Friday, 11 January 2008

Gems from Bethan's Blog

The following is comment from Iago ap Steffan on Bethan Jenkin's blogging on "Our Kingdom".

Devolution in Wales has brought a more nationalist feel in Wales and in Scotland. I think that England (the English) need to demand devolution for themselves so that they too can feel pride and feel English rather than British. It seems that unfortunately the English is the only people holding on to the British identity; which is probably why people around the world see the Union flag and say it’s England’s flag. They need to promote their country more to show people that they themselves are a separate nation and that they are proud of who they are. In regards to them gaining a Parliament for themselves I see this as a great way forward and our relationships will be stronger as at the moment some people feel resentment toward the Celtic nations for what they have. I strongly agree that Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish MPs should not have a say in English matters, the same way that I believe that English politicians should not have a say on our matters; even if that does mean issues such as tax and defence.
An independent Wales within the EU doesn’t sound like independence, but we will have a lot more control over ourselves than we do now and it may be a good idea that once we gain self-control that we have a referendum on the EU and it’s powers, just as Ireland did and still does. We are not forced to stay within the EU so it will be our choice in the future what would best suit Wales; but if you do look over the water, Ireland has grown considerably as a nation and it is a rich nation at that within the EU. It is also one of the best places to live for health, wealth, etc. You can also look at the Scandinavian states and you will see the same results, if not better. Ireland only has a population 1 million more than us; Iceland has the population the size of Cardiff (around 300,00); Luxembourg nearly 500,000 and Norway just under 2million more people than Wales and that is only a few countries that I have chosen; there is alot more out there of similar size or less that are doing alot better than Wales after they have gained their independence. Are we really wanting to keep Wales as the poorest nation on these isles and one of the poorest nations in Western and even some countries in Eastern Europe? I think not, it’s time for a change, but we can’t rush into it. It needs to be thought out and we need to be able to do it in steps; as much as I’d love to leave the Union now. Wales needs to have a party like the SNP and work out the pros and cons of being in the Union, show people that we can become this successful independent state. I believe Plaid can show us the way as long as people give them a chance. We have all suffered under the Conservatives and we are suffering under Labour. It’s time for a change and that time is getting closer; use your votes wisely…wow that sounds like an advert for Plaid, but honestly look at what the other parties have done for us. Those other parties are not even based in Wales, they have never been a party for the people of Wales; and please don’t believe what the scare-mongerers are saying. Plaid is not just for the Welsh and the people that speak Welsh; there are so many members of Plaid that do not speak Welsh and the language is not thrust down our throats. They are also not a racist party either, lets leave that to the BNP; they support all the people that make Wales their home. Let’s do it, let’s move our great little nation forward…

and an extract from Bethan's contribution..........

I have never defined myself as ‘British.’ This isn’t a form of protest, of finding a way to be different from others, it just never represented what I was, and am, as a person. Every time I went on holiday abroad as a child, I always told the locals firmly that I was ‘Welsh not British,’ even though many thought that Wales was in Switzerland, or a part of Germany. The British flag does not fill me with pride like the Welsh Dragon. It means nothing to me emotionally.

I am not British because it represents a political establishment which has undermined my country for centuries. I am not British because it represents an artificial creation of a ‘Union’ that Wales did not agree to. I am not British because I am Welsh- I was born in Wales, I grew up in Wales, I feel hiraeth for Wales every time I leave and return. I am Welsh, and even though the place where I live is not recognised as a formal nation- state, Wales is a place I will someday call an Independent Wales- a country free from all the negatives that I associate with ‘Britishness.’

....A nation to me would mean independence within the EU, and for that to be viewed as a positive step, not one that undermines other elements of the once British state. It would be about cooperation and the development of inter-relationships. So many people see nationalism in these isles as a negative force, in large part to justify the continuation of ‘ Britain’. Gwyn Alf Williams, a radical Welsh Historian once said “Wales has always been now…it is an artefact which the Welsh produce…It requires an act of choice.” I hope that our choice will be to make Wales a Nation, and that Welsh identity will change and vary in accordance with our new found and developing Nationhood.

Can anyone who has made a dispassionate study of British history over the past 700 years have any arguments with this view on national identity?
Alan in Dyfed


Anonymous said...

Hey Alan why don't you go and compose a wikipedia entry on yourself like Sanddef Rhysferys .... then we can all go over and sabotage that one as well.

alanindyfed said...