The unspoken ignorance around a Welsh Independence Referendum

Let me get something straight. I fully believe that an independent Welsh state, free to decide wholly its own destiny within a world community, festering hope and peace and inclusion, can function successfully as an independent nation.

I have no doubt that the mindset, often dictated to us with no factual evidence, that we are too small, too poor and too stupid to run our own affairs is merely fear mongering.

We can survive. We can prosper.

Yet despite figures placing support for Welsh independence from anywhere between 3% and 35%, the illusive 50% remains just that…. illusive.

I’m all for the ideology that one must take the first step on every journey – however long. With the emergence of the progressive, organised and myth-busting YesCymru campaign, those steps are being tread.

But in honesty it’s unlikely that were Welsh people to be granted a referendum on becoming an independent nation a Yes vote would win. Not yet, anyway.

And even though this fact pains me, I believe positivity can come from a vote.

A vote will show the rest of the world that there are numbers much larger than previously thought supporting Wales’ quest for home rule. It will bring new ideas to the fore and discussions will be had. It will, at the very least, prove many of the myths about being too poor etc as false. For the first time, the Anglo-centric media will take note of Wales. It will undoubtedly attempt to smear any campaign for independence but Wales will be mentioned.

A vote will ensure our neighbours understand that Wales is not a retirement home and entertainment park. It will show that the diverse needs of those who call Wales their home are understood and accounted for. We might even get a “pledge” from our Westminster guardians that will eventually become another optimistic bill tossed into a bin!

The Scottish independence referendum saw around an 85% voting turnout – the highest since the laws around suffrage were normalised. Visitors to and residents of Scotland supporting both sides of the referendum spoke of a nation invigorated with peaceful debate and friendly banter. The nation understood itself and listened to itself. It awoke.

Wales can awaken.

****

When you meet someone supporting Welsh independence, there’s always an elephant in the room…. for me, anyway.

We always talk of factual inaccuracies fed to our docile nation and discuss the vast benefits of running our own country – economic, social, cultural and otherwise. We speak of campaigning and raising the profile of YesCymru. We speak of getting the word out that discussion is key and that indy-curiosity is a natural and empowering state of mind to possess.

But we do not talk about losing a referendum.

Does ignoring this fact mean that we are victims of a positive mental attitude or that are we simply not prepared to accept what, in honesty, is the likely outcome?

Are we secretly hoping that going as far as a referendum on independence will render anything short of independence as fair and acceptable? More devolution perhaps? Our own legal system, bank and media? Are we bartering?

We might lose. These’s a decent chance of it, in fact. But it would set the wheels in motion to prove to our guardians that we are not too small, we are not too poor and we are not too stupid to put the vast and peculiar needs of our nation into the hands of those who live here. The people would awaken and see that striving for independence is not a nationalist dream but a nation’s deserved right.

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