What will this year’s referendum be? A triumphant Bannockburn which turns back proud Cameron’s army and sends him homeward to think again, or Culloden? One fact that the Scots like to gloss over is that there were as many Scots fighting alongside the English as were with the Bonnie Prince.
Whatever the result, how will it affect Wales? First let’s ponder how it will affect Scotland. If they vote for independence will they get a good deal or will Westminster try to put in conditions to make it difficult. The British Imperial power has always been good at that. In the end when forced to grant independence to a former colony they always try to make it unworkable. Remember the “Orange Card” that is still causing problems in Ireland. Could the split in India have been avoided if a well thought-out settlement had been available. Will London make demands of Scotland that will make meaningful independence impossible. What will happen if the “No” campaign win the day. There has been little talk of Devolution Max recently. Perhaps London believes that if they stop independence then there will be no need to give the Scots more power, they seem satisfied as they are.
What will happen in Wales? If Scotland votes for independence will that mean that London will give more power to the Welsh Assembly? That is what some people hope for; a handout from our masters to stop us going the same way as Scotland. But I fear that the opposite could be the case. We are always told that Scotland is different from Wales: they have their own legal system, their own educational system, they are a kingdom, we are only a ‘principality’. London may think having too much power will lead to us wanting more and that this is what went wrong in Scotland. We must always remember that the Welsh Assembly was set up by an Act of Parliament passed at Westminster, not as a constitutional right. If so it can be dissolved by an Act of Parliament. And that could be done without a referendum, no doubt.
If the Scots are wise they will see what lies ahead and make sure that it’s Bannockburn and not Culloden. But whatever happens in Scotland we in Wales should be prepared for our own battle. It does not mean that if Scotland refuses independence that Wales has no chance at all. What we need is a strong voice to keep telling the people of Wales that it is strong enough, rich enough and confident enough to be an independent state once more. This is not a new concept but merely the restoration of what was taken away from us by force of arms. I had once thought that Plaid Cymru would be that voice but now I fear that they have become assemblised and feel that nearly all their goals have been achieved. They need to reassert their nationalism and not look to being part of a coalition with Labour and certainly not the Conservatives, but a real alternative party with the vision to lead Wales into a new era. If the Scots choose Culloden then they should know what to expect but we in Wales can choose our own Bannockburn.
gan Clive Reid
“I have visited both battlefields. At Bannockburn the sun shone and the proud statue of the Bruce looked down in triumph. At Culloden it was a grey, cheerless day in keeping with the place. We watched the film at the visitor centre and then trod the bleak moor with its many burial sites for the fallen warriors of Charles Stuart’s army.”