Watching, Wondering, Waiting:
UK Pro-Independence Movements Look to Take Their Lead From Catalonia
The eyes of Europe remain firmly focused on the independence crisis now engulfing Catalonia and Spain as the dangerous battle of brinkmanship shows no sign of abating.

By William Caven
Aberystwyth, Caernarfon and Cardiff and Indyfest gig in Cardiff, Wales where Catalan flag was placed in front of the group ('The Barry Hornes'). © YesCymru

Hundreds of miles away from Catalonia, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon delivered a keynote speech on October 10, in which she reiterated the SNP's commitment towards staging another independent referendum that could effectively signal the end of the United Kingdom - but declined to give an exact timescale until Brexit negotiations became clearer.

Ms. Sturgeon said: "We will make a case for independence - as always - but we will do it at the right time. Scotland cannot afford to be bystanders, but we must know what is on offer in order to make a strong case to the country and its people."

In the meantime, a number of British sovereignty movements are watching anxiously that one day they might use Catalonia's precedent to replicate a similar feat in the near future.
Home to 7.5 million people, the region of Catalonia in the north-east is crucial to Spain, which is the EU's fifth biggest economy and a member of NATO. Catalans have for decades been calling for more say in spending, higher status for their language and recognition they are a nation distinct from Spain.
A student holds a Catalan pro-independence 'Estelada' flag during a protest in Barcelona on October 2, 2017 a day after hundreds were injured in a police crackdown during Catalonia's banned independence referendum. ©AFP, Pierre-Philippe Marcou
It has the strong support of independence movements in both Scotland and Wales, whose activists see similarities in their demands for a breakaway from the Westminster-led United Kingdom.

In 2014, voters in Scotland took part in a referendum seeking independence away from the rest of Britain - only to have the plans of independence supporters rejected by 55 percent to 45 percent after one of the biggest turn-outs witnessed in any political contest in the UK.

The restlessness remains, however, with plans for a second independence vote now expected in the wake of the Brexit decision, whereby 62 percent voted to remain in EU - only to be over-ruled by a largely English-based majority.

Ms. Sturgeon admits the lack of progress on Brexit - and the Westminster government's handling of negotiations - is making the case for an indyref2 stronger.
"As people see this damage that is likely to be done by this unfolding disaster...then the case for Scotland's future being in Scotland's hands and us being more in control of the decisions that shape our destiny, I think that case gets greater and stronger by the day. I also have a mandate to give people in Scotland a choice on this issue, but I will listen to what people say on the timing of that," Ms. Sturgeon said.
The outcome of the Brexit negotiations could also seriously affect the future of Northern Ireland as EU negotiators have suggested it could remain as part of a united Ireland. Such a move would require a referendum to be held and put a strain on the Good Friday Agreement potentially even risking the return of the troubles that have previously claimed so many civilian lives.

For the time being, however, it is understandable why pro-autonomous groups in Britain remain encouraged by their Catalan cousins - as they wonder and wait...
In some cases, the wounds from the 2014 referendum vote on Scottish independence are only now slowly beginning to heal in a country that became so bitterly divided – it was almost unrecognizable to many.

In what remains one of the ugliest chapters in Scottish political history to date, the war of words from both sides quickly descended into death threats being issued, violence erupting on the streets, while families openly feuded with each other and long-standing friendships lost – never to be returned.
A man wearing a Saltire kilt is seen on the street in Edinburgh, Scotland, Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. ©AP, Scott Heppell
Now the prospect of a second vote on independence is looming large, although no actual date has, so far, been offered up by Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as she keeps the cards close to her chest. Some commentators expected an announcement at the Scottish National Party's (SNP) annual conference this month, with a date in spring 2019 strongly favored, but the topic still remains off the agenda for the time being.
Demonstrators carry Scottish flags at a march in support of Scottish independence, in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain June 3, 2017. ©Reuters, Russell Cheyne
Suddenly, what was to have been a vote for a generation could materialize earlier than most imagined – within the next five years. Cranked up by the vote in Catalonia, Scottish pro-independence campaigners are now actively pushing for the issue to be put to the test once more believing they can now overturn the 55-45 vote previously recorded.

Nevertheless, there are others who are erring on the side of caution having seen the Scottish political landscape change dramatically in a matter of months. The SNP hierarchy also know they have to get it right this time around as it could set them back many years before another opportunity arises.
Having been slapped down by British Prime Minister Theresa May over demands for a second referendum, who insisted "now is not the time," Ms. Sturgeon has responded by saying she is prepared to wait until the terms of Brexit become clear.

A wise move, perhaps, considering Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European Union – recording the highest majority of any UK country with 62 percent in favor of remaining. Naturally there is much resentment that this nation who elected to remain is being dragged out of the EU screaming and shouting to no avail.
The first minister claims what is at stake is "the kind of country Scotland will become" if it is not allowed a vote on becoming independent rather than staying part of Brexit Britain. She demands Scotland be able to determine "our own direction of travel, rather than having it decided for us."
Under the current devolved powers arrangement, Scotland can determine its own law and order, health, housing, education, sport and tourism. Yet other key issues such as immigration, defense, foreign policy, energy, employment benefits, trade and the constitution remain at the discretion of Westminster.

There is also the danger Westminster could actually increase its power base following the transfer back of European legislation.

But the crux of any renewed bid for independence could come after Brexit when the UK is no longer in the European single market – something Ms. Sturgeon describes as "the world's biggest single market." It poses serious implications on the Scottish economy – for jobs, public spending and overall living standards.

Being able to sit and trade at the European table was among one of the key issues during the last referendum, although critics claimed Scotland enjoyed four times more business in the UK than across the channel. Would it really prioritize membership of the single market ahead of its ability to trade freely with the UK?
Unionist parties – led by the resurgence of the Conservative Party north of the border – now insist the economic case for independence lies "in tatters." It points to the collapse of the North Sea oil business and the dramatic fall in revenue – so how could Scotland possibly support itself in the future?
Section of the BP ETAP (Eastern Trough Area Project) oil platform in the North Sea, around 100 miles east of Aberdeen, Scotland. ©AFP, Andy Buchanan
Ruth Davidson, Tory leader in Scotland, described the "independence because of Brexit" option as the political equivalent of "amputating your foot because you've stubbed your toe." She will, no doubt, remain a strong voice in putting forward the unionists' case should the starting gun be fired.

Last time around, much play was placed on major financial institutions and international companies moving south of the border – but hasn't the same been said after Brexit with the banks switching their headquarters to Paris or Frankfurt?

In addition, think tank Business for Scotland published 10 key economic facts that made it clear that Scotland is a wealthy nation. The facts show that Scotland is already in a stronger economic and fiscal position than the UK as a whole.

By moving economic decision making from Westminster to Scotland, Scotland will have greater control over policy-making in crucial areas. Control over issues like taxation, employment, immigration, exports and industrial policy to improve its finances.
"An independent Scotland can improve the tax system for the benefit of citizens and business. Scotland currently only has control over 7 percent of its taxation. Independence will ensure that Scotland has 100 percent control over raising its own taxes. With this control Scotland will be able to reform the system so it is simpler, supports key growth sectors and collects a fair amount of revenue to fund public services," said Michael Gray, the author of the report.
Former British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) visits the Trident Nuclear Submarine, HMS Victorious, on patrol off the west coast of Scotland on April 4, 2013. ©AFP
Another major saving would be created with the removal of Britain's nuclear arsenal from Scottish shores to England, a key commitment of any independent Scotland, who argue such a deterrent is not entirely necessary.

It has been estimated that Scotland would be £3 billion (US$3,9bn) better off through independence, saving money on nuclear weapons - the House of Commons and London's civil service would no longer be funded with Scottish tax. The total saving on nuclear weapons and defense would amount to £500 million (US$653mln) in the first year. It would save £60 million (US$78mln) a year in paying Westminster's expenses for the House of Commons and Lords.

Unionists argue, however, the figures don't necessarily add up as Westminster spends £10,536 (US$13,706) on people in Scotland, which is £1,460 (US$1899) more than the UK average.
"People were misled by the SNP in the run-up to the referendum and that is unforgivable," said former Scots Labour leader Kezia Dugdale.
The independence debate in 2014 was also heavily influenced by a fiercely pro-active English-based media and BBC who preyed daily on the minds of the voters as well as the 500,000 people now living in Scotland from England, suggesting the need for special passports to visit their loved ones and families in the south.

This mass hysteria whipped up by the Her Majesty's press over a Scottish currency, its international standing and uncertainty in the financial markets could be repeated next time around. There will also be accusations that any independence moves in Scotland could potentially allow other separatist movements in Europe to do likewise.

Pro-Scottish Independence supporters with Scottish Saltire flags and EU flags among others rally in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland on July 30, 2016 to call for Scottish independence from the UK. ©AFP, Andy Buchanan
The independence desire remains strong despite the SNP losing 21 seats at the last general election in the summer of 2016, having earlier claimed all but a handful of seats north of the border during a previous vote. The nationalist powerbase has waned but not significantly to discourage its members to hold back, some suggesting between 40 and 45 percent want to go it alone.

Robert McAlpine, director of the left-leaning Scottish think tank Common Weal, is convinced a referendum could be held in possibly less than five years.
"How the UK handles the Brexit process will be crucial in how that all plays out, but what we're seeing in our research is that people who voted to remain in the UK 2014 feel resentful of a situation that now makes no sense to them. People are absolutely sick of referendum here, but the way Brexit is being handled is definitely going to have an impact on how people are, currently and in future, going to be looking at independence," Mr. McAlpine told Sputnik.
Independent campaigner Tommy Sheridan insisted the need is as deep now as it was three years ago and urged for a second referendum to be called quickly.

The former Scottish Socialist party leader and organizer of the Hope Over Fear campaign said Scotland has a "clear, unadulterated" mandate. He argued it offered Scotland a unique chance to have the power to decide its future on its own.
"Questions like currency, like the European Union membership and the future of the monarchy will all be decided by Scottish voters because monarchies ruin societies and in Scotland people will be sovereign. Better to die on your feet than to live forever on your knees," Mr. Sheridan told Sputnik.
Pro-independence supporters console one another in George Square in Glasgow, Scotland, on September 19, 2014, following a defeat in the referendum on Scottish independence. ©AFP, Andy Buchanan
Similarly, Jim Sillars, former SNP deputy leader, says "independence is inevitable in Scotland" especially as people realize that Britain is no longer an Imperial power and has led to a "significant decline of the home union that is England."

He has called, however, for the independence movement in Scotland to extricate itself from the SNP - as it is too tied to the party's electoral fortunes. Lessons from the last independence referendum, Mr. Sillars warned, have not been taken onboard as there has been "no post mortem," and unless this takes place it could potentially result in another missed opportunity.

Ms. Davidson remains confident the result of any new referendum would still result in victory for the unionists.

"I would be confident of victory. By the end of the last campaign Yes had already crossed over to be in the lead in the polls and we won by 10 points. At the moment they (SNP) are polling way below what they were doing then. I think the arguments are weaker and I think the people of Scotland are just as switched on as they were three years ago so I think there's every chance we would win by a wider margin," she said.
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (L) meets with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in Bute House in Edinburgh, on July 15, 2016. ©AFP, James Glossop
"In 2014 people in Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain part of the UK. Both sides undertook to respect the result of that referendum. As we prepare to leave the EU, the Scottish government should be working with the UK Government to seize the opportunities that will bring, not taking Scotland back to the divisive constitutional debates of the past," a UK government spokesperson told Sputnik.
Northern Ireland
Solving the Irish question is akin to coming up with the six winning numbers in the National Lottery draw - simple, obvious as it is elusive.

The one sure way to enshrine free trade and free movement as well as regulatory clarity in relations between the north and south parts of the country would be to put them back together. At a stroke, problem solved. If only life could be so easy.

Yet, if you think about it the north would remain in the European Union, which is what the majority of those who took part in the referendum actually voted for, some 56 percent in favour of remaining - while the rest of the UK would leave albeit not to the satisfaction of the Scots, who also voted massively to remain in.
Women and children stand near an armed British military soldier patrols a street in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Feb. 1972. British paratroopers shot 13 demonstrators during a civil rights march on Jan. 30, known as Bloody Sunday. ©AP, Michel Laurent
The likelihood of this happening, however, is not at all - at least in the short term anyway. For starters, the politicians involved in Northern Ireland - the two largest being the nationalist Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party cannot even reach agreement on forming a new power-sharing government, so the chances of them agreeing to the reunification of Ireland are virtually non-existent.

Such is the enormous divide over unity at present, there are genuine fears if such a move was suggested it could potentially trigger a return to the Troubles which cost over 3,500 lives, mostly civilian, between 1969 and 1998 when the Good Friday Agreement brought welcome peace.

The two communities - Protestant and Catholic - still remain fenced off from each other in Belfast and (London)Derry, so if they find it hard to share a city, honestly what chances of them sharing a country?
Derry, Northern Ireland ©Sputnik, Nikolai Gorshkov
Indeed, one reason why Northern Ireland, despite its Unionist majority, voted more like Scotland than England or Wales, may be that people on both sides of the sectarian divide saw EU membership as a kind of guarantee for the contents of the Good Friday Agreement that has (mostly) resulted in peace for nearly two decades.

There is provision, nevertheless, within the agreement that would allow a vote to take place on the possibility of Ireland becoming united.

Former Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern believes such a referendum on Irish reunification would be dangerous, however, and warned it could lead to fresh trouble in Northern Ireland.

The ex-Taoiseach, a key partner for the British government during the Good Friday negotiations, voiced his fears after the European Union suggested a united Ireland that absorbed the north to join the EU if the province voted to leave the UK.

On the question of a border poll - a key Sinn Fein demand within Northern Ireland, Mr. Ahern said:
"If you want trouble again in the north play that game.
It's a dangerous game."

Hands Across the Divide monument in Derry, Northern Ireland ©Sputnik, Nikolai Gorshkov
The Fianna Fail leader admitted the EU's decision to recognize the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which contains clauses allowing for a future border poll, was not a massive surprise.

"The fact that all of Europe reiterates that the Good Friday agreement is an international agreement… I'd be very disappointed if any of them said it wasn't. No it's not [a big deal] It's a fact of life," he added.

Yet the chances of a poll or referendum being held over the question of an independent Ireland is also highly unlikely given that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland presently holds the ace card - the ear of the British government with whom it lent support to allow prime minister Theresa May to remain in power after her majority was wiped out at the last general election.
This is a July 25, 2016 file photo of of Arlene Foster, left, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, during a meeting in Belfast. ©AP, Charles McQuillan
Many still believe the Brexit-Northern Ireland conundrum cannot remain off limits forever though as demographic change in the north has already been seen in recent elections there. Socially and economically, the Republic is a very different country from the one is was before it joined the EU. Nevertheless the chances of Britain allowing Northern Ireland to be swallowed up into an independent sovereign state is presently off the agenda.

While voters in Northern Ireland wanted to remain in the EU, successive opinion polls in the region have also shown a consistent majority in favor of staying within the UK rather than linking up with the Irish republic.
"The DUP believes that Northern Ireland's future is best served as part of the United Kingdom. It is not just that economically Northern Ireland benefits significantly from being part of the UK but British identity for many people goes beyond that to culture and way of life," a Democratic Unionist Party spokesperson told Sputnik.

"All recent evidence demonstrates that support for the union continues to be strong within Northern Ireland. What Northern Ireland needs is to focus on the restoration of devolution and delivering on issues such as health, education and the economy instead of divisive calls for a border poll with undoubtedly have a negative impact upon community relations."

Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster, left, and deputy leader Nigel Dodds © AP Photo, Niall Carson
The Ulster Unionist party insist that the Good Friday/Belfast agreement underpinned the principle of consent on the region's constitutional status.
"The Ulster Unionist party has been clear that the focus should be on ensuring that the United Kingdom and within that Northern Ireland, gets the best deal possible through the UK's government's negotiations with the EU. It is sad that some are opportunistically using Brexit to try and unpick the union," UUP assembly member Doug Beattie said.

"The Belfast agreement put the future of Northern Ireland in the hands of the people of Northern Ireland through the principle of consent. Sinn Fein should reflect on that when they talk about protecting the Belfast agreement. They can try and claim a win, but these guidelines do not change the fact that Northern Ireland will remain a part of the United Kingdom while the majority of our citizens wish that to be the case."

Regardless, Sinn Fein earlier this summer called for an Irish unity referendum within five years. The republican party said ending partition of the island between Northern Ireland and the Republic had gained new urgency following the Brexit vote.

The party insisted the north should enjoy designated special status within the EU after the UK exit. Indeed the remaining 27 member states have declared that Northern Ireland can resume membership if the island is united.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams gestures as he and Sinn Fein leader Michelle O'Neill introduce the new Sinn Fein Assembly team at Parliament buildings in Belfast, Northern Ireland March 6, 2017. ©Reuters, Clodagh Kilcoyne
In its manifesto, Sinn Fein said:
"Sinn Fein believes there should be a referendum vote on Irish unity within the next five years. The imposition of Brexit and cuts from the Tories demonstrates the unjust and undemocratic nature of partition and the union. Ending partition has now taken on a new dynamic following the Brexit referendum."
The party said the EU had already shown itself flexible in handling different forms of integration and relationships for member and non-member states.

"Designated special status would preserve access to the single market and customs union, ensure that we retain the Common Travel Area and maintain access to all EU funding streams," it added.

The Irish repercussions continue to cause concern, including novelist Eimear McBride, who wrote: "That this delicate, hard-won and harder-maintained web of hope has been so carelessly, thoughtlessly jeopardized by a handful of bloviating careerists unashamed to far fear and division in British society in order to achieve their personal ambitions is a disgrace they will forever bear."

Some others take a different view even suggesting that Ireland should "seriously consider" leaving the EU. According to economist Ray Kinsella, Ireland's interests are closely tied to those of the UK and that it risks being "left marginalized if it stays in the EU."

Britain is not leaving Europe, he argued, it's leaving what Europe has become.
"Europe has become centralized, very unequal - in those circumstances, it makes a great deal of sense to think again [about membership]. The case for leaving Europe is a very compelling one. What's important, whether it's a person, or a country or a union, is - what are your values? There were very clear values embedded in what Europe set out to be. Those values are no longer there," Kinsella explained.
This is a June 15, 2016 file photo of of traffic crossing the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland in the village of Bridgend, Co Donegal Ireland. ©AP, Brian Lawless
In the case of Ireland, he said it must decide whether it is "better to remain in Europe with all of the consequences of being a small and dependent nation... or does it make more sense for us to re-assess where we are."

"[For us] it's better to say, you know, we've been good to Europe and Europe's been good to us, we hope we can build on that relationship in the future, but in the meantime, it makes more sense for us to leave," he argued.

His comments have won support from Peter O'Loughlin, a founding member of the Identity Ireland party, who believes the time is right for Ireland to quit the EU, especially as Britain and Ireland remain major trade partners.

"At the moment, the European Union is in a desperate state, facing a raft of threats, including Brexit as well as Poland, Hungary and the European Commission's talks on migration and European skeptics' sentiments. In many ways, I think this is really heralding the beginning of the break [up] of the European Union," Mr. O'Loughlin said.
They often say that as soon as you put two Welsh people together in the same room they will automatically form a choir and break into song. It is a fact of life and one which the nation is extremely proud of.

Yet while their powerful voices demonstrate great passion for their homeland and its beauty, rarely do the Welsh actually sing about freedom and independence. This is also a fact of life, but one that surprises many people living there.

Where is the ambition? The drive to succeed and become masters of their own destiny?
Strangely, the issue of independence has been kept largely dead and buried – a bit like the Welsh mining pits that no longer operate, their cruel demise resulting in tens of thousands of men being thrown unceremoniously onto the economic scrapheap.

Unlike their Celtic counterparts further north, who have already voted on the issue of independence, there has until recently been a strong reluctance previously to follow suit in Wales. Yes, it has its own Assembly with some law-making powers, but its scope and ability remain severely limited, stunted even by Westminster.

Until now, it is a position that the ruling Labour Party even seem happy to accept and go along with rather than rock the political boat by insisting on greater powers and controls, or in simple terms, the chance to govern themselves properly for once.
© CC0
Perhaps it is out of loyalty, or genuine fear that the UK government may turn nasty and brutally turn off the financial tap leaving the nation and its people in an even more bereft, perilous position?

Self-preservation remains crucial these days. A report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 2016 found that a quarter of people in Wales were struggling to make ends meet and poverty was costing the country £3.6 billion (US$4.7 billion) a year.
Carwyn Jones, the first minister of Wales ©National Assembly for Wales
The main plight remains employment, indeed the number of jobs per head is now half the average for Britain. That situation is going to be made worse as a result of Brexit when Wales will be stripped of its European Union structural funding – despite the majority in Wales actually voting to leave.

Such a move is likely to plunge the country into further economic hardship, further fueling doubts could Wales survive on its own? Which is possibly why the majority of Welsh people want to cling on to Westminster in the dire hope that a few crumbs will still be passed down.

Carwyn Jones, the first minister of Wales, has been one of the strongest voices within Labour against the break-up of the union for years although he has called for a constitutional convention on the future of the UK.

Previously he has promised to continue to press for Wales to be at the heart of discussions about further devolved powers.

"There must now be a wider process to draw up a settlement reflecting the aspirations of all of the UK's constituent parts. It is time for our constitution to be put on a coherent footing."
Yet Mr. Jones has also warned the British government to start listening to the people.

"If they are not careful, people's sense of disengagement with Brussels will simply attach itself to London. They are giving the impression sometimes that they do not listen.

"And what kind of message is that to the people of Wales? We need to see there is a dividend in being a devolutionist government that supports the union and we don't see that dividend," he said.

"Otherwise people in Wales are going to start saying, well, the Government is listening to the Scots, we need to be like them. And that's a dangerous path for the UK."
This is playing into the Welsh pro-independence activists' hands.

While many still regard nationalism as a "dirty" word, there are now signs that it is beginning to be considered, rather than accepted at this stage. After the Scottish referendum, those in Wales supporting Plaid Cymru's views on independence was as low as 3 percent.

Since then, it has grown steadily to 26 percent, according to two recent YouGov polls, prompting Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood to call for a "national debate" to explore all of the options, including that of independent Wales.

Speaking after the Scottish government warned of plans for a further independence referendum, Ms. Wood said:

"In that situation, Wales would need to decide its own future. Plaid Cymru has said that a remaining 'England and Wales' entity was not on the ballot paper during the previous EU referendum. A national debate to explore all of the options, including that of an independent Wales, must take place in Wales when that scenario becomes a realistic one."
Aberystwyth, Caernarfon and Cardiff and Indyfest gig in Cardiff, Wales where Catalan flag was placed in front of the group ('The Barry Hornes'). ©YesCymru
"If the UK government's Brexit negotiation also leads to the Welsh national interest being overlooked, support will grow for greater control of our own affairs in Wales. Now is a good time for people in Wales to think about what is in our own national interests and how we can best unlock our country's potential in this new constitutional scenario."
Those seeking emancipation from their British government masters want a country that is not shackled to a political system that barely registers its existence. They argue Wales has been marginalized and even humiliated by Westminster politics, and it deserves better.

The demand for discussions about Welsh future nationhood also comes at a time when some believe the country has arrived at a crossroads. Yes, they talk about language, history and culture, but most Welsh people don't actually know which issues are uniquely relevant to their own country.

After Brexit, Daniel Evans of the Wales Institute of Social & Economic Research, commented: "Hardly any of the people we spoke to in our research knew anything about the EU dividend to Wales or the implications of Brexit for Wales. Instead they focused primarily on British issues such as immigration."

Journalist Ellie Mae O'Hagan is firmly behind the call for a national discussion on where the future lies for Wales.
© CC0
"In my heart, I long for Wales to leave the UK. While the economics don't add up, we urgently need to follow Scotland in discussing our future as a nation," Ms. O'Hagan said.
"I want an independent country that is not shackled to a political system that barely registers its existence, and indeed an English left that pays it little attention, except to treat it as voting fodder or to express exasperation when it hasn't voted in a way that holds the rest of the UK back from its most right-wing urges," she added.

"Wales has been marginalized and even humiliated by Westminster politics, and it deserves better. In turn, Westminster deserves to be rejected by the Welsh," Ms. O'Hagan added.

Whether this discussion takes place remains to be seen, some hope it will be enough to frighten the union-loving Tories, that remain the main opposition party, or simply shake up a complacent Labour party that expects Wales to go on voting for it forever.
Inspired by developments in Catalonia, Iestyn ap Rhobert, chairperson of YesCymru, remains convinced support towards independence will continue to flourish, although he admits how long is anyone's guess.

"Independence is still seen by some as a dirty-word and it shouldn't. Independence is emancipation, freedom is the right for Wales to govern itself. And the more you talk about the benefits of independence to the people, [they] are becoming confident, even those who have been sceptical in the past about independence, the response we tend to get now is a positive one," he said.
Mr. Rhobart said Wales must gain independence in order to improve the way it is governed.

"We believe in an inclusive citizenship that welcomes and celebrates the fact that everyone who chooses to make Wales their home – regardless of background – is a full citizen of the new Wales.
Aberystwyth, Caernarfon and Cardiff and Indyfest gig in Cardiff, Wales where Catalan flag was placed in front of the group ('The Barry Hornes'). ©YesCymru

"We will make the case that Wales, like other small nations, are better off running their own affairs as part of a wider European and international family – without the backing of the political establishment.
After all, it is only sensible that decisions about Wales should be made in Wales.
We have the right to be an independent country and Westminster has no divine right to reign over us."

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