I was going to write something on the launch rally for Yes.Cymru in Cardiff being held this Saturday, but Royston Jones beat me to it in this post, and there's no point in just repeating what he said.

I'm not involved with Yes.Cymru, so I don't know any more about the people and thinking behind it than I can read on their website. It seems to have been set up in 2014 as Yes for Wales in order to support a Yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum, and therefore I'm not entirely sure what is being "launched" now, or how it differs from before. But it seems to be a promising development, so I plan on being there.



As for the speakers at the event, I have a lot of time for John Dixon, and Liz Castro's inclusion (as well as some of the articles on the website) would suggest that Yes.Cymru might be looking to model itself on the civic movements for independence in Catalunya. That would be no bad thing.

It is worth remembering that, even though there is one political party in Catalunya that consistently supported independence, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, it never did particularly well in post-Franco elections, hovering at about 10% with a high of 16.4% in 2003. The movement towards independence only took off in Catalunya because of overwhelming public pressure, organized through civic groups from all sections of Catalan society. Faced with this, Convergència i Unió, the ruling alliance which has held power in Catalunya for all but a handful of years since democracy was restored in 1978, had little choice but to change its position from wanting more autonomy within the Spanish state to wanting independence instead. The lesson to be learnt is that politicians and political parties usually respond to public opinion rather than shape it.

This is particularly true in Wales, where even Plaid Cymru, our party that is meant to support independence, is not prepared to campaign for it. It has relegated independence to, at best, a "long-term" goal or, at worst, something that many of its senior figures say they don't want at all. Instead it has chosen to play safe and try to gain power by cutting down its policies to something less than independence, making the excuse that people in Wales don't want it, but doing nothing to make the case for it.

In short, Plaid Cymru won't start campaigning for Wales to be independent until it becomes more clear that people in Wales—irrespective of the party they vote for, or whether they are interested in politics at all—show that we have an appetite for it. Yet, conversely, if enough of us show that this is what we want, then other political parties will change their position on independence too. We must lead the way.

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Anonymous said...

You are not being fair to Plaid Cymru. We do want independence and are working steadily towards it, one step at a time.

MH said...

I'm sure many people in Plaid do want independence, and that some signed up primarily for that reason. My point is that the party (or those who decide things in the party) is not campaigning for it. It has chosen to concentrate on other things instead.

I remember the time of the last leadership election. Dafydd Elis-Thomas didn't want independence at all, and Elin Jones wanted it ... but not before 2036! That left only one who was positive about independence any time soon, and she won by a landslide. But she sold out. A few months ago on Question Time, when politicians from other parties laughed at the party for wanting independence, Leanne Wood's reaction was not to defend independence, but to defend herself by saying, "No, we're not campaigning for independence, we're campaigning to form the government."

Richard Harris said...

All political parties have a motivational promise or central myth.The Tories, free market "liberty"; Labour, some homoeopathic tincture of Socialism or "reformed capitalism; Plaid, Welsh Independence. As with a religion, it serves to keep the laity looking upwards and allows the actual party elite to genuflect and personally advance. Worth reading Robert Michels' " Political Parties", his study of the sociology of the German SDP from c.1915

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