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.
In the following pages YesCymru will respond to some of the most pressing questions regarding independence. How might a small nation like Wales thrive in the modern world? What resources do we have to call upon? How might independence alter our economy and society? And what will our new relationship be with the global family of nations?
Anyone who has long advocated Welsh independence will be all too familiar with these questions being thrown back at us by sympathisers and sceptics alike. This booklet welcomes such important questions as an invitation to engage in rational debate. We hope that some of the content that follows supplies Welsh citizens with the information needed to counter the weak, dispiriting arguments launched against us by defenders of the status quo and empower us to set the agenda for Welsh independence by framing the questions that have so far gone unasked.
Welsh patriotism runs deep. We see it at every international sporting event, in all its modern, complex, inclusive variety and passion. But Welshness isn’t something that we feel only on match days. It is something we all encounter in our daily lives, in our interactions with our neighbours and co-workers, our families and friends.
We also know that pride in being Welsh doesn’t automatically translate into support for independence. This booklet is not only for those of us who already support the cause, members of campaign groups and political parties – but also, importantly, for those who have their doubts; whose hearts are persuaded, but not their heads. The ‘Indy-curious’.
This publication also introduces you to a new and influential player on the Welsh political stage. YesCymru was created in the summer of 2014, by a small group hoping to help the campaign for Scottish independence in the run-up to their first referendum. The hope and anticipation was that the creative energy experienced that summer would be carried over into the Welsh political debate. YesCymru officially launched in 2016, and since then the movement has grown rapidly, with thousands of members and groups across Wales, and beyond.
YesCymru believes in an inclusive citizenship, which embraces the fact that all who choose to make Wales their home – regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation – are full citizens of the new Wales.
In 2014, Scotland narrowly voted to remain part of the UK. Following the EU referendum in 2016, their place looks far less certain. The question therefore remains: what possible destiny could there be for Wales? Subsumed within some shrunken and reactionary ‘union’ or an independent nation amongst nations?
The sovereignty of nations forms the very basis of international law. This booklet puts the case for our ability to govern our own affairs. Faced with the arguments presented here, coupled with the fast-changing constitutional landscape, we ask: How can the issue of Welsh independence be ignored any longer and what possible case is there for the status quo?