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In Response to the Daily Telegraph and Allister Heath

Gwern Gwynfil, CEO of YesCymru, responds to Daily Telegraph’s Allister Heath

Strident comment pieces by the editor of the Sunday Telegraph will always make for interesting reading when the Conservatives are in government. It is often the case that where the Telegraph goes the Tories soon follow. In this case, despite the obvious muddled thinking in Allister Heath’s recent rant, what is very clear is that the concept of ‘muscular unionism’ is very much alive and kicking. Heath even suggests ‘going to war’ with devolution as a road to political gain for the Tories.

Heath is however not entirely unjustified in some of his analysis. He simply comes to entirely the wrong conclusion. His position rests on the misplaced and patronising belief that England alone knows best, that it has the right to dictate and control Scotland and Wales. This is an understandable legacy of his education and upbringing in an Anglocentric world view where Britain still rules the waves.

But there is consensus here too. Heath, the Scottish government, and the Constitutional Commission for Wales are unanimous in their belief that the current devolution settlement is not fit for purpose. Ultimately there can be only one solution to this and that must be independence. There is no going back to centralised power without undermining our democratic rights. Scotland and Wales have made it abundantly clear at the ballot box that Westminster control is not for them. We must move boldly forward. 

Ironically enough, Heath agrees. He states very clearly that he is ‘all for genuine localism and true people power’. Apparently he backed Brexit to ‘bring power downwards’. The logical end point of his own beliefs, then, is the nations of the United Kingdom forging their own futures. 

Unfortunately for Heath, he can’t let go of his conviction that power should only localise as far as those he believes are the right people to hold it - for him those people are definitely not the people of Wales and Scotland. Us Welsh, he refers to as a ‘lower calibre of power crazed bureaucrats’, the Scots get to be the ‘destroyers of the nation of Adam Smith, infected by wokery, no longer proud of their history’. 

Whisper the word if you will, but this smacks of an out of date imperialist worldview, where the benevolent British masters know what’s best. 

Heath is welcome to this belief. But he should conclude that the right answer is to follow his ‘genuine localism and true people power’ convictions and to argue in favour of cutting Wales and Scotland loose from this ever more stagnant, tired and crumbling union. A union without equality, a union clearly without mutual understanding and respect, a union without unity. Time for all of our nations to separate amicably and create new working relationships based on respect and cooperation. In doing so we will all become better versions of ourselves and be able to generate greater wealth, health and wellbeing for all the people who live on these fabulous British Isles. A geographic designation which can survive and thrive even as we become a diverse and vibrant group of nations.

So, Mr Heath, consider yourself invited to join the campaign for Independence - for Wales, for Scotland, and yes, for England too. As independent nations we will all be able to pursue our own visions, based on the democratic choices of our own populations, to fashion our own societies which work for us all. 

While Mr Heath continues to build  towards his post-Brexit dreams in an independent England, Scotland and Wales can be free. Free to create their own futures and take their place alongside the other nations of the world. Free from a union designed to suppress, subjugate and exploit. 

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