In accordance with the Notice of Motion received under Section 4.20 of the Constitution, Councillor Nia Jeffreys will propose as follows:-
“We call upon the Council to call for independence for Wales, and send a clear message that Wales is not too small or poor to stand on its own feet, and that we yearn to make decisions that affect our future here in Wales, and not in London.”
(A) Submitted - the following notice of motion by Councillor Nia Jeffreys, in accordance with Section 4.20 of the Constitution, and it was seconded:
"We call upon the Council to call for independence for Wales, and send a clear message that Wales is not too small or poor to stand on its own feet, and that we yearn to make decisions that affect our future in Wales, and not in London."
Individual members expressed their enthusiastic support for the motion on the following grounds:
· Their desire to contribute towards building a better Wales, a new Wales, and a free Wales.
· Their vision for a prosperous, fairer and more democratic Wales; a country where social justice would be at the top of the agenda in all aspects of public life and a country where decisions about Wales were made by the people of Wales.
· Wales was not too small or too poor to be independent, and that some of the world's most prosperous, most equal and happiest of countries were small countries.
· It was common sense to state that all decisions about Wales should be done in Wales, and it would be easier to deal with Welsh issues if the government was a government for Wales and that all attention was on the needs of Wales only.
· We had a duty to campaign for independence for the sake of our young people and future generations.
· As Wales was on a very slippery slope to leave the European Community, there was a real urgent need to obtain more powers for Wales, powers over the natural resources of Wales such as energy generation and water resources, more economic powers, devolving broadcasting, the police and the justice system.
· As the United Kingdom was fundamentally changing with Scotland preparing for a second referendum on independence, and the reconstruction of Ireland a real possibility, it was essentially important that Wales was not left behind.
· The solution to the economic challenges facing Wales was not in London, nor on a British level, and it was clear that the values of Wales were not being reflected in Westminster and that the policies of said government were not being established for the benefit of the people of Wales.
· Other people could not be relied upon to overturn the disastrous situation of our nation, and that everyone had to work together in order to create a better nation.
· 50 countries had left the British Empire over the past 50 years and each one had had the same arguments against independence that were voiced in the case of Wales.
· There was a desire to see a fair and balanced society that would work to support the vulnerable - a society without racism where each individual would get the opportunity to live life to its full potential, whatever their origin, language, religion or wealth.
· With only 40 out of approximately 650 seats, Wales had no opportunity to steer the discussion in Westminster or, for example, to object to the bedroom tax, the sexual violence clause, the imprisonment of immigrants for an indefinite term or universal credit.
· Being a part of the United Kingdom had never worked for Wales and that Wales was poorer than the rest of Britain, with 29% of children in Wales being brought up in poverty, and 20% of pensioners in Wales and 39% of disabled people in Wales living in poverty.
· 10 of the 11 poorest regions in Europe were in the United Kingdom and the life expectancy of the people of Wales was 7-10 years lower than the richest parts of Britain.
· The Gross Domestic Product of Wales was £22,000 per person while the corresponding figure for Britain was £42,500, and countries such as Ireland and Iceland were above £70,000. This meant that Wales compared with Eastern European countries, and that the situation was likely to get worse once the structural funding received from Europe would disappear.
· Wales was very dependent on the agricultural industry, and more dependent than the rest of Britain on the producing sector, and these sectors would certainly suffer greatly as a result of Britain's departure from the European Union.
· Wales was not a poor country in many respects. It generated twice the amount of electricity than it used; it had a sufficient supply of water and it was also self-sufficient in terms of food. However, Wales did not have powers over its own water and electricity supplies and funding generated in rents by wind turbines on the sea bed around the Welsh coast were lining the pockets of the Queen.
· There was a desire for Wales to be part of Europe's international family, like other small countries such as Latvia, Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania etc.
· The British political system was disintegrating and Wales needed to take advantage of the current wave of curiosity in independence.
· The idea that Wales was not good enough to run its own system was refused and people's lack of confidence in the concept of independence was the result of centuries of British oppression and imperialism.
· It was very much hoped that the 'Yes Cymru' march in Caernarfon on 27 July would motivate young people to take part in this discussion.
Although he was fully supportive of the aims of the 'Yes Cymru' organisation, a member noted that he was of the opinion that the organisers should be appealed to adopt the 'Ie Cymru' slogan as the official slogan, due to a concern that the English slogan weakened our status as a nation.
Although he was also fully supportive of all arguments put forward in favour of the motion, another member noted that it was very well to preach to the converted and that they should preach outside the Chamber door and get people to change their minds.
A few other Members objected to the motion on the following grounds:
· Despite the acknowledgement that Brexit was a complete disaster, care should be taken before rushing into independence as that would create an even worse disaster.
· Wales did not have a production base. The Welsh economy was in tatters and its wealth was superficial and it would be impossible for Wales to survive as a country on its own.
· Should Wales attempt to re-join Europe as an independent nation state, it would not be possible for the country to benefit from the same deal as it currently relished.
· Everyone should come together to fight against Brexit rather than campaigning for Welsh independence.
· Welsh Government had never managed to make a meaningful investment to the north of Merthyr Tydfil, and as independence would certainly lead to the Government in Cardiff being poorer, there would be even less money to invest across Wales.
· Although it was agreed that more autonomy was required for Wales, along with more devolved services and more powers, breaking away entirely from the rest of Britain would destroy the United Kingdom.
· There were already 60 Assembly Members in Cardiff. Welsh Government was eager to have another 60, along with a Youth Parliament, but where would the money come from for all this?
A member suggested that unity and democracy was required in this Chamber before examining the bigger picture.
Another member noted that she did not believe the Council should be discussing matters like these, and that she had been elected to serve the people of her community and to ensure the best for the people of Gwynedd.
Another member added that he could not vote either way on the motion as he had not received a mandate from the people he represented.
A registered vote was called for on the motion.
According to Procedural Rules, the following vote on the motion was recorded:
In favour (42)
Councillors Craig ab Iago, Dylan Bullard, Annwen Daniels, R.Glyn Daniels, Anwen Davies, Elwyn Edwards, Alan Jones Evans, Aled Evans, Peter Antony Garlick, Simon Glyn, Gareth Wyn Griffith, Selwyn Griffiths, Alwyn Gruffydd, Annwen Hughes, Judith Humphreys, Nia Jeffreys, Peredur Jenkins, Aled Wyn Jones, Berwyn Parry Jones, Charles W.Jones, Elin Walker Jones, Gareth Jones, Huw Wyn Jones, Kevin Morris Jones, Cai Larsen, Dafydd Meurig, Dafydd Owen, Edgar Wyn Owen, Dewi Wyn Roberts, Elfed P.Roberts, Gareth A.Roberts, Mair Rowlands, Paul Rowlinson, Dyfrig Siencyn, Gareth Thomas, Hefin Underwood, Catrin Wager, Eirwyn Williams, Elfed Williams, Gareth Williams, Gruffydd Williams and Owain Williams.
Councillors Stephen Churchman, Dylan Fernley, Louise Hughes and R.Medwyn Hughes.
Councillors Anne Lloyd Jones, Keith Jones, Beth Lawton, Dewi Owen and Nigel Pickavance.
The Chair noted that the motion had been carried.
RESOLVED to adopt the motion.