Longing to reclaim Welsh identity revealed in Brexit
Cardiff Bay, Wales
Wales can seize EU departure to re-establish its rich culture
Nation still struggles for recognition while Irish & Scots dominate in the press
‘Remain’ vote strong in regions flush with outsiders where language and nationalism are waning
Wales gave a resounding vote of no confidence in the European Union during Britain’s June 23 referendum to leave the trading bloc.
Brexit for the Welsh is a chance to peel back the surface layer of confounding, ethnic suppression that muddies our history and keeps our people from realizing economic and cultural independence.
Citizens of what had once been thriving coal, steel and slate producing regions of Wales made their position clear with their votes – globalization has done them no favors, and they are leery about taking part in the bloc.
Welsh voters pushing, on the other hand, to remain in the EU largely hailed from regions populated by outsiders and immigrants, places like Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, where the Welsh language and any sense of nationalism languish. Some in those regions worry now they’ll lose financial support Wales receives through the EU.
Wales for years has watched as growing reliance on technology has replaced literacy. A nation built on Christian faith with a rich history in language and some of the most beautiful music and poetry in the world is slowly being sucked into the pit of globalism, an idea if we follow to its conclusion, will leave us stripped of any semblance of national identity.
We asked Welsh author Terry Breverton, a former businessman turned academic, to share his thoughts on what Brexit means for the nation. In his response, he lamented the dwindling number of actual Welsh who live in Wales
“The best Welsh people leave to get better jobs in England and elsewhere, and in effect Wales has become ‘Europe’s Tibet,’” he said, going on to paint a bleak picture of Wales. Read Mr. Breverton’s full response here.
“(Wales) has among the worst health, housing, living standards, GDP per household and education statistics in Europe, partially owing to the influx of non-workers on benefits [Wales has the highest proportion of people on benefits in Britain] and partially because the Barnett Formula has for forty years skewed central government spending towards Northern Ireland and Scotland at the expense of Wales,” he said.
A global market, in most regards, is good for trade – businesses are much happier with an unfettered, open market. That’s why the British are now trying to find the sweet spot between open trade benefits and a firmer grip on borders and economic policy.
It’s important we stop here to draw a line between nationalism and belligerence. Recent citizen groups and news media report violence toward immigrants has spiked since the Brexit vote. Violence is obviously not what we’re talking about here, and we don’t condone it.
The Welsh long have lacked agency in Westminster. The Welsh long have watched their significance as a nation choked out while history is rewritten. The Welsh have sat idly by while their language, traditions and music have been shamefully diluted.
Restoring nationalism and identity for the Brits was one pillar of the “leave” campaign, but the English, the Irish and the Scots have taken center stage. Meanwhile, we the Welsh, the original Britons, have been quietly suppressed and stripped of our agency as a nation. Brexit can be the first step of many in restoring international recognition, but only if we use it correctly.
Cymru am byth!