Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Wales too small - what about Uruguay?


Yesterday I said that in my humble opinion Elin Jones AM would be a very good leader of Plaid Cymru.

I mentioned the dreaded 'I' word independence, which we shouldn't be afraid to discuss. I said "I do not think independence for Wales would be right as things stand."

This morning I listened to a conversation on the Today program on Radio 4. They were talking about the football game tonight, between England and Wales, and the Radio 4 chap said something along the lines of “why hasn't Wales qualified for any major football tournament since 1958. Take Uruguay for example, whose population is also just above 3 million and the amount of times they have qualified, and they recently won the Copa America."

And that made me think. One argument put forward by many against independence for Wales is - its too small.

Now I know you cant really compare Wales and Uruguay, especially if you believe some who say that Wales is the poorest Country in Europe. Somehow I don't think Uruguay is the poorest South American Country.

The CIA World Factbook says in a short history of Uruguay:

Montevideo, founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold, soon took advantage of its natural harbor to become an important commercial center. Claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil in 1821, Uruguay declared its independence four years later and secured its freedom in 1828 after a three-year struggle. The administrations of President Jose BATLLE in the early 20th century established widespread political, social, and economic reforms that established a statist tradition. A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement named the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to cede control of the government to the military in 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold over the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. In 2004, the left-of-center Frente Amplio Coalition won national elections that effectively ended 170 years of political control previously held by the Colorado and Blanco parties. Uruguay's political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.

And in an overview of Uruguay's economy say:

Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending. Following financial difficulties in the late 1990s and early 2000s, economic growth for Uruguay averaged 8% annually during the period 2004-08. The 2008-09 global financial crisis put a brake on Uruguay's vigorous growth, which decelerated to 2.9% in 2009. Nevertheless, the country managed to avoid a recession and keep positive growth rates, mainly through higher public expenditure and investment, and GDP growth exceeded 8% in 2010.

Just in case you missed it, a GDP growth of 8% in 2010, making them 14th in the list of country comparisons, compared with the UK GDP growth of the same year of 1.3% putting us in 163rd place on the list.

And the Country's main exports:

beef, soybeans, cellulose, rice, wheat, wood, dairy products; wool

Again I emphasize you cant really compare countries, as Paul Williams (aka The Druid) has pointed out on numerous occasions, but to me at least it disproves the argument that Wales is too small to be an independent Country in terms of population. Its really down to the question of whether we have the economy to sustain us, as an independent state.

I would also like to thank Rob Davies, 'The outspoken columnist who tells it how it is' of the Daily Post, for his support for independence - ok maybe not - but all you have to do is change a few words from his rant of today and you get from the section headed 'Old Boundaries' (were he argues to retain the 22 welsh Councils - which in reality don't follow old boundaries) the following:

"At [national] level, [..] government works best following ancient [..] boundaries to which many people still retain loyalty. Many of these are based on natural divisions such as rivers. Far more people will engage with [governments] if they represent the actual geographical terrain they call home."

I also recommend you read an article by Adam Price, which was published in the Huffington Post titled - 'Why Independence for Wales and Other Countries Makes Economic Sense' on 2 August 2011, by following this link: Adam Price - Huffington Post

1 comment:

The Red Flag said...

Thing about the Independence word is it must be fundemental to Plaid. It must be the one thing that is never open to negotiation, is not budged from, is their purpose.

It must be the one policy above all that people know exactly where Plaid stand.

It it has to be that to be Plaid Cymru they must be first and foremost a party of independence and proud of it.