Will you marry me?

Amongst football-loving friends, I often get asked which team I followed first – partially down to the fact I seem to follow teams from anywhere and everywhere.

The obvious answer is Wales but I guess that goes without saying. I was brought up watching the Netherlands smashing us 7-1 and Italy putting 4 past us in the San Siro. But Wales is my country…. through thick and thin, as they say.

With regards to club sides, most people are surprised when I tell them my first team was not Wrecsam. As much as my birth-town's team are nowadays my first choice, they weren't the first side to whom I was drawn.
Others guess at Liverpool and, as much as the reds (and the city itself) have a special place in my heart, it wasn't them either.

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I remember my dad taking me to the Prince of Wales pub in Leeswood many, many years ago. I must have been around 8 or 9.
It was there one of my dad's blue-nosed, toffee-munching, Evertonian friends would hand me little badges with Everton on (plainly to annoy my dad) every time I saw him. One day, however, he handed me a green and white pin badge that, alas, I can no longer locate. The team, the mighty Celtic, however, stayed in my heart. And there they've stayed ever since.

To be honest, I guess my love affair with the Bhoys from Glasgow town started that day – pretty much before I even knew what football was. I mean, I wore the shirts and kicked my tatty footballs around the garden but ask me to sit through 90 minutes and I'd have told you where to go. I was at an age where climbing trees and eating worms beat watching 22 men kick a ball around.

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A little like me supporting a football club before I truly understood the game itself, I've always known who my best men would be even before I met the girl I'm marrying. There were only ever two boys I was going to ask.

To say too much now might ruin a segment of my groom's speech so, to keep it short, I simply hope that when I ask them later today, they'll agree to my request.

It's the only bloody decision I'm allowed to make at this wedding so they best not let me down.

Love you, gentlemen.

PS: Hope you like your cufflinks.

PPS: DON'T F*CKING LOSE THEM!

My response to language bigots – 95% Diplomatic / 5% F*ck it

After two amazingly successful street stalls in Colwyn Bay and Wrecsam supporting Welsh independence over the last few weeks (and all the wonderful, often surprisingly positive responses we received from both events), I told myself to refuse to be disheartened by two conversations in particular…. one at each event.

Either way, they (unfortunately) got to me enough to make me open up my blogging app on my phone and write about them.

On each occasion, despite beginning both conversations with 'Have you thought about an independent Wales?,' the response turned immediately to the Welsh language.
Perhaps coincidentally, both men were keen to share that they each knew Welsh speakers and had younger members of their respective families learning/speaking Welsh – therefore making them well placed to launch an unnecessary attack on a medium of conversation, it would appear….

Much like Sports Direct's latest call for English-only conversation in their shops and the prospect of a giant ring in Fflint glorifying Edward I's subjugation of Wales in the 13th century, I and many others have found ourselves once again defending our language, culture and heritage.

With blood rushing to my head and the prospect of winning the 'Welsh Bigot Bingo' in one single chat, I managed to notice a similarity between the two men wishing only to put down people's choice of language.
When I tried to diplomatically put across my point, I was told I wasn't allowing them to finish. Although it was completely fine for them to interrupt me when I found a chance to speak. It seems obvious that those who oppose the Welsh language simply wish to get off their chest all of their vacuous drivel at once and then walk away unopposed.

One particular point amused me.
The man in Wrecsam said he had decided to learn French instead of Welsh due to it being more useful. Despite this his response to 'ooh, parlez vous français?' was 'what?'
He even told me Latin was more useful than Welsh. Apparently he didn't understand me saying 'salve, ut vales?' either.

One may liken this whole experience to playing chess with a pigeon…. No matter how good your debate, these people are always going to end up defecating on the board and strutting around like they won!

To them, with my diplomacy and grace failing me, I say just because your archaic views of a monolingual, global empire being run by quislings in London dictate that you must despise those who do not choose to use the language of England's unelected head of state is no reason to go out of your way to moan about it.

Hearing a different language, and, sometimes being confronted with them, is bloody scary. Since attempting to learn multiple languages, each and every time I've felt uncomfortable. Being faced with someone saying words where I'm only able to comprehend some is daunting. I get it.
Asking for a hotel in Toulouse, chatting about Duolingo in Irish, enquiring about someone's proficiency in Breton…. only to be confronted with a wall of language that my abilities don't yet reach.

Essentially, it boils down to one's comfort zone. It's as simple as that.
Some people thrive on being out of their comfort zone. To those who do, I have nothing but commendation and envy for I am one who rather dislikes being out of my own comfort zone.
But, for me at least, life is about taking risks and pushing yourself you try something new – as scary as it may be. To open new doors to see what's on the other side.

If you don't support the Welsh language, why not get out of your comfort zone of monolingualism and GIVE IT A TRY. Get out of your comfort zone of excreting stupid reasons why you personally dislike that language and LISTEN to why people feel so strongly about it.
I'm not particularly a huge fan of religion but I don't round moaning to those who find solace and peace in their chosen religion. Do you know why? Because they find solace and peace in their chosen religion. It's theirs and it's as simple as that.

Seriously, either get back under your rock from whence you came or f*cking grow a pair of balls (or the female equivalent – even though it's only ever fat, old men who I ever notice moaning about Welsh) and pick up a book or spend 20 minutes on Wikipædia.

No I should NOT dwell on these two isolated incidents – and indeed they certainly do NOT take anything away from the welcoming responses we received regarding Welsh independence at the two events – but I suppose it was nice to get my thoughts across on language bigots without being interrupted.
And, with a bit of luck, those two men might read this article and think twice about attacking language. Provided they can actually read, of course!

Lions.

One year ago today, the Welsh football team pulled off a result that, owing to my often pessimistic outlook, I believe will never be matched again by our national side.

Belgium 1-3 Wales.


Wales weren’t meant to win. Belgium were hot favourites for the tournament and had taken a huge following just across the border into Lille.
Yet the game was written in the stars to become one of the greatest sporting results I’ve ever witnessed. Considering that on this occasion I wasn’t even at the stadium, and I’ve witnessed in person so many incredible feats of football, I’m hoping I’ve painted a picture of what that game meant to myself, to the Welsh nation and indeed to the footballing world.

Look, I’m not a rugby fan. I enjoy watching the sport but it will never EVER take precedence over a footy match. I’d honestly sooner watch a match between Dundee United and Truro City FC than a Wales rugby match. It’s as simple as that.
Perhaps it’s partly down to the fact that the crest that represents my national rugby team is simply the emblem of a foreign monarchy that displaced our own…. or it’s simply because the ball isn’t round and you can’t pass forwards. I don’t know. It’s just not for me.


Over the years, the British and Irish Lions touring side have always given me a headache. Not for sporting reasons, but for political.

It’s no secret that I do not consider myself British. It’s not how I choose to identify myself and I have my legitimate reasons for it.
It’s clear that others share my views too. Every four years when the Lions travel to the southern hemisphere I come across the same rhetoric from Welsh people. Either all-out infatuation for the Lions or complete disgust. For those in support of the side, many will spend literally thousands of pounds on merchandise, plane tickets, hotel rooms and match tickets to see the team in action. Others take to social media to question why Welsh people (and Scottish and Irish too) would ever follow a team with the word ‘British’ in their name.

Knowing myself as I do, sitting on the fence is not my way. In fact, I dislike not spending time organising my thoughts sufficiently to form an opinion. But in the case of the Lions, my sympathy lies with both sides.
In other words, I want the Lions to do well…. but there’s more chance of plaiting fog than me spending money (or even large amounts of time) following the side.
Even as a self-confessed and proud Welsh nationalist, I feel proud to get behind the British and Irish Lions.

Here’s why:

    British doesn’t refer to politics here. Geographically, we live in the British Isles – coincidentally the term I choose to use instead of the political terms of UK and Great Britain.

    The Irish question is swerved perfectly – most Irish people are Irish and some insular ones think they’re British.

    England has notoriously identified themselves with the symbol of the lion, but Welsh and Scottish heraldry is not without this large cat that has never been native to these islands. My Irish history is not sufficient to know whether Ireland has ever identified with the lion…. but three out of four ain’t bad!

    And finally, yet most importantly, it shows how four nations that are run totally independent of one another can come together for each other.

My final point does not, however, advocate a United Kingdom. Quite the opposite.
Imagine if British and Irish politics were run like the Lions….

Four independent, sovereign nations who, in their day jobs have their own national interests at heart and work as nations to ensure their own prosperity. But then, whenever and however the needs arose, the four nations can support one another without having to force ideas and laws on each other.

For me, the Lions rugby team epitomises how the nations of these islands should behave; Work hard for your own patch by ensuring they’re run by the people of each nation for the people of each nation but come together as friends in a non-political manner to enjoy and celebrate the fact we’re stuck out on tiny islands off the coast of Europe in the freezing cold northern Atlantic.

I still think Wales should be represented by a leek on the Lions crest, though.

I’r gad, y Llewod.

What Wales wants

Even supporters of Welsh independence (and anyone who recognises the benefits of localised and better-tailored governance, for that matter) have been taken aback by a recent poll by YouGov that states that the number of people who wish to see Wales as an independent and sovereign state could be as much as 1 in 3 residents of this fine land. Considering only around 70% of Wales’ inhabitants were born in the country, this poll was nothing short of groundbreaking.

I, and many others, have made it our goal to share the benefits (and potential shortcomings) of Welsh independence to ensure the conversation, first and foremost, actually happens and to enlighten people to an alternative to the status quo which, no one can truly deny, has not brought Wales the prosperity of which it is capable.

Before the YesCymru campaign officially kicked off, the struggle for Welsh independence was always a subject of conversation for me. Some of the most interesting conversations happened when I would quiz politicians and those ‘clued up’ in law. I would often hear how both devolution and eventual independence would always be scuppered by three main hindrances:

  • Wales has no control over its energy,
  • Wales has no national bank,
  • Wales has no legal system of its own.

Concerns that Wales has no control over its energy and resources, in my view, are best (and only) rectified through gaining sovereignty in full.
Rather than linking up the vast potential of renewable resources Wales currently produces simply goes into the National Grid where multinational companies flog it off to consumers – including Welsh ones. No profits reach Welsh coffers.
And instead of selling off our water reserves (some of which created by drowning Welsh villages) at a modest and economical price (much like Switzerland currently does between its own cantons), we currently watch our water trickle away along with our national dignity.
As I said, for me the harnessing of our own energy and resources depends wholly on us gaining independence – rather than the other way around.

So what of a bank? Well, I’ll be the first to admit I’m not too well versed in economics but I’m pretty sure Wales would benefit from having its own bank.
North of Hadrian’s Wall, the Bank of Scotland (not to be confused with the Royal Bank of Scotland), has been long established with the aim of supporting the people of Scotland. As a comparison between that and the Bank of England (established mainly to finance defence spending by the English government), the Bank of Scotland was set up by the government in Scotland to aid and support Scottish businesses.
Wales could have this too. Imagine a bank with its own version of the pound (or whatever currency it would choose) that could support the interests of the Welsh economy. It boils down to similar reasons as to why I want Wales itself to be independent – better choices made by those who understand Welsh people’s needs best.

I guess this is something else that could be gained by becoming an independent nation, but even unionists wishing Wales to remain a part of the UK have to admit there are benefits to a Welsh national bank.
Finally, laws. Once again I have to admit that I have in no way passed the bar and law really ‘isn’t my thing.’ Here are simply my observations regarding law in Wales.
Essentially, the Statute of Rhuddlan in 1284 removed the Welsh laws of Hywel Dda seeing English Law extend its paws across Wales. Before that, Welsh Law was considered pioneering across Europe having drawn influences from well-travelled Cistercian monks etc until a legal system was established with the diverse needs of the Welsh people at its core. Some of the pioneering elements of Cyfraith Hywel were rights for women after divorce and inheritance. Since then, legalities in Wales have never been uttered unless preceded by the words ‘The Laws of England and….’! For all intents and purposes; English Common Law.
Without our own legal system, Wales will forever be at the whim of English law. Even devolved legislation has had to be (and will continue to require being) signed off by our friends in across the border.

In many ways, arguments can be had as to whether resources, banks and legal systems are required prior to securing independence or whether Welsh independence itself must be the catalyst in securing them. Whichever becomes apparent over the coming years, one thing is certain: the eventual success Welsh independence depends on how we see ourselves as a nation and how confident we our in ourselves as an unique collective of fantastic people to achieve what’s best for those who call Wales their home.

Yes Hyd Yma

Since becoming aware of politics I have held firm to the belief that Wales can and will be an independent nation.
I see an independent Wales as inclusive, welcoming, tolerant, dignified, friendly, progressive and, well, super cool! I see freedom to have our nation run FOR our people BY those lucky enough to call Wales their home.

I have enjoyed normalising the idea of Welsh independence around my local area (YesCymru Sir Fflint) via social media and face-to-face discussions. It has amazed me to see how much people are in support of the campaign in an area that has, in recent years, been a melting pot for non-Welsh-born residents. All it has taken is words.

I adore every opportunity to discuss Welsh independence and am looking forward to organising numerous events in the North East of Wales to ensure the hope of Welsh independence is normalised, discussed maturely and considered by all who call Wales their home.

Through healthy discussion, Welsh eyes opening. Right here, right now, Wales is the closest it has ever been to being an independent nation since Owain Glyndŵr. What’s more, tomorrow we’ll be a step closer again.

I look forward not only to seeing an inclusive, dignified and welcoming Wales, but I also look forward to giving Wales the worldwide stage it deserves to share such ideas which are unfortunately lacking in our modern world.

This is what’s so exciting about working towards an independent Wales and it’s why I’m so proud to be a part of it.

Geiriau / Words

In the 6th century, the people of our nation carved names into stone and lamented great battles in song. Towards the end of the first millennium AD, our chieftains and princes scribed globally-pioneering laws. The early part of the second millennium saw religious leaders finally put stories of ancient heroes onto the pages of great manuscripts. In the late 16th century, a band of learned people took advantage of the printing press and made Welsh one of first ever languages to be printed into books. In recent times, chairs and crowns are awarded to our finest deserving poets writing in our native language.
Our proud past is full of words. Words, so simple at a glance, are all-powerful to our very core. All you need to do to continue this tradition of words, is speak them. Speak to friends, family and, well, anyone…. use them to discuss how our nation not only has the potential to succeed as an independent and sovereign state, but can once again be a global pioneer when run by people who live here and who understand its diverse needs best. We will ensure Wales takes its place in a world of equals when it is run by people like you and me. By us.

YesCymru am byth.

Dim esgus / No excuse

First off, DIOLCH YN FAWR to all who took part in my survey. The total numbers of people taking the survey (at the time of sharing these results) was 43.

My main purpose behind the survey was to rubbish claims that people in Wales don’t speak Welsh. I’m fed up that the only statistic batted around is that 22% of the population identifying as fluent in Welsh has recently dropped to 19%.

I’m also fed up with those who claim that English-medium education is not producing Welsh speakers.
Should 5 years of French, Spanish or German not result in relative fluency? But Brits still go abroad expecting Europeans to be fluent in the language WE choose rather than the language of their land.
Should we not be more concerned with the fact that, despite educational devolution in Wales, our children still know more about Henry VIII’s chauvinism than his damning laws against Wales’ people, culture and language?

To those who bemoan English-medium Welsh classes in our schools I say this:
When you lower your expectations, everything around you becomes more miraculous and wonderful than you could ever have imagined. For now at least, lower your expectations of a bilingual populous and take pride in what we know.
No, the current situation in forging a truly bilingual nation is not perfect, far from it, but for now the fight is not in gaining a bilingual nation – the first step in this battle is normalising the language. And the best way to do that is by using it when we can.

Iawn, rant over. Here’s what I found:

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No matter the level (or lack of) education in Welsh, every single one of the respondents knew how to say the word ‘thanks’ in Welsh.

And that’s it.

That’s all I wanted to know.

I mean, it didn’t even matter how long it had been since people had studied Welsh;

If you’re interested, in addition to the fact that 100% of people who completed the survey knew how to be polite in the Welsh language, only one person did not remember how to say ‘how are you?‘ (= sut wyt ti? + others).
Therefore if I told you that ‘iawn‘ means ‘ok,’ tell me you can’t work out the following conversation:

Sut wyt ti?
Iawn diolch. Sut wyt ti?
Iawn diolch.

Fine, so it’s no closer to moaning about the weather and asking how the kids are as it is to discussing the economic and cultural benefits of an independent Wales completely through the medium of Cymraeg but it works.

We can do it. We can ALL do it.

Hearing Cymraeg on the streets does not have to be reserved for Aberystwyth, Bala and Caernarfon.
Using our Cymraeg, however humbly and simply, tells people that we are different and are proud to be so. It tells people we care about the medium of conversation used by those who forged the land which today we call home. It normalises our heritage.

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The main aim of the survey may have been to discover to what degree people have at least a basic proficiency in Welsh but there were many secondary results that grabbed my attention upon analysis too. Things like:

  • Despite a mere 43 responses, there we 4 different versions of the term ‘because it is’ offered – achos mae’n / oherwydd mae’n, am ei fod yn, gan ei fod yn.
  • 47% (20) of respondents said they use at least some Welsh EVERY DAY. Tidy!

  • Only 2 people were unsure on how to ask for something using ‘can I (have a)….?’ (= ga’ i….?) and 7 were unsure on how to say ‘I want (a)….’ (= dwi eisiau + others). 2 southerners managed to get ‘moyn’ in there. Well played, my southern friends.
  • 4 Gwyndodians (North West Walians) infiltrated question 4 proclaiming that good morning is ‘borA da’ and not ‘bore da.’ Cheek!
  • And finally, Respondent 18 decided to take his/her opportunity to show us all how to use ‘can I have’ and ‘I want’ in a fantastic sentence. Whack the kettle on then!

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May I offer two recommendations?

1. In less than a day, I managed to ask 43 people with varying degrees of Welsh ability how to say ‘thank you‘ in the language of the heavens. Save for one typo saying ‘dioloch,’ every single one of the respondents knew it.

I promise you this; if you have the guts to say ‘diolch‘ instead of ‘thanks‘ to anyone, my money is on that they’ll understand you. You might even get a ‘croeso‘ in return – in which case I dare you to not smile to yourself when you hear it. Impossible!

2. Whoever you are, when asked whether you speak Welsh, saying ‘no’ is simply a lie. Perhaps you believe your abilities to be ‘limited’ (though some would still say that edges towards modesty), but you definitely do not speak zero Welsh.
One particular challenge faced when you upgrade your Welsh linguistic confidence is when you’re asked by others to speak some. ‘I can’t remember off hand’ is not an acceptable answer.
People would love to hear ‘bore/p’nawn/nos da!‘ They’d love to hear that our word for ‘thanks‘ has a sound that died out in English hundreds of years ago. And who wouldn’t want to tell someone their name and at the same time sound like you’re saying ‘[name] had a wee!‘?

Alternatively you could punt for the phrase I go for – ‘dwi ddim yn gwybod‘ (dwee thim un gubod). It means ‘I don’t know.‘ Doesn’t sound too fun but it gets hilarious when someone then asks you what it means.

You’re welcome…. I mean ‘croeso!’

Cymraeg am byth i bawb.

🙂

You can still take the survey here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/r/D983W68

Or, alternatively, you can see all the results here: http://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-PSR6NGBH

Stuff YesCymru

I’ve been working hard lately to share why I believe Wales will be better off as an independent nation.I’ve taken to social media, blogging, setting up groups, distributing leaflets and other visuals, talking to friends and family, making visuals and ordering stickers.
The last one was the most fun. I love stickers!

Becoming a part of such an exciting, progressive and fast-growing movement has opened my eyes to many things…. not least about Wales true position in this state often referred to as a union.


It’s great to find out that when you discuss YesCymru with others, most of them are fully supportive but one of the best things about spreading the word is hearing people’s fears. It’s good to talk as much about the challenges we will face as it is to discuss the vast benefits.

Becoming independent is a big ask and will require a lot of hard work….

Actually, wait. It will be hard work.

I mean REALLY hard.

What’s so bad about becoming England anyway? That’s how we’re referred to around the world as it is.

Let the Scots go and the Irish unite. If they want to work hard to have what Wales already gets England to do for us then fine.

It’s a bit like renting or buying a house. Yeah it’s nice to know you own the place but it’s way nicer to wake up to no hot water, phone up your landlord, get no answer, try again after a few days of cold showering, hear back from landlord, be told it’ll be fixed in a week, wait a week, plumber’s a day late, then tada! New shower for free.

Who wouldn’t want that? So much easier.
Anyway, what has Wales ever done? What have we given the world?

The equals sign and Gareth Bale? Great!

And think about it. Look at how Wales is currently sold off as a theme park for day-trippers. That’s all we have to offer anyhow.


Oh and free prescriptions – always handy for encouraging retirees from England with no clue of Wales’ heritage or culture to settle here. London doesn’t need to be clogged up zimmer frames and paracetamol. Bring them here. Yes they take affordable housing opportunities away from Wales’ young people but we need to encourage our youth to leave. Spread their wings. There’s bugger all here anyway!


It’s not like we can change anything, anyway. Scotland gets dragged into governments for whom England votes, Wales acually votes with England!

Actually, yeah….
Stuff YesCymru!

Think I might carry on being a sheep. Laying down and doing as I’m told. Waiting for handouts to keep me alive until I’m kebab meat.

Aye, let’s go with that.

Alpha Cambria

It is plain that the vaster the social unit, the less possible is true democracy.” – Alasdair Gray.

Recently I’ve been playing a game called Alpha Centauri by Sid Meier.

For those not familiar with the game, it’s essentially a sci-fi, extra terrestrial version of the Civilization series by the same creator. For those not familiar with the Civilzation series, it’s essentially a turn-based game where a player chooses a faction and attempts to govern lands as they see fit.
In Alpha Centauri, players choose from one of eight factions from Earth who have made planetfall on an earth-like planet. Each faction must establish itself and dictate its own levels of diplomacy, knowledge, exploration, militia and governance. The game can be eventually won by achieving out and out backing as the planet’s leader…. or by exterminating the other factions.

1

I always set up my new colony under the title of ‘Y Cymry Newydd’ – The New Welsh – and name all of my new settlements and lands after Wales great towns and villages. I’ve even got other faction leaders to refer to me as ‘Stephen Deg’ – the Fair! Cool, huh?

As a bit of a lefty, I always tread the path of diplomacy; working with others for all to prosper. As the game can be a volatile one, my settlements are amply defended but I will not use military force to win lands. Instead I spread out to untouched lands to establish my new settlements.

But as the game progresses, it learns your style and attempts to disrupt your chosen path. As is always the case in my experience(s), other factions begin military campaigns in border areas and take my settlements as their own.

As attacks begin on Y Cymry Newydd, I immediately take to communicating with the attacking faction. It is then they ask for payment to call off their advance. And because I may or may not have cheated and given myself loads of energy credits (the planet’s currency), I simply pay the minuscule fee and ward them off. Pacts and treaties are forged and diplomacy is restored.

3

But even the most pacifistic among us would get annoyed when you receive a popup saying that the faction with whom you’ve just forged a pact has launched a surprise attack on another of your settlements. There are only so many times you can pay off attacking factions until you realise they keep on getting away with taking land, then money, then more land, then more money, then more land, then more money….
You get the picture.

It is at this point I reach my breaking point and, seeing as it’s only a game, I opt for the stance of all-out militia against those who cross me on multiple occasions. I wage a campaign so mighty that I forget about my original settlements who are busy trying to construct new roads and new and effective methods of sustaining themselves. My mind turns whole-heartedly towards domination.

Each of the attackers’ settlements fall under my control and, instead of welcoming them into my faction by improving them, their production is set to ignore technological advances and to simply create more and more troops and machines to continue the retaliation.

As I hope you can imagine, as more and more new settlements are created, the task of governing them becomes difficult. You simply don’t have the time to concentrate on so many people and their needs as you wage war for new land. Add this to the additional flow of newly-plundered settlements that then need to be maintained by their new leader [me], and giving them your all-out attention becomes impossibly difficult.

When the day is won and all factions who cross me are under my control, I then get bored and turn it off. I leave the former arms-producing settlements to fend for themselves as their whole world becomes a save-game file in my recycle bin that I’ll never play again. It’s far too much fun to start again than it is to revisit an old game!

Before I end the game, I take a look at the lands I’ve colonised. I look at the map of the planet and see my faction’s colours clad across it, slightly tinged by the colours of the faction(s) who chose to remain small and not enter into any military dealings.

2

I found it interesting how, despite losing the odd settlement to plundering factions, the factions choosing to keep their territory small produced the most advanced settlements. These were the factions whose towns and cities were at the forefront of new technological advances and they grew this way. The links across their territories were littered with fast roads and efficient energy, nutrient and mineral sources.
They were trading with both their colonial neighbours next door as well as across the seas to distant factions who shared their view of sharing wealth for all to prosper.

They had chosen the path I had turned down.

So, once again, I chose to restart the game…. but this time to play as they did.

I kept the same name – Y Cymry Newydd – and kept myself to myself. I didn’t involve myself in fights and maintained better control over fewer settlements. I was amazed at how quickly they grew.
Instead of losing my temper, I continued to ward off invaders with payment (and by arming my settlements to the teeth by cheating and spawning a huge military presence there).

Knowing all attacks on me would fail, I was left to concentrate on my own settlements and their peoples. I gave more time to establishing and maintaining more efficient and easy-to-manage communities. Each producing the means to create sustainable energy, happiness and prosperity. Each with their own projects on which to work for the benefit of the rest of the faction and the planet as one community.

It was pretty cool to see how exchanging the war-mongering mentality in order to lead a small faction within a large planet of equals could be so progressive. I spent less time trying to wield my might and ideology over others and more time concentrating on matters closer to home.

And as much as I initially never came close to winning the game by becoming the planet’s leader, there was always a place and a voice for me on the council. Other factions’ plans of, for example, melting ice caps (which would be devastating for my coastal settlements), were scuppered simply by the fact I had a vote. That vote on a planetary level was enough for me.
My inclusive and non-colonial mentality really rubbed off on other factions too. As I progressed through the game making advances in technology, renewables and governance, other factions paid us to share the information – although I often disclosed it for free. I had cheated, after all!

I allowed other factions to use our resources – ensuring they paid a fair and economical price to the people of the lands from whence said resources came. Our settlements were provided with the monetary means to progress further, while others used their purchased resources to progress themselves.

Upon finally being elected as the planet’s leader (and after I had persuaded everyone to protect the environment on which we lived), I left the game victorious.
A cheat, but victorious none-the-less!

Then I wondered how it could be applied to real life.
No, on our earth there is no danger of being attacked by native-planet Mind Worms! Nor do Chairman Yang and Lady Deirdre of the Gains wish to plunder for world domination. And no, no one can simply press Shift+K to edit their energy credits to be super rich.

But the principles are there. By becoming an efficient and welcoming community, concentrating on a much smaller and more manageable area, there is far more chance of offering what we have for the benefit of the rest of the world. There is far more chance of progressive motivation rubbing off on others in order to live in a shared world community.

I believe this is why smaller nation-states are becoming more and more prominent in our world. No longer is wealth measured in how many square miles you control, but how happy, healthy and fairly treated the people are.

In Wales, we do not wish to take over the world. We simply wish to be a part of it. To give our share in exchange for the freedom to provide ourselves with the means and privilege to progress under our own guidance.

That’s what YesCymru strive for. That’s what an independent Wales will strive for. It’s what I believe all smaller nations wish to do.

The subconscious fear that is ‘divide and conquer’ needs not apply. We are taught to fear going it alone. Taught by those who have governed us. But giving more control to govern less is a method that will always win the day.

Now, back to the game.

Where are my jet fighters?

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.