People will tell you (people who do stats and things, like Roger Scully who usually I have a lot of time for) that Wales is a ‘divided Nation‘. Because of you know what. But I think it’s time we started looking at things differently.
On one day in history, you know which one, some of us (72.2% of us in Wales) turned out to vote based on a ‘yes/no’, ‘either/or’, ‘in/out’ basis, and since then things have been weird.
We hadn’t asked to be given this task.
We didn’t request an opportunity to leap en masse into one of two laundry baskets (full of unwashed socks belonging to either Boris Johnson or some nameless person from the Remain campaign) and we weren’t aware that we would be required to close the lid afterwards and learn to think ill of those who chose the other one.
Or that we would be required to wash all of the socks ourselves.
Since that day, it has been fashionable to refer to people according to how they cast their vote (unless you are one of the 27.8% of the population in Wales who didn’t register an opinion, in which case according to popular discourse, you have simply ceased to exist, or have become entirely irrelevant).
We are all expected to define ourselves and other people according to where we put the cross on that day. For how long we should continue to define ourselves thus, nobody knows.
If you didn’t vote, you are neither one of them, nor one of us.
Not one of those, nor one of t’others.
How do you know who to dislike?
If you aren’t sure this makes any sense, then I would suggest it is because it doesn’t.
We were no more or no less divided on the 24th of June 2016 than on the 23rd, except of course for the fact that we were. Without seeing it coming, we walked into a trap. We allowed ourselves to be sorted according to criteria not of our choosing, and now, unless we speak up, the dominant discourse (coming from politics and the media) will be to continue to drive this imaginary wedge further and deeper between us until we can barely see each other over the chasm that has opened up.
Enough of this ‘we are divided’ bollocks.
We have been divided. So now we must re-unite. We must identify some common ground and go and stand on it, waving a big flag (a Welsh one obviously) and then we can shout cheery, helpful things back at those who have been trying to make us all fall out.
‘It’s OK, we’re all friends again now, move along, we can take it from here!’
‘Don’t worry about us, we remembered we’ve got lots in common, and we quite like each other!’
And other upbeat stuff that will cause the vultures who have been circling, hoping to pick off the carrion of our once happy and undivided Nation (you know, Kipper trolls and the like) to get bored and go and look for someone else’s relationship to ruin.
So I don’t want to hear any more of these studies that basically say (sorry Roger):
‘When divided on the basis of a criterion on which they disagree, people were found to disagree’.
‘When asked to choose between this ‘either/or’ option, and labelled according to how they previously answered an ‘either/or’ question, no consensus could be reached.’
No shit Sherlock.
So how about, in the interests of changing the tune/digging ourselves out of a hole/climbing out from under an enormous pile of Boris Johnson’s unwashed underwear, we do more of the type of study that establishes what exactly we do agree on (which I’d wager is lots) and then use that as a starting point to sort this mess out?
We recently established for instance (well, good old Roger Scully and friends did – see, I do rate you most of the time) that most of us agree that the Welsh language is a good thing, and that it should be supported and helped to thrive.
So not a divided Nation there then.
I suspect too, that if we asked people in Wales questions like:
‘Do you think that wealth should be more evenly distributed?’
‘Are all people of equal worth, regardless of where they come from, or their race or religion?’
‘Do all people in Wales have the same right to call themselves Welsh?’
Then most people would answer yes to all. Maybe not everyone, but the vast majority. So on these things, we would not be a Nation divided, we would be very much a Nation united in common values.
Which I believe that we are.
So I think we should draw a line in the sand, and do it today.
Do it now.
We should stop allowing other people to define us. To divide us. To call the shots and pose the questions. To get to choose which baskets we are allowed to climb into, and whose socks we will find when we get there, and whether or not we are permitted to get out again until we have done all the laundry.
We call the shots. We get to choose.
So I choose friendship.
I choose understanding.
I choose compassion.
I choose curiosity and forgiveness, and defining together where we will go from here…
I choose self determination for Wales.
What will you choose?
I am campaigning for an independent Wales so that we can power up and start sorting things out for ourselves. I choose independence. You may not be there yet, but there’s a high probability that you are pretty sick of the mess that the Westminster Government is currently making of things, so if you aren’t convinced that ‘project make the UK great again’ isn’t entirely your bag, or if you aren’t sure that it really has Wales’ best interests at heart, then it’s probably worth you at least checking out all of the alternatives.
You can find out about more about the campaign for an independent Wales by checking out Yes Cymru.