Monday, February 12, 2007

Wales - A Nation State?

Interesting article by Martin Shipton in the Western Mail today. Martin's been talking to Dr John Davies of Aberystwyth who has written a 20,000 update for a new edition of his aclaimed book, A History of Wales. John seems to think Wales is well on the way to becoming a 'Nation State' - whatever that means. I'm not sure that I know what a 'Nation State' is. It seems to me that , like 'independence' and 'sovereignty', 'nation state-hood' is another divisible concept.

There can be no doubt that the development of Wales as a distinct 'nation' has moved on a lot during my lifetime. I have always been comfortable with this and I am proud of the part that the Conservative Party has played in this. Many people see this process as being essentially cultural - S4C (sorry S4/C), the Language Act, the curriculum changes, etc.. This is partly true. But its been a lot more than that. Throughout the 1980s I was much involved in the Welsh Development Agency, the Wales Tourist Board and the Development Board for Rural Wales. There has been much discussion about how democratic these bodies were - but no-one can argue that they didn't play a huge part in developing a seperate Welsh brand (which in this context is another word for nationhood). International recognition was a fundamental objective of all three of these bodies.

There is an international trend towards devolving power (a key part of nationhood) to smaller units. Just look at the changing membership of the UN since the end of empires. I believe this trend towards distinctive 'nationhood' will carry on in Wales. And there is nothing inherently un-Conservative about this. Regioal distictiveness and freedom for minorities to live as they want are strong Conservative principles. I do think my party managed to manouvre itself onto the wrong side of some important debates over the recent decades. I truely believe we have made a big change since the Assembly was created, It is indeed ironic that so many of my party in 1997 worked so very hard to prevent us finding our Welsh destiny.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glyn, you need to talk to some of your colleagues. Im not sure your all singin from the same songsheet. being a visionary is one thing but you might be runnin to far in front

lads said...

All power to your elbow Glyn! But the Tory Party nationally doesn't help when it speaks all the time of power at Westminster - as if that was the only thing that matters. Here in Wales some of us Tories actually think that what happens in May is far more important. At the end of the day our daily lives, schools, health, roads, housing etc are determined by WAG. London and Westminster has very little to do with it!

Arsembly said...

Hello, what's this?
http://arsembly.blogspot.com/2007/02/separated-at-birth-two-welsh-failures.html

Anonymous said...

John Davies is a romantic. The description of Wales made pre 1914 by an American academic still applies. He argued that there were three types of Wales-the industrial areas which he described as American Wales, the English speaking areas on the border and Welsh Wales. That description might need to be updated but large parts of former industrial Wales has much more on common with parts of England than with rural Wales. To argue that the National Botanic garden is a symbol of a nation is just laughable.

Glyn Davies AM said...

I agree about the National Botanic. I hope that some day it might become iconic Welsh - but at the moment there is not enough that makes it Welsh, except that it is located here. I don't know whether the Middleton name has gone - but I hope so. It made the Garden seem even less Welsh.

Glyn Davies AM said...

And Arsembly, I am proud to be compared with Gareth Jenkins. Pity about the bloody mouth though. unfortunately I'd been in a fight with the English!!