I was reading through the recent IPPR report entitled England and Its Two Unions, and came across this snippet of information on epage 10:
If you were allowed to choose the nationality that appears on
your passport, which of these descriptions would you choose?
As we can see, most people in Wales would want a passport that describes their nationality as Welsh, and only a minority would want to be described as British nationals. This is all the more remarkable when we consider that fully 21% of the population of Wales was born in England, that 13.8% consider their nationality to be English, and that 8% would want an English passport.
In contrast, most people in England would still prefer to be described as British nationals; but even so, the percentage wanting an English passport is quite significant. Unfortunately, equivalent information is not available for Scotland. It would be well worth asking them the same question.
It is information like this which shows why Wales will not remain part of the United Kingdom for long. Public perception of what we consider our nationality to be, and therefore how we want to be seen by the rest of the world, is way ahead of the political process that will deliver independence ... just as the desire for more decisions about Wales to be made in Wales is way ahead of the political process that will deliver more devolution. We would do well to learn from what has happened in Catalunya, where the recent movement towards independence has been driven first and foremost by people from across all sections of Catalan society, leaving the political parties with no real choice but to respond.
I am a political animal who understands that politics is important, but it is not all-important. Who we are as a nation and how we are seen by the rest of the world matters much more to most people in Wales than politics or political parties, and to become an independent nation we need to work at this level rather than just at a political level.