The translated lyrics are:
End of the useless talking,
Enough of the stupid wars,
Is my goal,
Can't disagree with that.
I wonder how long Elin Jones can hold a death growl?
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End of the useless talking,
Enough of the stupid wars,
Is my goal,
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I find myself asking: what are these differences which are apparently so fundamental as to positively compel a completely different constitutional settlement and yet which cannot be described – by anyone?
What are the differences between Wales and England and why do they warrant a separate constitutional settlement?
I’m sorry I’ve only just got around to seeing this, as a reply now seems somewhat tardy. However, since I’ve never before had a question named after me (and probably won’t again) I feel it’s in order.
I’m really pleased that you’ve given this answer, but I should add at the start of my reply (because, I’m sorry to say, this is a very long reply) that it wasn’t really the question I posed. What I was really seeking illumination on was: what is different about the Welsh as a people such that their own separate state is the optimum moral or practical solution? It is a subtle difference, but to my mind an important one. It strikes me that to be a nationalist one has to have some sort of conception of particularity or specialness of the people who comprise the nation in question: after all, if one didn’t believe that something that defined their group, it could not surely be a group?
It seems to me that this “root” question – what is special/different about the Welsh as a people – has to be addressed before any others. If not, you fall into the same circular trap that your response does at times (i.e Wales is different, therefore we should be treated differently). The problem with such circular argument is that it is incapable of deducing cause from correlation, and hence can’t get to the nub.
Your first “exhibit” – voting patterns - is a case in point. Wales’s more left-wing leanings are surely a function, not a cause, of an idea of Welsh peculiarity. Merely saying “Wales is a [more] centre-left nation” is a statement of bald psephological fact – it doesn’t address why this is so. There is another serious grievance with this in that, by only looking at nation-level voting patterns, you come up with the answer you want. The north east of England, for example, is an even more Labour-leaning part of the UK than Wales. So is the north west. Does this mean that both have a case to become separate states? What about Yorkshire and the Humber, which was more Labour-leaning until recently? What happens if Wales continues along the pattern of the last couple of elections (don’t forget that the Conservatives topped the poll in Wales in 2009) and exhibits a greater proclivity to vote Tory? Conversely, what about those parts of Wales, like the north east and south east coastal strips, that behave very much like (your notion of) England? Why should they be lumped in with the valleys and urban areas that vote Labour much the same as former coalfield areas and cities in England do? Welsh voting patterns, if you break it down, are a function of very conventionally British socio-economic factors, albeit operating counter-cyclically to the "mother" polity at times.
You say that Welsh and Scottish nationalism are less Eurosceptic than English and British nationalism. Perhaps so, but given all of those, with the exception of Scottish nationalism, are (presently) marginal electoral forces, I’m not sure what this helps to establish. The Welsh as a people appear to be only slightly less Eurosceptic than the English, and the embrace of Scottish and Welsh nationalism of Europe was, as we know, a tactical move, designed (in the sentiment of Dafydd Wigley) to remove the taint of separatism. It nonetheless raises an important question about a movement that wants independence from the British union but is outwardly enthusiastic about ceding a very large amount of independence to the European Union. But that’s probably for another discussion.
On public services, I think you have half a point. But this is difference born or Welsh relative rurality or sparsity of population. Any modern and intelligent constitutional settlement ought to be capable of adjusting policy to reflect such physical differences. Moreover, it’s only true in some parts of Wales. In others, there is the concentration of population much like urban areas of England. Surely what we need is not a choice between an all-UK approach or an all-Wales approach, but something that reflects the local reality? We need a more localist approach than either a centralised British or Welsh state can offer.
You then go onto suggest that “middle-Wales” is less upwardly-mobile and public-sector facing. Even if this is so, most agree that Wales needs a larger and more dynamic private sector, so the aspiration here is to be more like England, not less. Your point about prams and Adare street is a good one, but I don’t think this is to do with social leveling – it is merely a product of the fact that Wales is a country of 3 million rather than 60 million. Besides, didn’t I see pictures of David Cameron pushing a pram down his local high street recently?
As for Welsh social egalitarianism, I suspect this is more a working-class and less a national thing. Again, I’d suggest a comparison with England’s ex-coalfield areas, as well as her upland farming areas might be illuminating. I don’t believe the Welsh have a different idea about the type of people who ought to sit at the top table - in fact, what is striking about devolved politics is how often it seems to mimic British politics.
You are right that the composition of the Welsh economy is different from that of England’s. Actually, to be more accurate, it is different from London’s in the way you describe (England, by the way, doesn’t have several global cities, it has one; even Greater Manchester’s population is a mere one-quarter that of London’s, Leeds is one-tenth the size and Birmingham, while larger, is just another provincial European city. Belfast, for the record, is smaller than Cardiff and only slightly larger than Swansea). The economy of the north east of England shares a lot of similarities with Wales, The economy of the West Midlands is different from both London and Wales/NE England. The south west of England is different again. One size doesn’t fit all these different areas, but that doesn’t in itself mean they each need to be separate states, or that a UK-wide macroeconomic policy is incapable of meeting all those different needs, any more than an all-Wales macroeconomic policy ought to be flexible enough to cater for the prosperous south east and north east of Wales, and still take care of the Valleys and west Wales.
I can’t comment on your observations about matriarchy vs rule of law because I don’t know of any evidence to support them. But they are, at least, an attempt to identify something qualitatively different in the values, customs and sentiments of the Welsh as a people.
You are right about the Welsh language. Along with its associated culture, it is one of the very few things that is unambiguously distinctively Welsh. Of course, as you note, Wales is also very extensively English-speaking, and the English language is very much part of Welsh culture. Should Wales have “ultimate custodianship” of the Welsh language? I believe so. Does this require a separate state? I doubt that, and the existence of numerous bilingual and multilingual states suggests that it is not necessary.
As for sport, no it certainly isn’t as clear-cut as your opening sentences imply. I’m afraid that your following observations on culture and sport don’t strike me as especially valid or grounded in evidence. And they certainly don’t pass the “we therefore need a separate state” test. As for religion, I very much hope we have definitively moved beyond the era when peoples and states are divided according to religion.
Your comments on laws fall into the “ought” rather than the “is” category: it is something you hope to see as opposed to something that is in place and differentiates the Welsh.
On climate change, I find this analysis rather odd. Yes, Wales has certain natural assets that can be brought to bear in pursuit of a more sustainable mix of energy production, and devolution (with amendments) should be more than flexible enough to tailor policy accordingly. But on the broader picture, Wales, England, the rest of the British Isles and indeed most of Europe are in exactly the same position. What is needed here is greater co-ordination to reduce emissions. England’s additional need for climate change mitigation is a miniscule issue by comparison, and certainly doesn’t mean that Wales and England are incompatible as joint members of a political union.
On sub-national divisions, again I fail to see the point you are trying to make. Yes, attempts have been made to address the relative underperformance of west Wales and the Valleys, just as (in many cases exactly the same) attempts have been made to address similarly identified malaise in Merseyside, Cornwall and several other English regions. And I’m sorry to tell you that the gap between east and west Wales is also widening.
Please don’t get me wrong: there are important areas in which Wales as a whole is different from England as a whole. It is, by and large more rural and sparsely populated. It is more mountainous. It has commensurately poorer communications links. It has a greater proportion of relatively depressed post-industrial areas. And it has a unique and historic language and associated culture. But none of these, individually or collectively make the case for a separate Welsh state (as opposed to, say, a modern federal state) and none do justice to the real issue, namely the need for form of government that recognises the substantial differences that exist within Wales and within England and the commonalities that exist between parts of these two countries. A lot of problems you have described are functions of a historically over-centralised British state. I fail to see how these will be fixed by supplanting it with an over-centralised Welsh state.