Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.
I have in this blog begun a thread where I’m suggesting that Wales is heading towards a political battle between Plaid Cymru and whatever the right wing turns out to be with regard to it’s future. With the current Welsh Conservative and Labour parties being whilst still in power slowly going the way of the dinosaurs.
One of the arguments (which I’ve had again recently) about Wales and independence is that it’s too poor to be a free nation. I was waiting for a particular report to continue the argument I’ve had on Twitter but have decided instead just to take it head on.
So let’s begin with one fact. Welsh Nationalists have never and will never state that the benefits of independence will be instant. As I’ve stated Rome was not built in a day but it was built. Furthermore mistakes will be made. No nation, even America, has made a seamless journey building the foundations of a new state. But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done given the end result.
The argument will also be made that Westminster subsidies Wales. In one sense this is true. Three years ago Cardiff University’s Welsh Governance Centre stated that as an independent nation Wales would have a £15bn deficit. Not enough to pay for the Welfare budget, or the justice system or defence (That was incidentally the report whose update I was waiting for but have changed my mind).
Now I will deal with the exact figure in a moment. But I would argue that the monies (not I’d argue enough) is a consequence of the lack of investment by Westminster for decades thus continuing in what it would prefer it to be as Serf nation. Useful for plundering it’s natural resources like water and (until fairly recently) coal but nothing else. Hence the lack of infrastucture projects to compare with the likes of HS1 and 2 for example.
But let’s talk about the figure of £15bn. I reckon it’s flawed. I’m not qualified in any way shape or form in this but I believe it to be flawed. Why? Well for example the figure sets an assumption for the Welsh share in UK wide spending for defence.
But taking defence an independent Wales will not be Britain. An independent Wales will not intend to bestride the world stage militarily like a colossus. It will set out the costs for the defence forces for the defence of Wales and that will be that. Defence is a subject that will be looked at in a Welsh context and not a global British one. Consequently the costs will be much less (no Welsh government would agree to an independent nuclear deterrent for example)
And there will be many other subjects where Wales, not being Britain, will find that after the obvious set up costs it will be paying less than it did as a proportion of UK investment. Setting up embassies will be an example. Wales, not being Britain, will have a smaller number of embassies in smaller offices than it did as a part of the Disunited Kingdom.
This “too poor” argument has been used by Westminster and the Mainstream media for [insert country here] for decades. And yet these countries survive. Not always as I’ve acknowledged previously smoothly, but still they’ve survived.
I’ve heard the argument that Wales should stay in he union because of the lack of infrastructure in the country. That is a stupid argument. Wales has this lack of infrastructure whilst being a part of the Disunited Kingdom. It’s like saying you should stay in an abusive relationship because the abuser is the main breadwinner. An independent Wales can address these infrastructure issues in a way that it’s current Westminster status as serf nation does not allow.
Wales is a nation rich in natural resources such as wind, tidal and water. It could also make investments in education. Give incentives for small and medium sized businesses. Wales could do all of things because it would be free.
Of course the biggest uncertainty would be the consequences because of Brexit. However Brexit is not an argument to stay in the Union. The abusive husband metaphor applies here as well,
So Wales is not too poor to be independent. It won’t be quick easy or simple.
But it’s a vision. And that’s what Wales truly needs now.
Until the next time.