Monday, 19 June 2017

Welsh Home Rule should not be our final destination.

Over at Nation Cymru Dr James Lucite puts forward  the argument  that we need to build the Welsh nation through devolution before rushing for independence…

I contain part of his thought provoking article but you should read it all via this link.

Home rule has long been the goal of Plaid Cymru – although its precise meaning has not been clearly and consistently conveyed to the voters.What is important here is that Home Rule or Devo-max seeks to build Welsh democracy initially within the context of the United Kingdom, our beloved “Family of Nations.” This has yet to be fully attempted.Moreover, building Home Rule creates the conditions of possibility for independence through a process of political, economic, social and cultural development.My argument surrounding independence is based upon the simple principle:If the constitutional design and political economy of the United Kingdom cannot accommodate our aspirations for a robust Welsh democracy, then the question of independence becomes inescapable.At this point in a long history, there is much reason to doubt that the British state would ever allow Welsh democracy to come to fruition.  Yet, what is the British state – or better, who is the British state?Much is possible in the context of Parliamentary sovereignty and Labour did, in fact, deliver devolution in 1999.Yet, since this time, it has only been Plaid Cymru which has pushed the process further: and this has been Plaid Cymru’s longstanding policy.The Tories and Labour have maintained Wales in a state of arrested development.  Only a Plaid Cymru government in the National Assembly can begin to liberate Welsh democracy.After Brexit, in order to avoid the homogeneity of a London-dominated unipolar UK, it will be necessary to create a multipolar UK.Home rule in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will allow the emergence of countervailing poles to re-balance the UK political economy.This is possible in the context of current devolutionary tendencies: much has been achieved by Scotland, for instance.It is important to remember that devolution is a constitutional project to ameliorate democratic deficiencies with regards to minority nations.The same project can be harnessed to transform the political economic structure of the UK after Brexit.This is why, for the next elections to what will then be called the Welsh Parliament, Plaid Cymru must emphasise a renewed and consistent focus on building Home Rule.In this context, independence would be the stick to the carrot of authentic devolution. Plaid Cymru, over the next few years, must educate the Welsh populace on how devolution can allow us to “take back control.”Indeed, home rule is a much more tangible offering for a population where the vast majority are still wary of the spectre of independence.I feel that proponents of independence, in their enthusiasm, often forget that we still need to build the Welsh state – and that much of this work can be done prior to independence.This work is done by building home rule and the establishment of a true Welsh social democracy.Home rule is something people can grasp and understand. And thankfully, it is 90% of the way to independence.
I agree with Dr Luchte  to some extent in that we need to build institutions , especially a Welsh Judiciary before we take the ultimate step , but we need to insist that our goal is still independence not a half way house or even thee quarters way house .

It is however  important to note Home rule is not, however, even comparable with federalism. Whereas states in a federal system of government (have a guaranteed constitutional existence, a devolved home rule system of government is created by ordinary legislation and can be reformed, or even abolished, by repeal or amendment of that ordinary legislation.

Home Rule or Devo Max does not in their selves  have a model that gives us the extent (or lack) of either,

A central Government could for instance claim that Scotland has Home Rule already  with Westminster keeping control of those powers considered necessary .

Since thre is no guarantee of a constitutional framework it is entirely possible that the central government can take away powers from the Home Rule Parliament  or abolish it  together  after a concerted campaign.

Federalism also has its problem in that I cannot envisage England accepting a role where Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are equal partners.

Even if it was to become that UK Federalism  included Parliaments  on English Regions (and of course Cornwall). That would be saying that the Nations of Wales and Scotland  accept a role as a UK  Region  which for many would be unacceptable.

At the end of the day Independence is the only solution for Wales and Scotland, It is not the response of crude "Blood and Iron" Nationalism , but the sought of recognition that we are Nations in our own minds and rights.

Although Dr Lucite does not seem to be advocating  Home Rule as the pinnacle of our National Ambition, it seems to me that it is foolish to claim to be aiming for the moon rather than the stars.


  1. Welsh independence and Home Rule is their right, as well as the taking back of their own language. Same for the Scottish and Home Rule!

  2. Spot on Glyn. Wales is a country not a principality or a region or a dominion or any other insulting patronising nonsense Wales detractors use to undermine our case for self government. And like every country in the world Wales has the right to manage its own affairs should its people choose to do so.

    PS it needs to be borne in mind that devolution or home rule or even devo max could disappear at the stroke of a pen in Westminster. So while we should gladly take all the devolution for wales that is going we shouldnt give up on wales right to manage its own affairs.