People will tell you that Wales is too poor, too Welsh and too dependent to be independent. But, like me, you aren’t stupid, and therefore no doubt you are starting to see the circularity of these arguments…
You’re also probably starting to realise that it’s almost impossible to list all of the reasons why Welsh independence is a good idea. But I’m not bored of writing these pithy lists yet, and if you aren’t bored of reading them, then here’s my latest thinking on why anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together, is taking a good look at Welsh independence right now.
Because if you are in a burning building and the people supposed to be in charge are holding flame throwers, you at least want to know where the nearest exit is
OK, this is not a subtle analogy, but these are not subtle times. I don’t think I even need to elaborate, do I…
Optimists are the new Nationalists
Call it what you want, optimism, curiosity, a refusal to be told something isn’t possible, a stubborn insistence on evidence based reasoning…
Being an advocate for Welsh independence has traditionally been associated with the term ‘Welsh Nationalist’, but oddly, in the eight months or so I have been actively involved in this movement (as opposed to sitting at home waiting for someone else to do something about it as I was previously), I have hardly heard the term ‘Nationalist’ used, and I have never once used it to describe myself.
I get that there is a strong case for reclaiming the term ‘Nationalism’ in the context of Celtic independence, and that there is a difference between Welsh/Scottish and British Nationalism. It’s very important to make this distinction too, since some people are so determined to conflate the terms, and even to equate Celtic Nationalism with racism.
I’m not denying the validity of inclusive, civic, Celtic Nationalism, it is a fine thing and should be celebrated. But I think that in Wales the landscape has shifted. You don’t have to identify with old school ‘Nationalism’ to think about Welsh Independence and to try it on as a way of looking at things, or as a vehicle for solving some of Wales’ problems (although of course you may choose to).
To be curious about Welsh independence is not to assume an identity. It is to adopt a frame of mind. To agree to maintain an open mind…
The status quo is no longer the status quo
Change can be scary. We’ve been part of the United Kingdom since, like a really long time. I get that. I get that it’s easier to stick with what you know.
The thing is, from where we are standing right now, in March 2017, you can kiss goodbye to pretty much everything you thought you knew.
I’m pretty sure that when we (or whoever inherits this sorry mess) looks back at this time in Planet Earth’s history, by which I mean last year, this year and maybe the next 5 to 10 years, people will have a lot to say about it.
But the dominant theme is likely to be ‘holy shit, that was a rough ride’.
Let’s just re-cap.
Robots are about to inherit the Earth (it an Artificial Intelligence thing, and an automation of jobs thing, but it doesn’t look great for you or I or our children’s employment prospects).
For our part, the UK is about to crash out of the biggest trading union in the world, maybe with no safety net whatsoever, just as almost every other country in the world is busy joining trading unions.
We are on the cusp of a now almost unavoidable global climate apocalypse, with implications for absolutely everything, but most crucially for food and water security, and in terms of the refugee crisis that will follow when many millions of people lose their homes to rising sea levels and desertification.
The far right are on the rise across Europe, and Russia has interfered with America’s free and democratic election process to install a despotic authoritarian in the White House.
So you tell me.
Do you think we should do things exactly as we have for the last 600 years, or do you think its worth revisiting some topics that haven’t had an airing for a while? Perhaps we should dust off this Welsh Independence issue, in the light of some new circumstances?
Because when big changes happen, it’s usually best to adopt a position that allows you to appraise the options and effect the outcome to best advantage/minimal damage, for yourself and those around you. You want to have a say in the way things settle out, rather than flying by the seat of other people’s pants.
Just ask yourself who you trust right now.
I bet you didn’t vote for a Red White and Blue Car Crash Brexit
There is almost nothing that Unionists like saying to Wales more right now than ‘well don’t blame us, you voted overwhelmingly for Brexit afterall‘, before mumbling something about turkeys, and Christmas, and trying to hide a very large, red bus up their own arse (or more probably, yours, just bend over would you…)
Well you may have voted to leave the European Union, and I respect that, I really do.
But I bet you didn’t vote for a ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’, ‘screw the economy’ (especially the Welsh economy) ‘who needs an export market anyway’, Brexit.
I bet you didn’t vote for a sadomasochistic Brexit (‘while your backs are turned we’ll privatise your underpants, remove your human rights and make you eat them while we sit back and pleasure ourselves’ kind of a Brexit, which it turns out is just an excuse for Theresa May to act out all of her most twisted fetishes).
So given that what Wales thought it was voting for, turned out to be a strong laxative, forcibly administered, and given that we are already pretty dehydrated, why don’t we pause and regroup?
We don’t have to take the kind of medicine that Westminster is prescribing for Wales.
We can seek another opinion.
It’s called our own.
Learning to ride a bike was difficult, but you did it
(Unless you never did, in which case, have I mentioned I am a qualified cycling instructor and my rates are very reasonable?)
So my point here is pretty obvious. Lots of stuff seems daunting, improbable even, at the beginning. There’s an element of ‘no pain no gain’. My daughter is learning to walk right now, and I’m not pretending there isn’t going to be a lot of tears and gravel imprints to the forehead before we get there.
But we get over these hurdles. We take risks because we know that we’ll be glad we ventured.
I’m willing to scuff my knees and ride out some turbulent times for a better future, are you?
It’s not a good time to be a sacrificial lamb, and Wales is famous for sheep so you do the maths…
This isn’t about the Welsh lamb industry (although it could be). It isn’t even about the risk that Wales disappears so far up it’s own stereotype that we become invisible to the outside world, ceasing to exist at all except on the ‘Traditional Welsh Cawl Recipe’ tea towel your Aunt Bev once bought in Criccieth.
It’s about the fact that if you made a list of all of the vulnerable groups that Westminster is shafting right now, you’d see immediately that Wales is disproportionately affected. People on a low income. People claiming out of work benefits – and people on in-work benefits, people dependent on long term sick or disability benefits.
People whose health has been adversely affected by a lifetime working in heavy, polluting industries, but who haven’t reaped any of the profits.
People who didn’t happen to inherit an estate, or a peerage or go to Eton.
There are a large number of people in the United Kingdom at the moment that are being crushed by the cruelty of the system imposed by the British State. It’s not a phenomenon unique to Wales of course. Many of the people disproportionately affected by ‘we’re all in this together austerity’ live in the North of England, and Scotland for instance. And not as many live in the South East of England, which is coincidentally where most of the power is based.
But given that rather a lot of the people that are on the ‘getting shafted’ end of the Tories’ austerity jolly, do live in Wales, how about we review whether this is a party we still want to be at? Ask ourselves, and everyone who came with us, if we are still having fun?
We aren’t likely to see anything but a Tory Government in Westminster for a very long time, and given that Wales gets a Tory UK Government at least half of the time despite never voting for one, shall we get together and have a chat about whether we still think this system is working for us?
Or shall we just knuckle down, plan ahead and open a few more food banks?
Better take out some health insurance too, because I heard that ol’ kinky boots is going to flog the NHS to Donald Trump, and I’m sure she won’t let a little thing like devolution get in her way.
(When Wales says ‘no’ it means ‘yes, more’, in Sadomasochistic Brexit World after all..)
Because I do not want my name on bombs that blow the heads off Yemeni toddlers
Actually I would rather that bombs did not blow the heads from the bodies of Yemeni toddlers.
It’s hard to treat this topic lightly, so I won’t try to. But we need to talk about it. Because if you, or someone you know, is inclined to feel that the British State is a benevolent force for good in the world, and that we in Wales should continue to be associate with its international policies and its ‘look the other way and pocket the cash’ approach to arms dealing with war criminals, then we need to agree that it means that you and I, and Auntie Bev (you can use this argument with her), are all culpable too.
Is that the price you want to pay to call yourself British?
Because Boris Johnson looks to camera, and without blanching, brushes off the fact that the UK still profits from selling arms to Saudi Arabia, including bombs that we know will end up killing innocent people.
So I am looking at Boris Johnson and I am thinking, FUCK YOU.
How short is the money trail that leads back from those bombs to Boris Johnson’s pocket do you think? Or to the pocket of a Tory donor? How long after leaving office will Boris wait before he accepts a seat on the Board of BAE?
So you can take your Union Jack and use it as a marketing tool to make profit from war and state sponsored genocide if you want, Boris.
But you are not doing it in my name.
Not any more.
There’s no ‘W’ for Wales in BAE. Where do you think the profit is going? And would you want it even if it was coming here?
Given the price?
So we can all keep writing to our MPs about things like this, or we can cut them off at source. What about if we all just stand up at once, and leave? Just say we’ve had enough, and we are leaving (the UK) on principle?
(Ideally, do both, write to your MP and list all the reasons you are pro independence for Wales, you could use their voting record to help you compile your list).
It’s not good karma to end on the topic of dead toddlers
So we need one more thing on this list, something upbeat. But don’t forget about those toddlers.
Actually I need to build back up to upbeat, so here’s a penultimate thing, for free
Independence is sexy. It just is. Check out almost anything from the Scottish Independence Referendum campaign. Do a Google image search and tell me, who looks like they are having a fun, inclusive, sexy time?
Its palpable. And enervating. It blows the ‘heart’ or ‘head’ argument about independence right out of the water.. When you look at images associated with the ‘Yes’ campaign for Scottish Independence, you feel it in your loins…
Hell, it makes me want to just rush up there and have a whole load of Scottish babies.
Who do you think is getting it on more, when you look at those pictures?
So even if it weren’t obviously going to go for ‘Yes’ in Scotland the next time around, even if we just waited it out, ‘Yes’ would just out breed the Unionists out of the equation if we waited long enough.
Young people are overwhelmingly in favour of independence compared to older generations anyway.
All this is also true for Wales, so let’s do it.
‘Let sleeping dragons lie’, is not a thing.
Sleeping dogs, yes.
But not dragons. Sleeping dragons should always, always be woken up.
So go on, wake your dragon. She’s just snoozing anyway…
You can find information about safe ways to wake sleeping dragons here.