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PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2006 5:22 pm
Posts: 3241
Location: In the early days of a better nation

"We have seen the future and the future is ours!"

This was the message given by Plaid Cymru Member of the Westminster Parliament
Jonathan Edwards in his speech to the Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall
2011 Conference this weekend.

Mr Edwards had been invited to the Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall (MK)
conference to speak as a representative of Plaid Cymru, along with Kenneth
Gibson, the Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament. Both
politicians delivered rousing and inspiring speeches to the Conference where
each man showed their knowledge of and dedication to the cause of political
autonomy for the Celtic countries within the British State.

Below is the full transcript of the speech given by Mr Edwards, which was titled
`Union in Crisis' and a link to film footage of the speech can be found below
that. Several other speeches given during the conference, including that of
Kenneth Gibson MSP will be uploaded to the Celtic League TV page over the next

"Gyfeillion, mae'n bleser cael bod yma fel cynrychiolydd plaid Genedlaethol
Cymru yng nghynadledd plaid Genedlaethol Cernyw.
Friends, it's a pleasure to be here this afternoon representing the national
party of Wales in the annual conference of the national party of Cornwall. And
especially to be with you to help celebrate your 60th birthday.

It's a particular pleasure to be here as a relatively newly elected Member of
the Westminster Parliament. I send greetings on behalf of the Plaid – SNP
parliamentary group.

We have recently been joined by Caroline Lucas the Green MP. With Scottish
independence imminent, we are looking forward to the day when Mebyon Kernow
Members of Parliament will join the group to make up for the six SNP Members we
are about to lose!

In preparation for your arrival I should offer one word of warning. Westminster
is a strange place for any nationalist. It is literally the belly of the beast.
Aneurin Bevan used to remark how many a socialist would be seduced by the
architecture of the palace – the high ceilings and large windows – how any
individual entering that place feels extremely small and finds their core
beliefs being compressed out of them. In the end it's often easier to conform
and become a mouthpiece for the establishment. It's no surprise that many of the
forbearers who went before me from the valleys of the South Wales coalfield
representing the British Labour party quickly found themselves losing their
accents and any sense of political radicalism.
I have invented a safety trigger for myself. I begin every contribution by
thanking the Speaker in Welsh – "Diolch Mr Speaker". Firstly its an act of
defiance, despite the plural nature of the British State, the only official
languages of its parliament are English and Norman French. Starting off every
contribution in Welsh also reminds me why I have been sent there – and that is
to serve the people of Carmarthenshire in Westminster and not to serve
Westminster in Carmarthenshire.

I'm looking forward to when Cornish patriots also are able to say `Miras Mr
Speaker' when they rise to represent their people in Westminster.

My predecessor Adam Price told me following my election, "Just remember you have
as much a right to be in that Chamber as any other individual." And when you
accept that mindset the place isn't half as scary as you think. The great
advantage for politicians of the nationalist parties is that we go down there to
settle up not settle down – which means that it's far easier to stay true to our

Self preservation is a corrupting influence in politics which resides in
abundance in the unionist parties. It was this corrosive influence which led to
MPs from across the political divide campaigning against an element of
proportionality in the recent AV referendum. If you are a Labour or Tory MP with
a ten thousand majority – why would you want to change an electoral system that
gives you a safe job for life? It's not political principle that drives these
people but pure self interest. There is little surprise that there is such a
disconnect between the political elite and normal people.

As members of national movements – the mission orientated nature of our
respective parties means that we are part of a wider cause. In simple terms my
colleagues and I are working as hard as possible to be made redundant! If we
achieve our aims our people will be fully sovereign and there will be no need to
send representatives to an imperial Parliament that works in the interest of the
economic elites of the British state.

Friends, we are living in turbulent times. The neo liberal economic order that
has caused such damage to our respective countries over the past thirty years is
completely discredited. The Thatcher – Regan revolution adopted by New Labour
and the Lib Dems saw regional and individual wealth polarisation at an
unimaginable scale. The adopted Welshman and Guardian columnist George Monbiot
recently reported that Between 1947 and 1979, productivity in the US rose by
119%, while the income of the bottom fifth of the population rose by 122%. But
between 1979 and 2009, productivity rose by 80% , while the income of the bottom
fifth fell by 4%. In roughly the same period, the income of the top 1% rose by

In the UK, the money earned by the poorest tenth fell by 12% between 1999 and
2009, while the money made by the richest 10th rose by 37%. The Gini
coefficient, which measures income inequality, climbed in the British state from
26 in 1979 to 40 in 2009

The economic system has been hijacked by ideological zealots – what I would call
ultra capitalists. Looking at these figures, if I was a member of the British
Labour party with its supposed objective of social justice I would hang my head
in shame. All of the current protestations about impact of the so called age of
austerity perhaps are a sign of the guilty conscious of a party that has
completely lost its way.

Following the financial crash of 2008 the Banks were bailed out by public funds
– effectively the nationalisation of colossal private sector failure. In the
British State alone, well over a trillion pounds was allocated by the then
Labour government in loans, grants and guarantees – a sum equivalent to 100% of
the UKs GDP.
It was inevitable that there would be a public backlash when ordinary working
people realised that these bailouts would have to be paid for in reduced living
standards; their jobs; homes and public services. The majority of people were
quite prepared to put with the excesses of the super rich if they had stability
in terms of income and living standards, even if this meant that in relative
terms they were being left behind by the economic elite.

The age of austerity has completely changed the dynamic with more and more
people recognising that a business as usual response to the 2008 crash isn't
good enough. There needs to be radical changes and the creation of a new
economic order based on fairness and justice.
The arrogance and ignorance of what is now termed the `one per cent' is beyond
reproach. They are already raking in their multi million pound bonuses. The
square mile likes to call itself the goose that lays the golden egg – but in
effect due to the intertwining of the political elite and super rich they are
holding a golden gun to the head of every ordinary working person.

The current major political parties in the US and UK have no interest in
radically changing matters. In 2008 for the first time since the Great
Depression, politicians if they so wished could have turned the tables. Instead
what we got was a policy response based on restoring phantom economics as soon
as possible – the restoration of an economic order that serves the elite rather
than serves the common good.

All three London parties are opposed to the introduction of a tiny correction
such as the robin hood tax for instance – a simple measure that would curb
speculation and create social good out of high finance.

It's despicable that effectively speculators are causing major economic turmoil
in the euro zone by hiking borrowing rates in the country of their choice and
attempting to bankrupt nation states who find themselves primarily in difficulty
cause they had to bail out the very same financial sector.

Economic Nobel prize winner Paul Stiglitz is right when he says basing economic
policy on the markets is like negotiating with a crazy man. You may give him
what he wants but he'll still shoot you. People are becoming increasingly aware
of what has been done in their name and are livid.

Friends, I am glad that the national parties haven't got blood on their hands.
During the good years we warned about the excesses of the City and of Labour's
love for the super rich. My party, in response to the recession produced a
document named `Recover, Reform, Renew – The Road from Recession' which called
for a complete change of approach. Governments across the world should be
looking at many of those ideas now such as introducing a genuine progressive
taxation regime with incomes above £100,000 taxed at 50%; stimulus packages for
the poorest parts of the state to address the consequences of public sector cut
backs; a significant levy on banking profits; genuine geographical and sectoral
rebalancing of the economy; and the prosecution of those deemed guilty of gross

In addition we need fundamental reforms of the financial sector. The Vickers
recommendations are a step forward, however a complete separation of investment
and retail would be more appropriate. The broken system of executive pay and
remuneration needs to be reformed. The use of subsidiaries in tax heavens needs
to be cracked down.
However, what is the response in Westminster? There are now calls to scrap the
50% tax rate for earners above £150,000; the scrapping of labour protection
laws; for the neutering of banking reform. Not content with having their cake
and eating it, the super rich now want second helpings – and their willing
political servants in the unionist parties stand ready to deliver.

People are beginning to demand a change from business as usual – and it is clear
that the unionist parties do not want to deliver. Here lies my friends an
opportunity for our parties. The national movements within these isles have
always been built on more than just the political freedom of our people, but
also the creation of a just society built on economic fairness.

Rather than kowtowing to the square mile of London, our objectives aim to create
an economic order that enables our people to achieve their ambitions and
potential. We reject the dependency model of our political opponents which lets
the City let rip and feeds crumbs to our people.

Friends London is bust. The whole economic rationale of the modern British state
is discredited. The salvation of our people will not come by replacing the
current UK Government with another holding the same objectives. The only real
alternative is the growth and development of the political sovereignty of our
respective countries.
As nationalists fighting for the freedom of our people we are living in exciting
times. The nature of the British State is rapidly changing. My great friend
Angus McNeil, the SNP MP for the Western Isles often reminds me that the current
British state is a modern creation, barely ninety years old since the Irish free
state was declared in 1921.

All the Celtic nations are in different stages of their political development.
Irish independence was one of the key factors which led to the creation of my
party in 1925 – a dedicated party committed to creating a national future for my
country. The SNP followed in 1934 and Mebyon Kernow in 1951.

Our Scottish cousins are leading the way and are steamrolling towards their

The magnitude of the yes vote in the Welsh referendum and the incredible SNP
majority victory in the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections has shaken the
foundations of the British establishment to its very core. I remember returning
to Westminster the week after the Welsh referendum to witness the long faces of
Welsh Tory and Labour MPs alike. They knew the game had changed.

The SNP result was an even bigger shock to the system. Winning 53 out of 73
Scottish constituencies, 32 more constituency seats than the historic victory of
2007 was quite an incredible achievement. However it is not the scale of the
victory that's most significant – the key point about the majority is that there
will be a referendum on Scottish independence within the next three to four

The cynical unionist veto which denied the people of Scotland a voice on their
own future has vanished. The very fact that there is a referendum on Scottish
independence – regardless of the result – will irreversibly change the British

Now I'm not a betting man, however if I was I know where my money would be. The
SNP have a group of politicians led by Alex Salmond which are primed for the
battle of battles. Salmond is at the top of his game and the unionists don't
have anything anyone to match him in Westminster let alone Scotland. The SNP
electoral machine led by Westminster leader Angus Robertson is a finely tuned,
trailblazing in its innovation.

Everything this team of people has achieved to date has been leading to this
point. And they have generated a fighting fund that will dwarf the no campaign.
Insurgents often find themselves having to embrace guerrilla tactics against far
better resourced opponents. This time the tables are turned.

We now know that the referendum will be a multi choice ballot with also an
option on what is called devolution max or rather independence light.
Essentially this would mean the devolution of all policy fields apart from
defence and foreign affairs – policy fields which will increasingly become pan
European regardless of the current economic difficulties within the Eurozone.
Even if the people of Scotland choose this option – it will demand a wider
response for the rest of the state. The momentum is clearly behind change – the
people of Scotland have no faith in a Westminster government of whatever colour
acting in their interests – and are determined to join the other nations in the
world of being able to chart their own course.
The no campaign finds itself clearly on the back foot. It has no obvious
political leader – please let it be David Cameron! Its campaign is bereft of
ideas dependant upon scare stories and contradictions.

The Labour party in particular finds itself in complete turmoil. Its core
message to the people of Scotland is that they would rather have an alien Tory
government in London in control of major policy issues such as taxation and
social protection – rather than the democratically elected government of
Scotland. Labour has lost its way completely – the agenda has moved on.

The most significant consequence of the referendum of course is that for the
first time rather than the national parties having to justify their existence –
the unionist parties have to defend an arrangement that has never worked in our

Perhaps successive UK Governments over the years should have paid more attention
into ensuring an equitable share of the states resources rather than allowing
the South East of England and London to milk the rest of us dry. The fact that
inner London is the richest part of the European Union whilst our respective
countries are left languishing at the bottom of the poverty league is not a
reason for the status quo – it's a stimulus for radical change.

As I look towards Scotland with envy, nobody underestimates the challenge that
awaits the Yes campaign. The history of imperial rule informs us that it's often
at its darkest before the dawn and there is little doubt that the British state
will throw everything at the people of Scotland. I am confident that the Yes
campaign will prevail – their message is inherently positive whilst the no
campaign will rely on negativity.

In Wales the march of our country towards its political freedom has restarted
less than seven months after the referendum which for the first time gave our
people sovereignty over policy fields devolved to the National Assembly. The UK
Government has announced a Silk Commission which will look at the transfer of
taxation powers and also the devolution settlement in its entirety. The current
settlement is clearly not sustainable and it is inevitable that the report will
make strong recommendations. The people of Wales will expect these findings to
become law – and it would be a mistake for the unionist parties to kick the
issue into the long grass.
My party will be constructive in our engagement in the process. We know that we
are not going to get everything we want – but the strength of our argument
demands progression.

The current Welsh Government should now be preparing for the eventuality of
Scottish independence. Led by a lethargic First Minister afraid of his own
shadow, I am not holding out much hope. It seems incapable of grasping the huge
economic challenges of the day let alone the consequences of the break up of the
state. However, following a Yes vote in Scotland for either of the referendum
questions there will be a fundamental political realignment in these isles – and
the Welsh Government needs to be prepared to make the case for a better deal for
our country. The Cornish people will face similar opportunities which only
Mebyon Kernew could ever represent.

The response of the First Minister of Wales this week is that a Yes vote in
Scotland may herald a change in the Welsh devolution settlement. It's the sort
of pathetic nonsense we expect from the unionist parties. In politics you either
shape events or they shape you – and its little wonder that Wales has had such a
bad deal over the years led by individuals whose first priority will always be
party loyalty.

Across the British state unionism is in crisis. The state can not survive as a
unitary structure governed from a remote Westminster. In reaction to events in
Scotland and Wales the response of many establishment politician has been to
draw up the bridges – viewing any seeping away of powers as a concession to the
national parties. This is an insane strategy. Fed up with the centralised nature
of the British state and the greed of the London political and economic elite –
our peoples are demanding greater autonomy. The Labour party in ruling out any
transfer of fiscal responsibility to Wales now finds itself positioned as the
most anti devolutionist and conservative party in my country. Kier Hardie, the
first ever Independent Labour Party Member of Parliament, representing Merthyr,
who wrote the `Red Dragon and the Red Flag' must be wondering who are the
current crop who have hijacked his party.

Well, as a consensual politician I have got a message for the unionist parties.
The only way to save your precious union is to embrace a fully federal state
where the historic nations of the UK are treated equally. The asymmetric nature
of the current devolved settlements is unsustainable. Only a new modern British
state with significant political autonomy for the celtic peoples of these isles
will survive. Personally I'm quite relaxed if my advice goes unheeded – Wales as
an emerging state has much to offer the world and many opportunities to grasp.

Addressing the English question is a key element of this process. Here lies the
opportunity for the national party of Cornwall. Your message has never been more
relevant. In this rapidly changing economic and political landscape your
determination to secure political recognition for the Cornish people and a
fairer economic deal is ahead of the curve of history.

As the great civil rights activist Cesar Chavez said in a slightly different

"Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You can not uneducate the
person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride.
You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore. We have seen the
future, and the future is ours."

Diolch yn fawr"


"The thistle rises and forever will" - MacDiarmid

NB - I am not the same person as the poster "Scottish republic".

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