Celtic Dominoes – The Sottish Vote, Cornish Autonomy and Welsh Independence

Under the headline “Cornwall Should Have Same Powers As Independent Scotland”, the website “WestBriton” is reporting on the latest fallout from the movement toward Scottish Independence. Recent press reports show a clear consensus emerging that an Independent Scotland, or a close vote, would have knock on effects on the nationalist sentiments of the remaining two Celtic nations, Cornwall and Wales, which are now part of the United Kingdom (setting aside the problematic Ulster).

News organs have been laden with poll results showing that a majority of Welsh would not support an independent Wales. These poll results can easily be put aside at this juncture because to accept them would require an analysis of the poll’s questions and who massaged the data. It is a different bowl of porridge to consider Welsh independence in the wreckage of a United Kingdom facing an Independent Scotland.

The Cornish National Party (Mebyon Kernow), as reported by WestBrion.com, are set to present a blueprint for the establishment of a National Assembly of Cornwall.  The MK have announced the pending release of a manifesto entitled “Towards A National Assembly Of Cornwall”.  Dick Cole, Leader of MK is quoted in the article: “ The document sets out how a (Cornish) National Assembly, with powers broadly equivalent to the Scottish Parliament, would bring the majority of the public sector within Cornwall – including local government, educational institutions, health bodies and other public bodies – under proper democratic control.”  Notably absent from this quote by Mr. Cole is reference to the Celtic tongue of Cornwall. It is, however, the position of the MK to “...Support increased investment in the Cornish language (Kernewek) and all aspects of Cornish culture and heritage”.

It is evident, based on the raging conflict in Ireland over the government’s lack of support for the language described in the recent Transceltic Blog “ Irish Language Crisis – Language Commissioner Condemns Dublin – “Strategy Afoot To Do Away With What’s Left of Irish”, that an independent Celtic state does not guarantee the survival of its  Celtic language and culture. 

Meanwhile this week the website of The Guardian has a lengthy and provocative article which speculates on an independent Wales under the headline “Could Wales Leave The United Kingdom – Talk of Independence Is Growing – And The Referendum in Scotland 2014 Is Eagerly Awaited.  But Could Wales Really Break Free From England – And Stand On Its Own”. The article examines the impact of an independent Scotland on Welsh Nationalism.  Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales who has come out publicly against Scottish Independence and who is labeled by the Guardian as  “..the Labour party’s most powerful British politician”,  is quoted speculating on the impact of an independent Scotland.  

The Guardian goes on to quote John Osmond, Director of the Institute of Welsh Affairs, a think-tank based in Cardiff which describes itself as “..dedicated to promoting the economic, social and cultural well being of Wales”.   Osmand comments on strengthening Welsh identity and how this could lead to majority support for Welsh independence:  "It's now possible for Welsh people to think of themselves as genuine citizens of Wales. Don't get me wrong: Welsh people have always felt their Welshness intensely. But until this generation, they felt it in ways that prevented them having any sense of unity around the idea of Wales. They felt their Welshness very strongly in terms of language – but that divided them, because it depended on whether you spoke it. They felt it in terms of a strong sense of place – but that didn't mean Wales, it meant specifically where you're from, which again was divisive. But a civic identity is something people share equally. That's what Scots have always had, whereas the Welsh have never had it until now. People have a new sense of what it is to be Welsh ... And, on the whole, they like it."

Elin Jones who is a frontrunner in the contest for leadership of Plaid Cymru, the National Party of Wales which advocates Welsh independence, is quoted by The Guardian in the same article speculating on the impact of the Scottish vote on the Welsh independence movement: “If Scotland becomes an independent country, the UK ceases to exist. You get a combination of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Now, is that a country? Well, no, it's definitely not a country. Is it a state? It's so imbalanced that you couldn't make it up if you were starting from scratch. All that calls into question a huge number of issues about the future of what might be left, post-2014…I want to see us define a route map for independence in Wales. Two consecutive Plaid Cymru victories in an election could trigger an independence referendum. That could happen as early as 2020."

Thus, each in it's own way, the articles above point to a shift in the public discourse on the future of the Celtic Nations of Britain. It took the Anglo Saxons centuries to defeat and occupy the Celtic peoples that share the Island.  Time will tell if how long it might take for Celts to take it back.



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