Thursday, 7 February 2013

Independence, when? In the fullness of time.

Carwyn Jones called for it and now Leanne Wood the Plaid Cymru leader wants it. Pre-Scottish referendum talks on the UK constitution. Her view is that we need it to prevent Wales losing out should Scotland vote itself out of the Union. 

David Cameron shows no inclination to listen to either. He’s not prepared to deal with the issue until after the Scottish vote. His view is that he’ll look at the issue of Scottish powers if there’s a no vote. And presumably if such discussions take place Wales will get a look in as well.

Leanne Wood’s argument is that Wales would lose out in a smaller UK sans Scotland. Echoing a view held not only by Carwyn Jones but also Rhodri Morgan.

Why would that be? Well, the rump House of Commons would be dominated by MPs representing English constituents and these would have little regard for Wales. Would the HM Treasury feel inclined to booster the subsidy it gives to Wales? 
Unlikely. What’s the political advantage to them. 

If the Union with Scotland is severed,  keeping Wales on board at a greater cost to itself is unlikely to be top of their agenda. Once the two largest countries in the Union have gone their separate ways, the English dominated Parliament will pay even less regard to Wales than it does today.

Under Leanne Wood’s leadership a view is emerging that Plaid will not be pushing for a Welsh independence referendum until there’s a dramatic turnabout in Wales’s economy. 

Speaking in Westminster Jonathan Edwards MP said: "We are not in a position to win independence until we have improved the Welsh economy." He latches onto the fact that only 89,000 people in Wales pay the 40% income tax rate  and by Plaid’s own reckoning it will take 10 to 15 years before the gap between the performance of the Welsh and English economies closes.

A view echoed by his predecessor in Parliament, Adam Price. He’s now co-chairing Plaid's economic commission, and said: "It just isn't possible to close that gap in anything less in than 10 to 15 years. It will take at least a decade or a decade and a half to undo the damage done by successive governments."

The implications is that a vote on Welsh independence will not take place until everything is fine and dandy with the economy. It could be a long wait. Few other independence movement have held themselves back with such restraints.

Wales is the poorest country in the UK. It is also poorer than most English regions. Being a member of the Union might have done lots for Wales but riches is not one of them. Hoping that the English coin is going to make things better would seem to be a forlorn hope. And that same English coin deliver the conditions for independence, scarcely credible.

If there is  an argument for independence it should be ‘give it us now and then we’ll sort ourselves out.’ 

Independence on the back of another nations subsidy is not a very winning campaign slogan, me thinks.


  1. Exactly Gareth. The argument for independence is that it is a vehicle for change.

    Some may call it 'creative destructin' though no politician can say that. But really, we've tried direct rule from England with Wales being an 'integral part of the Realme of England' (1536 - 1959); we've tried being a part of England but with some administrative differences in the Welsh Office (1959-1999); were trying devolution with no tax varying powes (1999-2013) and none if has worked. Why don't we try the next to options - Part of UK with tax varying powers or outside UK with tax varying powers. Can they really be any worse?

    I believe being responsible for our taxes is the only thing which will focus our policians and shake-up the lethargy.

    Can't afford it? Well, what's the UK debt at the moment? £3 trillion?

    We can't afford to wait!

  2. I think Wales is poor because it doesn't have independence.

    Of course I'd want Wales to be independent even if it meant we became poorer as a result. It's a matter of self-respect as a nation. And self-respect is the necessary foundation stone on which a more prosperous Wales needs to be built.

    I've no idea what point there is to this independence-lite, begging bowl Plaid Cymru

    1. I agree, Wales was never in poverty....Poverty was imposed on it (resource exploitation etc)...thankfully the biggest asset now is the people living here

  3. Self-respect as a nation doesn't win votes. The self-interest of voters does. Plaid's main problem is that it doesn't win enough votes. Independence makes fewer people vote for Plaid, rather than more, despite many people apparently agreeing with Plaid's policies.

  4. OK fair enough, self-interest wins votes and Independence is a millstone around Plaid's neck. Given that, then Plaid would be better-off just disbanding and joining Labour. That would leave the field clear for a real pro-independence party and who knows you might even get to implement a few of your policies as part of Labour.

  5. Im not sure that " Independence is a millstone " ...itsmore lingeringmisinformation about the welsh language only policies and also misinfo about right wing nationalism (which they arent at all....many young members are left wing libertarian leaning)

    "Plaid would be better-off just disbanding and joining Labour."

    Sadly for me...Labour has become a by-word for fake socialism :(

    Ground up independence within a connected peaceful world (as idealistic as it sounds) gaining traction amongst the younger voters (see last 10 years of polling)

  6. I disagree. There needs to be a party outside of Labour that has no ties to Westminster, to apply pressure and be a genuine voice for Welsh interests. The idea that the choice is promote independence (an unrealistic scenario) or join Labour, is false. There's a middle ground and Dafydd Wigley set it out in the late 90s. Or Plaid can abandon the devolution ground even more to Labour. I don't want to see that happen, believe it or not. I think without Plaid being stronger Silk will be a complete flop.

  7. Not disbanding - but emphasising it less and saying they'll only support independence after further devolution and when it's in Wales' national interest. Which by the way is the only time Welsh people would ever want it!

  8. A party that argued that independence is the prerequisite for a really prosperous Wales is what we need. Not a begging-bowl, regional version of Labour.

    One of the major reasons why independence is "an unrealistic scenario" is because the party originally established to achieve it has sold-out and is as scared stiff of the concept as all the other unionist parties.

    I find that many voters are disgusted with the people within the political bubble. they are looking for a voice ...... sadly it ain't Plaid.

  9. There will never be a right time for independence. The economy will never improve under London Government, We will wait for ever. Plaid Cymru should demand independence now.

    1. I agree completely, the explanation about 10 0r 15 years to wait, is an excuse to delay indenpendence until no Welshman en his country remember there was once a Welsh language.