The left and Europe, Brexit, independence

I felt compelled to put finger to keyboard because I’m tired of hearing arguments for the EU but against the totality of Europe. The kind of people guilty of this are now taking an increased interest in Welsh independence.

To re-state my position – in June 2016 I voted to leave the EU. My reasons for doing so were set out in ‘EU Referendum: Why I Want Out!’ and a few days later, after the result was known, I followed up with ‘Brexit, Wexit: Things Can Only Get Better!’

What I hope to explain is that despite being a Brexiteer I regard myself as a European, and that’s because I see Wales as part of a wider European civilisation. This being so, Wales cannot leave Europe, we can only exit the European Union.


For me, there are two main variants of the left. On the one hand we have the hard left, or old left, some of whom may even be ‘tankies’, still mourning the demise of the USSR. Then we also have the soft or new left, who like to view themselves as ‘progressives’, but who I often view as the ‘butterfly’ left, flitting from one colourful issue to the next.

Another difference would be that, unattractive as it was, the old left, the Marxists and the Trotskyists had a coherent ideological basis in the writings of assorted philosophers and political theoreticians.

By comparison, the new left is almost without form or ideological substance, being made up of those who believe that what’s important to them, or the latest popular issue, is of vital importance to humanity (whether humanity is interested or not). Which often makes the soft left appear to be nothing more than a loose alliance of single-issue groups – ‘We’ll support you if you support us’.

The Labour Party contains both varieties, with the old left perhaps in the ascendant under Corbyn, but Plaid Cymru is very much home to the latter.

In the good old days of the Soviet Union the hard left had an example to hold up as an alternative to the Western model. An idyll exemplified for me by Peter Sellers’ shop steward in I’m All Right Jack, who dreams of Russia as, ” . . . all them corn fields and ballet in the evening.” A line that never fails to make me smile.

” . . . all them corn fields and ballet in the evening.” click to enlarge

The economic collapse of the USSR discredited the hard left’s alternative model, and opened the door to the soft left, with no obvious political agenda beyond changing the West from within through social and cultural pressure.

Even in the good old days of the Soviet Union, among elements of the left, hostility to the capitalist model spilled over into a rejection of the achievements of ‘decadent’ Europe and its offshoots.

As with the old, so with the new, which often dismisses centuries of human achievement as being all about ‘dead white men’.

Yes, these achievements often went hand in hand with colonisation, exploitation and even slavery, but millions of Europeans were also enslaved, by Turks and North Africans. How many today have heard of the Sack of Baltimore in west Cork? Communities from Cyprus to Iceland suffered from Muslim slave-raids.

The Crimea, the fate of which now so vexes Western governments, was taken by the Russians in 1774 to stop the peninsula being used by its Tatar population to export thousands of captured Russians and Ukrainians into Turkish slavery every year.

By even using the term ‘European civilisation’ I will have had a few leftists reaching for their smelling salts (or whatever they use), for it will have conjured up images of wicked capitalists, oppressors and colonialists, pith helmets and shackles.

Their chosen interpretation of Europe is as distorted as their view on almost everything else. It’s chiaroscuro without the light. In its distortions the touchy-feely left can ignore the genocide being practised by China against the Uighurs yet hold up something said by a politician of the right as a crime against humanity.

This comment (possibly to a piece on Nation.Cymru) refers to Steve Bannon. Now I accept that Bannon is not everybody’s cup of tea, but remarks like this display a myopic ignorance of history that is truly worrying. Click to enlarge.

For them, crimes can only be committed by white men. When it comes to global warming it’s rapacious white men destroying the planet, never developing economies with their coal-fired power stations, or third world countries destroying vast areas of forest every year.

This ‘blame Whitey’ approach betrays another dangerous failing of the soft left, and that is the refusal to accept that the past is another country, they did things differently there; which results in them judging people from previous eras by contemporary mores.

The fact that someone in 1887 was homophobic makes them a creature of their time, not a monster to be vilified by immature individuals who are easily outraged. I’ll let you in on a little secret – back in 1887 most people were homophobic.

To conclude: I’m proud to be a European. I reject the European Union.


The hard or old left has usually been hostile to the Common Market and then the European Union, the ‘Rich Man’s Club’ as Marxists were wont to call it. But the real reason for the hard left’s hostility was the same as my original enthusiasm – we both saw the EU as a bulwark against the Soviet bloc.

Three decades after the demise of the USSR the comrades of the hard left still have a lingering affection for Russia. The fact that Putin is viewed as a threat by the West goes some way to explaining the hard left’s ambivalence towards the EU, and Corbyn’s refusal to take a stand on a second referendum, or anything.

The other consideration for the hard left, and Jeremy Corbyn, is that Labour voters from Sunderland to Stoke to Swansea voted for Brexit. They also voted against out-of-touch elites, so Labour really can’t afford to be perceived as aligning with the metropolitan elite.

Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters need to hold on to their middle class support, their ethnic minority support, and their white working class support if they are to form a government. And the largest of those three constituencies remains the white working class in post-industrial areas.

click to enlarge

Generally speaking, the soft left wants the UK and Wales to remain in the European Union. This they regard as the only option for ‘progressives’. This is why we hear them berating Brexiteers as ‘gammons’, ‘racists’, ‘Nazis’, and calling for a ‘People’s Vote’.

The soft left can afford to be openly hostile to Brexit and those who support it partly because these ‘progressives’ are free of electoral concerns and partly because they have ‘disengaged’ themselves from the white working class they regard as irredeemably stupid and reactionary. For the reasons already given, Labour and the old left behave differently.

Whether or not they had achieved this status before the Brexit vote, the new left, the ‘progressives’, have certainly become the patronising metropolitan elite those who voted for Brexit wanted to punish.

I outlined earlier the soft left’s largely negative view of Europe and its history, culture, and contribution to humanity, so why is it supportive of the EU? I can only assume that in their minds there must be some disconnect between the Europe of the Borgias and Wagner with the European Union. For isn’t the European Union Napoleon’s (even Hitler’s) dream realised?

Apparently not.

And that’s because the soft left regards the EU as ‘progressive’. The EU is perceived as breaking down national barriers, welcoming migrants, and generally being a force for good in the world.

Which is fair enough, and entirely consistent with the soft left’s wider – dare I say, globalist? – outlook, but perhaps inconsistent with support for Welsh independence.


As I hoped when I voted for Brexit in 2016, the utter cock-up that politicians are making of the process has both increased the demand for Scottish independence and the likelihood of Irish reunification.

Wales has not been immune to this counter-London shift in public opinion, and now we see a marked increase in support for Welsh independence. This has taken a number of forms including the formation of Ein Gwlad, a new, Wales-focused nationalist party, and also YesCymru, a group campaigning for independence.

YesCymru now seems to have been joined by other groups. One being IndyCymru and, more recently, Undod, and it’s on the second of these I wish to focus. Undod is a socialist grouping, perhaps formed following a failed takeover of YesCymru.

I have no problem with Undod being socialist, as far as I’m concerned, the more the merrier, with just one proviso – the desire for independence must transcend all that divides us.

Which is why I was disappointed to read on Nation.Cymru the old-style sloganising about, “international solidarity . . . unfettered capitalism . . . foreign capital . . . rising threat of the far-right in Wales and beyond . . . excesses of Tory rule . . . “.

A disappointment compounded by seeing no reference to the Labour Party that has mis-managed Wales for two decades. Admittedly, in its conclusion, the article says, “Devolution has shown itself to be incapable of protecting us against the excesses of Tory rule”, without mentioning that devolution could have done more – as it has in Scotland in recent years – had it not been for the Labour Party.

click to enlarge

And the dismissal of “foreign capital” I find odd. Given the traditional neglect of Wales from London (whichever party was in power), and the cowardice and incompetence of the English Labour Party in Wales in its managing of devolution, had it not been for companies and capital from Germany, the USA, Japan, France and other countries investing in Wales we’d have been in an even worse mess.

I’m at a loss to understand how a socialist Wales, which I assume would be hostile to both indigenous entrepreneurialism and foreign investment plans to sustain us. Answers on a postcard, please. (But for God’s sake, don’t tell me it’s state-owned industries!)

Even so . . .

I have said it before, and I will repeat it here – I would accept a Welsh socialist republic if that was the route to independence. I say that because for me, independence is the priority, everything else can be worked out later.

Obviously I would not be happy in a socialist republic and I would seek to make changes, but after we had won our independence; and in the meantime I would defend that socialist republic against all external threats.

Finally, we must consider Catalonia. Over the past year or so I have noticed members of the soft left advocate independence for Wales, remaining in the EU, and support for an independent Catalonia. I’m unclear how such a position can be intellectually rationalised, but some obviously have no problem with it.

From where I stand, anyone belonging to a small European nation within the EU, and seeking independence for that nation, should have been disgusted both by the Spanish state’s treatment of Catalan political leaders and also by the EU’s silence.

click to enlarge

You can read here what the great Breton singer Alan Stivell recently said. I feel the same. (For those too young to remember, here he is singing Tri Martolod.) Like me, Stivell wants a Europe that respects all identities. Not a Europe that promotes homogenisation and tolerates or encourages state terror.

The new/soft/touchy-feely/butterfly/’progressive’ left is wrong about lots of things. Certainly wrong about Europe, and the European Union. Despite this unpromising start we can only hope that its approach to independence is more clear-headed, and sincere.

But I want to make this absolutely clear: anyone imposing ideological preconditions on the kind of Welsh independence they will accept is clearly more concerned with ideology than with Wales, and therefore does not truly believe in Welsh independence.

♦ end ♦


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13/03/2019 update. As the Westminster parliament debates Brexit.

Highways England has issued a statement saying the closure of the M20 to the channel tunnel in order to stack up lorries for 15miles of motorway is nothing to do with Brexit, they blame the wind, although how this affects the tunnel escapes me.

Meanwhile, the French minister of Interior has just proposed pay rises to French customs staff worth €14million to end their ‘work-to-rule’ over extra staff for Brexit. French news tells us it is this industrial action that has caused 12km of stacked up lorries on the A16 in Pas-de-Calais.

So who’s telling the truth, the French or the English?
Note – Nothing about this on the BBC.


I will never forget how deeply unhelpful the EU were during the Scottish Independence Referendum. Commission President Barosso was happy to add to the uncertainty and give oxygen to Project Fear. An official letter from Commissioner Reding of Luxembourg spells out how the EU would have reacted to a Scotland that voted for Independence.It turns out that the EU would have activated “Article 49” and the European treaties would no longer apply to an independent Scotland – an instant Scotxit -a reward for an peaceful democratic exercise! I think the EU’s cold shoulder/ silent treatment as shown to the Catalans made the difference to the final 55-45 result in Scotland. The EU and UK worked hand-in-hand to snuff out of the most positive political movement I have ever seen.

With Brexit – I genuinely see the removal of an obstacle to Welsh Independence.


Barosso is Portuguese. I thought as he was from one the EU’s smaller states – he would have some sympathy with the Scots.

Daley Gleephart

Unlike the UK, the EU has a written constitution and the Commission is bound by them. The UK is bound by the rules for leaving as set out in the written constitution.
Maybe Barosso has sympathy for the plight of the Scots, but he has to keep those thoughts private.
Anyway, Scottish Nationalists are all too aware that they will need to apply for EU membership as a new country.


A good, thought provoking and honest article.(shame about the troll – strange how some people are irked by the truth and reality!)


The Left. They have their ideology and function:

to support the globalists with their open border policy

to support the globalists in not addressing the European birth rate crisis and promote mass migration from the middle East and Africa.

to support indoctrination of LGBT philosophy in giving young kids even further mental health issues. (third sector folk will have great time curing the messed up kids of their problems – further 3rd sector jobs! what’s not to like about that! ….and the Welsh NHS can put some of it’s abundant resorces into it too! )

I think I could go on but it’s creeping me out already


It’s hard to work out the globalists plan (I wish they would be more open about it) for Europe. The only thing that makes sense is some kind of vision of “Eurabia” (for Leanne Wood and her cult that is not Utopia) The plan entails replacing the indigenous population of Europe with Islam, which would take over the European industrial complex and it’s infrastructure and run it much more efficiently – Europe provides the industrial capacity and Arabia the oil (Eurabia!). Eurabia would then be a big global power and player to counteract China, the US and Russia. (Let’s be honest, the EU is a disaster waiting to happen)

I wouldn’t like to talk about women issues in Eurabia.

BREXIT …..dosen’t seem to be happening so we will be dragged into the Eurabian project.


PS…..It would be wise to note that the split between Western and Central/Eastern Europe is becoming more significant and stronger – their cultural and religious detrmination much stronger than the West. Therefore I would predict that Eurabia would limit itself to the MIddle-East and Western Europe (some would say the best part of Europe: the UK Germany and France) Some would say that is a good thing (they caused all the wars didn’t they? (well Germany especially)

Daley Gleephart

‘EURABIA’ – Popular with Geert Wilders, InfoWars and Anders Behring Breivik, it’s a doomsday conspiracy theory loved by tin-foil hat wearers and basement dwellers.
Makes a Hard Brexit and an independent Wales seem Utopian, dunnit.
If you believed the 70 million Turks story during the Referendum campaign, you’ll run with this.


Jac you cad ! Jabbing raw nerves within the Plaid ranks. Whoever Councillor Mills is he’s obviously hooked on dear Delyth –
“Thank you for your opinions. I disagree. Delyth will make a fantastic AM. I know her well, due to the hundreds of hours we spent on the campaign trail at the last assembly elections. Your comments say more about you than the do about her.”

Well obviously they say more about you as what could be said about her could be delivered in 30pt Calibri on the back of a 2nd class stamp !

Will be interesting how far removed she will prove to be from the seriously bright and competent predecessor. Someone said Plaid had lost a star – more relevant to say that their entire light just conked out !


One can only speculate that “arsehole” is the new default term of abuse among her circle of groupthinkers. Next week it may shift slightly to “cunt”, or go the other way to “coccyx” which doesn’t have quite the same instant impact or recognition. But you never know with these on-trend types.


I guess that’s how the world,or at least this part of it, has become. Posturing, vain, useless …. you could reel off a long list of words to describe these seriously defective people. Do they really believe that it’s only by trotting out the latest line of crap out of the bullshit machine can they “keep up” with their moronic groupthink clusters ?. And many of us end up voting for these muppets or avidly “following” the junk they pump out into social media.

On reflection most politicians of all colours are now wedded to this way of doing things, after all it’s a sight easier than doing the hard graft needed to secure real changes and improvements in ordinary people’s lives. That’s the refreshing thing about Neil McEvoy, regardless of whether I agree with everything he says or does at least he gets off his arse and looks out for his constituents tackling real issues of housing, poverty etc and “sticking it to the man” when needed.


Spot on. When Leanne made that comment about Jac it was entirely predictable her stormtroopers would pile in behind her. We see it all the time from them. It was Neil McEvoy last week, now Jac, next week some other victim of their relentless social media abuse which is bullying and harassment, simple as! It’s actually quite a small clique – same names crop up on all the threads. But you know what they say, empty vessels make the most noise. Dafis’ comment about the default term of abuse shifting to something far earthier by next week has already come to fruition, with Jac becoming Twat o’ the North in one erudite woman’s post, gleefully taken up by the moronic rabble they are part of. But the tweet that drew Leanne’s comment was really quite innocuous by Jac’s standards, lol. She must have been having a bad day, obviously life’s been going downhill for her in recent months and she feels like hitting out.

Martin Walsh

I cannot but agree with much/ most of what you say. I have no Welsh blood in my veins, despite my English gran saying her dad was a Welshman. (He was born in Stained, Middlesex, as were his parents and grandparents.) But Wales, being older than England should have a certain status that mirrors its historical being. I suspect, however that the English, being jealous, will never permit this. The best you guys got was having the monarch’s oldest son as Prince of Wales. I wish you every success in your tussle for independence but it won’t get any easier!

Anne Greagsby

‘Undod is a socialist grouping, perhaps formed following a failed takeover of YesCymru’ … sandy clubb wife of gareth clubb, chief executive of plaid Cymru and hardly a socialist. Sandy spent many years working for the national trust …a well known nationalist org.. not. Sandy a close friend of Anthony Slaughter who campaigned Against a welsh green party …So disappointed, if that is the case, that she has been allowed to rejoin Yes cymru when her intentions are more about supporting he Leanne Wood faction and her husband for her own aggrandisement. (& Her consultancy)

Daley Gleephart

When you say that you reject the EU, do you want to see the end of the EU? If ‘yes’, what do you want in Europe? Eire is pretty much okay with the EU and so are the Scottish Nationalists.
Off Subject
Did you read the latest about Kinzett? Of course you did.

Daley Gleephart

If the SNP had declared unilateral independence from the UK, the EU would have taken the side of the UK as it’s a member state. However, the SNP has not done that.
I find your opposition to the EU baffling as, even in its current form, it is more democratic than the elected dictatorship in Westminster and has workers rights and rights of the individual that the rabid Tories want to remove. Still, if you want to proceed under the rule of the unelected WTO and the whims of the USA that’s your choice.

Daley Gleephart

Does the EU have the power to demand that a member state changes its constitution after that same legal structure was deemed acceptable when Spain applied for membership?
I agree that Spain’s heavy handed approach was wrong. The UK isn’t exactly a model of correct behaviour when it comes to dissent.

Daley Gleephart

… and get a response citing Article 4.2 of the 2009 Lisbon treaty.
Governments around the world largely decided to state that it was an internal matter for Spain.,_2017#Countries

Daley Gleephart

So, the EU is no worse than individual EU member states and the rest of the world.

Daley Gleephart

I have no wish to wind you up.
Brexiters give one of the main reasons for leaving the EU as its control over member states and refer to it as the ‘EUSSR’. The Catalonia independence struggle highlights the fact that the EU cannot overrule the constitution of a country.
Even when it is legally entitled to act when core values are removed (See Hungary Sanctions 2018), member States intervene with vetoes.

Daley Gleephart

Europeans asserting “their traditional and ancestral territory”?

The EU has a duty to uphold all current treaties and that includes Article 4.2 of the 2009 Lisbon treaty. If the EU acted in the way that you want, all EUrophobes (you included?) would be jumping and down and raging against them.

Daley Gleephart

Well, it was you Jac who used the US Civil War as an example and I’m sure that you agree that there was no traditional and ancestral territory dispute in that.

You need to consider one very important matter: If the Lisbon Treaty, Maastricht Treaty or any previous EU Treaties granted the right of the EU to intervene in domestic matters would any European country have signed them?

Daley Gleephart

“But that’s the direction the EU is heading with ‘deeper’ integration.”
Are you sure of that? It is used as a stick to beat the EU.
Damned if they do; Damned if they don’t.

Daley Gleephart

All changes to the structure of the EU require the unanimous approval of the member States. It took years of negotiation before an acceptable change in 2009 was ratified and that Treaty (Lisbon) rules out intervention in domestic issues.


That characterisation of the “soft left” is pretty accurate. They are people who first and foremost embrace causes that are somewhat removed from their day to day activity thus increasing the likelihood of never having to get their hands dirty. Plaid still seems to drift in that direction despite leadership change and member unease.

Perhaps you didn’t have time or space to do a similar exercise on the “soft right” a term I use for lack of a better one to describe much of the Tory party who retain an affection for EU, globalised corporate capitalism, and privatisation of essential services, among other things. When the clown Cameron misfired with his Brexit vote, these soft right Tories managed a clever coup in installing a “quiet Remainer” as P.M of the U.K thus leading to the most obviously mangled, bungled exit project in the history of exits. Apart from being a touch thick, easily steered by sundry advisers and other influencers Mrs May retains a huge opinion of herself and her place in history. And that’s not the place where many of us would put her !

Corporatist collusion has been a major force in the Brexit debacle, just hear the CBI bleating about keeping markets open for instance. Yet these captains of industry are the same jokers to take eye watering salaries and benefits in return for leading competitive businesses through difficult market places, yet they expect it all to be delivered on a plate for them !. Utterly useless.

So the choice was not that difficult in principle – either stick with a corrupt entity that serves the interests of a political elite and their corporate cronies, or get out and develop something else. And that’s the opportunity. Once out, it’s not a case of sitting still and whining about lost opportunities to attend conferences in Brussels with our old friends, but getting off to other parts of the world and exploring common ground. As a newly independent country Wales would be well placed morally to do that especially if that work was undertaken by motivated enthusiastic people instead of the moaner tendency who keep harping back to how great things were under the EU and UK regimes.

I don’t really care what the soft right or soft left gets up to in England but here in Wales they need to reorientate their priorities to fit with this nation’s developing needs. If they prefer plucking fluff from each others belly buttons then they ought to bugger off over Clawdd Offa and we’ll have some motivated migrants to take their places.


This is, of course, what Corbyn knows and doesn’t explicitly say. Genuine question – what is better for Wales, EU in its current form or Westminster with unbridled English nationalism yn rhemp?


that’s like asking which is the lesser of 2 evils – each to his own but my stance is simple you can take both and shove them into the back of a furnace as they don’t offer anything much other than a long term prospect of subservience. And I never was much of one for the old saying that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”. Better to know that we have 2 enemies and we need to ditch them both. If we can get them to fight each other & wear each other out then that’s better still.


Carles Puidgemont is still pretty pro-EU despite that… but I dare say the EU’s handling of Catalunya lost it some supporters in pro-Independence movements across the EU.