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What is Independence?

In the Western Mail on Friday, Rhodri Glyn Thomas claimed that independence was “a concept that no-one fully understands”. I can’t say for sure whether he genuinely doesn’t understand what independence is or if he just said this as a way of justifying his opposition to it … though I suspect the second is much more likely to be true.

Independence is a very simple concept, and nobody should have any trouble understanding what it is. Here are just some examples, though I could provide many more:

Slovenia used to be part of Yugoslavia, but became independent in June 1991 and became a member state of the United Nations in May 1992. It then became a member state of the European Union in May 2004.

Estonia used to be part of the USSR, but became independent in August 1991 and became a member state of the United Nations in September 1991. It too became a member state of the European Union in May 2004.

Slovakia used to be part of Czechoslovakia, but became independent in July 1992 and became a member state of the United Nations in January 1993. And it too became a member state of the European Union in May 2004.

Montenegro used to be part of Serbia and Montenegro (and of Yugoslavia before that) but became independent in May 2006 and became a member state of the United Nations in June 2006.

South Sudan used to be part of Sudan, but became independent in July 2011 and became a member state of the United Nations five days later.

Independence is moving from the position of being a constituent part of a larger state to being able to represent our own national interests directly on the international stage in organizations such as the UN and EU. No nation can become a member of either one or both of these organizations unless they are independent, so for virtually all practical purposes this acts as the definition of what independence is.

One part of the smokescreen that Rhodri Glyn and others like to put up is that independence and interdependence are somehow mutually exclusive. That’s silly. All independent countries are interdependent to a greater or lesser degree. On the positive side they can agree to trade with each other, cooperate with each other, make treaties and international agreements with each other, and sometimes pool aspects of their sovereignty with each other. On the negative side they will sometimes choose not to trade with certain countries, to impose sanctions or not to have diplomatic relations with them, or even go to war.

This is all part of the responsibility of being an independent nation. We will be able to make these decisions for ourselves to suit our national interests and our sense of what’s right and wrong.

http://www.syniadau.cymru/2011/12/what-is-independence.html

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