Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Self Determination or Independence

I must admit I have some sympathy with Dafydd Elis Thomas, over the Independence issue.

On the eve of the Plaid conference in Llandudno focussing on ‘renewal’, the Dwyfor Merionnydd AM said:....
I was happy to talk about self government and self determination but independence is something I found ethically incompatible.
“I am a Welsh European first and foremost.

I share his position as I  personalty always felt that no Nation can call it self Independent if it..

  • Acccepts membership and the rules of the United Nations
  • Signs and obeys the Geneva Convention
  • Agrees to the judgement of International Courts.
  • Signs Trade agreements that bind you to a specific economic model
  • Joins an organisation like the original Common Market
  • Agrees to the development of the above as it becomes a legislative body as the European Union has become.
  • Joins alliance like NATO,

Except for the last, I agree with all the above and have nothing but scorn for those petty nationalists who think they country can some how be self sufficient and ignore the rest of the World and International Laws.
However the success of the SNP  in promoting the use of  Independence on the Scottish Stage means that the "I" word is in the ascendancy  and compared to it Self-Determination  sounds a bit like non-alcoholic lager. 
 Although I can see no difference between the SNP  plans for Scotland to have the same sovereign status within the EU as the likes of Germany, Latvia or Luxembourg as Plaids plans for Wales.

So although I would still  prefer Plaids  previous  position 
The important thing is what they mean by Independent  and make it clear No  Sovereign Nation  today (apart for North Korea perhaps) can claim to be fully Independent?  
The negative connotations that Independence may have  will  of course be raised by the British .Unionist Parties (Labour, Conservative and Libdem) but they should be faced

Iincidentally I have used the term British Unionist rather than British Nationalist because the former has been seized by the far right and I don't want to appear to smear them . I hope when they react to the Independence call from Wales and Scotland they do not use as means to smear Welsh and Scottish Nationalism.

Do I share the doubts of Dafydd El whether Wales could be Independent at this  moment in time . Wel Yes. But when ever I sat an exam I never thought I get 100% but I always tried to get the best mark I could.

The challenge of Nationlist in or out of Plaid is to envisage the Wales they want in a World they want and work towards it.


  1. "Except for the last, I agree with all the above and have nothing but scorn for those petty nationalists who think they country can some how be self sufficient and ignore the rest of the World and International Laws."

    ... erm, Glyn - have you ever met a Welsh nationalist who believes that? No. Why give credibility to British black propaganda. Why go on about semantics.

    Also - call the British unionists, 'British nationalists'. That's what they are. They're as nationalist for Britain as you are for Wales. That doesn't mean eithe of you are racist. In any case, do you think that Labour for a moment were concerned about offending you and painging you with the same brush as the BNP? No.

    Get over it, stop apologising.

  2. Independence equates to sovereignty. Wales needs sovereignty in order to prosper.

    The UK as a nation state is sovereign, but it has ceeded elements of its sovereignty to the EU. Being sovereign, as any other member state, it is entitled to withdraw its membership at any time. Whether or not it is politically able to do so is another matter.

    The UK hasn't ceeded sovereignty the the UN. In fact, as a permanent member of its Security Council, it retains a veto on any resolution brought before the Council.

    Nation states sign and ratify international treaties, agreements, and conventions, to which they agree to abide. These are not limitations on sovereignty - that is retained by the nation state.

    Uniquely among the sovereign nation states of the world, in the UK sovereignty is vested in 'the Crown in Parliament', not constitutionally in its people.

    Essentially this gives immense power to a relatively small political elite, which is jealous of the power it holds. Attempts to reform the House of Lords, or abolish it, illustrates this clearly.

    A nation must first possess sovereignty in order to decide how best to put it to use.

    The Welsh Assmbly (and the other devolved institutions are subordiate to the UK Parliament. Theoretically they can be abolished by repeal or amendment of the statutes which created them - by a majority of one at Westminster. There has not been a transfer of sovereignty, although powers have been transferred, they can be recalled.

    Whatever DET thinks of himself as being... a Welsh European - has no bearing on the political reality that Wales is in the EU as part of the UK. Its MEPs are UK members of the Strasbourg Parliament, and are only four in number, a much smaller representation than Wales would have were it to be a full member.

    Self-government or self-determination, unless accompanied by sovereignty, are meaningless terms.

    I don't want to support a party which sells Wales short. As long as it remains part of the UK, it will be dependent in one way or another, and be relatively poor.

  3. As important will be for Plaid to not become obsessed with the fight for a status, but fighting to make a Wales that could cope with that status. If Wales is working well enough to be independent, then independence will come.

  4. EyeOnWales wrote:

    "..fighting to make a Wales that could cope with that status. If Wales is working well enough to be independent, then independence will come."

    Unfortunately, that's a Catch 22 scenario.

    How many of Britain's former colonies 'worked well' before they attained independence? I can't think of many - most fought for it, or unilaterally declared it. Those that worked well, such as NZ and Canada, were at a great distance, were colonised by ex-pats, and had the resources to govern themselves. The mother country was in no position to assimilate or dictate to them.

    A nationalist Welsh party (I think Plaid needs to be renamed) has to do both, but its unique focus, its USP, must be sovereign independence, which will provide the people of Wales with the powers to address Wales' problems. No population dominated by another can have true dignity and self-worth. Without those Wales will retain its dependency culture and has a poor outlook.

  5. maen_tramgwy

    But the situation in Scotland for the SNP has improved because they have shown that they can run a government there. Which offers different polices and solutions than the previous Labour and current ConLib governments.

    Wales as the first colony has had nearly all its institutions tied up with England (Even Scotland managed to avoid that)

    The Assembly was the first creation of a separate Welsh voice since disestablishment and you can not deny theres a mindset amongst the majority of people in Wales that stil think of these ties.

    I wish it was otherwise but its there.

    So you cant expect the people of Wales to blindly vote for independence the people need to know what kind of Wales they are voting for?

  6. I agree with you, Glyn. Plaid has to do both.

    Salmond focused on the independence message well before the SNP's success in the previous election, when he decided on a minority administration. He could have gone for a coalition, but was wise enough to avoid it. It was a risk, but it paid off handsomely.

    IWJ, imo, walked into the devolution trap - it was presented as a device to halt nationalism in its tracks. Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

    Coalition with Labour was bad enough, but in a minority role was even worse. Plaid was swept into devo mode, got bogged down in it and paid the electoral price.

    I don't believe that the limited legislative devolution gained - dangled by Labour (they created the Assembly and passed the 2006 Act) was worth the price. Plaid got no electoral dividend for it - on the contrary.

    It's likely that Labour (CJ) would have gone for a referendum in the medium term in any case (with the support of all the parties) and would have easily won it. I'm not saying this with the benefit of hindsight, but thought and said it when One Wales was being discussed.

    Devolution can be both a blessing and a curse for nationalists. The likes of DET are happy to work within the system - he has a track record of doing it. To me it smells of self-aggrandisement, or suchlike.

    Now is the time for the party to get its act together else it will become increasingly irrelevant. Some sacred cows need to be put in their place, and the main focus prioritised. Increasing 'national status' is part of that, not an end in itself - it has to be seen in that context.

  7. We have 15 billion in the bag right now that's a lot of money to throw away, but OK even if we could make Wales a better place, I think we can see right now what the people think of Plaid, and for that matter labour.