Support for independence up to a third

A staggering one in three Welsh people want independence, according to a poll in today's Wales on Sunday. Earlier this week 20% told a somewhat strangely worded Newsnight poll that they favour the break-up of the union. Both results are a huge increase on the mere 9.9% that backed separation in 1999.

This surge in support for independence has caught politicians by surprise. Plaid are used to watering down their secret separatist urges; now they'll have to reconcile the comeback of former leader Dafydd Wigley in this election campaign with newfound support for going alone. Wigley led Plaid into their best ever election performance in 1999 on a 'nationalists don't want independence' ticket. He's still on message, even if others in the party aren't so afraid of the 'i word' anymore.

Is it viable for Plaid's most popular politician to be at odds with the leadership (and now one third of the public) on the party's raison d'etre?

The poll leaves Labour in a pickle too. Each attack on Plaid as a threat to the union might actually send more voters over to the nationalists.

Wales now seems ready to at least talk about independence, even though politicians haven't yet been part of the conversation. Then again, a poll for the same newspaper recorded 52% support for independence in July last year. Should we not be discussing a 20% collapse in support for independence instead?

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posted by Blamerbell @ 1:06 pm,


At 7:49 pm, Anonymous seren said...

Your source for the Wigley quote is hardly reliable - Eaglestone is rabidly anti-Plaid (as you'd imagine as the Labour candidate for Ynys Môn). Wigley's references to self-government amount to the same thing as independence. The rest is semantics.

Perhaps the poll will encourage Plaid's leaders to be a little more outspoken.

By the way, I think the poll's sampling is flawed. But, if anything, that flaw would skew the result away from pro-independence views. Take a look at the analysis of the towns selected for polling herehere.

According to Wales on Sunday, no-one from the Valleys was polled. Not one between Tenby and Cwmbrân.

As this is the area with the highest percentage of Welsh-born and Welsh-identifiers, it's likely that they would have been more pro-independence than the good burgers of Chepstow, Newport and Monmouth, who *were* polled.

At 11:49 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"Wigley's references to self-government amount to the same thing as independence. The rest is semantics."

Hmmm. I wonder who it was who said Plaid had "never, ever advocated independence" then?

Clue: His surname is also an adjective

At 12:06 am, Anonymous seren said...

Well, I don't think that's true but how do you interpret self-government?
For me, Ireland has self-government (despite being part of the EU and something of a lapdog to US imperialism vis Shannon airport). On the other hand, Gibraltar doesn't, despite having an Assembly of some kind.
Self-government *is* more ambiguous than independence but still means we have the power to decide our own affairs completely.

At 12:21 am, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"Self-government *is* more ambiguous than independence but still means we have the power to decide our own affairs completely."

Not really. So goes the Wigley model of Welsh government:

"We shall have the right to have a person from the Assembly as a member of the UK team at the EU Council of Ministers when matters arise that are covered by the Assembly, for example agriculture.

"We won't have our own vote, but we but we will have the right to speak and that is a step forward as the Council of Ministers is behind closed doors and the decisions taken there can have a very far-reaching effect on Wales."

Doesn't sound to me like deciding one's own affairs completely.

At 10:17 pm, Anonymous seren said...

Oh dear. Wigley's version is crap - what we've got now. I take it all back about it just being semantics if that's his current line.

At 10:34 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

That's an old quote. You'd better hope he's changed his tune. He certainly hasn't put the record straight in the meantime.


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