In an earlier post on this site Johnny Roberts makes the important point that Independence needs to be put on the political agenda. He is, of course, totally correct.
One of the things that have amazed me in recent years is how the percentage of people who support independence has risen without the issue being on the agenda. Before the 1997 devolution referendum a BBC poll found that 11% of the people of Wales supported independence. The Richard Report found that in 2003 14% supported independence and another BBC poll commissioned in January of this year found that the figure had risen to 20%. One cannot but wonder what the figures might be like if independence had been a central issue on the Welsh political agenda during the past 10 years.
Johnny, in his article, suggests that Plaid should put independence firmly on the agenda - I agree with him entirely, but somehow I doubt that this will happen in the short term. Saying so isn't intended as a criticism of Plaid it is just a reflection of current political reality. With so much to say about "bread and butter issues" during the forthcoming assembly elections such as health, education and public order it would be political suicide for any party to try to veer away from that agenda and create a "new" agenda.
In our days political parties are rarely responsible for forcing any issue onto the political agenda. Focus groups decide the agenda and pressure groups influence the focus groups. The fact that all four parties are trying to out green each other in the present election campaign has nothing to do with capitalist, socialist, liberal or nationalist philosophies, it is due entirely to the fact that green campaigners have focused the minds of the electorate onto green issues.
The only way for independence to be put on the political agenda in Wales is for those of us who support independence to form a non-party campaign group to raise awareness of the benefits of independence.
It won't be an easy task. Many similar attempts have been hijacked by what I can only describe as the "nutty" side of nationalism. Staunch Plaid members may see forming such a group as an attack on Plaid. Supporters of independence in other parties (and there are many) may see it as an attempt to promote Plaid. Many nationalists expend all their campaigning energies in other groups CyIG, CND, Greenpeace etc.
Such people may see a Campaign for Independence as one campaign too far. However I sincerely believe that a Campaign for Independence is the only realistic way of putting independence on the agenda, and I would appreciate views from readers of this blog about how we can make such a campaign a reality.