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A personal take on the Scottish Referendum – from a Welsh patriot and a Scottish nationalist

May 18, 2014

By guest writer Siôn R. Williams

 

I am, as those who know me best will tell you, an optimist by nature. A realist, a pragmatist, but essentially, an optimist. That is part of the reason that I am grateful to be part of this great journey towards independence that Scotland has embarked on, and optimistic that the goal of independence can be won – despite all the obstacles placed in our way including the lies, scheming and manipulation of our opponents and the blatant prejudices of the state broadcaster. Despite the distortions and tricks with mirrors, I firmly believe that independence is achievable by Scotland. And this will be gained without a shot being fired in anger – but rather won by a sovereign people who know that they will be governed better by their own folk (of whatever political party), and that is they, the sovereign people who will so choose and not be lumbered with some remote, uncaring, arrogant, self-serving corrupt buffoons who pontificate in Westminster; a cabal who seek only self-aggrandisement and not the service of the people they purport to represent.

They are a clique which leads your nation into wars that you did not support, which imposes an unfair tax against the national will, which punishes the weakest and poorest members of society, which, in order to maintain its self-delusion of greatness, maintains weapons of mass destruction on the Clyde and although it has no mandate for these things, also pursues the myth that you have the best of both worlds if you remain associated within this disreputable charade of Union. They plunder your resources and return you crumbs from their high table – snorting in derision at your seeming incapacity to govern yourselves. They are also well-served by their pet babus; the latter keen to sacrifice their dignity, their self-respect, their Scottishness on the high altar of the British State and “self-first” ideology.

On purely moral grounds alone, one would expect the YES to independence vote to carry without a problem. Be in no doubt that if it does, these islands will never be the same again. We in Wales will be lifted by the jubilant feelings of the new, independent nationhood that our cousins in Scotland have by then won for themselves. Why, if they can do it – then we *can* and *will* be next. The idea of being self-governing is surely the strongest aphrodisiac that any individual who has a pride in his/her nation can hold – liberty, freedom and justice for our people is what we seek, and the closing of a democratic deficit where our representatives truly represent and are accountable to us, the sovereign people of this, our nation.

Again, I revert to the personal. Part of the pleasure of being part of the Scottish democratisation process is being able to learn from it. Learn from it and feed back positive lessons learnt from the experience in order to further our own struggle for political maturity and desire for independence back home. You have given me and many of my compatriots extra hope already, Scotland. We dare to dream our dreams of furthering our own independence. Too often dismissed, like yourselves of being too small, too poor, too stupid to be able to stand on our own two feet, the clarion call of independence which sounds in Stirling can and must also resound in Carnoustie as in Cardiff, in Aberdeen as in Aberystwyth.

We have challenges, to be sure, not least a need to be a little more politically mature, adroit and forward thinking. These things we should recognise in the Scottish movement for freedom. Yet that is not so say that a YES for Scotland is a YES for one political party, nor indeed for one individual. You are sufficiently canny in Scotland to know this – and it is a lesson that must be taken aboard by my compatriots. Too often we have been seen as feuding amongst ourselves, sometimes trying ‘out-nat’ each other and to claim a monopoly on ‘the national question’ when we should have and indeed should be concentrating our fire on the common enemy.

Let us also build on already promising links that we share between us as Scots and Welsh. Friendship, camaraderie and a will to co-operate should be key elements in our struggle. When we can pool our knowledge and ideas, establish common aims, strategies and tactics, learn from each others’ experiences, I firmly believe that we can be strong together. Post independence, both nations will be the best of friends to each other, key allies in an ever-changing world.

The goal of full independence for that both ancient and modern nation of Scotland is near at hand. I am grateful to you for permitting me to be part of your exciting journey towards that noble and indeed natural, aspiration. This path is also a self-revelatory journey for me, and an opportunity for Wales to acknowledge the bigger picture; to look outside her borders and see for herself what destiny is possible for herself.

Know then, Scotland, that both I and many of my compatriots are cheering you onwards to your date with destiny whence once more you will be free. My hand of friendship is offered with deepest sincerity. What help I can give, I will strive to give it to the best of my ability. I am confident too that once independence is won from Jedburgh to John O’Groats, from Forfar to Fort William, then you too will look to us and further aid our own struggle for liberty, away from the shackles of Westminster – and I thank you for it.

Alba&Cymru

 

Read more by Siôn R. Williams here

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6 Comments
  1. Firstly I’d like to welcome and thank my first official guest blogger, the multi-talented and multi-lingual Siôn R. Williams, for this excellent and clearly heartfelt piece which The Babel Fish Blog is delighted and proud to publish today. It is an honour to have you with us in our struggle Siôn and I will be honoured to be a part of yours.

    I think it would not be too presumptuous of me to say that I speak for many of my fellow Scots when I say that we hold our Welsh brothers and sisters in deep affection. For me this is entirely literal, as my father and I moved there when I was 14 and I lived there for two years. My father remained there until his death in 2001. He was a member of Plaid Cymru. My younger sisters were born and brought up there, speak Welsh, and live there still, along with numerous other family members including an Uncle and Aunt and a large contingent of cousins, as well as some dear friends.

    Thank you once again Siôn for your article and for your support in our journey to independence. When it is won you may be assured that amongst the international family of nations the people of Wales will have no greater friend and ally than Scotland.

    Cymru Rydd!

  2. Honoured and humbled to be here, too. Many thanks/Diolch yn fawr.

  3. Tern permalink

    the state broadcaster has shown no prejudiced keenness at all to help make known in Scotland a humanitarian shocker that impacts many and probably most families.
    You say Yes should win morally. What then is moral about a citizenship policy that refuses to guarantee the citizenship of the Scottish children born elsewhere, e.g. in rUK, to parents who emigrated? Ever since the White Paper came out, the Yes side and even the left wing Yes parties have been avoiding this question, either ignoring it or just saying read the White Paper. Until today, thanks to an electoral commission enquiry about registrable campaigning, the policy officer for migration + citizenship Nickola Paul confirmed what all the previous avoidance had always indicated and faithful Yes supporters often refused to believe. “Legislation would be made to establish detailed rules for Scottish citizenship in time for independence including both the evidence required and any discretionary elements. Therefore further details of the procedural requirements and administration of the relevant rules in relation to Scottish citizenship applications will be available when the legislation is drafted”. Saying it is explicit policy to refuse to tell us before the vote that thee citizenships will be secure and won’t be discretionarily refusable. Already in taking the question to Yes meetings I have 3 times encountered shockingly racist anti-outsider attitudes from prominent figures favouring that they should be refusable.
    This is a new Clearances. To vote for our country’s nationalism means to vote for more of what was done to us historically, for a new power of purging our country of its people and dividing families, in breach of ECHR article 8. Dividing families is a practical humanitarian matter of daily life it is not romanticism. Under the global apartheid of national citizenships, if the British or European common travel areas break down, citizenship means who can live in each country. When folks moved to rUK, sometimes reluctantly under economic pressure, they never anticipated their own nationalists threatening their kids with this!! This is not moral this is worse than UKIP.
    Yes supporting journalists Lesley Riddoch and Iain Macwhirter, and SNP minister Mike Russell, were all exile born. The question why then they support Yes is for them to answer, I have asked: are they naive enough about politicians to blot out belief that the power would ever be used badly, or do they not care about the route home for others like themselves? Also exile born was former Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Wigley, who Salmond used to appear on election phone-ins with in the 90s, and it is from that Welsh link already that it stands well recorded that Salmond is totally aware that this type of family mobility exists.
    So put this in your Welsh context. Under the union, and under any morally right nationalism, Scots born in Wales can live in Scotland, and Welsh born in Scotland can live in Wales. Under the horror of the closed community anti-outsider xenophobia now an emergency to the decent life of Scottish families, you would have Scots born in Wales who want to live in Scotland instead imprisoned against their will in Wales, and Welsh born in Scotland who want to live in Wales instead imprisoned against their will in Scotland. Will that make for friendly feelings? Which of these prospects is liberty? and which is national oppression?

    • I have encountered this argument before, and discussed it at length in one of the Facebook debate groups with someone with a remarkably similar writing style to your own. Let me firstly state my personal interest in the issue. I am an exile. I have lived in Australia for many years, as a dual national. I have two Australian-born adult children (19 and 22) with an Australian mother. I wonder how carefully you have examined the current situation with regards to British citizenship. I have looked into it, only to find that due to a discriminatory provision (the details of which we needn’t go into here) my kids are not entitled to apply for British citizenship.

      So, as you might imagine, I read that section of the white paper very carefully indeed, to see how it would affect the rights of my kids. And guess what? Under the white paper proposals, they will be eligible to apply for Scottish citizenship. Yes, the Scottish government is seeking to include an element of discretion. However, you write as though no such discretion currently applies to British citizenship. It does. And it has been used to directly discriminate against my kids’ citizenship and residency rights. If the white paper proposals are implemented this injustice will be corrected.

      However, there is one thing which has to be acknowledged which may affect the outcome, and in particular the provision which has you worried – the Constitutional Convention. This is to be convened following a ‘Yes’ vote, and prior to independence. You and I can nominate to be a part of that convention, and I will certainly be doing so. I will be arguing that citizenship rights are properly a matter for the convention, and for inclusion in the constitution.

      So do you have a valid concern here? Well, on my reading of the white paper (and I’m rarely wrong about such things, I’m the best bush lawyer in the business), no you don’t. But you don’t need to rely on my advice. You have made two statements in your comment which prove conclusively that your concern is an imaginary one.

      1. You open your comment by stating,
      “the state broadcaster has shown no prejudiced keenness at all to help make known in Scotland a humanitarian shocker that impacts many and probably most families.”
      Well, there you go right there. Anyone who has spent any time following the independence debate will be aware that the BBC is the official mouthpiece of the ‘No’ campaign. Unashamedly! If there was anything in this, anything at all, anything that could possibly be spun into a negative for the ‘Yes’ campaign, we can be completely confident that the BBC would have done so by now. If this was a real issue, damaging to the ‘Yes’ case or damaging specifically to the SNP, we can be absolutely sure that it would have been all over our TV screens ever since the white paper was published.

      2. You later state that the proposal would be,
      “…in breach of ECHR article 8.”
      Well, that makes it very simple then. Scotland, as part of the UK, is already a signatory to the ECHR, Scots domestic law has been amended to comply with it, so if the proposed legislation (assuming the Constitutional Convention doesn’t reserve that power to itself anyway) is in breach of the ECHR, then that legislation cannot stand. It would be invalid. Problem solved.

      Furthermore, I can give you one more assurance that any discretionary provision will not be misused, and that is that I will not allow it. It will not stand. I was quite prepared to take my case, my kids’ case, to the ECJ when it was a matter of British citizenship. They will have their citizenship one way or another. Because you see, I didn’t go to Eton. Or Oxbridge. So my level of real influence in the UK is effectively zero. If the Westminster government proposes something I believe to be wrong, there’s not a great deal (apart from the ECJ) I can do about it. But if a Scottish government in Holyrood proposes something I believe to be wrong, then it’s not bloody well happening. Full stop. End of. That is a cast iron guarantee, you can take it to the bank. If you encounter any real life problems, you may contact me. I will get it sorted. That is the great advantage of living in a country on a human scale, where your influence is based on your talents, knowledge and intellect, and not on who your father was. That is the country I want to live in, and the country which by hook or by crook, I will live in!

      One thing I’m getting a little tired of in this whole debate is people like yourself coming up with what are often fairly obscure technical points about the white paper proposals. Then making frankly absurd claims, like ‘new clearances’ for example. That sort of hyperbole doesn’t serve the debate. There is no escape from the very simple fact that in the referendum we are not voting on any of the proposals contained in the white paper. We are voting on one thing and one thing only. Should Scotland be an independent country? Everything else can be sorted out later. By the Scottish people, as is right and proper, and not by anyone else. If you are unhappy with a particular proposal, whichever party it may come from, then don’t support it. Vote for someone else. And if you can’t support any of the candidates, then get off your erse and stand yourself! BE THE CHANGE!!!

  4. tern permalink

    Then BBC won’t want to risk that airing the issue prompts Yes to clarify its position as desired so that it becomes an outcome in Yes’s favour. Taking it up carries that risk for them.
    Point of the White Paper is to give us some info to vote on instead of having no idea what we are voting for, that’s why they wrote it.
    How will you personally veto our govt from doing anything you believe to be wrong, are you the First Minister?

    • “Then BBC won’t want to risk that airing the issue prompts Yes to clarify its position as desired so that it becomes an outcome in Yes’s favour. Taking it up carries that risk for them.”

      So you suspect that if such a clarification was given, it would meet with your approval then? So surely to withhold your vote from the ‘Yes’ camp for that reason alone would be particularly pointless.

      “How will you personally veto our govt from doing anything you believe to be wrong, are you the First Minister?”

      Not yet. 😉

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