Monday 12 February 2007

A Welsh Republic ??

One of the issues that provokes a lot of discussion, is whether an independent Wales should become a republic.

There are those who believe that Wales should remain in the Commonwealth with the Queen as the head of state – Australia is an independent country with this arrangement, so why not?. On the other hand, there are those who believe that the monarchy is an undemocratic anachronism which should have no part to play in an independent Wales.

I also once heard a heated discussion as to whether the ‘Prince of Wales’ should be our head of state - but that would just be adding insult to injury! Maybe we should traces the bloodline of Llewelyn the Last and establish a new monarchy????

My personal opinion is that unelected aristocrats (particularly neighbouring foreign ones) have no place to play in a modern democracy, and we should follow the Irish model with an elected non-political president. The Queen (or King) of England would always be welcome in Wales and would then be treated with the same courtesy as any other visiting head of state.

But as a believer in democracy, I would trust the people to decide, and this should be a matter for public debate followed by a referendum.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Comment from Dai - from Welsh Republican Debate forum - who couldnt post:
Whilst I see your point PenDdu, because my contention is that such arguments began to divide a previously united radical Wales from 1850 onwards and the future outcome was the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Plaid Cymru political parties, it is a fact of life that those who want a republic are evenly distributed across the political spectrum - even the Conservative party has a republican element. But here I am saying REPUBLICAN and I am not talking about independance. Pursuing independance for its own sake will not make Wales' situation better, rather in economic terms Wales will certainly be worse off to begin with. The profit in independance can only come from the opportunity to reshape the state apparatus, and ofcourse I would advocate a democratic-republican system of government ( which is more about the supremacy of a legal system dedicated to upholding human rights, about creating governments that obey the people's will, and about dismantling a social system that operates in a harmful way to society than about getting rid of the monarchy as so many people imagine republicanism to be ).

If I believed that we could secure a British Republic, or even revive that long dead project of the United Britons - the United Republic of Britain and Ireland - or functionally achieve John Bellers' Diet of Europe, I'd advocate that because it is a far better goal. But Wales in the past thirty years has ended up in a very bad way and we may not have much time left to undo the damage. To continue to try to work through the mechanisms of the UK state to solve Wales' problems means inevitably that we will run out of time. Unfortunately, although Plaid Cymru claims this vision of an independant Wales within Europe it has no stated constitutional policies to explain how government will be conducted in this situation : in other words PC's plan is to get power for itself and change nothing, to break off a little piece of the UK and run it the same way with a Welsh establishment instead of an English one.

That offers no improvement on our situation : both the UK and the EC are democratically deficient. Independance for the sake of vain Nationalist sentimentality is obnoxious to me, we have huge social problems to tackle and republicans in every political party appreciate that. I don't believe that their political differences obstruct their ability to bring forward democratic reforms : it is perfectly possible to cooperate sufficiently well if all of them have the will to defy their parties' demands for blind loyalty. It is important for republicans of both the right and left to both cooperate with each other and to vigourously argue about how to reform the state apparatus. The outcome will inevitably be a compromise that all will hate, but then afterwards they can fight each other for the electoral mandate.