In drawing the threads of this week’s posts together, let me just restate briefly the premises on which my argument is based:
1. Brexit was never about controlling immigration – but it is now.
2. The real drivers for Brexit were ideology and British exceptionalism.
3. There is no such thing as a ‘soft’ Brexit.
4. Welsh independence becomes less attractive and less likely in a post Brexit scenario.
5. Democracy isn’t a once-and-for-ever event.
Where does that leave Welsh nationalists? To date, most ‘nationalist’ politicians have restricted themselves to agreeing with Welsh Labour and demanding a non-existent ‘soft’ Brexit and an opportunity for the National Assembly to ‘scrutinise’ (but not veto) the final terms of any deal. To me, this looks like playing the British/Brexit game, and arguing about the detail rather than the principle of a change which kicks the core aim of nationalists into the far-distant future. And arguing for something which it has already been decided is not available is dishonest and misleading. Ultimately it’s an approach which supports the core aim and narrative of the Brexiteers and assists them to achieve it.
There is no possibility of evidence-based argument with those who are now driving events. They are absolutely convinced of the rightness of their cause, see only supporting evidence, and ignore any evidence which in any way undermines their case. They're not really very far away from the Trump approach of presenting 'alternative facts'; they demand that people believe them, and brand them as traitors or worse if they don't. Mitigating or influencing what they are doing is probably impossible, and even attempting to do so, rather than opposing them, concedes their core position, which is that Brexit is going to happen.
The alternative is to express honestly to the people of Wales the opinion that the decision which a narrow majority of those who voted made was a mistake. It’s a mistake which works against our best interests in terms of short term economics and against our best interests in terms of the long term prospects for Wales as a nation. But it’s not an irreversible mistake – yet.Putting that argument demands a context, and for any nationalist that context can only be a vision of Wales as an independent member state of the EU, given the point from which we start. It’s a vision which people have been afraid of expressing for too long. Perhaps it’s already too late, but anything else looks to me, at this point, to be a (possibly final) surrender of our nationhood. Faced with a choice between making that nationhood central to our politics in Wales, and largely abandoning it, which are we going to choose?