Friday, 23 October 2020

More "Wales has never been a nation" rubbish

Recently there have been a spate of London Journalists and others who have Welsh Heritage , writing about their former Homeland only to disparage our ambition and portray as an economic Wasteland incapable of running their own affairs.

Another take was Builth Wells born ackensiePolly Mackenzie joined Demos as the new Director in January 2018. She previously worked for Nick Clegg from 2006 to 2015, helping to write the 2010 Coalition Agreement, and served as Director of Policy to the Deputy Prime Minister from 2010-15., who recently entered the field with the claim on Unherd that

"Wales has never been a nation"

But all this excitement about England’s northern border is distracting us from what is happening on its western one. Exactly the same political forces are conspiring to boost the Welsh government and with it the legitimacy of the campaign for Wales’ freedom. Don’t get me wrong: Welsh nationalism is still a minority sport. But polls in the last month or two suggest now a third of voters would choose independence in a referendum tomorrow. 46% of under-25s say they want Wales to be an independent country.

Perhaps you need to know more about Welsh history to understand how truly astonishing this is. In particular, you need to understand that Wales has never actually been an independent country. Coronavirus is conjuring a modern nation state from the mists of myth and fantasy.

The Welsh are a people, no question: a people with a language, a culture and a heritage. But what are their lands? The Welsh (and the Cornish) are, in fact, the original British, driven west by the Anglo Saxon invasions that followed the departure of the Roman Empire from these shores. The Welsh word Cymru, used from the seventh century, means the land of the Cymry — it refers not just to the residents of the western part of the British Isles but also to the men of the North of England. And the English word Wales, similarly, was originally used to mean simply foreigner — a reference to any of the non-Anglo Saxon peoples of these islands.

The area now governed by the Welsh Senedd was, in medieval times, a set of warring principalities. The ruler of the strongest of those was known as Tywysog Cymru: ruler, or prince, of the Welsh. But that didn’t give him power or hegemony over the other principalities. The closest a Tywysog — cognate of the Irish word Taoiseach — ever came to ruling the whole of modern Wales was Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, who secured the rule of Gwynedd from his uncle Owain and brother Dafydd in 1255. By 1267, he dominated modern-day Clwyd, Powys and Ceredigion.

But Pembrokeshire, Glamorgan and Monmouthshire — the whole of south and south-west Wales — remained under the rule of the Marcher Barons. And that was the peak of his power. In 1276, Edward I declared Llywelyn a rebel and marched a huge army against him. Llywelyn lost control of everything but Gwynedd, and after a brief resurgence of power in 1282, he was killed at Builth Wells. Llywelyn was, at best, the Temporary Prince of Part of Wales.

Well to some extent she's right but England was previously a state of warring states , but I wonder how many English people regard King Alfred the Great as just a King of Wessex and not a great "English" King. When did England as a nation begin, under the The Angevin Empire , it could be argued that they regarded and identified with their French territories rather than England  and they didn't even speak English.

It wasn't until King John lost them that England began and they concentrated on subduing  the other parts of  the British Isles.

The question of how much people identified their nationality through Kings, Queens or Princes is an interesting one 

Ms Mackenzie does make a telling case , but one wonder what her sources are because at the end of her polemic she writes.

Only now, as Cardiff’s leadership effectively erects a land border down Offa’s dyke, and bans the English from entering, does it seem a possibility. Perhaps the deepest irony is that among the highest support for Welsh independence is in the south west of the country: Pembrokeshire. But it is also one of the parts of Wales that never even fell to Llywelyn: it has never been part of a sovereign “Wales”

The "highest support for Welsh independence is in the south west of the country: Pembrokeshire". Where did she get that from?

I will leave it to others more qualified t o mark Ms Mackensie's essay , but I suspect it will not be a very high one


dafis said...

Ms McKenzie obviously values the "rewards" of belonging to the London chatterati far more than anything she derives from Welsh roots. Not uncommon. Mr Cairns,a good Welsh boy with a passable fluency in the language, can't resist his increasingly frequent outbursts of outrage that anyone can think along lines that differ from his beloved Boris. His mind is Londoncentred despite his roots. The real stinkers are those Senedd members, both Tory and Labour, who also derive their thought leadership from London based influencers. These people need replacing at first opportunity.

East Neuker said...

We Scots have our equivalents, and they can be among the most bitter and disparaging commenters on their own country and its growing ambitions to be independent. One only has to think of Andrew Neil - no, don't it's not good for the soul. It is also an unfathomable fact that Michael Gove was born and brought up in Scotland.... Oh dear, I feel a bit queasy. The hey have made a choice, and can only defend that to themselves by heaping on the rubbishing of Scotland. At least that can't say that Scotland was never a country,