Drakeford’s wearing of a bucket hat and singing of Yma o Hyd doesn’t go far enough for Welsh nationalists

Writing in the Sunday Times, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader, Liz Saville Roberts MP, has today (Sunday 27 November) said that Mark Drakeford must “stand up to Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer’s denial of democracy – and uphold the right of all nations to decide their own futures”.

Ms Saville Roberts argues in an article for the Wales edition of the Sunday Times that while Mark Drakeford has previously made the case for “democracy and the principle of self-determination”, his words do not hold weight if he “can’t even convince his Labour boss Keir Starmer to back him up”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 in July this year, Mark Drakeford said, “The Scottish National Party, much as I disagree with them on the issue won an election on the basis that they would seek another referendum. How can that be denied to the Scottish people?”

Following the Supreme Court ruling on Scotland’s right to hold an independence referendum on Wednesday, Keir Starmer’s official spokesperson confirmed to reporters that he would not agree to a referendum after the next general election.

Ms Saville Roberts writes:

“The United Kingdom is not based on consent. Membership is not voluntary. That was the message to the people of Scotland and Wales after this week’s Supreme Court ruling. It confirmed what we in Plaid Cymru already suspected – that Westminster holds all power relating to our nations’ right to decide our own future.

“This stark reminder of the antidemocratic streak at the heart of the Westminster system poses searching questions not just for Scotland, but for the Welsh Labour Government too. Labour politicians in Scotland have long attached themselves to the smug blue and red comfort blanket that Westminster will always know best.

“Mark Drakeford, the Labour First Minister of Wales, on the other hand, has been defter on the constitutional question, showing that he understands the nature of power in the United Kingdom far better than his boss in Westminster or his counterpart in Holyrood.”

She concludes:

“Support for independence for Wales is now at the same level it was before the 2014 referendum in Scotland. Some unionists are sharp enough to recognise that an everlasting veto by Westminster on the nations’ right to decide will be entirely counterproductive to their cause.

“‘Er gwaetha pawb a phopeth / Ry’n ni yma o hyd’. ‘Despite everything and everyone/We’re still here’. As the Cymru team’s unambiguously nationalist rousing World Cup anthem echoes in the streets of Wrexham, Cardiff, Bangor, Newport, a new confidence grows in Wales’s nationhood.

“Dafydd Iwan’s ‘Yma o Hyd’ was written in response to Thatcherism and the unsuccessful Welsh devolution referendum of 1979. Wales went on to vote in favour of devolution in 1997, and again for more powers in 2011. Because democracy doesn’t end with a referendum.

“Mark Drakeford is happy enough to wear the bucket hat and sing ‘Yma o Hyd’.

“But if he truly believes in Wales, he must make clear that he, and the Welsh Government, will stand up to Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer’s denial of democracy – and uphold the right of all nations to decide their own futures.”

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