“Flags don’t build houses”, said Jeremy Corbyn last year, criticizing Scottish nationalism and the SNP. Well, no, they don’t, but neither does an unelectable party, so swings and roundabouts really. But he does have a point: nationalism as a political framework doesn’t inherently support leftist values, or the working class, or is particularly anti-capitalist.
In fact, the strongest argument I hear against Celtic nationalism from the English left is that it doesn’t solve the foundational economic equality at the heart of class oppression in the UK. I’m a Welsh nationalist and I agree. But the left shouldn’t care about Celtic independence because it’s intrinsically anti-capitalist, because it’s not that – the left should care because leftist ideals should encapsulate anti-imperialism.
It is not only archaic history in which Wales has suffered. It is suffering now.
In 1965, after all but one Welsh MP opposed it, the village of Capel Celyn was flooded to create Llyn Celyn Reservoir from the Tryweryn valley for Liverpool City Council. The council had the ability to do this because the Act of Parliament giving them permission meant they didn’t need the support of local Welsh authorities. Throughout the early 20th century, children who spoke Welsh in classrooms received the cane, taught that their language was inferior, had their mother tongue ripped from them.
It is not only archaic history in which Wales has suffered. It is suffering now. Wales could be a world leader in clean energy like tidal power and wind, but we don’t have fully devolved powers over our own natural resources! I’m from Barry, in South Wales, a town home to a port that was once the largest coal exporting port in the world. The muscles of Welsh coal miners powered Britain through the industrial revolution. And now as a nation we are strangled by Westminster to retrieve ourselves out of the post-industrial bust we are left in.
The British union is not only morally objectionable, it just doesn’t work … … …
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