by Sion Rees Williams
And so a political tsunami hit Scotland, and vast swathes of the country turned yellow under the Nationalist surge. Places not hitherto known for their patriotic fervour embraced the future, a future that Scots now saw as the end game of their Union with England. To be sure, being a canny lot, there would not be a Referendum on Independence from the Disunited Kingdom immediately, despite calls for it from those same Unionists who had blocked the SNP’s proposals in the previous Parliament.
To be sure, Alex Salmond is playing the long game, and as there are no leaders anywhere amongst the Scottish Opposition, bides his time, whilst London, once more, tries to engineer the Scottish agenda to its own blinkered rhetoric. Doesn’t Middle England do sour grapes so well?
We in Wales, of a patriotic nature, can only look on with the joy, optimism and aspirations that the Scottish people now have, with shared delight at our cousins’ successes, but, if we are honest, tinged with a little envy. A Nationalist tidal wave did not materialise in Wales, nor was the momentum in achieving the remarkable 2:1 Yes vote in our own Referendum on additional powers for the National Assembly maintained.
Indeed, the Nationalists lost seats, whilst Labour and perhaps more surprisingly, the Conservatives gained seats, even as their own leader, Nick Bourne, was decapitated. With Labour now commanding 30 seats in the National Assembly, they could have retained Plaid Cymru as their junior partners in coalition, or have made conciliatory noises to the Liberal Democrats (who lost only one seat, but saw their vote down substantially) or gone it alone. As many of you will know by now, the Labour First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has decided indeed to lead a minority Welsh Government (note the name change). But, and in a remarkable echo of the words of your First Minister, he does not claim to have a monopoly of the answers and will seek to work with the other parties in a case by case manner.
Disappointment for Plaid then, and now they also have to find a new leader at the National Assembly, now that Ieuan Wyn Jones has said he will be stepping down during the first half of the new session. The former Presiding Officer (and leader of Plaid at Westminster) Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas has already thrown his hat into the ring, and others will probably do so in the not to distant future. Carwyn, I imagine, cannot believe his luck – his main Opposition parties are essentially lame ducks, either with an interim leader (the Conservatives) or with a leader on the way out (Plaid Cymru). The Liberal Democrats are too small and too toxic because of the Westminster Con-Dem association and the Nick Clegg factor to be taken with any seriousness.
However, I do not wish to sound over negative in my appraisal of the political situation in my home country, nor to observe Scottish events with jealousy. On the contrary, my mood is upbeat for the residents of Caledonia and the future direction that our nation will take. As often, I see Scotland as the pioneer of things that we in Wales can and should aspire to.
And yet, perhaps because there is at present less of a sense of betrayal of what the Unionists have done to our country – and by God they have, even if Labour is not as reviled amongst the populace as it should be – and the Nationalists are much more amateurish and inward thinking than those in Scotland, Wales has yet to prove her worth as a nation amongst the free peoples of the world. It is also true that there are good patriots and Nationalists in all parties in Wales, and this diffuseness then gets diluted by the mainstream (and London controlled unionism).
To that end, I commend Carwyn as a principled politician, yet perceive the Milipede as a creature of Westminster, despite both being of a leftist persuasion – Welsh patriotic left is NOT the same as Brit Nat centred ‘soft’ socialism. I’m sure you will have your own views as to the Grayman of that Ilk…
I urge then Scotland to once more show the way in maturity in the political field. As I read your comments, I am convinced that it’s no longer a question of ‘if’ Scotland goes her own way but ‘when.’ Your example will provide for the beacon of hope that freedom gives to us in Wales, and other stateless nations around the world. Indeed, it may prove a catalyst in enabling England and her regions to speak up for herself and co-operate fully, equally and respectfully with her neighbours in a new arrangement of the previous Disunited Kingdom. When that glorious day arrives, no one will be considered too small, too insignificant and too poor to sustain its own democratic and inalienable right to exist and flourish, independent of another country’s meddling.
Let the Caledonian lion roar! Let the Cymric dragon breathe fire anew! Let us work together for the common good of our peoples and strengthen our cultural and political links and our friendship.