The notion of Welsh independence was a mere dream for most supporters, even just five years ago at the last Senedd elections in Wales. However, that dream could now become more of a reality for its supporters.
This weekend, members of Plaid Cymru finally agreed to include a pledge for an independence referendum in their manifesto. Their leader, Adam Price, said on Andrew Marr this Sunday that “the level of support for independence now in Wales is where it was in Scotland ten years ago”. Price, who has seen an increase in support in the party since becoming leader in 2018, believes that within the next five years the time will be right for a referendum on independence.
The increase in support for Plaid Cymru is not necessarily evidence for improved support for Welsh independence. Nonetheless, the rise of the YesCymru movement cannot be overlooked – their membership has risen to over 15,000 in a matter of months and continues to rise. YesCymru merchandise is popping up throughout Wales and is another sign of support for independence.
The rise of the SNP in Scotland is of paramount importance for the welsh independence movement. With a second referendum on the cards for Scotland, the likelihood of the beginning of the breakup of the UK is rising.
Are Westminster scared? There is strong evidence to show this. Despite PM Johnson seemingly trying to ignore the Scottish and Welsh, Labour’s Sir Kier Starmer, using the aide of Former PM Gordon Brown, are looking at plans for greater constitutional reform within the UK, with a federal system on the cards. Their hope with such reform is to satisfy the needs of independence advocates; similar to the hopes of reforms made by New Labour in 1997. However, if these reforms were to be made should Labour win the next election, the question of whether they will hinder the progress of independence movements remains unclear.
All we know now, with the UK starting its journey outside the EU and the rise of independence movements, is that the next couple of years for the United Kingdom staying United is up for uncertain.