…By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
It is no exaggeration to say that a seismic shift has happened in Wales in recent years.
Less than a decade ago, independence marches would attract only a handful of committed activists.
However, in 2023, over 7,000 people marched through Swansea, showcasing a confident, modern, and inclusive sense of nationhood billowing through the streets.
A New Energy:
Long gone are the days of the people of Wales simply accepting the inequities of the union.
A new energy has spread throughout the country, with more people than ever before enthusiastic about the potential to become a better, fairer, and more prosperous Wales.
Recent polling conducted by Redfield and Wilton reveals a significant shift in sentiment.
The poll suggests that 32% of people in Wales would vote for independence in a Welsh independence referendum if held tomorrow, compared to a mere 3% in 2014.
Notably, the poll’s findings regarding Labour supporters are remarkable, as 42% would now vote ‘Yes’ in an independence referendum.
The conversations during the Swansea march highlighted a growing frustration among many Labour supporters with Keir Starmer’s refusal to engage with the increasing pro-independence sentiment in Wales.
Blindfolded by a Union Jack, Starmer has failed to notice the shift in sentiment among his own supporters.
His strategy of appealing to right-wing British nationalism may work elsewhere, but it is unlikely to receive the same reception in Wales.
The Call for Change:
The Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales, established through the Cooperation Agreement between Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Government, has identified three “viable” options for the future of Wales, including independence.
Stakeholders have presented evidence indicating that Wales’s current constitutional settlement is “not sustainable.”
The cost-of-living crisis has further exposed the unsustainability of the status quo, where crucial powers necessary to address this crisis, such as borrowing, taxation, and energy regulation, remain in Westminster’s control.
Some Welsh Labour MPs, like Chris Evans, have acknowledged the need for change.
However, rather than advocating for acquiring additional powers, they accept the status quo and dismiss pro-independence voters as being obsessed with constitutional issues.
The Labour Party, it seems, will never be a vehicle for greater self-government.
Labour’s Internal Contradictions:
Even the Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour, Carolyn Harris MP, has undermined the party’s commitment to devolution.
Despite Welsh Labour’s manifesto supporting the full devolution of policing, Harris rejected the idea outright on a television program.
Her opposition lacked any substantial reasoning or explanation, showcasing the persistence of anti-devolution sentiment within the Labour Party.
The Role of Plaid Cymru:
To guarantee the viability of the devolution process, Wales needs a strong team of Plaid Cymru MPs who will fight for more powers.
Plaid Cymru is the only party that will vote in alignment with the Welsh national interest rather than following Westminster party lines.
By electing Plaid Cymru representatives, Wales can escape the perpetual choice between Tory hostility and Labour indifference.
Wales should not remain locked in a choice between the Tories and Labour.
The rising tide of Welsh independence offers an opportunity to build a fairer nation.
Plaid Cymru welcomes all those disaffected by the current state of affairs, inviting them to join a movement striving for a better future for Wales.
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