Clear Heads on Referendum

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THERE has been much talk of late of legislating for a referendum in the next Senedd term.

Plaid have promised to introduce such a referendum bill if they gain power in May’s Senedd election.

But, the latest figures on national identity in Wales suggest that any rush to a referendum might be a serious tactical mistake.

In a poll this week which asked about people’s national identity, only 45% of respondents put Welsh as their primary identity, with 41% opting for a primarily British identity and 6% identifying as primarily English.

It’s a shockingly low Welsh-identifying figure in reality, and it can be put into proper context by noting that 61% of respondents in Scotland identified themselves primarily as Scottish in the poll.

Referendums, as we all know after Brexit, are notoriously emotionally-charged, with people often choosing a side on the basis of their perceived identity.

A Welsh Independence Referendum at a time where 41% of people here still have more of a British identity would be a complete hostage to fortune.

A spokesperson for Gwlad said that caution and patience was much more likely to yield success in the long run.

‘As dedicated as we are to the need for Independence, calling an independence referendum too early would be a disaster for the national cause’ he said.

‘It would be much better to use the next Senedd term to improve the performance and competence of Y Senedd, and await developments elsewhere on these isles.’

It’s interesting to consider that some 25% of the population of Wales were born in England, but still prefer to hold on to a British identity.

Which goes to show how rooted and enduring this identity is in people’s lives here, although it could also be argued that it is used to negate any obligation to consider adopting a Welsh identity in their new home.

This British identity is not going anywhere soon, and it would surely be weaponised against the Welsh national cause in an early referendum.

That identity will only start to weaken after a Scotland wins its freedom, and there’s still no sign that is imminent right now.

Patience is a virtue in politics like in life itself.

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