Today I met for coffee with someone I have met campaigning for Welsh independence. He is one of a number of people I am collaborating with on the beginnings of a Cardiff-based branch of this growing movement. As with many of those who are involved at this stage (the inception, the beginnings of something… but what?) he brings creativity and a bunch of skills to the table.
Actually in the end we didn’t have coffee. Accompanied by my 10 month old baby who has recently learned to crawl, we decided to go to the park and sit on the grass so that she could practice her new skills (she just wanted to eat my biro). We chatted about the upcoming rally we are organising as part of yescaerydd, whilst my daughter wreaked the kind of havoc that newly crawling babies will (she had with great gusto earlier in the day attempted to eat a snail).
It’s inspiring, this process. Meeting people who are fired up and want to do stuff. People who get it, that it’s about positivity and inclusivity and bringing people along with us.
We talked about the purpose of the rally – a topic we have mulled over with the wider yescaerdydd group already. How does the rally fit with what we want yescaerdydd to be and achieve (independence for Wales ultimately, but on the way to that, what are the steps that we will take as a movement to help make this happen?)
There are many rallies happening across Wales this Saturday to celebrate Glyndwr day – and in a way we didn’t want to be left out. As Wales’ capital city it felt important that we make a statement. We also recognise that – as I mentioned in an earlier blog – part of bringing more people around to supporting independence for Wales is making the movement more visible – people are much more likely to adopt a behaviour or an opinion when it is seen as one that lots of other people already support (it’s lots more complicated than that of course, especially for big issues like independence and therefore also requires access to lots of rigorous evidence and well reasoned arguments).
It turns out that we will be competing for people’s attention with the Roald Dahl celebrations this Saturday. Almost inevitable, in our Nation’s capital, that we would clash with something big. A food festival, a Beyoncé gig or perhaps an important football match (actually there is a Cardiff City match on Saturday… but you can probably make the rally first).
As we sat on the grass today, wrestling with my stationery obsessed baby (she nearly ate the ‘to-do list’ but I rescued it at the last minute), it seemed that this clash with Wales’ much loved children’s author might be a bad thing. After all, if you could come and listen to some (fantastic) speeches or go and meet a real umpa lumpa, which would you choose? (I don’t think it’s guaranteed there will actually be umpa lumpas, but the itinerary is tantalisingly secret so the BFG himself could be planning an appearance, who knows?)
Now that I’ve thought about it though I’m coming around to thinking that it will help. It’s possible that a giant inflatable peach may float past in the middle of the rally, vying momentarily perhaps for people’s attention, but if it means that more people are in Cardiff on Saturday, and at least register that there is a rally for an independent Wales happening, then we will have achieved something. A small seed sewn in people’s consciousness, that will grow into who knows what? A peach? A snozcumber? Hopefully more like a better future for Wales.
We may not convert people in their droves to the cause on the day (or we may, we have some great speakers lined up) but we will raise the profile of welsh independence in people’s minds. The rally will have an impact on everyone who knows it is happening, whether or not they even attend. Even at the smallest subliminal level, the fact that a bunch of people – or hopefully a sizeable and vocal crowd – are motivated to turn up, wave flags and cheer for the prospect of an independent Wales, makes that prospect just that bit more tangible for people.
Because deep down, everyone in Wales knows that we can do better than this. That if we were making our own decisions, we would make better ones. That if we could make decisions about what to do with our own resources, if we could determine our own welfare policies, if we had control over policing and criminal justice, then we could sort out some of the problems that Wales faces. Don’t even get me started on the Wales Bill, which as I write, is being debated in Westminster. We don’t have to be this poor or this unequal. It’s not something intrinsic to Wales. We will hope and dream of a better future, and once we’ve imagined it we will make it happen. You and me, and all the other people who are fed up of what we’ve got and inspired to create something better.
So if you would like to come to the rally on Saturday but you can’t make it, then make sure you mention it to a friend. If you can come for part of it, but then you find out that you might be missing the chance to have a ride in the beak of a pelican then that’s OK. Come along for a while, or maybe you can join us afterwards for a drink (we’ll post on Facebook and Twitter where we are going to be). We’ll also be announcing details at the rally of the next yescaerdydd event, so hope to see you there too.
Just watch out for enormous crocodiles, I’ve heard there may be one loose in St Davids 2…