Waking the dragon: Inside the growing movement for Welsh independence

The village sacrificed to give water to the English. Subversive graffiti springing up across the countryside. Gareth Bale. They’re all contributing to support for the Welsh nation to go it alone, reports Colin Drury

Graffiti near Aberystwyth that reads, in English, ‘Remember Tryweryn’ – where a village was sunk for English water
Graffiti near Aberystwyth that reads, in English, ‘Remember Tryweryn’ – where a village was sunk for English water

It was on a bitterly cold night in the winter of 1963 that Owain Williams committed an act of rebellion never before known in the UK. He detonated a bomb in the name of Welsh independence. He was in his twenties back then, idealistic and furious that a Meirionnydd village was to be drowned so a reservoir could be built for Liverpool, an English city 70 miles away.

“An entire community forced to leave their homes for something no one in Wales wanted or benefited from,” the 85-year-old, of Pwllheli, says today. “It was outrageous.”

Widespread protests had been held against the proposed flooding. Thousands travelled to Liverpool to picket the town hall. All but one Welsh MP voted against the plan in parliament. But the Tory government waved it through anyway. “It proved we had no democratic voice,” says Williams, now a local councillor. “All we had left was action.”

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