On December 11th, 1282, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd was killed amidst the conflict with Edward I. Less than a year later, his brother, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, was hung, drawn, and quartered and dragged throught he streets of Shrewsbury–as final payment for what Edward perceived as the ultimate betrayal. The two men had been as close as brothers, once, and ended in epic hatred. In further retribution, Edward took all the signs of office–the true cross, the scepter, the crown–of the throne of Wales for himself. And he made sure his son, Edward II, was born at Caernarfon Castle (in 1284), so that Edward could name him the Prince of Wales. The heir to throne of England has been called the Prince of Wales ever since.
It has been 731 years since 1282. Is that too long a time to remember this? Has too much time passed for Welsh people to think independence is a reasonable thing to ask?
A 2007 BBC poll reported that 20% of the people of Wales backed independence, while 70% did not; this is in comparison to Scotland, where 32% of the population supported independence from England. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/6263807.stm
The ‘Acts of Union’ were passed in 1707, by Scotland’s and England’s parliaments (Wales, of course, had no say in the matter). When James VI of Scotland inherited the English crown after the death of Elizabeth I (1603) the two countries had been effectively joined, albeit with some resistance on the part of the Scots. That resistance continued through the final defeat at Culloden in 1745, at which point the English did to the highland Scots what they’d done to the Welsh 500 years before. http://www.britishbattles.com/battle_of_culloden.htm
The leader of the independence movement in Wales is Plaid Cymru, a political party. They say their aims are:
1) To promote the constitutional advancement of Wales with a view to attaining Full National Status for Wales within the European Union. 2) To ensure economic prosperity, social justice and the health of the natural environment, based on decentralist socialism. 3) To build a national community based on equal citizenship, respect for different traditions and cultures and the equal worth of all individuals, whatever their race, nationality, gender, colour, creed, sexuality, age, ability or social background. 4) To create a bilingual society by promoting the revival of the Welsh language. 5) To promote Wales’s contribution to the global community and to attain membership of the United Nations. http://www.plaidcymru.org/content.php?nID=1221;lID=1
Of the sixty members of the Welsh National Assembly, the purpose of which (from their own web site) “is a democratically elected body that represents the interests of Wales and its people, makes laws for Wales and holds the Welsh government to account.” There are 26 members of the Labour Party, 14 members for Plaid Cymru, 13 Welsh Conservative, and 6 Liberal Democrats. Wales is led by a ‘first minister’ who is appointed by the crown (Queen Elizabeth), putting the Welsh Assembly on equal footing with Scotland within the three states that make up Great Britain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Minister_for_Wales
The question for the Welsh boils down to two: 1) what are the consequences of becoming independent? and 2) what are the consequences of not?