A guest post by Aled Gwyn Jôb
In just under a month’s time, thousands of Welsh rugby fans will be making the journey up north to Edinburgh to follow the national team.
The “Scottish Trip” has always been THE rugby trip for Welsh fans based on the great rapport and kinship that exists between them and their Scottish hosts.
“Yr Hen Ogledd” part of the appeal of the journey
Scotland also has a very warm place in Welsh hearts because of “Yr Hen Ogledd”- that part of southern Scotland which once featured 7 Bryttonic Kingdoms, whose inhabitants all spoke an early form of modern Welsh- Rheged, Elmet, Galwyddel, Aeron, Bryneich, Gododdin and Ystrad Clyd. Indeed two of the earliest Welsh poets, who produced some of the most dramatic poetry in the nation’s long history, Aneurin and Taliesin, were both based in Yr Hen Ogledd.
On their way up to Caeredin (Edinburgh) in March, Welsh fans will be passing through two of the most extensive of these old kingdoms, Rheged and Ystrad Clyd (modern day Strathclyde)- the last of the seven to fall in the late 11th century, with these areas equating to modern day Lanarkshire, Stirlingshire, Ayrshire, Argyll and Dumfries and Galloway as well as Cumbria and the Western Pennines in England.
The journey is always a vivid reminder of the reach that Welsh once had on these islands, the longevity and durability of the language and the cultural heritage that we share with a large part of modern Scotland.
A new story to share on this year’s road trip
But, on this year’s road trip, we’ve also got a new story to share with our Scottish friends. A story about how Scotland’s drive for independence has inspired our own national ambitions here in Cymru. The resounding success of YES Scotland presenting the case for independence on grass-roots level over the past few years has now been emulated here in in Wales with over 50 YES Cymru groups in existence throughout the nation, with the vast majority of these based on a community level, thus tapping in to the identification with the local which is still such a feature of Welsh life today.
We’ve also got a brand new pro-independence party to talk about in the form of Ein GWLAD (our nation). This party is the first ever syncretic/hybrid party to be set up in Wales or the rest of these isles for that matter.
Pragmatism and practical policies in place of ideology
In making the case that ideology, either on the left or the right can often be a hindrance as far as pragmatic and common sense policies are concerned, the party is willing to consider ideas from across the political spectrum as long as those ideas will benefit Cymru and her people.
Ein GWLAD are also breaking new ground with their own dedicated News Portal, which produces news stories and opinion pieces about Wales and Welsh political life on a daily basis: http://www.eingwlad.wales/NewsPortal. This is the first news portal of its type ever to be produced by a political party on these isles, and it is already garnering a significant amount of traffic and interest in the party’s message.
Manifesto drawn up after consultation with members and supporters
The scale of Ein GWLAD’s ambitions can be seen in the fact that the party is launching its manifesto for the 2021 Welsh Election a few days before the Scottish trip, two years before the actual election- a manifesto which has been drawn up on-line following consultations with party members and supporters.
And that’s not the end of it either as far as new political developments in Wales are concerned. Last week, a new socialist grouping calling for Independence for Wales was formed here. UNDOD (Unity) hope to put the case that any future independence for Wales needs to be predicated on socialist answers to the nation’s deep and longstanding social and economic problems.
This grouping will also no doubt come up with some interesting and innovative suggestions to develop Wales for the future, and add to the fast growing and flowering of democratic debate that we are at last starting to see here.
New entities show the genuine need for change
The emergence of UNDOD also puts paid to the suspicion aired in some quarters that the formation of Ein GWLAD was just a case of unthinking frustration amongst some disgruntled Plaid supporters, destined to go nowhere. Rather, it shows that there is a genuine call for change in Wales from all directions – beyond what the establishment parties in Cardiff Bay can deliver. YES Cymru, Ein GWLAD and UNDOD can all play their part in delivering this change.
Scotland- you are not on your own any more in your bid for independence!
A book outlining the process of forming Ein GWLAD, over a year between the autumn of 2017 and late summer 2018 has just been published. “Gwlad!, Gwlad? – An Invitation To A Party” by Aled Gwyn Job is published by i2i Publications for £9.99 and is available in book shops and on-line