Leanne Wood: Plaid Cymru Leader on independence

Leanne Wood, leader of the Welsh national party Plaid Cymru. Picture: Contributed
Leanne Wood, leader of the Welsh national party Plaid Cymru. Picture: Contributed
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EMPOWER yourself and the world sits up and takes notice says Leanne Wood, Leader of Plaid Cymru

All of a sudden, outsiders have started taking an interest in your country. It seems that almost daily a bandwagon of naysayers strolls into one of Scotland’s towns or cities to tell you that you’re incapable, somehow innately inferior and powerless.

It’s as if they fail to spot the irony of the timing of their sudden-discovered interest in Scotland. Shamefully from a Welsh perspective even Wales’ first minister took time away from his day job of excuse-peddling at home to join in on the unionist parachute visits northward.

Fortunately he’s just about as notable a figure in Aberdeen as Labour’s leader in Scotland is in Aberystwyth. But his visit and those of his managers are representative of the fact that Scotland is being taken seriously because Scotland has decided to assert itself with confidence, to reflect on its own future, its place in the world and the society it wants to build according to its own values.

My visit to Scotland this week is not yet another snap visit to lecture or to talk down to you. Your destiny is in your hands.

I am of the firm conviction that the re-establishment of an independent Scottish state would be in my country’s interests. Our (independent) Celtic cousins in Ireland are among Wales’ most important trading partners and a self-empowered, prosperous Scotland would force an economic rebalancing in these islands that would provide unprecedented opportunities for businesses and job creation in all our nations.

And it would mean a political rebalancing where finally a partnership based on equality and mutual respect could be the basis for new national friendships in the British Isles.

Between now and September you’ll hear repeated promises of jam tomorrow provided you vote the way London tells you. It is worth sharing with you, however, our experience of false promises in Wales.

Wales was promised further meaningful devolution by the unionist establishment and a cross-party commission was convened to make recommendations the next steps of Wales’ national journey. The Party of Wales engaged fully with this process and acted in good faith.

Instead of implementing the recommendations of a commission that they themselves created, the UK Government decided to cherry-pick the recommendations that they found palatable.

Wales has been offered tax powers but without the ability to exercise those powers if Wales gained a competitive advantage over other parts of the UK as a result of having them.

The lessons from our experiences in Wales suggest that London offers of jam tomorrow evaporate before we even get to open the jar.

The sudden outside interest in Scotland has occurred because Scotland has empowered itself with the choice over its own future.

A Yes vote in September will mean that the people of Scotland will be empowered forever.