The big Welsh Independence seedling swap

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Not so (!) live blog from the YesCymru AGM, 17th June 2017, The Old College Aberystwyth (wifi connection unwilling, mostly) The meeting starts at 11am, everything prior to that is just us chatting in the car!

This is basically a weird, upside down account in reverse chronological order, of a very good day. Because although I did genuinely start this at 05.23 this morning, I am cheating and finishing this off while I cook pasta.

Due to, you know… wifi in rural Ceredigion.

So I may not quite have live blogged the day, butwe made some new friends, and met some old ones for the first time (it’s like that).

We agreed that what once felt improbable, now felt likely.

And there was a new sense of confidence in the room…

We are all @yescymru….

Start from the bottom, or the top, you decide, but start somewhere 😉

#####

18.30 @doctorwobble drops me off, diolch! I send him home with 3 litres of cwrw catref… (revolution beer).

18.15 We drop @elinmelyn1 at her friend’s house for a BBQ, and spend the next five minutes talking about how much we like her and why.

17.00 We talk a lot of rwtsh on the way home…

I realise that I have missed the Cardiff Naked Bike Ride (it’s a thing) for the Yes Cymru AGM, which feels like a metaphor for how life moves on.

This prompts a lot of nudity related anecdotes.

We get to know each other better.

15.30 Time to leave… We don’t take that single track lane on the way back, and it seems to take half the time (why is that?) I try to blog, but we hit that blackspot again (which incidentally is not as bad as the blackspot in Aberystwyth Old College… Oops!)

14.30 We have a well earned brechdan at Caban, followed by a pint at The Cooper Arms (Cwps). We swap a lot more seedlings, like, I don’t actually know where I am going to plant all these… But there’s more than enough to ensure a bumper harvest next year…

13.35 @dilysdavies opens a Sweet Shop at the back of the room, but instead of humbugs and cola cubes, there are actually yescymru car stickers, t-shirts for an independent Wales, and other goodies.

People go wild.

13.30 Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau! Oh my, there is a piano, and @ShowShaun is there in a flash and totally rocking our National anthem. Who knew?

#PianistsDrosAnnibyniaeth

13.25 Anything else?

Diolch! Diolch i bawb, and most especially to Hedd Gwynfor, who is just absolutely fabulously organised and without whom we would not be exchanging any home grown ideas for an independent Wales.

And to Sioni, who is at home missing him.

#CwnDrosAnnibyniaeth

13.20 The votes are counted! We have elected 7 women and 5 men, evening the gender balance up a bit… I am elected, and Yes Caerdydd peeps do some good whooping (I didn’t even ask, they are lovely).

13.05 We chat amongst ourselves as they are counting the votes (there’s big maths involved) and do more swapping, but actually of ideas and exclamations of ‘oh yes, I know you off twitter!’

We finally meet Mrs Eff, and take pictures.

She lives up to expectation.

12.50 I talk about starting local groups of YesCymru, the gist is just that anyone can do it and you don’t need permission. But there’s a handy ‘top tips’ guide we’ve put together to help.

Tricia from Abertawe, Aled from Caernarfon and Teilo from Aberystwyth talk a bit about what they are up to in their respective corners of the yescymru world.

(In my head) everyone swaps some seedlings they have grown from seed and takes them home to plant.

12.30 Election of non-portfolio roles to committee. In a classic example of ‘a good problem to have’, there is a dreadful surfeit of very excellent candidates, and so a motion is passed to increase the committee from 12 to 16 total (inc the four already elected). Votes are cast.

We wait…

12.20 Election of committee roles:

Chair – Iestyn ap Rhobert (uncontested)

Secretary – Hedd Gwynfor (uncontested)

Treasurer -@ Gweirydd (uncontested)

Vice-chair – Rhydian Hughes, elected by a close vote, and there in person, up against Fflur Awel (not there in person, although we did get Iestyn to read out your ‘pitch’, Fflur). A quick show of hands in the car reveals that we all voted for Fflur, because of gender balance and organisational skills and things (her reputation precedes her) but Rhydian doesseem like he’ll be great and by all accounts has the Welsh Polish vote all sewn up 😉

11.55 @wynmason talks about Awoken (which is also ‘Awen’, through the genius of clever logo trickery) a collective of artists in Wales who formed a while back to create a cultural movement for independence (inspired by Scotland’s similar movement). With over a hundred artists signed up, Awoken is poised to regroup and support the indywales movement. Discussion ensues on the topic of: should Awoken be part of YesCymru or separate? There is consensus in the room that separate but overlapping organisations is the way forward.

It feels like the cultural side is the ‘how’ to our ‘what’ and ‘why’. It’s the wind that will fill the sails of the YesCymru ship.

Song, poetry, spoken word.

Drama, theatre, dance.

Painting the length and breadth of Wales with the colours of independence, these are the cultural expressions that will awaken the dragon from it’s slumber.

11.35 @colinnosworthy launches Independence in Your Pocket ‘an important, positive starting point for future discsussion’, thanking all those who have had an input, and inparticular @oggybloggyogwr who wrote the first draft.

Busting a lot of the myths about Wales, from the size of the deficit, to how much we spend on defence, and what the options for an independent Wales might be in terms of creating our own constitution… This book will be the Bible (but not the actual Bible) for the independence movement.

Until the next version, which will be even better, we are told.

There is a lot of excitement, we all have a free copy, and it’s a little bit like Christmas, where you get something that you actually want, and is useful, and isn’t socks…

It’s also super professional looking and packed with handy info about an independent Wales. Feels like a break through.

Available online for a fiver soon… If you didn’t get your free copy today 😉

11.30 Iestyn ap Rhobert, YesCymru Chair kicks off, forgetting to introduce himself (in true Iestyn style, because it’s all about us 😉

He explains the history of Yes Cymru, which is the stuff of legend and fable and cannot be accurately recounted here.

But characters in the story are The Scottish Referendum, playing the part of Muse, The Welsh Campaign to Support Scotland, and The Launch of Yes Cymru as a Thing.

And then…. The unexpected arrival of shed loads of people who want this to happen, like yesterday (that’s us), which is a lovely surprise for everyone involved, most of all those who founded Yes Cymru.

11.01 I have a coffee in one hand and a copy of Independence in Your Pocket in the other, happy days… Time to mingle.

@nicfromwales and @ShowShaun are here! They are on top form and have brought flapjack.

Shaun explains the meaning of ‘Lyle’, which solves an ongoing twitter mystery… It’s a Denbigh thing.. N’ye…

10.45 I have met Rhydian Hughes! Sir Conwy is in the house… and Sir Fflint….

10.41 Wedi Cyrraedd!

10.33 Rhydyfelin…

10.25 First sign for Aberystwyth, hwre!

10.21 Indypeeps bingo. Which indwales tweepers are we most looking forward to meeting in real life? Everyone agrees Mrs Eff.

09.39 @elinmelyn1 enquires whether it seems right that we are on a single track road… We are asking directions from a man who is also lost. #Don’tQuestionTheSatNav #AllWalesSuperHighway

09.30 Wee stop. Diolch Gwesty Granall (looks nice, they have The Rev).

09.07 Legalising marijuana in an indywales. Interesting stuff about the history of anti-drug laws, and what it would look like if we had a more enlightened policy on drugs. Whether you are for or against, if we are indy we could decide for ourselves.

09.05 Making things less binary, instead of yes/no for indy, what kind of indywales do you want? Like when I said that we couldn’t get a pet, for lots of reasons, and my son said:

‘OK mam, what if we say we can have a dog, or a cat, or a rabbit, but you decide…’

09.00 We could have this conversation for about 2 weeks and we wouldn’t run out of things to talk about #indyroadtrip

08.53 To be fair, @doctorwobble is on a roll.. ‘Comparing Welsh or Scottish nationalism to British Nationalism is like comparing Jaws and Free Willy’. I am guessing he means the other way around, but he is driving….

08.45 ‘Culturally sanctioned ways to feel Welsh’. Rugby, football. Not cricket. Getting called a Welsh Nationalist by a man dressed as a daffodil… 😮

And we are not stopping for coffee because @doctorwobble is on a mission.

We will not be late.

Cross Hands.

08.41 Gutted that we are missing Gwyl Fach y Fro… Candelas!!

08.39 Indywales celebrity bingo. Who we’d most like to come out for indy. Michael Sheen. Rhys Ifans. Charlotte Church. Matthew Rhys. Sian Lloyd. It’s time for some big name endorsement 😉

08.30 Reflecting on all the people who say to us that they can’t change things. Or they don’t vote, because politics is pointless. That we can turn this around. But that for Wales it’s about the information we have, and once people have more knowledge at their fingertips about Wales, especially about our politicians and how they vote, then it will start to make people see that they can make a difference.

That this campaign is about the future, and being positive. People need to understand the past, but that’s not how people will move towards being indyconfident, it’s got to be about creating something hopeful and fun that people want to be part of.

08.21 Neath Port Talbot. The sun is still shining… Any indypeeps out there in Cwm Nedd? We have a spare seat?!

08.10 Remiscing formative moments in our indy journeys. Discovering Welsh History that you never learned about in school, watching the documentary The Dragon Has Two Tongues.  Travelling in Australia and realising that people had heard of Scotland but not Wales – ‘but Scotland is a country!?’ – because of Braveheart… And so @walesinthemovies is born…

07.52 Chatting about the Nation.Cymru article suggesting Plaid needs to define themselves in relation to indy. It’s like they are in the closet… It’s time to come out. Also about how Wales needs to be creating a positive vision for our future that people can rally around. That’s the beauty of yescymru… Non-party political so we can push the boundaries.

We are going to push those boundaries a long way. They’ve moved a lot already. 26%. Just saying…

07.45 Brecwast… mueseli.

07.41 And we are off! @elinmelyn1 is on board!

06.38 I have decided to live-blog our trip to the AGM. Because I’ve never live blogged before, so why not. Because it’s sunnny. Because it’s an exciting day for Wales. A movement defining day, one of many. Today is the day that many of us who have been growing the seeds of Welsh independence are going to meet for the first time.

And because I have about five hours in a car (I’m not driving, diolch @DoctorWobble) and I’m going to see how my mobile hotspot holds out in rural Ceredigion… #WifiTetheringForIndy

Wish me luck.

05.23am Wedi deffro. Wedi gyffro. Is it time to get up yet?

####

Llun gan Rhidian Hughes.

You can get the latest from IndyMam by following on Twitter @indymamcymru

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