AN INDEPENDENT WALES WILL STRENGTHEN THAT VOICE
by Cerith Griffiths, Firefighter and member of the FBU (personal opinion)
There’s no doubt that growing up in a coal-mining community in the 1980s was always going to inject trade unionism into my veins – whether I realised it at the time or not. Coalfield communities throughout Wales were fighting for their very existence against a government and a Prime Minister in Westminster who was absolutely determined to smash the National Miners’ Union (NUM). This revenge had been planned over many years before the bitter battle that was ahead throughout most of 1984 and into early 1985.
Moving on to 2021, and now the Welsh high street reverberates to the sound of the Specials’ popular song from 1981, Ghost Town – a song that dealt with the theme of urban decay, de-industrialisation and unemployment, which was seen by many as a foretelling of the future that lay ahead.
Wales’s former coal-mining communities have never recovered from that and Westminster governments, one after another, have failed repeatedly to get to grips with Wales’s needs.... Read more
Quite simply, because of what’s been in my heart and in my thoughts and because of the physical tiredness of seeing Wales’s overwhelming brightness kept in the shadow of a dark heritage of centuries of oppression.
I will explain from a Shaolin viewpoint. Shaolin Gong Fu espouses the attainment of happiness/unity by creating harmony between mind, body and soul/spirit.
Like the increasing numbers who support independence, I see our challenges in today’s Wales. By now, more and more people are becoming aware of the democratic deficit we have in Wales and the way it stifles our economic development and, in turn, prevents any organisation in Wales from performing effectively. I see the lack of opportunity, the deliberate degeneration and our communities withering away every day.
I see inequality in the UK, I see how the UK equates to the Empire, believing every word of its own boasting and dragging us ever further towards an oblivion caused by selfishness without thinking beyond the short term. Everything that happens is beyond our control. We are displaying the symptoms of dependency.... Read more
‘Exciting’ is not a word you would most readily associate with the Covid pandemic, but whilst the past few months have alternated between boredom and horror, the increased interest in Independence coupled with the increase in Yes Cymru membership has been uplifting.
Being interested in politics is never going to make you cool, but seeing so many young people joining Yes Cymru clearly shows a shift in attitudes towards political matters amongst my generation. It’s going to take more than signing up and posting the photo on Insta, but it’s a start - and a good start at that.
I have been brought up to the sound of discussions on current affairs, but that does not mean that I have always paid attention. What did draw my attention to politics in a big way were the Black Lives Matter protests and also the discrimination suffered by young trans people - including friends of mine. I have also helped out occasionally on a local food scheme during lockdown, and this has got me thinking more than ever about the type of world I would like to see - and about the type of Wales I would like to live in.... Read more
As someone who has been a quiet advocate for Welsh independence who has only recently “turned official” by joining the ‘IndyWales’ movement on Twitter, I still have a lot to learn. It isn’t necessarily an easy decision that can be made instantly, but it is one that can be made to ensure a better future for Wales and its people.
I had my doubts. I am Welsh, but I do not speak Welsh fluently. I am of Indian descent and I was born in Wales. I have no Welsh ancestors, over many generations. Am I, really, the right person to be part of the struggle for independence? But if not me, who?
When you have been born in Wales, patriotism is not a choice. It is embedded in us from an early age, as we learn our beautiful language and traditions in school, and it grows within you. I moved away from Wales to go to university and I think that is when my patriotism came to the surface. Amongst students from England and Ireland, I felt duty bound to promote and to defend Wales in all spheres: football, rugby, and politics. I felt that I was in a city where I could voice the pain and anger I felt towards the government as Wales and Liverpool have so much in common on many levels. During my time in Liverpool, I started to understand the cruel effects of “Thatcherism” and austerity. This is a city that still feels the effects of Tory cuts to this day and people have suffered in so many ways as a result. Scousers don’t want anything to do with England, and you can’t blame them.... Read more
Given that water surrounds us, runs through us and drops down in such volumes upon us, we should be more aware than most of the point at which a trickle turns into a stream. We know a flood when it is ordered upon us. Or a drip. The last little flourish of the original “Cofiwch Dryweryn” was the slide of paint too wet to defy gravity on the night it was applied.
So, how’s our flow going? Do we yet press against the banks that have contained us for centuries? We are perhaps not a torrent, but there is a weight to the movement now and as any tiler will tell you, once water is on the move it will find a way through.
What exactly is on the move? It is not nationalism. Franco of Spain was a nationalist and the cruellest militias in the post-Soviet Balkans called themselves nationalists. Nationalism, it is true, claims to be a cleansing force, but it is more about eradication than nation-building. Ethnic-cleansing is a stain upon the word’s definition, but one which won’t be easily erased. Please, may we seek independence for Wales, but not (and with humble apologies to the Ns in the SNP) as Welsh nationalists.
For our movement to become irresistible we have to find what binds us, not pick at the sores that are supposed to make us wary of getting too close to each other. In short, the English-speakers of Wales need to jump in and feel welcome at the swimming club.... Read more
‘THERE'S A DEFINITE SENSE OF AWAKENING AND THERE’S A DESIRE FOR CHANGE’
When I stepped off the stage in a Manchester comedy club in March 2020, it didn’t cross my mind that it might be the last time, so far, that I faced an audience. But now, as the world starts to think about getting going again, comedians too are looking forward to venturing out into the spotlight once again.
One source of anxiety for many comedians is the fact that the world has changed so much that a few of their old stories and jokes are no longer relevant, and will not hit the mark, (that’s what my excuse will be anyway) we’ll see. We will certainly have to make an effort to reconnect with the audience, and the best way to do that, I think, is to rethink and rewrite material that is not only funny, but is also relevant to the so-called ‘new normal’.
This, I believe, is also the challenge facing those of us who support independence for Wales.... Read more
WE HAVE SO MUCH POTENTIAL - Charlotte Church
It’s time to talk about our future if we want to make a better society for everyone who lives here, according to Charlotte Church.
The iconic pop star says she doesn’t come from a background that would have supported independence in the past but now is the time for the people of Wales to decide how they want things to be. But for Charlotte, independence isn’t about flag waving or old-fashioned ideas of what a country is, for her it’s about a better more effective way of making our society work for all of us.
The disrespect shown by successive Westminster governments has driven this feeling.... Read more