Welsh independence becomes less attractive and less likely in the most probable post-Brexit scenario.
I’ve posted on this one before. Under what currently seems to be the likeliest post-Brexit scenario (the EU continuing as a group of 27, the UK outside both the single market and the customs union), and with Wales a decade or two behind Scotland in the independence stakes, Welsh independence will look very unattractive to many. Changes to UK legislation and regulation mean that a move directly from being part of the UK to being a member state of the EU is no longer an option (as it currently could be for Scotland, for example). Our economy would have become even more integrated with that of the only single market of which we would remain a part (i.e. whatever is left of the UK) and our regulatory framework different from that of the EU. That means a post-independence negotiation to re-join, and an inevitable period outside both unions.
Whilst the debate about independence (like the debate about the EU) has never been for me primarily an economic one, economic factors will inevitably be a factor in gaining a majority for independence. It's not so much that there is a killer economic argument for independence; more that economic uncertainty will be the main argument against, and Brexit strengthens that argument. Whilst a logical analysis might suggest that there is no more certainty about our future as part of the UK than there is as an independent nation, human assessments do not work in that way. 'What is' always feels more certain than 'what could be'. Independence will ‘feel’ less secure for a Wales seeking independence under this scenario, with no obvious exemplars to follow. Within the EU, we would, hopefully, have at least two examples (Scotland and Catalunya) of countries which have made the break and are thriving. Outside, we would have none. The task of persuading people to follow the path to independence becomes many times more difficult – perhaps even impossible.In short, whilst nothing is entirely impossible in political terms, I see Welsh independence as being off the agenda for the foreseeable future if Brexit actually happens.