This booklet needed to be written. The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in 2016. Scotland is readying itself for a second referendum on independence. The peaceful reunification of Ireland is on the agenda. The United Kingdom is changing radically, and Wales must not be left behind.
This booklet aims to answer your questions about Welsh independence in a simple, honest and concise way. It is aimed at those who are curious, doubtful or even sceptical. Our aim in this guide is to be ‘straight-talking’: to be clear about the facts. It will give you the information that you need to be more confident about an independent Wales, and about influencing others.
Why isn’t devolution enough, and what difference would independence make?
Since 1999, the Welsh Government has been given responsibility for some areas of public policy, such as health, education, local government, economic development and the Welsh language. So why do we need independence? Can’t we just work with the system that we’ve got?
Making Wales wealthier
One of the reasons we advocate independence is because we believe it can be a way of kick-starting the Welsh economy, and expanding the tax base, in order to improve the quality of life of people in Wales. At present, we’re forced to decide between cutting spending, or raising taxes.
Pound, Euro or Punt?
During the Scottish referendum debate in 2014, we heard a lot of discussion of what would happen to monetary policy. The Scots already issue their own banknotes, but these are ultimately backed by the Bank of England. Issuing Welsh money would be a new development, but it’s an area where independence would allow us to make the choice that’s right for our own economic circumstances.
A constitution for Wales
In 1997, the people of Wales voted, in a referendum to support devolution. Two years later, the Welsh Assembly (now officially called Senedd Cymru/Welsh Parliament) was established. In 2011, the people of Wales voted in another referendum to increase the law-making powers of the Senedd . During the Brexit process, the UK Government has sought to take back powers for themselves via the Internal Market Bill. This is despite those (EU) powers having been the responsibility of the Welsh Government before Brexit.
Wales, the world & Brexit
Wales currently has little influence on global affairs. On the world stage, the Westminster government speaks for the whole of the UK. Because England makes up 84 per cent of the UK’s population, it is the needs of England that drive our negotiations and relations with other countries. We have seen this already during the Brexit negotiations: in January 2017 it was revealed that the British government considers the steel industry a low priority in future trade talks. It doesn’t matter to England, so it’s sent to the back of the queue.
One of the most important functions of government is to defend its citizens. Defence means much more than fighter jets and aircraft carriers. It also means protecting us from harm, in whatever form that harm comes – whether military, man-made disasters or natural disasters. So the first question to ask is what does Wales need defending from?
Immigration & Nationality
As an independent nation, Wales would decide who could cross our borders, whether it’s to live here temporarily (such as studying at university) or to start a new life for themselves and their families. We could choose a hard border, but this is not the only option, and independence would not necessitate guard posts on the Severn Bridge.
But what about........?
Many people will find the idea of independence appealing, but will worry about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Building a new democracy might sound exciting, but most people want to know that their daily lives won’t be turned upside down overnight.
How can I help to make it happen?
YesCymru’s aim is to gain independence for Wales in order to improve the way our country is governed. We believe in an inclusive citizenship, which embraces and celebrates the fact that everyone who chooses to make Wales their home – regardless of their background – are full citizens of the new Wales. If you support our aim: