YesCymru going from strength to strength as support for independence grows

Siôn Jobbins addresses the marchers in Caernarfon. Photo Nation.Cymru

Mark Mansfield

It’s been an extraordinary year so far for campaigners for Welsh independence. The first march for independence took place in Cardiff in May and attracted over 3,000 participants, drawing media attention far beyond Wales. Eleven town and community councils have voted to back independence and in July, Gwynedd County Council became the first local authority in Wales to vote in favour of an independent Wales with 42 councillors in favour, four against, and five abstaining.

The YesCymru flag briefly flew from the council building in Caernarfon following the vote and several thousand more were on display in the town a week later as the second independence march, again organised by YesCymru and AUOB Cymru, attracted an eye-popping estimated crowd of 10,000.

The third march takes place in Merthyr Tydfil on September 7th and should keep the campaign firmly in the spotlight with Welsh football legend and activist Neville Southall one of the main speakers.

Siôn Jobbins has been Chair of YesCymru since the organisation went though a major shake-up at the end of last year and he believes there has been a significant momentum shift in support of independence in the last two years, sparked in no small part by the political chaos currently engulfing the UK: “The last year or so something has clicked. I think the mess with Brexit, the shenanigans, the lies going on at Westminster. We used to think – I used to think – to some extent Westminster was the proper parliament. The Assembly was a bit small and stuff. But they are no better than us.

This has been quite an eye opener, even for people like me who have always been nationalists.

I think that has happened and people are starting to wake up.”

“We could be in the situation quite soon where Scotland is independent, Ireland then reunites and we are left with a United Kingdom of Wales and England.

If we are not ready for that then we are going to be caught with our trousers around our ankles, in a very embarrassing situation and it is going to be too late the day after to think “Oh let’s have independence”.

“We need to discuss this now because it takes time to develop the arguments, to improve the arguments, because we don’t have a monopoly on the answers either – and to get people together, to get ready for that.”

Focal Point

With a fully paid up membership of over 1000, branches all across Wales and further afield and a team of volunteers that recently delivered over 60,000 leaflets, YesCymru is becoming a formidable campaigning force and focal point for the independence movement. Jobbins admits: “It makes me very proud and quite emotional to see that people feel so strongly about their country and that things can be better and will be better with independence that they are doing this. YesCymru is part of this, giving them the strength to feel and act like this.”

“The exciting thing is we are creating a mass movement of people for independence. All kinds of people, different ages, different backgrounds and we want to bring them together.”

“Independence is a vehicle for change. I don’t think the British state can change, so independence is the way to make the change that people want.

We are creating a nationalist movement because that is the most effective way of creating the change Wales needs because the system under Westminster doesn’t work.”

Facebook

“There is not even a Facebook campaign in the Republic of Ireland to reunite with Westminster. Not even a Facebook campaign!

Independence works. In the 1960’s the Welsh economy was twice the size of the Republic’s. Today the Irish economy is five time the size of Wales’.”

“The only way to fight British nationalism is with Welsh nationalism, because you change the agenda. You change the game. And that is what you have with independence.

If you give in to the British nationalist agenda, that is believing in a unified British state, you can never beat them, this is why Labour are having problems. You cannot beat the right-wing British nationalists at the game of British nationalism. The only way to beat them in our situation in Wales is with Welsh nationalism. Even if people aren’t particularly Welsh nationalist or even Welsh, to use that vehicle for change and to create a counterweight and a counterargument and a mass movement which is against the right-wing monetarist coup which is going on with Brexit.”

YesCymru carefully positions itself as non-party political but some critics have complained the organisation is too close to Plaid Cymru.  Jobbins rejects those accusations: “The great thing with YesCymru is it plays a straight bat. We want independence. We don’t go into detail on whether to have nuclear power or not, or will it be Brexit or will we be in NATO? That’s another argument.”

Independence

“We are a broad church, just for independence. But there are other groups too which is great to see. There is Undod, which is a more left-wing Radical Scotland type group, there is Labour for an Independent Wales, of course there is Plaid Cymru and we have other groups. The great thing is there are people from those groups in Yes Cymru and just getting stuff done.”

“In Machynlleth Rhydian Mason, who is not a Plaid Cymru member and voted for Brexit, tabled a motion for Machynlleth to support independence and that’s happened because of what is happening around YesCymru. The family gives people the confidence, the strength, to do this kind of thing. YesCymru isn’t directing this. This is happening because people want it to happen.”

“There is obviously one party that wants independence but YesCymru is not part of Plaid Cymru.  I think Plaid Cymru are very glad of that. It gives them the space to give their own different arguments. And we have Labour members who are also supportive of YesCymru and we want to keep that as it is. If people want to follow a more policy line there are parties for that and we support that. We are just for independence and I think that is the way it has to be at the moment.”

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Robert Hogg
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Robert Hogg

As a Scottish nationalist I wish YES Cymru all the best in their endeavours to run their own country’s affairs and reach the point of nationhood . I fear your struggle is more difficult due to the many many non Welsh inhabitants , a fear of my own now that Scotland seems to be becoming something of a retirement home for the non friendly to independence . We do have a contingent of English for YES and they are very welcome , but I would be lying if I was to say the others are as welcome . It’s becoming… Read more »

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

The number of likes shows that your words of encouragement have been very welcome, Robert. As for Scotland, I’m saddened to hear that settlers in that country bring their BritNat mindset with them, although the numbers are, indeed smaller than in Wales, and are probably not enough to swing any future Scottish indyref in favour of remaining tied to Westminster. Not so in Wales. My only consolation is that settler children will be brought up, to a certain degree, learning Welsh ways and will be taught the language in school, and may be more well-disposed towards independence when they are… Read more »

Norm
Guest
Norm

So we know where you stand on ethnic cleansing how about some answers on economics….where’s the money coming from?

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

You know perfectly well that there is nothing promoting ethnic cleansing here. Don’t try to skirt around the issues of colonialism and colonisation by suggesting a spurious idea of colonisers being victims of the colonised. If you use that tactic again, you’ll be called out for it.

Various people on this and other sites have given an explanation of how the problem of ‘the money’ lies not with Wales’s inability to earn its own keep, but with the diversion of that country’s wealth into projects that are of no benefit to it.

Norm
Guest
Norm

I’m calling you out mush, don’t come the victim because its only you and the others on this echo chamber who refer to other citizens of this country as ”settlers”

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Not so. And this isn’t an echo chamber. Nor does it have an anti-settler agenda, but has a positive attitude to any settler who acknowledges that he or she has come to live in another country (albeit a colony) and willingly embraces the culture, values, and (in an increasing number of instances) the language of this country. The enmity of contributors and subscribers on this and other media sites, as regards this matter, is towards those who, having settled here, see Welsh people and Welshness as irritants to be ridiculed or ignored.

Norm
Guest
Norm

You used the word ”settler” first not I, people moving within there own nation state cannot be ”settlers” Wales has had 100 years to make Plaid the seperatist party the biggest party but its still smaller than the welsh Tories which explains why only the same few obsessives post on this echo chamber.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Let me explain for what I hope will be the final tme. The UK is, as you say, a state. It comprises several nations, one of which (England), is the de facto state. Another (Scotland) is an ostensibly equal partner with the former but in practice is subject to its decisions in most matters. A third (N. Ireland) is a semi-autonomous province in accordance with the wishes, for the time being, of the majority of its people. A fourth (Cymru, a.k.a. Wales), has nominal home rule of a very limited kind but is in effect a colony whose economy and… Read more »

Norm
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Norm

‘indigenous population’

You’re an ethnic nationalist mush as I said in the first comment, people like you live on victimhood and blame, now i’ve nothing else to say to a racist like you.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

The racist card won’t work here. My comments on this particular post — and indeed most people’s comments on most of the posts on this site — fall under the aegis of civic nationalism. English settlers are welcome in the nationalist fold; it might only apply to a small minority as yet, but I would be surprised if the recent independence marches didn’t include one person born across the border, and you’d be surprised at how many settlers have learnt, or are learning, to speak Welsh. We should at least give these people a chance to assimilate — if they’re… Read more »

Norm
Guest
Norm

I have no intention of learning welsh or any need to. English ”settlers” are citizens of the same nation state there is no difference whether you are English or welsh so dehumanising them or taking away their full citizenship and rights would be exactly the same as 1930’s Germany revoking the citizenship of Jews…..so you ARE a racist and I AM playing that card. Do you think Jews joined the National socialist party of Germany? there aren’t many ethnic minority faces on view in these marches? To be fair to Plaid they don’t publicly advocate such things but there’s a… Read more »

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

No, as I said, Welsh nationalism is civic nationalism. Read the other responses on this posting and you’ll get the drift. We in Wales must be very wary when BritNat supremacists try to attack the independence movement by inappropriately playing the race card, so don’t be fooled. As for Ein Gwlad, again no, they’re obviously not Nazi sympathisers, although ironically a small minority in the independence movement have bandied the word about (as well as the obligatory “fascist”) because, as far as I can tell, Ein Gwlad (and other groups or individuals) prioritise independence as a precursor to tackling less… Read more »

Aled Gwyn J
Guest
Aled Gwyn J

It’s really good to see the strides that YES Cymru have made of late. Sion Jobbins is right on the money to say that traditional Welsh nationalism is the only way to counter British nationalism, and I really hope he sticks to his guns on this one. The recent obsession with being ‘progressive’ and seeking to please a kind of Guardian-reading, metropolitan and cosmopolitan audience has been the bane of the national movement over the past twenty years or so. It just goes to show how modern left modernism pushed by those three dominating cultural agents of our age(media, academia… Read more »

Siôn
Guest
Siôn

My rights as a gay person are not ‘nonsense’.
I hope your marginal views stay out of the independence movement or it’ll never appeal to the young generation. You’re a dying breed Aled – a melys moes mwy.

Steve Duggan
Guest
Steve Duggan

Many people say to me – you hate Brexit but support Welsh independence, double standards. However, I believe Wales can be a very successful country within the EU, other small populated countries such as Ireland have shown us that. Besides, unlike the ultra brexiteers who want to cut all ties with the EU I realise that to do that with the rest of the UK would not benefit Wales, close ties would have to be maintained but which close ties would be our decision not London’s. Wales will never prosper under Westminster’s rule and will continue to decline, the only… Read more »

Norm
Guest
Norm

Its alright waving flags and blaming the English but how about hard economic answers to questions ?

vicky moller
Guest
vicky moller

Wales has all the resources for wealth, they are just not used to create wealth for Wales. Plus huge changes ahead mean these resources are more valuable than ever and we need to ensure they are well used not squandered. Wealth and a successful economy are not the barrier, its government and economic power that is in the wrong hands.

John Young
Guest
John Young

I’ve explained some of the answers a number of times Norm but one thing I never did was blame the English. It’s not the English people who have created the financial situation Wales is in at the moment but successive Labour and Conservative UK Parliaments. The UK media continually talks about the Welsh Fiscal deficit and claimed that that deficit was £13 billion as of the last figures I saw. They said Welsh expenditure was £38 billion while Welsh revenue was £25 billion. What those figures DON’T tell you is that £billions of the £38 billion is money allocated as… Read more »

Norm
Guest
Norm

If what you say is true why isn’t Plaid Cymru shouting it from the rooftops?

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

It has (e.g. on HS2 in April 2019), but perhaps not loudly enough.

Joanne Davies
Guest
Joanne Davies

As much I’d like to see it happen, it never will. Not even Scotland will vote for independence. People think in terms of their mortgages and pensions and how to put food on the table. They won’t vote to change currency and risk economic upheaval. Sadly, the UK is here to stay and will outlive all of us.

Ifor Jones
Guest
Ifor Jones

Im always disappointed to hear of any individual from any country who hasnt enough pride and confidence in their own nation`s ability to be able to govern themselves.

Nic Ros
Guest
Nic Ros

Maybe. But will the UK outlive my children?

jr humphrys
Guest
jr humphrys

Look to Europe, Cymru. Too much insular thinking.
You would need a Europa correspondent/s, and links.