Although there has been a great deal to do, a great deal to learn and a great deal of groundwork for a successful 2023, the first 19 weeks in post have been rewarding. Getting to know the current NGB and discovering that they are bright, productive and astonishingly capable has been wonderful. Having the opportunity to address the vast crowd at the Cardiff march was a very special (if incredibly nerve wracking) moment. Working with the Board, firstly to create a vision for the future of the organisation, then to begin the process of implementing that vision, has been productive, challenging and successful.
Fundamental to that vision is the knowledge that we may soon find ourselves in a situation where the United Kingdom has already ceased to exist. Northern Ireland is shaping to reunite with the Republic of Ireland, an inevitable outcome of the Good Friday Agreement but one which has certainly been accelerated by Brexit and Westminster’s creation of the NI protocol. Meanwhile, Scotland is now consistently polling a majority in favour of Independence, with an overwhelming majority amongst those under the age of 50 - it is only a matter of time. Wales may soon find itself staring at a future as nothing more than an adjunct to England, no longer part of an union of nations but just one small nation forcibly tied to an overwhelmingly larger and dominant neighbour. A neighbour who consistently demonstrates little or no regard for its very junior partner. There is no bright future for Wales in this relationship, it provides no ‘insurance’.
Right now, as an organisation, YesCymru is not ready. We do not have robust campaigning structures in place at any level. We do not have effective and resilient internal communication channels. We do not have enough reach or impact in our external communications. This is not surprising as we remain a relatively young and fresh organisation. Nonetheless, it is disappointing. As an organisation we have had to evolve rapidly, have suffered growing pains and have now undergone a period of rapid transformation to reassert our focus on our core goal. Over the next 6-18 months that transformation and growth must continue at pace. We have to become a lean, effective, coordinated campaigning body with active members and groups on the ground in every corner of Wales. We have to become the platform which unites the entire Indy movement and gives it a much more powerful collective voice. Mean Undod mae Nerth.
This is how we win the Independence debate, this is how we persuade the population of Wales, this is how we achieve our goal. At the community level we must engage as often as we can with individuals to discuss the future of our country. Everyone will have a reason to support Independence and we, as individuals and as an organisation, must help people on their journey to discover that reason.
Over the next six months we will be working hard to establish new groups, to reestablish dormant groups, to get existing groups to be increasingly active in as many ways as possible - from participating in local events, to holding their own community activities, to communicating with existing members and supporters across the area that their group covers. National campaigns will build on these local foundations and we will have an effective campaigning machine.
Achieving Independence is possible when those of us who believe passionately that this is the best way to create a brighter future, for Wales today and the generations to follow, contribute consistently in our hundreds, our thousands, in a myriad of small ways, to make it happen.
The conference in June will be our opportunity as groups, as volunteers and as a movement to come together. Here we will share information, learn from each other and establish new, personal connections to strengthen our network of active support across Wales.
Before the conference we will also have our Swansea march for Independence, we will be urging as many members as possible to come to this from across Wales but, more importantly, we will be asking everyone who comes to try and bring one, two, a handful, of family, friends and acquaintances, who may only be mildly Indy curious, with them. The measure of the success of that march will not be in the numbers who attend, the affirmation of support and shared goals for those of us who are already passionate about Indy, or even in the media spotlight that it brings. Its success must be measured through how many people it brings that step closer to full throated support for an Independent Wales, in how many individuals it pushes to take that ultimate step in declaring their support and joining YesCymru, in how many leave with a new fire in their bellies, ready to proactively campaign for Independence.
On the digital front we will continue the work of improving our platform for members and supporters. More content (read Bendigeidfran’s Blog if you haven’t already done so!), more tools for groups and members as campaign aids, more extensive use of social media across more platforms. In short, in 2023, we will be doing more of everything - focussed exclusively on our core goal of Independence.
Ymlaen gyfeillion, to Independence!