This is a great and terrifying read, but as someone who is both a “naive Plaid Cymru idealist” and a London-based left-leaning young person, I think, when it comes to Wales and Welsh independence, more people should be talking about the role generational change might play in narratives of political momentum far into the future.
Here comes the idealism: I think it is highly, highly unlikely that the majority of us who have come of political age in Wales since, say, 2010, will be as Labour-loyal or as complacent as the majority of our parents’ generation (or even the generation who grew up during the last Blair/Brown years). There are reasons to be optimistic about social media and the relatively high turnout among young people in Brexit. Plaid Cymru under Wood (whose feminism and foregrounding of social-justice I know for a fact has near-single-handedly made many young people vote or join Plaid, and many of my English, reluctant-Labour-type friends extremely jealous) and in the time of the SNP’s dominance, is the natural outlet for the furies and frustrations widely felt by the 90s-born generation in Wales (in the same way the SNP, the Sanders movement, Corbyn, etc have been elsewhere). One of those post-Brexit polls showed a majority of under-35s all over Wales preferring an independent Wales in the EU to continued UK membership without it, which has been Plaid’s post-referendum push.
Obviously the young vote alone doesn’t win you elections, but this is a new-ish development in Plaid’s history that will surely have legs far into the party’s future; the scrappy optimist in me thinks the groundwork is being laid as we speak for a swell in momentum for independence from this very angry and anti-institutional— and very mobile — generation. All over the world the frustrations of the post-2008, post-Iraq War/Isis, hyper-connected post-millennial generation who have nothing to lose is seeping into mainstream political discourse, and I think when that eventually manifests in Wales, Plaid and independence will be the inevitable beneficiaries.