Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Independence for Wales?

This blog isn't written because I crave independence for Wales. Frankly I don't think we are ready, for many reasons. It is written to highlight , in the main, the second reason below which nobody ever mentions.
Around the time of the Scottish Independence Referendum there was chatter about whether Wales could be independent. With my head finally ruling my heart I have to say my opinion is no, for two reasons, one of which is often discussed, but one which I have never heard discussed.
To begin with the often discussed reason, the economy. Currently Wales depends heavily on income from Westminster via the Barnett Formula, which even Joel Barnett himself has discredited as only intended to be a short term measure and no longer fit for purpose. The secondary means of income is from EU subsidies and grants. Finally businesses in Wales do actually produce some wealth for the country, and now we are apparently going to have tax raising powers we shall see what happens there. However, the fact remains that Wales does not currently have a sufficiently robust independent economy that could survive without external input. To achieve that I think we need to find something at which we can be world leaders and make it work for us. Without that any attempts at independence will fail.
However, the second reason is, I feel even more fundamental. It took Scotland decades to achieve a position where they were confident enough, and able, to call a referendum on independence. I believe the bedrock of that confidence is that as a nation they believed in the Scottish Nationalist Party. They believed that Scotland should be governed by the Scottish for the Scottish.
I am not a nationalist per se, but I do recognise the sense in the logic that you cannot be truly independent whilst allowing, indeed voting for, the country to be governed by a party whose roots are in what would be a different country. In Wales, ever since devolution in 1999, we have been governed by the Labour Party. Every election for the last 16 years. A party with its roots in London. To me it is farcical to think that Wales, with its capital city of Cardiff, could be independent whilst the governing party is based in London.
In a nutshell, until Plaid Cymru demonstrate an ability to govern, and until we as a nation recognise that ability and vote them into power, Wales will remain part of the United Kingdom.