army of single issue canvassers and campaigners who will fly their flag for them.
Whilst only two parties officially support independence today, the Greens and Plaid Cymru, there are certainly old Welsh Liberals in the Liberal Democrats in Wales who support independence. Perhaps they will be doing so openly in 2026 and those that do could have significant additional campaign support as a result.
Polling shows that almost half of Labour and Liberal voters here in Wales are already pro-independence. Whether Jeremy Miles or Vaughan Gething become the next Labour leader and First Minister at the time of elections in 2026, the trendline suggests that support for independence amongst Labour voters is more likely than not to have increased. The UK is in decline, standards of living are dropping, another economic downturn is coming and a Labour government at Westminster will not have improved the lives of people in Wales come 2026.
Crumbs from the table
There may be some crumbs from the table but Labour in Wales should be deeply worried that this will be the year where it suffers as Scottish Labour suffered in 2015. Will they loosen the tribal restraints and allow the members who are ‘leaning indy’ to declare openly that they are in favour of or open to a free Wales? If they don’t, how much talent and support do they stand to lose as support for Welsh independence continues to grow inexorably and steadily?
In the midst of these potentially tectonic moves within Welsh politics, YesCymru must be at the heart of things, applying pressure on individuals within political parties to be bolder in their support for independence regardless of their party line. It is for YesCymru to amplify and organise support at every level so that independence becomes normal. It is for YesCymru to ensure that independence is and remains a central political issue in Wales.
Let us assume that 2026 changes the political balance in Wales. For the first time there are Green Party MSs in the Senedd, Labour in Wales are significantly short of a majority and can only govern with the support and co-operation of some combination of Liberal, Plaid or Green MSs. Realistically, it is unlikely that the Conservative party of Nick Bourne and David Melding will return in time for the Tories in Wales to make a serious contribution to the 2026-31 Senedd.
This expanded Senedd becomes one during which the failings and failures of Westminster government, from a Welsh perspective, continue to become ever clearer. YesCymru and others continue to loudly and effectively campaign for independence.
There are a very significant number of openly independence supporting Members of the Senedd and they are becoming increasingly confident and vociferous in their support. Independence is a live issue and calls for a referendum are growing. In 2031, a referendum on independence for Wales becomes the election battleground and the newly elected Senedd in that year has a plurality in support of a referendum, calling for one to be held in 2032. Refusing this call will only solidify support for Welsh independence and with significant Welsh Labour support for the referendum, Starmer’s second term Labour government in Westminster concedes and the referendum goes ahead. A referendum that the Yes campaign can win. A referendum that the Yes campaign should aim to win with a supermajority of 60% in favour.
The road to an indy Wales will never be easy. Very few things that are worthwhile are easy. We should seize our opportunity, make our plans, commit ourselves and work hard, as individuals, as communities and as a nation, to secure the freedom we need and deserve.
The freedom which lets us set our own priorities. The freedom which lets us get down to building a better, brighter future for ourselves and for future generations. The future which leads to a happier, healthier, wealthier Wales.
Yes Cymru can. YesCymru can.
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