Letter: Too rosy a picture of weak Welsh autonomy

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article 'US aid should not go to Robin of the valleys' (9 August) calls on Plaid Cymru to ensure that an accurate picture of life in Wales is portrayed to the 2.5 million Welsh Americans. This is something that the party has recently done, by contacting around 100 groups representing Welsh cultural and social interests in the US and Canada, and setting out Plaid Cymru's views on UK political developments which have had direct effects on Wales.

However, it is unfortunate that on one of the few occasions when Welsh politics is given consideration in the British quality press your own comments are unhelpful on the subject, since they themselves portray an inaccurate picture. They imply that Wales is near to taking its place as an independent state within Europe, one of the primary aims of Plaid Cymru.

In fact Wales is as far away as ever from achieving independence under the current British political system. The powers that a Secretary of State for Wales, representing an English constituency, has in appointing people to more than 80 Welsh quangos shows that real democratic authority still does not reside in Wales. This is because the growth of the Welsh Office since the Sixties has been carried out in a manner unaccountable to the people of Wales.

We agree that potentially violent policies should not be supported, whether by North American Welsh descendants or by others closer to home. However, your comments do not take the debate forward, nor do they give credibility to those pursuing democratic means, since they give too rosy an image of the current weak state of Welsh autonomy. It would have been more constructive to have highlighted the significant changes still needed to ensure effective legislative and executive powers for Wales.

Yours sincerely,


National Council Representative

Plaid Cymru, London Branch

London, SW4

9 August