Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1054/29532

From The Socialist newspaper, 4 September 2019

Austerity anger feeds movement for Welsh independence

8,000 marched for independence in Caernarfon, photo by Llewelyn2000/CC

8,000 marched for independence in Caernarfon, photo by Llewelyn2000/CC   (Click to enlarge)

In the second of our series of articles exploring Brexit and the 'national question' Dave Reid secretary of the Socialist Party in Wales examines the situation there.

The disillusionment among the Welsh working class with the political establishment was reflected in the 53% vote to leave the EU in 2016 and the current rising support for independence. All the Westminster-based parties that have implemented austerity have lost support in Wales.

Fundamentally this discontent is rooted in a near decade of austerity that has blighted the lives of millions and wiped out one third of public services. The disgust with the austerity parties and the Brexit impasse is reflected in both a rise in support for independence for Wales and paradoxically also support in some sections of the working class for the populist Brexit party whose leadership hides many of its right-wing anti-working-class policies.

Labour-managed Tory austerity

The Assembly is celebrating its 20th anniversary and Welsh Labour governments have been in power in Cardiff Bay since its inception. For half of that time they have presided over the most devastating cuts to public services in history, tamely implementing the cuts demanded by the Tories and Lib Dem Westminster governments.

And as well as the right-wing policies being pursued by Welsh Labour in the Senedd, Labour dominates Welsh councils that have implemented Tory cuts to local services.

The 'Left Behind'

The discontent with the main political parties and Labour in particular has been reflected in different movements within the working class especially within the depressed area of the South Wales valleys - the areas patronisingly referred to in the metropolitan press as 'Left Behind'.

These areas traditionally had big Labour majorities, and have been hit hardest by austerity, with Universal Credit just the latest attacks that have devastated living standards.

The Leave vote in the 2016 EU referendum, among the highest in the UK in these areas, was a reflection of the rejection of the political establishment and the status quo.

Rising support

The growing support for Welsh independence is also a reflection of a rejection of the Westminster elite. The Brexit gridlock in parliament has added to the general opposition to the status quo. Support for independence which dipped as low as 3% in 2014 is rising above the normal 12%. 8,000 marched for independence in Caernarfon and over 2,000 in Cardiff.

There is renewed positivity for independence in working class areas in the south. The marches revealed a new layer of 'indy-curious' working class and young people who are also interested in the ideas of socialism.

The vandalism of the memorial to Tryweryn, the village in North Wales flooded to provide water to England, has led its slogan, "Cofiwch Dryweryn" (Remember Tryweryn), to be spray painted on walls across Wales. Many of the fears that Wales is too economically poor to be independent have been pushed to one side as people fear that it cannot get any worse than it already is.

The support for independence is partly an indication of the feeling that devolution has failed. The Welsh government has weaker powers and far less resources than the Scottish parliament. Welsh Labour governments have merely managed the decline of the Welsh economy and the emasculation of public services.

One reflection of the discontent with the Welsh Assembly is a feeling among a layer of older workers that it is a waste of money. But a growing layer of young people want more autonomy and even independence to break away from austerity-ridden and corrupt Westminster.

The Indy movement is at an early stage but if Corbyn fails to win the general election and a Tory coalition were to hang on to power then the movement would gain even further momentum and support could rise rapidly to unprecedented levels across Wales.

If Corbyn wins and his government fails to carry through the reforms promised in his manifesto or continues the Tory cuts then equally there could be a rise in support.

A Corbyn government would have to contend with not just the bitter opposition of the British capitalist elite but with the Blairite saboteurs in his own government who together will try to thwart reforms by a Corbyn government.

Such a government would also give rise to new struggles by the working class and the trade union movement, but they would not necessarily cut across a rise in support for independence.

For a socialist Wales

Socialist Party Wales supports autonomy for Wales with a Welsh parliament that, with a socialist government, could break with Westminster austerity and pass measures to abolish Universal Credit in Wales, abolish zero-hour contracts, introduce a 12 an hour minimum wage, nationalise firms like Ford that threaten closures, and nationalise the commanding heights of the economy.

It could implement a socialist green programme to transition from polluting industries without loss of jobs and invest in providing jobs in green industries like tidal power.

Such a government would need to mobilise the working class in Wales to implement those policies in the teeth of opposition from British and international capital. It would also inspire similar movements in England and Scotland, if it were to succeed in transforming society.

This is in contrast to Plaid Cymru who call for an independent capitalist Wales. Plaid leader Adam Price has called for more tax cuts for the rich corporations in Wales to 'attract investment'. He has tried to create the illusion that Wales could emulate Ireland as a tax-free playground for the global corporations.

Plaid is riding high in the polls as support for independence or autonomy rises and a YouGov poll had the party leading Welsh Labour in polls for the Welsh Assembly.

But Plaid's deal in Brecon and Radnor to help the Lib Dems, partners in austerity crime with the Tories, shows that Plaid is not an anti-austerity party. Plaid councils have been just as bad as Labour councils in carrying out cuts.

If Jeremy Corbyn was to put forward a manifesto with socialist policies then it could cut through the scepticism with Labour in Wales and win a big majority of Welsh seats. Even a manifesto with radical policies similar to the 2017 manifesto could win a majority.

Socialist Party Wales calls for:

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 4 September 2019:


What we think

Tories out now - Corbyn in with socialist policies

Marches, blockades, strikes, occupations... How can protests win?


News

Money doesn't make up for cuts - education unions must organise for funding and against Tory attacks

Bury expelled from football league: Boot out the bosses ruining our game

Dozens of protests say Boris must go - Socialist Party policies heard on TV


Climate change

20 September climate action day: Strike to save the planet!

Climate action day - trade union round-up


Wales

Austerity anger feeds movement for Welsh independence


Retail

What strategy can end the retail jobs massacre?

Workplace victory emboldens retail workers to get organised


Workplace news

TUC: name the day for a mass demo

Nottingham college workers plan 15 days of walkouts

Science Museum Group staff strike over pay restraint

DVSA strike: action impacting

South Western Railway guards strike against DOO

London bus workers protest for better hours and conditions


International socialist news and analysis

Hong Kong protests: No let-up in trial of strength


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialist Party Youth and Student national meeting

Priced out of Pride

Bradford demo: Self-determination for Kashmir


Opinion

At 96 I'm more convinced of socialism than ever

The Socialist Inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 4 September 2019   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Wales:

triangleHuge opposition to Barry rehab ward closure

triangleBarry Hospital workers fight to save ward from closure

triangleWales: chronic NHS underfunding exposed

triangleWelsh government must block NHS privatisation or face workers' action

triangleWales NSSN: Support the Ford Bridgend workers - No Closure

Independence:

triangleCatalonia independence movement two years on

triangleScotland and Brexit: Developing threat to the capitalist union

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: National rights, independence, unity and socialism

triangleCatalonia: 1m marchers demand self-determination

Austerity:

triangleFilm review: Joker - Sympathising with a monster created by today's incendiary conditions

triangleEquity manifesto lays out anti-austerity model for arts

triangleSocialism: The alternative to capitalist austerity, low pay and crisis

Government:

triangleThem&Us

triangleCapitalist elite split - fight for a government in the interests of the working class

Brexit:

triangleEast London Socialist Party: The captialists' Brexit crisis and fighting for a pro-worker resolution

Socialist Party:

triangleHackney Socialist Party: Stop Turkey's military offensive on the Syrian Kurds!

Welsh Government:

triangleFord Bridgend workers vote to fight to save threatened plant

Universal Credit:

triangleWaltham Forest Socialist Party: Universal Credit - Universal Misery

Welsh Assembly:

triangleWelsh train fleet workers' victory

Scotland:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Cardiff:

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Is Britain democratic?

Ireland:

triangleBrexit theatrics continue

Ford:

triangleNSSN meeting determined to fight for Ford workers

South Wales:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Jeremy Corbyn:

triangleCorbyn promises 'power in the hands of workers' - how can Labour do it?

General election:

triangleCutting, lying Tories - kick them out!

Water:

triangleNationalisation is answer to Southern Water cover up

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

9/10/19

General election

Cutting, lying Tories - kick them out!

9/10/19

Brexit

Brexit theatrics continue

9/10/19

Labour

Corbyn promises 'power in the hands of workers' - how can Labour do it?

9/10/19

Labour

Labour and the fight for a shorter working week

9/10/19

Domestic violence

Cynical Tories' domestic violence bill not enough

9/10/19

Asda

Asda workers protest callous bosses

7/10/19

Tony Mulhearn

Tony Mulhearn 1939-2019

2/10/19

Brexit

Is a workers' Brexit deal possible?

2/10/19

Boris Johnson

Them&Us

2/10/19

Northern Ireland

Nationalisation only way to safeguard jobs and skills at Wrightbus

2/10/19

Tories

Battered Boris must go... and all the Tories with him!

30/9/19

Capitalist

Capitalist elite split - fight for a government in the interests of the working class

25/9/19

Thomas Cook

Nationalise to save jobs and protect passengers

25/9/19

Housing

Housing - bold, socialist measures necessary

25/9/19

Education

Labour votes to abolish academies and private schools

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999