(English) A Two-Capital Nation

Montenegro, a nation with two capitals, an 'official' capital and an 'honorary' capital. An example for Wales to consider

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  1. This suggestion has its attractions; for reasons both historical and geographical, Cardiff seems one hell of a long way from where I live, in Dyffryn Clwyd.

    I’m English by birth, but I spent my (now rather distant!) twenties and thirties in Wales – all in the south – and returned nearly four years ago to live here, but this time in the north. And my impression now is no different from my impression then: that the Welsh sense of identity – and in consequence the Welsh sense of patriotism – is entirely authentic, but it’s predominantly local. When most Welsh people – at least, those outside the committed political classes! – contemplate their sense of Welshness, most instinctively view it in the context of a local rather than a national sense of belonging.

    And here in the north, folk in and around Cardiff appear, at least to me, all too readily viewed as ‘them’ rather than ‘us’! Indeed, I think a case might be made for the proposition that, in certain parts of Wales, folk in Chester, Shrewsbury and Hereford are considered more ‘one of we’, as Radnorshire folk say, more than folk in distant Gwent and Glamorgan are.

    I think this suggestion is worth consideration. I’d just say that from a northern perspective I think the suggestion of Machynlleth as an ‘honorary’ second capital might be the better one. From the environs of Dinbych even Aberystwyth seems rather a long way away!

    1. Yes, I think that what you say is very true. It’s been an Achilles heel of the independence movement for a long time – the North fearing the economic dominance of the South, and the South fearing the cultural dominance of the North. That ‘mutual suspicion’ had subsided a lot by 1997, which is probably why the referendum result was so different from the one in 1979, but if anything the relentless Cardiff focus of the Welsh Government since then has made the problem worse again.

      It may be that having more than one capital – equal in status but different in function – could be a way of healing the rift for good; a ‘Welsh solution to a Welsh problem’. The challenge would be doing it without a splurge of frivolous spending on fancy new government buildings, which is why Aberystwyth and/or Llandudno Junction look attractive since they already have some.

      1. True enough – your concluding point is sound, and Machynlleth would presumably involve ‘starting from scratch’.

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