Thursday, May 4, 2017

Is Welsh independence a good idea?

Ever since the disaster that was Brexit, I've been pondering on the future of the UK. With Scotland charging towards an independence referendum and the recent snap election looming this June, the stability of the 'union' is more uncertain than ever.

As always, there's polarised opinion about this and the Welsh question of independence is hard to ignore. Better arguments for it can be read elsewhere (See
and Plenty of people will guffaw at the very notion of Welsh independence, but given that we may not have a 'United Kingdom' for much longer I think serious thought needs to be given to this idea.

For a long time, I've been one of the naysayers seeing Windependence (my new word everyone! yes, just as awful as 'Brexit') as a total joke, but now things have changed on the political scene I'm beginning to see it as a potential way forward for this small nation known for its mountains, male voice choirs, dragons (fictional ones, obviously) and poets.

Our current 'Welsh Government' has fewer powers than the Scottish Parliament or any other fully independent sate – but it's a start. I don't see why we can't build on what we've already got and work toward Windependence within the next decade or so.

Why am I thinking this way? Well, it's partly because of Brexit (and to a lesser extent, Trump's rise to power). Times they are a-changing and I think now more than ever, people need to call for change – but the kind of change that benefits the majority, not the precious few with power and wealth.

People will cry that we're 'too small' and 'economically weak' but one look at Iceland as a comparison proves that we are more than capable of holding our own on the world stage:

Iceland vs Wales

Population of Iceland: 330,000
Population of Wales: 3,000,000

GDP of Iceland: $17 billion
GDP of Wales: $70 billion

So, Iceland – an independent State like the USA, Russia, France or Japan – has 10% of the population and 20% of the GDP of Wales but the idea of Welsh Independence is laughed off by the English (and plenty of Welsh too). Interestingly, Iceland has one of the lowest economic inequality rates in the world and one of best Human Development Indices.

I've nothing against Icelanders. They are no doubt a noble and worthy people, and their land is majestic and beautful – but it's cold, stuck in the middle of the North Sea and beer costs something like £8 a pint. Not the greatest of selling points for a nation state, one might think. And yet, they're doing just fine.

I don't think we need to sever ties with England in some bad divorce kind of way (a la Brexit), but perhaps it helps to view the smaller parts of the union as England's children. For centuries, these children have lived under the shadow of their parent and perhaps rightly so.

Now, in the 21st century, though - perhaps it's time for the children to finally grow up.

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