A Green Yes

Just ahead of the SNP government's white paper on independence, the Scottish Green Party today launched their own campaign for a Yes vote in next year's independence referendum.


I think it's worth highlighting this line from the BBC report:

The Greens' message here this morning is that they're not nationalists. Instead, the party's belief in independence is rooted in a desire to transform politics and society. It's the kind of radical change, they argue, that Westminster is increasingly unlikely to deliver.

BBC Reporting Scotland, 15 November 2013

It echoes something that I've said before, but want to say again. Many of us in Plaid Cymru want independence for unashamedly nationalistic reasons: we believe that the people of Wales should decide how Wales is governed because that's what nearly every other nation in the world is able to do, and we deserve no less. That's a good reason to want independence and one that I fully support.

But some of us perhaps don't understand that others are indifferent—and sometimes quite opposed—to nationalism, and want independence not so much on principle, but more reluctantly, because they have come to realize it is the only alternative to being dragged along the ever-rightward political path that the UK has been relentlessly following for the past three decades, and is clearly going to continue to follow whether led by blue Tories or red Tories.

This is what the Greens in Scotland have decided is best for Scotland, and I have every reason to believe that people with the same views in Wales will come to the same conclusion. With that in mind, I'd recommend reading the Vision for Independence that the Scottish Greens have just published.


Much as I like the SNP, this is rather more "spiky" ... and therefore more in tune with many of our values in Plaid Cymru.

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Efrogwr said...

It's a pity the "Welsh" Green Party is only a branch office of the English one. It's website makes no use whatsoever of the Welsh language and there is nothing on the policy page about the constitutional question: http://wales.greenparty.org.uk/policy/

Cibwr said...

Andy Chyba, who was the lead Green candidate here, has withdrawn from the election in favour of Plaid Cymru on the grounds that a 'Welsh Ecosocialist Alliance' would be best in the long term.


Anonymous said...

The Green party in Wales has for some reason been consistently dominated by English people. The same can't be said in Scotland. More of a problem than whether people are English or not though is the Wales Green Party's lack of autonomy and lack of tactical or strategic nous (no desire to enter into coalitions or alliances). In Wales at least it seems to exist as a hobby. With that said Plaid isn't considered particularly "green" by those that want to prioritise the environment and climate change as their number one issue.

Owen said...

The Green Party in Wales have given an impression of being dysfunctional, or as Anon 15:21 says, something of a "hobby"/political manifestation of protest groups. They've never seemed to harbour ambitions of being a serious player - unlike Scotland.

I would've expected them to have had at least 1 AM by now, and Cardiff, at least, should have Green councillors when you consider how often the environment, transport and planning have been mentioned in local politics.

Maybe that's because Plaid step on their toes in quite a few areas as an established party that has a few "Green-lite" policies. Though as someone with a scientific background I tend to take the so-called "bright green" path than the more post-materialist and ecosocialist stances that dominate the Greens in Wales (and Plaid too, it has to be said).

"But some of us perhaps don't understand that others are indifferent—and sometimes quite opposed—to nationalism, and want independence not so much on principle, but more reluctantly, because they have come to realize it is the only alternative to being dragged along the ever-rightward political path that the UK has been relentlessly following for the past three decades...."

That probably describes me. Yet I probably count amongst the "hard/dry" nats now, and I'm more than willing to use "pure" self-determination arguments. I (as I presume the Scottish Greens do too) see nationalism and independence as an effective tool but not a means to anything in itself.

Anonymous said...

Wales doesn't have a green party. There is just the Green party of Englandandwales

MH said...

Thanks for the comments.

I'll start with Cibwr and the link to what Andy Chyba said. I had actually read the same article on Bright Green Scotland, and was encouraged by what he said. It underlines that the Greens do have a lot in common with Plaid, but that "nationalism" is in their eyes a problem, and perhaps that Welsh is too. If those are two issues from their perspective, then from our perspective, as Efrogwr and Stu have said, the big issue is the fact that the Green Party operates as an Englandandwales party, which is quite an anomaly given "the fundamentally different political landscape to anywhere in England" that he mentions.

I'm also encouraged by the statement that, "the desire for greater (though perhaps not complete) independence for Wales (and Scotland, and the English Regions) is more about allowing people to take more responsibility for their own lives ...". This seems to imply that Greens are at least receptive to the idea of Wales becoming independent, in contrast with other parties which have ruled this out.


I won't comment on whether this is because they have been "consistently dominated by English people", as 15:21 says. I just don't buy into that sort of distinction. People who have chosen to come and live in Wales have as much right as everyone else who lives in Wales to a full place in Welsh life, our society, our communities and our politics. To think otherwise is one of the most ugly traits of the sort of nationalism that none of us should have any truck with.


For those who don't know what Owen is talking about, the "bright green" path is described here. I think I'm inclined to agree.

Anonymous said...

MH- I completely agree that English people have every right to participate, and a significant amount of them have come to Plaid including through green motivations.

Mr. Chyba has made a point about Welsh being "moribund", not in a way where he supports the language and wants it to stop being "moribund", but criticising promotion of it. This is an unhelpful attitude and he should be pulled up on it. But bridges can be built and attitudes changed. I've seen attitudes towards Welsh in my (Welsh-born) family change for the better, for example. What i'm getting at is values are more important than where you have come from, but the GPEW's orientation in Wales is quite poor politically and some of their values have been influenced by having a lack of rootedness in Welsh communities (even in Welsh cities like Cardiff and Swansea). To be positive, what I would like to see is more greens take on board the importance of Welsh culture as part of their understanding of a diverse and not homogenous world. I see preserving Welsh not as reaction or conservatism but as part of sustainability and diversity.

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