Saturday 10 February 2007

What sort of independence?

This blog has already succeeded in raising the profile of the case for independence in a confident and credible way. That's to be welcomed. It's also encouraged Plaid Cymru, the only party that is pro-independence, to make its case more clearly - and that can only be a good thing.

The pro-independence parties in Scotland - the SNP, the SSP and the Greens - have succeeeded in putting the issue at the top of the political agenda for the May elections. There are obvious reasons why that's the case there. Here in Wales we should be aiming to do the same thing within the next four years. The only way to do that is to campaign outside the Assembly as well as encourage politicians to make their views clear on the matter.

But the key question we should also be asking is "what kind of independence?"

This could be seen as "jumping the gun" somewhat but if we are to create a bandwagon of support among the people of Wales, then everyone has to understand that what we're after is not a slightly improved version of the current situation.

An independent republic would not, to paraphrase the great James Connolly, be achieved merely by raising the Red Dragon and painting all the post boxes green. A free Wales should reflect the values of Welsh people - cooperation not the free market, care not warfare and putting people before profit.

I want to see an independent socialist Wales where the wealth of the country is in the hands of 'y werin', the workers, where democracy means more than putting a cross in a box every four years for a variety of parties that say the same thing and where the environment is respected and sustained instead of being raped for capitalist profit.

In the same way as I have faith in the people of Wales to have the ability to run their own country, I'm also confident that the workers of Wales can run our industries and services.

While I welcome the support from politicians for the cause of independence, it will be the people from the grassroots who will make this velvet revolution.


Christopher Collier said...

I do think that this kind of discussion is premature, whilst I am certainly a strong supporter of Independence I am by no means a socialist, a fact that has made me uneasy about Plaid in the past. I think that the priority must be a broad coalition in support of further powers for the assembly, then once this is achieved, to work from there. Scotland has the Independence First group; we need a Wales First coalition so that all those in favour of further devolution can stand together: it is only united like this that we can hope to over turn the inertia of Labour in Wales. As a footnote, keep in mind that the many successful examples of independent small nations that you rightly often quote in support of independence have largely not employed socialist policies. In fact quite the contrary, it is through low corporation taxes and small, dynamic state sectors that the likes of Ireland have found success.

Anonymous said...

By all means debate the benefits of independence as a principle - but the political nature of an independent Wales is a matter for a seperate post-independence debate. If we start to argue the merits of socialism or free market liberalism then we will just play straight into the hands of the unionists.

The devolution and independence debate must stay above party politics and ideologies and we need a cross-party convention similar to the Scottish model

hafod said...

While I am fully behind a "Wales First" coalition in favour of independence, there should be room for us to discuss what we want.

Talk of the Celtic Tiger is all well and good but ask the working class on the sink estates of Ballymun in North Dublin if they've enjoyed the fruits of the housing boom. As with the housing boom here, it's made the rich richer and left the poor trailing behind unable to afford a home.

Is that the kind of independent Wales we want? If the answer is yes, then frankly it's not an improvement on what we have now.

Unless we tackle the economic and social aspects of independence head on then we're heading for trouble.

dd said...

Perhaps we should be mindful that historically those with power do not give it up willingly. They perpetuate their power by indoctrinating those they rule withmyths of their own inadequacy-be it economically or culturally- and which in time they come to believe and become fearful of any other way of being. Ireland only achieved its present state after a long hard struggle. A formidable strategy of colonisation is that of divide and rule. Those of us striving for independence must be continually alert of attempts to divert and divide us. Let us claim our independence and work out the details later.

Alwyn ap Huw said...

Plaid Cymru has, in the past, been very defensive about the words Independence and Nationalist. It is clear from postings on this site that the party is becoming slightly less defensive. Plaid Cymru has changed tack on the independence question in the past few years because it realises that its defensive stance has failed miserably. But yet Plaid is not being offensive in supporting Nationalism or independence. Plaid is still not actively putting forwards arguments for independence.

There is an excellent article that gives a positive argument for independence here:

An article worth reading and plagiarising in letters to the Daily Post, the Western Mail and the local rag (exchanging Scotland for Wales)

As Shirley Anne says:
"There are currently 191 countries represented at the United Nations. Rather than having to explain why we should join them the real question is what is stopping us?"

The answer to the question in Wales is a lack of national self-confidence. The reason for Plaid's existence should be to create national self-confidence, a task in which it has failed miserably to deliver over the past few years. Of course Plaid says that "This election is not about independence" time and time again, and they are right - no election will ever be about independence until something makes independence the main question. Ignoring independence puts the matter at the bottom of the agenda and Plaid is as responsible as any other party for making sure that independence remains firmly at the bottom of the agenda.

If Plaid is unable and or unwilling to rise to the challenge of proactively campaigning for Welsh Independence then clearly there is a need for another organisation to take on this burden.

I have lost faith in Plaid Cymru as a vehicle for promoting independence, and sincerely believe that the time has come to create a non-party pressure group a Campaign for Independence, that can put forward positive arguments for independence in the way that Cymdeithas yr Iaith has campaigned for the language and Greenpeace has campaigned for the environment. Standing up for our nation's right to exist is too important a matter to leave in the hands of politicians who are more concerned about maximising votes than maximising support for the cause.

Alwyn ap Huw said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Yes, independence is important for Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

Perhaps setting up a broad alliance in all countries would be more beneficial then staying fragmented?

The key is garnering support in England for an independent England. If this happens Labour and the Tories would have to accept independence or Balkanisation.

steve said...

a socialist wales not if i can help it

Charlie Marks said...

I have blogged on this issue, (, or at least issues surrounding the elections to the Welsh assembly and the nature of Plaid and was inspired to do so by this wonderful article. Hopefully the cause of Welsh self-determination will get a higher profile in the coming years, as will the cause of the working class in Wales. I believe the latter recquires a workers' party; Labour isn't it, and I doubt Plaid will become it.

Charlie Marks said...

hedd, you asked if i'd mind my post being reposted on this blog. In case you didn't see it, I replied in the affirmative. I'd be honoured. Thanks