Busting the Myths

Apparently, Wales is too small and too poor to be independent...

From the excellent walescan.com website

Myth #1: Wales is too small to survive as an independent nation

Myth Busted: Wales, a country of 3 million people, is not too small to survive as an independent country. It is a fact that there are over 100 other independent countries in the world that are smaller than Wales. In fact, of the top 10 wealthiest countries in terms of GDP per capita, 9 have a population of less than 5 million, and 7 of those have a smaller population than Wales.

Of the countries of the European Union, some of the most prosperous are small countries:

EU Member State GDP per head (in PP) Population
Luxembourg 58,900 0.5m
Netherlands 29,500 16.3m
Austria 28,900 8.3m
Denmark 28,600 5.4m
Belgium 27,700 10.5m 1
Key Facts and Figures about Europe and the European Union (Office for Official Publications of the European Union)

Economic prosperity is no longer secured through being a large country or empire nor by using military force to gain access to markets. 

There is no longer a link between the size of a country and its economic success.

That a small country the size of Wales can prosper is evident.

Those that argue otherwise are either unable to accept the evidence for this, or must believe there is something peculiar about the people of Wales that means they’re incapable of making a success of things.

Myth #2: Wouldn’t Wales’s budget deficit be too big for it to cope?

Myth Busted: The UK currently has the biggest budget deficit in the developed world.

The argument that Wales gets more in public spending than it pays in taxes is often seen as evidence that Wales cannot pay its own way. When you consider the deficit of the UK as a whole, the argument does not stand up to scrutiny. 

There are undoubtedly economic challenges facing Wales. The current GVA of Wales is around 77% of the UK average. 

The challenge to those who oppose independence on the grounds that Wales cannot afford it is to explain why being part of the United Kingdom has led to this poor economic performance.

It’s important to remember that Wales has historically been a creditor to the UK Treasury and more than paid its way over the years. Of course the wealth that Wales once generated, and will do so once again, did not remain in Wales for the benefit of its people.

Myth #3: People don’t care about independence. It’s a distraction from real issues that matter to people.

Myth Busted: We believe that independence for the people of Wales is central to a prosperous economy and society. The quality of local services, job security, affordable housing which are the issues that affect people’s lives can be dealt with far better by an accountable, elected Welsh Government.

Myth #4: We’re stronger together! Why break-up Britain?

Myth Busted: The ‘separatist’ label is often thrown around by opponents of Welsh independence. Do they think we’d somehow tear Wales apart at the border and move it somewhere else? The truth is we are the opposite of separatists. We want to be a full part of the international community and of institutions such as the European Union and the UN. An independent Wales would still be a neighbour to the other countries of the United Kingdom. There will always be strong, social, cultural and economic bonds between the people of the countries of the UK.

The difference would be that we could be a partner to the other countries with our own voice being expressed. This would make for a stronger relationship.

Myth #5: Most people in Wales feel Welsh and British and will never want independence.

Myth Busted: In the modern world it is inevitable that people within Wales will have several identities.

Identity is a personal thing and is separate from questions of democratic accountability.

Personal identity does not necessitate support for a particular way of being governed.

Myth #6: Independence is irrelevant in the modern globalised world?

Myth Busted: The inter-dependence of countries is a fact of modern life. We want to play our part in the international community. As Winnie Ewing of the SNP put it: “Stop the World, we want to get on”. Globalisation not only makes an independent Wales relevant; it also makes it a more viable prospect.

An independent Wales becoming a full member of global institutions such as the UN and playing a full part in the global economy would give Wales the opportunity to thrive. 

No longer does being a part of a large country or empire provide an economic advantage, small countries have access to the same global market.

Myth #7: Wales would be kicked out of the European Union.

Myth Busted: It has been officially confirmed that Wales, if independent, would remain within the European Union. Former Secretary General of the European Commission confirmed this, when discussing the case of Scotland:

“There is no precedent and no provision for the expulsion of a member state, therefore Scottish independence would create two new member states out of one. They would have equal status with each other and with other member states.
The remainder of the United Kingdom would not be in a more powerful position than Scotland…Anyone attacking the claim in respect of one country is attacking the claim in respect of the other. It is not possible to divide the cases.” 

Taken from The Independence Book, Scotland in Today’s World.

Also, under the principles of the Vienna Convention on the Law of International Treaties, Wales would remain a part of the European Union, as would the other countries of the UK. The Convention states that an international agreement still applies to newly independent countries when a signatory state is broken-up.