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Friday, April 16, 2004

Lilliput writ large

I sometimes think that these rather esoteric arguments between Plaid Cymru and Labour over Independence are the Welsh equivalent of the Lilliputian dilemma as to how to crack open a boiled egg. They are starting to get boring even for somebody as immersed in politics as myself. The practicalities of an Independent Welsh State of course, are very important. It is clear to me and others that the economics do not stack up. We will be bankrupt within a year. And that should be the nub of the argument against the Nationalists.

At the end of the day whether such a State could be a full member of the European Union or not is just irrelevant. Both Labour and Plaid are engaging in fantasy politics in which they are playing out a scenario way beyond its natural limits on terms that most people do not relate to nor have strong opinions about. If we want to engage people in these discussions then can we please talk about things that matter to our everyday lives? How, for example will such an Independent Wales pay for the old age pension or for benefits? Is a Welsh Post Office feasible when its loss of economies of scale will see the introduction of a £2 Second Class stamp? Will we be able to get Sky Sports or Coronation Street? Will it mean that we will qualify for a major International Football Championship or win the Grand Slam? How is it relevant to any of these things?

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