Thursday, 26 July 2007

Getting The Message Across

The question arises : what is Britain, and what is its relevance to Wales?
The fine old castles which dominate the skyline at Aberconwy, Caernarfon, Harlech and other places in the north, and Caerffili, Chepstow, Newport and other sites in the south are reminders that Wales was once a part of an expanding Empire which colonised France, Ireland, parts of Scotland and Cornwall, long before the British Empire came into being. Scotland, Ireland and Wales suffered years of oppression and subjection to the English kings, to whom their leaders were forced to pay homage, or suffer the consequences. A great deal of blood was spilt on all sides before the countries were reluctantly united and given the grand title of the United Kingdom of Great Britain. This was, as we have said, a grouping of nations held together in a common purpose, and that turned out to be the conquest of a third of the world and the exploitation of human and economic resources. Thus Britain became rich and powerful until the First World War signalled the beginning of the end. In order to understand the present we need to look back at the past, and learn the lessons of history.
So what relevance does this have to Wales at the present time? The Empire has gone, and independence has been granted to those former colonies and protectorates. But what of the nations that make up the British Isles? Do they not deserve to be freed from the stultifying influences that comes from London, and the humiliating situation of having to ask permission or gain approval for measures to be taken and laws to be enacted for the people of Wales?
The purpose of the Welsh Office is to oversee and administer this procedure, yet it has very little relevance as a political institution. The National Assembly is the legitimate governing body of Wales until the Welsh Parliament is voted in. This Parliament for Wales is long overdue, as Scotland has had one for several years and it is seen to function successfully. Wales is no less a nation, even though it has no place on the Union flag. This so-called flag of the union symbolises England - the flag of St. George, Ireland - the flag of St. Patrick, and Scotland - the flag of St. Andrew - yet there is no flag for Wales. So if Wales is not recognised as part of the union let Wales stay out of the union. It has it own flag, which flies proudly on buildings and back gardens across the land. Let it be flown far and wide as the symbol of pride in the nation, and the means of showing to the world that this flag of the dragon is the only flag of Wales. Yet when Parliament is created and the Welsh MPs are in session, there will be another flag to complement the dragon - the flag of Glyndwr, who set up the Parliament in Machynlleth many centuries ago. Parliamentary democracy is not new to Wales.


Charlie Marks said...

Interestingly, Ireland is still in the union flag, though it has long departed the union. There's still the six counties, but there's no longer a Northern Ireland flag (it used to be the Ulster flag, even though Ulster has three counties in the Irish republic).

You say that the Empire no longer exists... Well, there's the six counties, Afghanistan, Iraq... need i go on?

The problem for those of us in England is that it is hard to argue for independence for England without being thought of as some kind of fascist. But, take note, the far-right is in favour of the Union, seeing good in the butcher's apron and the "benevolent rule" of "civilising" Pax Britannica...

alanindyfed said...

Yes - the Empire that exsts today includes N. Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. I would not say Iraq and Afghanistan are part of it.
I do think that it is dangerous to meddle in other countries' affairs as there are repercussions, as we have seen. Vietnam is another example.
Welsh mercenaries (archers) were also used in the French wars.

alanindyfed said...

Agincourt, Crecy etc.

Normal Mouth said...

Glyndwr, who set up the Parliament in Machynlleth many centuries ago. Parliamentary democracy is not new to Wales.

Glyndwr was an aristocrat who oppressed his people (and wished to oppress many more) every bit as much as the "English kings" about whom you complain.

1999 saw the first ever democratically elected legislature for Wales.