YESCymru Launch Rally 20.02.2016

While I’m getting myself sorted after the enforced lay-off (and also watching PSG v Chelsea), here’s something to be going on with, something I’m happy to endorse and promote.

Happy because I have argued for many years that devolution is a dead-end or, as the press release below refers to it, the “crumbs of constitutional change”. (With it becoming clear in recent months that even these ‘crumbs’ are now in danger of being reclaimed.)

The alternatives facing Wales are stark: either we have independence or else we continue to allow third-rate politicians to feel important doing nothing more than doling out funding while Wales is in truth run by civil servants and others following a counter-devolution strategy that will eventually see Wales assimilated into England.

What you’ll find below is information on YESCymru and that organisation’s launch rally on Saturday. The first part takes the form of answers sent to Gair Rhydd, which I understand is a magazine produced by Cardiff students. (That right?)

The second part is the press release issued for Saturday’s rally, listing the speakers and giving other information including contact details.

 

What is the organisation?

Yes Cymru aims to help gain independence for Wales, in order to improve the way our country is governed. We believe in an inclusive citizenship, which embraces and celebrates the fact that everyone who chooses to make Wales their home – regardless of their background – are full citizens of the new Wales.

Our group will promote independence for Wales through a range of activities, including educational activities and materials, and events aimed at engaging communities throughout Wales to make the case that Wales, like so many other nations throughout the world, would be better running its own affairs, as part of a wider European and international family. Our organisation is open to all who believe in independence for Wales.

Who is it set up by? Is it a party political?

Yes Cymru was set up by a number of individuals and established as a grass-roots movement. We held our first rally prior to the Scottish referendum in Cardiff, where around a 1,000 people attended supporting Scottish Independence. Last year we held a Rally in Cardiff prior to the General Election in support of Welsh “Home Rule”.

Yes Cymru’s aim is to build a community led, cross-party grass roots movements to work towards an independent Wales. We welcome contributions and membership from all sections of society and the political spectrum in order to help achieve this goal, and help create a united Wales wide approach to raising the issues concerned with Independence. In the past members from Plaid Cymru, Welsh Labour, Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Welsh Green Party have spoken at our events.

The organisation has just been opened to members at the end of last year, and our membership is now nearing 100. Our 1st AGM will be held in Cardiff on 20th February where officers to the central committee will be elected from our membership.  Full details will be made public following our AGM, and published on our website.

This is the principle Plaid Cymru was set up, how is this movement any different?

Yes Cymru is different to Plaid Cymru as we are a cross-party non-party grass roots movement which aims to inform people and facilitate debate within Wales, aiming to gain support from across the political spectrum. We are not a political party. Our supporters are members of several political parties, and none.

Will you achieve anything considering the polls?

Polls have put the desire for an independent Wales at various levels over the years, depending on the exact question asked, and the options provided. Prof. Roger Scully of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre puts support of Welsh Independence at around 10-15% Like those campaigning for independence in Catalonia, Corsica, Scotland and many other nations, we recognise that this is not something we can achieve overnight. It is worth mentioning that in 2009-2011 the Yes vote in Scotland was consistently polling at just over 20%, it is know just under 50%.There has never been an independence campaign in Wales, and the case has never been made. We aim to rectify that.

Fundamentally self-determination and independence is a fundamental right of all peoples throughout the world, and as such we are determined to help bring about an independent Wales which would best serve all the citizens of Wales.

At our official launch in Cardiff on February 20th, Liz Castro will be coming over from Catalonia to speak. Liz is an Author, Publisher, and Executive Committee member of the ANC (Assemblea Nacional Catalana – the grassroots movement for Catalan independence)  responsible for International Affairs.

Last year, Liz Castro received the most votes during the elections for the National Secretary of the ANC. The ANC has over 80,000 members and over 150,000 followers on twitter and a similar number of page likes on Facebook.

*

PRESS RELEASE – 09/02/16 – YesCymru

Vision for an independent Wales not crumbs of constitutional change

YesCymru’s aim is to gain independence for Wales to improve the way our country is governed. Many are talking about UK independence from the European Union, and about Scottish independence, but what about Wales? The recent Daily Mail headline asked “Who Will Speak for England?”. With Scottish independence all but inevitable, the question for us when such momentous changes are taking place is “Who will speak for Wales?”.

YesCymru has been open to members since the beginning of the year. The official launch will be held at 2.00pm on the 20th February 2016 followed by our first AGM, at The Old Library, The Hayes, Cardiff.

YesCymru will campaign for independence through direct political engagement and activities as seen in Scotland and Catalonia. We should not underestimate the pace of change and appetite for independence once it is on the political agenda.

At our official launch in Cardiff on February 20th, Liz Castro will be travelling from Catalonia to speak. Liz is an Author, Publisher, and Executive Committee member of the ANC (Assemblea Nacional Catalana – the grassroots movement for Catalan independence) responsible for International Affairs. Last year, Liz Castro received the most votes during the elections for the National Secretary of the ANC, which has over 80,000 members.

YesCymru spokesperson, Iestyn ap Rhobert, said:

“Every generation we are told that Wales is too poor to be independent, but every generation under Westminster rule sees Wales getting relatively poorer. We encourage the people to be ambitious for Wales. If independence is good enough for Ireland or Denmark, it’s good enough for Wales.

Like those campaigning for independence in Catalonia, Corsica, Scotland and many other nations, we recognise that this is not something we can achieve overnight. Between 2009 and 2011 the Yes vote in Scotland was consistently polling at just over 25%. It is now nearing 50%. There has never been an independence campaign in Wales, and the case has never been made. We aim to rectify that.”

The speakers at the rally will be:

  • Liz Castro – Author, Publisher, and Executive Committee member of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) responsible for International Affairs.
  • Shona McAlpine – A Campaigner that has been instrumental in establishing and campaigning for a number of organisations supporting Scottish independence over the past decade.
  • John Dixon – Keen blogger on several issues including Welsh Independence.
  • Representatives of the Yes Cymru group.

There will also be entertainment by the popular singer and songwriter, Caryl Parry-Jones and an introduction to a new booklet on the same format as ‘The Wee Blue Book’ that was so influential during the Scottish independence referendum. People will also have the chance to help shape a Constitution for an Independent Wales.

[END]

Notes:

  • Yes Cymru is a cross-party non-party grass roots movement, and is open to anyone who believes in an independent Wales.
  • We held our first rally prior to the Scottish referendum in Cardiff, where around a 1,000 people attended supporting Scottish Independence.
  • Last year we held a Rally in Cardiff prior to the General Election in support of Welsh “Home Rule”

For more information:

Iestyn ap Rhobert: iestynap@hotmail.co.uk / post@yescymru.org /

http://yes.cymru/ / http://www.facebook.com/YesCymru/ / http://twitter.com/yescymru

24 thoughts on “YESCymru Launch Rally 20.02.2016

  1. Good idea in principle, but if they’re not a political party it’s difficult to see how they can achieve very much. They’ll likely be fobbed off with endless platitudes and if they’re very lucky, a few token measures.

    What it needs, surely, is for PC to grow a pair.

    Still the message needs to be got out, and quickly. Once Scotland ‘escapes’ you’ll be alone at the mercy of a bloody-minded, ruthless, self-serving Tory England. I honestly believe that the choice is between Cymru Rhydd and Westanglia, and you don’t have too many years left to make you mind up.

    1. Brychan

      A political party is only successful at the ballot box by presenting a positive alternative. A campaign group based on the same aims can campaign on the negative issues and a few individuals (like Jac) can really dig the shit on some of the issues involved. I liken this type of political landscape in military terms. You need a few snipers and special forces to back up the artillery. This tactic was called the armalite and the ballot box in the northern counties of Ireland. As to whether the political party has its ammunition pointing in the right direction is another matter.

    2. dafis

      … and don’t put money on Plaid “growing a pair ” unless you got spare cash to throw away ! Maybe a new party will grow out of the upcoming Assembly fiasco and we’ll see some progress before I turn into ash or compost !

      1. Colin

        The upcoming Assembly fiasco! As much as each party hopes, this will be the general outcome I think, I really see Plaid selling their arse to get into power again with Labour. I hope they don’t, perhaps the only saving grace for the next session would be for there to be no clear majority, maybe some real fighting in the Senedd could bring some decent/honest progress that wouldn’t see the light of day if one party or a coalition was ruling the roost.

        I really hoped Plaid Glyndwr might make some progress but they seem to be quiet, I quite liked what Mr Thomas had to say on his website

  2. Ian Perryman

    When Corby came to Wales to drum up support for his leadership campaign he said that the Welsh Labour party needed greater independence from central party diktat.
    Which is basically an admission that Wales is being run by a branch office of the English Labour party.

    There will be no significant move towards increased devolution and subsequent independence while this continues.

  3. Colin

    I can only hope that this spreads like wildfire and gains momentum to the extent that the current “Yes” campaign in Scotland has. Still left with the same politicians unless there is some serious surprises lurking in the shadows

    1. Well I sincerely hope it spreads too, but I’m confused about how this is supposed to work.

      In Scotland, at the last Scottish Parliament election, the SNP had a clear majority, which meant they could set the agenda. This included a commitment to hold an indy referendum, which duly followed. This led to the YES campaign, which had a clear focus, and although it was a lot broader than the SNP, nevertheless the SNP was central, essential in fact for making the ‘space’ for all this to happen.

      Following the loss or the referendum, many people felt cheated, more so as time goes on it becomes increasing obvious that Westminster have no intention of honouring their promises. Once the initial shock of the loss had passed, it was a very strange couple of days emotionally, everyone seemed to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and moved forward with even more determination than ever. The SNP membership swelled beyond all expectations, making I believe the third largest political party in the whole of the UK. Not everyone by any means was a dyed-in-the-wool SNP-type, but it made strategic sense to get behind them, not to split the movement.

      At the General Election the Scottish branch office of the UK Labour Party was in effect evicted from the country. They have one remaining Scottish MP, the rest even those in ‘safe’ seats went down like ninepins. In a few months the Scottish Parliament will see a similar house-clearing, although less dramatic due to the PR system (ha! FPTP has it virtues after all!) And the following year it will be the turn of the local councils, and that will pretty much be the end of UK Labour north of the border.

      OK you probably all know this, but how can Wales get on this ladder, you haven’t even got a nationalist government, the first wrung, so where is the ‘vehicle’ to take you to indy. Indeed when did anyone in Plaid last utter the word ‘annibyniaeth’? And if not Plaid then who? A new party??

      The other problem perhaps is all the cultural baggage and thinly veiled ‘blood and soil’ rhetoric that still clings to Plaid, and indeed often manifests on this very blog. A clear distaste for incomers, English speakers etc. The myth of the hallt y ddaear gwerinbobl and so on. I’m not for one moment suggesting that the language and cultural battles don’t need to be fought, but not all pro-language people will be pro-indy and not all those pro-indy will care about the language etc. But by linking the two campaigns you in fact weaken both, because you only get the overlap, those who support both, behind you. And every piece of additional ideological ‘baggage’ you add further reduces your following.

      So good luck, but it’s one hell of a mountain you’ve got to climb. A massive change of public opinion you need to somehow engineer. That will call for much though, good strategy, careful planning to energise a wide range of people to support your cause. In short it has to be inclusive but still focused.

      1. Brychan

        May I correct you? The first term of the SNP government in Scotland was not a majority. Labour, LibDems, and Tories voted against allowing a referendum to take place in Scotland. Under the second SNP government in Scotland, which was a majority, their referendum proposal was then blocked Labour in Westminster. It was only when David Cameron came to power in London (Tories) was the enabling legislation passed in Westminster to allow a referendum to take place.

        It is wrong to suggest that either Plaid or the SNP have an internal homogeneous ideology. In both Scotland and Wales there are ‘indies’ throughout the political spectrum. From left to right. Any the ‘blood and soil’ reference is a bit insulting to both Welsh and Scottish political strands. It’s the old ‘tar the radicals with Hitler’ ploy so often used by British colonialists. The have always been differing strands of political thought that have supported independence both in Wales and Scotland, whether Liberal reform gentry, laird, socialist, or even communist.

        1. That’s actually the point I was trying to make. For the moment the SNP can mostly serve as a common front for almost all those who desire independence. After it’s achieved it’s more than likely that the SNP would split into several parties having achieved it’s central aim. Meantime they’re doing a pretty good job running the country and softening the effects of Tory austerity as far as they’re able.

          But Scottish nationalism, whatever it may have been 50 years ago, is now largely ‘civic’, only the London press seem to think it’s anti-English. But IMO it’s far more difficult to take that tack in Wales because of the deep-seated association with the language and other cultural ‘baggage’. (At least not religion very much these days, that’s one bonus). The ‘rot’ if you like, degradation of cultural identity due to in-migration and all forms of assimilation, has probably gone so far already that you won’t get independence democratically without having a fair few ‘new residents’ on your side.

          So your manifesto will need to be very finely tuned.

      2. dafis

        ” A clear distaste for incomers, English speakers…..” – does that surprise you ? The erosion of the native culture, language, traditions is a core strand of any process of destruction. Now I grant you that many of the incomers did not knowingly come to destroy these characteristics, but when informed of the possible outcomes they have mostly done sweet f… all to modify behaviours and attitudes. With the passing of time, the newer waves of incomers have tended to display a more hostile attitude to matters Welsh from the outset. as evidenced by many of the correspondents on this blog.

        Several of our well meaning politicians have tried to “win over” these migrants with a more friendly approach, but that tends to be taken as a sign of weakness. The furore last year about events of some 15 years ago, involving M Parker ( as mis-reported in Cambrian News ) and Gwilym ab Ioan ( as abused by fellow Party members ) reminded me that this nonsense has gone on for a long time and it is now so well embedded that incomers have the effrontery to brand native protests as Nazi, fascist etc when any rational analysis of the situation suggests that a good look in the mirror of politics is required of them. Even the D.T – that bastion of Anglo supremacy acknowledged around the time of Gwilym’s schism with Plaid that the problem of moneyed and/or retired folk moving into the western fringes of these islands was a real social and political problem that would need addressing – nothing done as yet .

        Some in-migrants succeed in integrating well within their new communities without forcing everybody to adapt to them and their priorities. If some can do it then why can’t the rest ? The answer lies in the innate lazy, superiority complex that is part of the makeup of these people, and that’s just fine by those that currently govern us.

        1. Would you be willing to forego your right to live and work in England when it suited you in exchange for a ban on in-migration to Wales? How do other small countries in Europe manage? Has anyone really gone into all the implications or tired to come up with a workable set of policies?

          1. dafis

            when working in England, or visiting, I am content to fall in with local customs and requirements. At Gatwick I do not ask for directions to darkest Sussex in Welsh, express myself politely in English and do not impose my preferences and values on the natives. Simple really, but very rarely does one see that conduct reciprocated when in Wales. Just an Anglo centred thing, I guess.

            1. Diddorol iawn. So if I understand you correctly, you’d expect English visitors to Wales to use the local language. As it happens I was just reading a book about the difficulties Welsh learners have in getting native speakers to talk to them without changing to English. These are not casual visitors but usually residents who are trying to learn the language. They appear to be treated with a mixture of suspicion, confusion and even hostility. How do you expect people to learn Welsh if you won’t speak to them? They’d have neither the motivation nor the opportunity. But then the example is not really symmetrical, because you speaking English in London or an international setting is no different from a Dutchman or a Finn etc. all of whom would speak English when outside their own countries, that’s just how it is these days.

            2. dafis

              I don’t expect English visitors to speak Welsh, although those intending to settle could at least acquire a modicum of ability, and most certainly a degree of courtesy towards native speakers would not go amiss. Their prickly attitude towards a Welsh conversation at a pub or a store typifies their stance that they should be enabled to understand all that goes on around them. In which case either learn the lingo or wait until the chat finishes and they are addressed. OR, bugger off whence they came !

              As for learners I and most of my acquaintances have always been keen to engage in any kind of conversation as means of exercising the learner’s skill to a better level of fluency. Hell, it’s a tough language to learn for any person whether they come from Wales, and may have had some exposure to classroom Welsh as kids, or have arrived from darkest England or further afield. Oddly, learners from outside the UK seem to the most enthusiastic. Although fluent in English they don’t appear to have any jingoistic Anglo baggage and that probably helps.

            3. Mae’n od iawn i fi, bod y seison yn barod i ddysgu ieithoedd estron (rhai ohonyn nhw o leia!) ond a’r un pryd yn hollol anwybyddu’r iaith drws nessa iddyn nhw, yn byw o hyd ar yr un ynys fach-ma. Ond am hynny, wrth i fi sôn yma am dwi wedi dysgu’r Gymraeg, yr ateb dwi wedi ei gael oedd, “fyc off” cwta. Wel, diolch yn fawr iawn, gan y fath hyn o anogaeth does dim syndod mae llawer wedi rhoi’r gorau iddi hi.

            4. dafis

              Wel, mor belled a mae dy ymdrech i ddysgu Cymraeg yn y cwestiwn, rhaid dy longyfarch yn enwedig gan dy fod yn byw rywle yn Lloeger. Mae’n ddigon caled i unugolyn brwdfrydig fynd i afael a’r iaith yma yng Nghymru felly rheswm i lawenhau yw bod un a dros y Clawdd wedi medru i’r safon sy’n amlwg yn dy waith ysgrifenedig.

              Fel y gwelir, fe gefais fy nghodi yn Gymro, ond ar y pryd ( yn y 50 -60au ) roedd y drefn addysg yn ein Seinegeiddio o tua 7 mlwydd oed ymlaen, ac erbyn 16 dim ond GCE yn Cymraeg oedd yn cael ei ddysgu drwy gyfrwng yr iaith. Ym myd gwaith, Saesneg eto oedd pua hi. Am amser, fe weithiais mewn cwmni o dros 800 o bobol yng Nghaerdydd a dim ond 3 ohonom a ganfyddais yn siarad Cymraeg, a hynny yn y sefyllfa anffufiol achos ‘roedd pob cyfarfod busnes o reidrwydd drwy gyfrwng y Saesneg.

              Gellir ail adrodd y profiad/hanes hwn hyd a lled Cymru gyfan, hyd yn oed o fewn “Y Fro Gymraeg”. Hynny sy’n dylanwadu ar fy agweddau at y mewnlyfiad Saesnig sydd wedi tyfu dros y degawdau diweddar i lefel lle mae’n boddu’r iaith a’i diwilliant.

              O fewn y nodyn hwn fe welir gwallau llysafu, yn beth amlwg mewn nifer o bobol sydd yn fwy cyfarwydd a’r iaith lafar yn hytrach na’r ddisgyblaith ysgrifenedig. Pur debyg fel dysgwr y byddid yn gweld rhain yn gynt na hen werinwr fel fi. Dal ati y ddysgu, ac efalle y byddid yn fardd neu lenor rywbryd.

            5. Wel, diolch yn fawr am eich ateb chi. Dim Cymro ydw i, wrth sgwrs, ond dim un sy’n cydymdeimo â’r Seison chwaith. A’r hyn o bryd dwi’n byw yng Nghernyw, math o ‘half-way house’ falla? Mae ‘na weddillion o’r hen iaith ym mhobman, sy’n dipyn o drist, heb dim ond ychydig o ddysgwyr yn ei siarad erbyn hyn.

          2. dafis

            P.S to above

            When in Cornwall I have been confronted with similar attitudes. People who have been relocated into the area 20 years or more often “complain” that they are still seen as outsiders, but offer snide comments about native Cornish. On the other hand speak to young natives and they will tell a tale of struggling to buy a starter home, seasonal jobs, patronising Londoners ( and other well off tourists). Indeed a similar tune to many of the Welsh issues other than the language.

            1. Exactly. Cornish nationalism seemed to be doing OK until a few years ago, but now seems to be on the decline. There were three LibDem MPs who spoke up for Cornwall but they’ve now all been replaced by Tories. Pretty hopeless really. Cornwall should be an awful warning to you of where Wales could easily end up if you just let things slide.

  4. The Earthshaker

    Good to see you back in action, I’m sure your enemies are gutted.

    The YES Cymru movement while well meaning is 20 years to late to have any discernable impact on Welsh politics, the battle for Wales is almost lost. Look around folks come May UKIP will be in the Assembly is enough numbers to cause chaos and turn people against the Assembly but more importantly any form of Welsh self governance. That added to Wales willingly voting to leave the EU later this year, followed by Scotland leaving the UK and bar a miracle our course is set for final assimilation, its a horrible time to be alive and be so powerless to stop it.

    And why oh why are people still responding to the Max troll with its highly offensive blood and soil nationalism guff, he trolls the Scottish blogs and they ignore he/she/it and it’s high time we did to.

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