According to the Western Mail on Friday, that’s how I and other supporters of Welsh independence should be feeling after the latest opinion poll showed that only around 10% of the people of Wales support independence. I’m not at all devastated, and I’m not really sure what they expect me to feel thus. I’m not even feeling surprised; the result is in line with many polls published over many years.
Clearly, independence has received more public attention in recent months, in the light of the stunning success of the SNP in Scotland, but in the absence of much specific discussion about the pros and cons in a Welsh context, no-one should expect discussion of what may or may not happen in Scotland to shift opinion in Wales.
Perhaps opinion in Wales will change; perhaps it will never do so. It certainly won’t do so in the absence of the case being put. I’ve never known any argument to be won by not making it. The question is about how and when the argument should be made. To listen to some politicians talking – even some who claim to be nationalists – no-one should even try making the case until the people already support it.
That seems to me to be a curious way of setting about things. It does, though, go to the heart of what I see as a major political question. Are politicians there to follow public opinion or to lead it? Politicians who want real change fall into the second category; those who fall into the first category are merely offering us a different bunch of politicians to implement the same policies.