WITH the momentum for Welsh Independence building up a head of steam, one can only intuit that real change is in the air.
The pace of this change suggest that the political landscape of Wales could well be transformed beyond recognition over the next couple of years.
In such a scenario, it’s more than likely that new players will appear on the pitch to capitalise on the demand for a whole new way of doing politics in Wales.
And at the Welsh Election in 2021, for the first time ever, Welsh voters favouring independence will have another pro-independence party to vote for, in the shape of GWLAD, GWLAD.
After spending a year building up an on-line presence by means of a news portal, Twitter and Facebook, Wales’s new pro-independence political party are now ready to take their message to communities the length and breadth of Wales.
This week, at the National Eisteddfod in Llanrwst, an interview was held with GWLAD’s Interim Leader, Gwyn Wigley Evans.
1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself in the first place, your personal background and so on?
Well, I was brought up in Bro Ddyfi near Machynlleth and i’m very proud of that. I’ve also lived in Colwyn Bay, London, Aberdyfi, and Llanddeiniol.
As far as my working life is concerned, I’ve travelled all over the world working in the textiles field, supplying companies like Marks and Spencer and Mothercare and BHS, working in countries such as Austria, Switzerland, China and Macedonia. I’m still involved in textiles and I also farm part-time in Llanddeiniol and Aberdyfi.
2. Would it be right to assume that this real-world, lived experience, as opposed to our professional class of politicians, is a key theme for GWLAD?
Yes, it is. We are a diverse group of people with a wide range of experiences. We are not your average politicos!
We also make a point of getting around to talk to people on a grass-roots level to know what’s going on in people’s lives. We’re not part of the ‘bubble’ down in Cardiff Bay which means we are better placed to understand people’s concerns here.
3. What about the point that Wales already has a nationalist party in Plaid? Does Wales actually need another nationalist party?
Well, in an European context, we are well behind im this respect. Catalunya has five independence parties, the Basque Country has four. These parties can work together when need be, but they can all appeal to different segments of the national movement in their countries, so the cause is stronger all round.
And let’s get real here – Plaid, after 90 years of existence, only appeal to 10% of Welsh voters. How long do we have to wait?! GWLAD don’t need to chase that vote, we’ve got another 90% to appeal to. And let’s not forget that 50% of the Welsh population never vote in Welsh Elections. There’s a huge disillusioned and fed-up audience out there we can hopefully tap into with our new approach to things.
4. Can you give us a taster of some of GWLAD’s key policies?
Well, we believe that Wales needs radical change. The present system is broken. It can’t be fixed. That means new ideas are a must. Our main idea is a Citizen’s Income to be provided for all citizens here. You could liken this to a trampoline if you like, to enable the people of Wales to aim higher, to start new businesses, new enterprises, new ventures, safe in the knowledge that they have a base income to support them whilst they go for it.
We also want to introduce a flat tax system to coincide with the Citizen’s Income, as is in place in several small countries in Europe. For instance in Macedonia, this rate is 10%. It makes the tax gathering process simpler and easier to negotiate. We believe these two policies together can help Wales become more prosperous.
They will also help us build up our home-grown businesses who will not abandon Wales for greener pastures as we’ve seen with so many multi-nationals here over the years.
5. Would it be the case that GWLAD would seek to disperse power from Cardiff Bay to all parts of Wales?
Certainly. There’s this massive disconnect between Cardiff Bay and the rest of Wales. This has got to be addressed. We want to see government departments working smartly in different parts of Wales. We want to see power brought down to communities, so that local people who know what the issues are and we want them to have the capability to exercise more power in their lives.
6. How would you tackle the problem of public money being wasted and squandered in Wales?
That’s a huge issue. We’ve got to work in a leaner but better way in Wales. Throwing money at problems is not the answer. We need a more measured approach to find out what the issues are and see whether these can be resolved in the first place.
Remember, this is Welsh taxpayers’s money! it’ s not Cardiff Bay’s money to spend on their pet projects – and we need to respect that and act accordingly.
7. So what’s the next step for GWLAD?
Well, we’re happy that we’ve established a clear on-line presence last year. But that’s not enough. There’s nothing like talking to people face to face in their own communities. Listening to them and considering their ideas. That is at the heart of the GWLAD project: engaging with people where they are.
And that’s the next phase for us now. And it can’t start a minute too soon since the Welsh Elections will soon be upon us!