There are lots of things we can do to empower Wales and help create a better future for all who live here. And there’s never been a more important time to do it.
After all, you can be damn sure that those who want to make sure that Wales stays marginalised (vested interests whose shareholder value is tied up with the perpetuation of the Union for instance) are getting their ducks in a row right now.
It’s no time to be shy. It’s no time to beat around the bush. It’s time to get organised, develop a plan and brush up on tactics.
It’s time for a rebellion.
Because you know that they are getting organised. The people with all the money and the power (I’ll give you a clue, they are very small in number, and they don’t live in Wales).
They are doubling down on Unionist rhetoric via their media monopolies.
They are directing cash into right-wing unionist think tanks, diverting their money to fund English Nationalists (such as UKIP), and pushing their agenda in Wales.
They are investing in the advantages that Big Data can buy them, getting the measure of us one ‘like’ at a time, in order to influence us by stealth via Facebook.
So we, on the side of things that give a damn about Wales remaining true to itself, need a plan too.
As you may know, I’m fairly new to all this, but I’m giving it my best shot. You may be an old hand, in which case thanks for sticking in there and sorry I’m late to the party (I was busy developing my sense of Welsh Citizenship).
I’m sure we can exchange some ideas.
Or you may be even newer than me to the shiny bright optimism of indythinking. Perhaps you are newly awoken from a severe bout of Brexit concussion, head pounding, angry, but seeing the world afresh.
If so, let’s work together.
Perhaps you have literally woken up today, and whatever your views on Brexit, the sheer weight of crazy shit coming from Westminster has you contemplating coming out as #indycurious on twitter.
Do it, you’ll feel better.
Wherever you are on the indyspectrum, from confident to mildly curious, through the jaded, the cautious and the pragmatists, all the way to the downright indydepressed (you have wanted Welsh independence for as long as you can remember but you’ve temporarily lost hope) there are things we can all do to move this project on and make ourselves feel more positive.
And we must, because every day we dally, there’s the risk that the Overton Window shifts in the other direction.
Every day that we don’t make a big noise about the exciting, fresh opportunity that an independent Wales can be, is a day that someone else will take an opportunity to push the window slightly further towards a xenophobic, intolerant, fear mongering, unionist view of the world.
So in the interest of getting on with it, here’s some ideas we can all try.
Be a vector for independence
A vector is an organism that carries contagion. And the thing about ideas, like the idea of an independent Wales, is that they are contagious.
I studied biology at Manchester University. For my final year project, I did a research project on the evolution of ideas (it involved writing a computer programme, which helped me realise that detailed punctuation isn’t my thing).
The theory is that ‘memes’ (ideas) spread through populations a little like genes. But quicker. Because unlike genes, which you can only get from your parents, you can pick up a meme/idea from any social acquaintance.
And in the age of social media, an idea can take off incredibly quickly.
There is also evidence to show that spheres of influence are wider than you might expect (I have been reading about the psychology of behaviour change lately, because this is a good source of tactics if you are planning a revolution).
Studies show for example that even things like being overweight or smoking are socially contagious. If a person is overweight, then their friends, their friends’ friends, and even friends of their friends’ friends, are more likely to be overweight (perhaps because the norms of how much and what to eat, and how much exercise is normal, are influenced by what others around you are doing).
The same is true of being vegetarian and other traits or behaviours.
So the same is also true of being an indybod. If you believe in independence, then it increases the chance that your friends, and their friends, and even friends of friends of your friends, are going to be supportive too.
It feels improbable, because you can’t necessarily see it happening. But it is a proven sociological phenomenon. Ideas spread, and you can be a vector for their contagion.
Realising the power of this, in relation to how being indycurious can and is spreading, has been a game changer in terms of how optimistic I feel about campaigning for independence.
But here’s the thing. We can only influence people if we openly talk about it.
So I’ve realised that just putting it out there, and normalising the idea of being pro independence for Wales amongst my social circle, is important, and really valuable.
And that if we each do that, it gradually spreads.
So wherever you are on the indyspectrum, start being a vector for independence.
Swim against the tide (support the indyfish)
I’m passionate about a particular angle on Welsh independence. Call me crazy, but I’m not in this for a kind of ‘more of the same’ kind of experience. I’m in this for genuine, radical, progressive change.
I don’t want to live in an independent Wales that looks a lot like it did when it was part of the UK, but has its own car number plates.
I don’t want to live in a Wales that can issue its own passports, but still has rampant inequality, an economy that doesn’t work for its people, and is selling its environment off to the highest bidder.
I don’t want to live in an independent Wales that hasn’t tackled racism.
I want Wales to be independent because I think that in having the conversation about what an independent Wales will be, we can challenge some basic assumptions about stuff that doesn’t work. Stuff that is making us poor and pitting us against each other.
If you feel that way too, and are willing to swim against the tide (because let’s face it, the tide has started going the other way, hasn’t it?) then do it. There are a lot of people who will go with you, we just need to create some critical mass.
So go on, swim against the tide, support the indyfish.
Get partisan, or don’t, but have a reason
The indywales movement, under the umbrella of Yes Cymru, is non-party political. If you’ve read some of my other blogs you may know that I personally hang with the Plaid Cymru tribe, but if you don’t we can still be friends.
You may support a different political party, or none. You may be undecided, or disillusioned.
But I would urge you to join a tribe. I’m not suggesting you rush into it willy-nilly, do some reading, check out some websites. But decide. And if you are already aligned but not a member, join. Whichever party you thinks best represents you. You can usually join for as little as £3 a month, which would buy you one coffee from a chain store coffee shop, or three ‘moo moos’ from the Busy Teapot in Penarth.
And once you commit, you can lobby from the inside. If you vote Green and you are indycurious, then join, because then you can table a motion for independence at their next conference (they already had a motion tabled at the last one, which they voted against, but now the idea is out there). Each time a voter tells their party of choice that they are pro indy, that party gets a tiny bit more likely to adopt it as a manifesto pledge.
If you haven’t had your ‘indymoment’ yet, but you are here reading this anyway, then I’d wager you aren’t far off. But in the meantime, I guess the fact that you chose to be here, reading this, means you want a better future for Wales. So you could influence for something else that you believe in, which will help Wales and the people who live here.
And all those tiny bits of influencing add up.
That’s how these things work, so get partisan and get influencing.
Take back characters 147, 148 and so on..
Some of you may possess that ability to just totally nail a point in eight words, but personally I prefer long hand.
So if you have a heart that beats for independence and a few ideas in your head, do us all a favour. Spend less time tweeting and start a blog.
I started by accident, and because you all keep reading this stuff, I keep writing it.
It’s not hard, just give it a go.
Grow your own branch of the indywales tree
There’s a well kept secret about campaigning, especially online. It’s that it is all done by quite ordinary people, who also do a whole load of other regular, normal stuff like go to work or study or something else.
Normal people who get colds and have bad hair days, people that some days feel upbeat, and sometimes feel in need of moral support.
The Yes Cymru people, they’re all just normal people like you and I. None of them get paid to do what they do, and nobody gave them permission. They just started doing it.
Sometimes, in life, it can feel like we need permission. But if we wait it might not come, so we have to just do stuff.
I only got into all of this in the first place because when I asked Yes Cymru if they were planning a rally in Cardiff they tweeted back ‘why not organise one?’
So I did….
And then they pointed out that anyone can set up a branch of Yes Cymru, so I started a twitter account as Yes Caerdydd and soon others joined me and now we are regularly getting 15 or more to meetings with new people every time (we are having an indypicnic on the 22nd of Feb, you should come along…)
So you can do this too.
Even if you live in a hamlet of six houses. You could start your own branch of the indywales tree if you wanted. Just invite your other five neighbours around for a cuppa and draft your vision for an independent Wales.
I’ve just checked – the twitter handles @yesllanrhychwyn, @yespwllgwaelod and @yesabertridwr are all still available. (Also @yescaerfyddin, @yesaberteifi and @yesbangor, if you’re more of an indyurbanite).
If you are not on twitter or Facebook, that’s OK I’m sure that you can start a Yes Cymru branch in a whole host of old school, non-digital ways too.
It probably involves letter-headed paper.
But I’m a blogger so I can’t advise you about that, I don’t even own a printer.
Give up ironing, and Netflix
I also don’t own an iron, or a television, which is probably why I have time to blog.
We also cancelled our Netflix subscription not long after Brexit (it was an ostensibly unrelated decision) but I can’t help wondering if going cold turkey on House of Cards has had something to do with this…
Anyway, if you are ironing your underpants, stop.
Wales needs you.
If you haven’t already joined Yes Cymru, you know what to do.