An independent Wales is essential
One of my earliest childhood memories is of waving a Welsh flag and a union jack outside our house in Swansea, as the Prince of Wales was driven past after making our town a city, in 1969. Such memories remind me of the journey I have travelled in terms of the understanding of my nationality. The concept of an independent Wales was a meaningless one to me until my teenage years, when a history teacher with a passion for his nation, planted the seeds of a free Wales in my mind.
However, the foremost experience that moulded my politics was the 84/85 miner's strike. I was the first generation from my mother's family not to work down a mine and I remember rushing home from school every lunchtime, absorbing the historic events on the news and busily recording the percentage of miners who had returned to work at each coalfield, breaking the strike.
Bizarrely, I took enormous pride in the fact that the South Wales coalfield was the most loyal to the last. How naive I was. To this day, I despise Scargill and Thatcher for what they did to our mining communities. They put their politics before people's needs and to me,it was a painful lesson in how British political games can scar a democratically powerless nation, as Wales was at that time.
After joining Plaid in 1995, the subsequent Tory defeat led to what I believe has been the most important event on the road to self-government. It's a sobering thought, but the hate in Wales for the likes of Thatcher and Redwood, probably did more to deliver a 'yes' vote than any other factor. Maybe this fact might finally send Margaret to her grave, as the 'yes' vote did for 'Viscount NO.'
I now define myself politically as a de-centralist socialist, Welsh nationalist and internationalist - i.e. Plaid for short! An independent Wales is essential, if we are serious about breaking the cycle of poor health, economic under-performance and a general lack of ambition.
Wales has a huge amount to offer not only its people, but the rest of the World. As long as a London Government still has a say on how we manage ourselves, our priorities will always be compromised.
Plaid Cymru's Assembly candidate for Swansea West
Tuesday 6 February 2007
An independent Wales is essential - by Ian Titherington
Today, Plaid Cymru's Assembly candidate for Swansea West - Ian Titherington - argues that an independent Wales is essential because Westminster will never put Wales first.