Wednesday 14 April 2021

Accidental inoculation


Yesterday, First Minister Mark Drakeford told us that he’s against independence, because being independent would shut Wales off from the world and make us inward-looking rather than outward-looking. He may be correct, but if he is it’s only because he’s chosen his own definition of what being independent means. He is, of course, entitled to define the words he uses in any way he chooses, although using a definition which isn’t the same as that used by others can make discourse and debate a little difficult. In this case, choosing a quirky definition in order to dish the outcome also raises other problems. There are 193 member states of the United Nations, each of which presumably believes itself to be an independent state. Under the Drakeford definition, that must mean that all 193 of them are inward-looking and shut off from the world. That doesn’t leave much of a world to be outward-looking and open. Who’s going to tell the likes of Germany, China, and the US that their independence is such a bad thing that it needs to be stripped off them forthwith in order that they can be more open to the world and outward-looking?

Perhaps I’m being unfair to Drakeford here. Perhaps he simply means that his definition, under which independence makes countries inward-looking and shut off from the world, only applies to countries which might gain their independence at some future date, and not to those which have already gained it at some point in the past, although the mysterious force which only acts on countries which become independent after an arbitrary date specified by a politician has yet to be identified by science, let alone by Drakeford himself. Perhaps he’s being even more selective; perhaps he believes that there’s something so special and different about Wales that it would uniquely be unable to cope with independence in the same way as any other country (although someone might need to explain to him that believing there to be something special and unique about his own country comes dangerously close to being a perverse form of that nationalism to which he is so opposed).

There is nothing wrong with believing that the best future for Wales is as a subordinate part of a greater whole, and it’s not unpatriotic to believe that there is strength in unity, even if evidence suggests that either of those beliefs is a triumph of future hope over past experience. There is, though, something very odd about a belief that one’s own country is somehow uniquely unable to cope with a constitutional status which most countries in the world believe to be entirely normal. It’s a belief with some strange side-effects, one of which is that it causes its adherents to perform complex mental and verbal gymnastics in order to try and explain away this unique lack of capacity. Traditionally, it’s also a belief which has infected the majority in Wales, but unfortunately for Drakeford and others who think like them, English politics has developed a strong and effective antidote in the form of a certain Boris Johnson, and the, entirely accidental, vaccination programme across Wales is currently proving successful beyond the wildest dreams of many independentistas.


Anonymous said...

'’s own country ...'

I'd certainly like to read more about this.

Arthur Owen,Caerdydd said...

I'm afraid Drakeford although well meaning and personally honourable is not very bright, he would probably make a good deputy minister of health.