Alanna Jones of Plaid Ifanc Preseli Pembrokeshire writes on Leanne Wood’s visit to her school and the ideas she had following the visit…
In January, Leanne Wood visited my school, Ysgol Y Preseli to talk to students on different topics. Understandably the majority of questions tended to be based on Brexit and education. One topic that came up was will it be possible for Wales to join the European Union as an independent state. This then lead on to Scotland and how it will be easier for them to re-join as they voted in favour of remain.
However, Leanne then said to us that if Scotland is given EU membership but they do not become independent from the United Kingdom, then the European Union could face problems from other states which want to be independent such as the Basque Country and Catalonia.
Given that Scotland, Catalonia and the Basque Country are all considered as autonomous states, surely they should be treated equally? In the Cambridge English Dictionary, autonomous is defined as “independent and having the power to make your own decisions.” However, is it possible to argue that these states actually truly independent? And do they really have power to make their own decisions?
If Scotland is given EU membership, surely it is only fair that the Basque Country and Catalonia are to also become independent state members of the European Union, given that they all have powers over similar policy areas, such as health and policing.
So, where does this leave Wales and its future within the EU? Well with a majority voting to leave, it would be difficult democratically to re-join the EU. So it is possible that another vote would have to take place to on the conditions of any Brexit deal. Leanne Wood along with the first minister have outlined their case for Wales to have access to the Single Market in return for a work based immigration system. Given the high level of Welsh exports to the Single Market, such a deal would protect Wales’ economic interests and give stability to Welsh businesses who export to the EU.
However, even if this did happen, Wales still doesn’t have the same level of autonomy as Scotland has. We don’t have our own police force or a completely separate education system. This most recent Wales bill has fallen short of many of our hopes. Compared to Scotland and Northern Ireland and even some English cities, Wales’ devolution settlement appears to be weak, held back by the two main parties at Westminster who both voted for such a settlement in a vote in the Senedd.
I would completely support Welsh and Scottish Independence but I do believe we need a stronger economy, independent police powers and even our own treasury before Welsh Independence can be a complete success. In order to build this strong economy, Wales needs a devolution settlement that’s suitable for Welsh needs and membership of the Single Market.