Friday, 13 April 2012

The independence mindset

Some people in Plaid Cymru have been calling for a more aggressive stance from our politicians on independence for a long time, most notably an alumnus of this youth wing, Adam Price. It seems that since our sister party's landslide victory last year, that view has been adopted by most in the party, and certainly since the overwhelming endorsement it received in Llandudno last year by the membership, we as a party have been significantly more vocal on the issue.

Although I am certain of my support for an independent Wales, I do not share the view of the majority in our party that we should be moving the independence campaign into top gear just yet. It has been inspirational to witness the SNP's success in Scotland and I believe we have a lot to learn from them, but simply copying and pasting their rhetoric on independence would be a mistake. There are many reasons why Scotland is constitutionally so far ahead of Wales, not least the manner in which it was united with England and its success in preserving a distinct education system, legal jurisdiction and civil society. Wales was not united with England, it was assimilated into England, along with all aspects of civil society. Wales' distinctiveness was almost exclusively cultural for the best part of half a millennium. It is understandable therefore, that civil society in Wales has taken its time to build itself into the intrinsic role within Welsh governance that it now plays.

These differences are such that the SNP have been able to include in their manifestos and indeed, in their programmes of government, a promise to hold a referendum on independence. Only once do I remember any senior figures within Plaid Cymru mentioning such referenda in Wales, and even then it was a promise to hold one after we manage to become the biggest party in the Assembly in two consecutive elections. It begs the question therefore, why are we pushing the independence campaign to the forefront of our message at a time when a Plaid Cymru government would do nothing to deliver on that message?

In my opinion, we need to design that “roadmap” that Elin Jones promised in her leadership campaign. We need to know exactly what we are campaigning for. Simply saying, “We support independence… but not yet” is not good enough. We need to be campaigning for the first step on that road map, something that we could include in our manifesto. In doing that, we would be able to argue effectively, that what we are doing is advancing down a path towards a level of prosperity that would make independence a viable option. If we are going to reach our shared goal of setting our country free from the British puppet strings, we need to make this a priority after the election on May 3rd.

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Mae rhai ym Mhlaid Cymru wedi bod yn gofyn am agwedd mwy ymosodol gan ein gwleidyddion ar annibyniaeth ers amser maeth, yn fwy nodweddiadol na phawb yw alumnus o’r mudiad ieuenctid hwn, Adam Price. Mae hi’n ymddangos, ers canlyniad gwefreiddiol ein chwaer-blaid y llynedd, fod y barn hynny wedi’i fabwysiadu gan y rhan fwyaf yn y Blaid, ac yn enwedig ers y cefnogaeth llethol cafwyd yn Llandudno llynedd gan yr aelodaeth, rydym ni fel plaid wedi bod yn llawer mwy lleisiol am y peth.

Er fy mod i’n gadarn fy marn o blaid annibyniaeth, dydw i ddim yn rhannu barn y rhan fwyaf yn y Blaid y dylem rhoi annibyniaeth ar flaen y gad yn ein hymgyrch presennol. Rydym ni gyd wedi ein hysbrydoli gan lwyddiant yr SNP yn yr Alban ac yr wyf yn credu bod gennym lawer i’w ddysgu ganddynt, ond bysai eu cop├»o gair wrth air yn gamgymeriad. Mae yna lawer o resymau pam fod yr Alban yn gyfansoddiadol mor bell o’n blaenau. Un o'r prif resymau yw natur yr undeb rhwng yr Alban a Lloegr a llwyddiant yr Albanwyr i ddal ymlaen at eu system addysg, awdurdodaeth gyfreithiol a’u cymdeithas sifil. Ni fu undeb rhwng Cymru a Lloegr. Gorchfygu Cymru y gwnaeth Lloegr, gan gynnwys pob agwedd o'n cymdeithas sifil. Mi 'roedd Cymru'n wahanol i Loegr o ran diwylliant yn unig am bron i hanner mileniwm. Mae hi'n ddaelladwy felly, bod gwasanaeth sifil yng Nghymru wedi cymryd ei amser i ddatblygu mewn i'r rol ganolog y mae yn eu chwarae heddiw o fewn proses llywodraethu Cymru.

Mae'r gwhaniaethau yma mor ddwys, y bod yr SNP wedi gallu cynnwys addewid yn eu manifesto, ac wrth gwrs, yn eu rahglenni llywodraethu, i gynnal refferendwm ar annibyniaeth. Dim ond unwaith yr wyf yn cofio aelod uwch yn y Blaid yn son am fath refferendwm, ac mi oedd hyd yn oed yr aelod hynny yn son o fewn cyd-destyn o Blaid Cymru'n llwyddo ennill mwy o seddi nac unrhyw blaid arall, ddwywaith yn olynol. Ac felly, mae'r cwestiwn yn codi, pam gwthio'n hymgrych am annibyniaeth mewn adeg lle bysai llywodraeth Plaid Cymru yn gwneud dim byd i wireddu'r ymgyrch hynny?

Yn fy marn i, mae angen dylunio'r "map" hwnnw yr oedd Elin Jones yn son amdano yn ystod ei hymgyrch arweinyddol. Mae angen i ni wybod yn union am beth yr ydym yn ymgyrchu. Dydy dweud yn syml, "rydym yn cefnogi annibyniaeth... ond ddim eto" ddim yn ddigon da. Mae angen i ni allu dadlau yn effeithiol mai yr hyn yr ydym yn ei wneud yw symyd Cymru fyny llwybr tuag at lefel ffyniant mor uchel, bod annibyniaeth yn opsiwn go iawn i'r niferoedd. Os ydym am gyrraedd ein nod o rhyddhau ein cenedl o ddwylo'r Saeson, wedyn mae rhaid i ni wneud dylunio'r map yma yn flaenoriaeth ar ol Mai y 3ydd.


Osian Lewis

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post. We need something that works for Wales. We can't just say 'for Wales, see Scotland'. The point is when Carwyn Jones said that a) he didn't mean it and b) he was wrong!

If Scotland votes 'no' there also needs to be a Plaid reaction that is decisive and doesn't leave room for an identity crisis.

Plaid is a Welsh nationalist and Welsh socialist party and it isn't independence or nothing, the nation needs to be developed and enhanced whether it's as an independent state or before independence. Most Plaid voters have more pressing concerns than independence. And the work on how independence could function has simply never been done, by anyone.