(This article was published by nation.cymru)
It’s been fun watching the meltdowns on social media this week, and those in the less serious parts of the English press and the Telegraph, triggered by the reversion to the original name of Bannau Brycheiniog.
The reaction says a great deal about the depth of change in Wales and across the UK in the 21st century. Gone is the deference and submissiveness of last century. In its place is a new confidence in ourselves, in a cultural and social identity that has little to do with nationalism but recognises the social, cultural, economic and political differences between nations. My favourite aspect of this in Wales is how welcoming it is, how easily and happily it embraces anyone who wants to be a part of it. I have lost count of the number of English migrants to Wales who have become vocal and ardent supporters of Independence and all things Welsh. No wonder that the reactionaries are hysterical in their responses - it is incredibly hard to make a sensible case for the Union today.
A century ago the UK was a superpower, it had purpose in an era of World wars and the Cold war, but today? Today it is a state in incredibly rapid decline, badly run, becoming poorer whilst nurturing an ever growing gap between the rich and poor.
It is literally the case that being in the Union is making Wales poorer.
How then can they convince us that they still know best, that the people of Wales should continue to bow their heads, bend the knee and subscribe to the long tail of feudalism as part of this now decrepit hangover from the age of empire?
With no positives to offer they resort to relentless misinformation and often wilful ignorance. Everyone - simply everyone - knows that the original name for over a thousand years is Y Bannau. This has always been used and all that the national park authority have done this week, after an extensive two year consultation period, is revert to having the proper name front and centre rather than tucked to the side.
I understand why this scares the Unionists so much, it is a symbol of confidence and a harbinger of what is to come for them. The people of Wales are going to press ever more to have the interest of Wales and the people who live here front and centre. This will inevitably lead to Independence, as the centre, Westminster, will never want to surrender all that it gains from keeping Wales deferent and servile.
Within a decade the green energy revolution already begun will see Wales producing over 16 times more energy than we currently use. Energy that can be sold, converted into green hydrogen and shipped around the world, a resource to power an economic boom built on cheap and plentiful energy. Westminster wants that benefit and it wants it at Wales’ expense.
This won’t wash. The people of Wales will awaken, Cymru and the Cymraeg, will be proudly ‘woke’. Disinformation and ignorance will always exist, even in a world permeated with information but over time reality always asserts itself and the reality is that the Union is coming to end.
No wonder that those who cling to this legacy of Empire, to the ossified structures of Westminster and the Union, who hanker for the mystical days of English exceptionalism, are becoming ever more shrill as they sense the end is near.
As we grow in confidence so they become weaker and more desperate.
Let’s remind ourselves that they are already a minority - a wealthy, loud and powerful minority. England too has the opportunity to grasp the nettle of transition in the 21st century. Imagine an independent England with a proper constitution, with proportional representation, with a government and leadership genuinely representative of its people rather than a narrow coterie of privately educated Oxbridge graduates - a self perpetuating elite whose interests lie in maintaining the status quo however damaging that may be to the majority. Self interest is always a powerful motivator. Such a shame that the current opposition lacks the confidence and bravery to take this to their electorate. All of them, all of us, trapped in the aspic and treacle of our shared history.
It’s time to step out of this viscosity and enter the free flowing waters of a new century. With confidence, with ambition and with hope for a better future.
Bringing our own unique past to the fore in the rebranding of Y Bannau is part of that process. An expression of the confidence that’s growing across Wales.
A newfound confidence that will lead to a new and better composition for the islands of Britain and Ireland. A brighter, better future which will benefit all of us.
Four strong, productive, independent nations, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and England, standing side by side in the new international order, not as a superpower (those days are long gone) but as vibrant, wealthy, modern nations.