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25th September 2018

Dear Theresa May

The UK/EU Negotiations, and the nature of respect

When your predecessor, Mr David Cameron, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and before calling his referendum on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union membership, he wrote to Mr Jean Claud-Juncker as President of the European Commission to express his nations’ concerns at the terms of that membership, especially regarding freedom of movement, and regarding the principle of ever-closer union on which the European Union is built. He received a detailed, courteous and reassuring reply.

When Mr Cameron’s government published its draft Wales Powers Bill, criticised by constitutional experts as incoherent, as dismissive of Welsh politics, and even as vindictive in its attitude to Welsh national identity, the First Minister of Wales, Mr Carwyn Jones, wrote to the then Welsh Secretary, Mr Stephen Crabb, to express his nation’s concern that the bill gave English MPs an untrammelled right to interfere in Welsh democracy and to overturn Welsh law. His letter was dismissed by Mr Crabb as the rhetoric of a dangerous nationalist.

The European Union has been consistent and clear since before the referendum was called that the United Kingdom must accept all the Four Freedoms on which the European Union is built, in return for all the advantages of European membership for the state, and citizenship for its individuals, or leave the union at the risk of economic disaster to seek its prosperity elsewhere. During the last years of Mr John Major’s government, when appetite was growing for devolution in Wales and Scotland as a side-effect of his government’s concessions in pursuit of peace in Ireland, a rather self-satisfied English friend told me that Wales was either a subject of the United Kingdom as a number of county councils governed by English law, or a nation state with neither currency nor credit rating nor trade agreements nor diplomatic links, nor any other advantage to show for its eight hundred years as a subject of England, and that his party, the Conservative and Unionist Party, would never allow Wales any form of national identity within the United Kingdom.

I await your rational explanation as to the way in which the European Union is treating you disrespectfully.

Yours sincerely

Dr Rob Mimpriss
B.A., M.A., Ph.D.
Member, the Welsh Academy

cc. Mr Hywel Williams MP
Mr Carwyn Jones AM

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I am the author of three short story collections. Reasoning and For His Warriors, originally published by Gwasg y Bwthyn, Caernarfon, with Welsh Books Council support, now join Prayer at the End in revised editions at Cockatrice Books. My anthology of fiction, Dangerous Asylums: Stories from Denbigh Mental Hospital Told by Leading Welsh Writers, including work by Gee and David Williams, Glenda Beagan, Carys Bray, Simon Thirsk and others, was published by the North Wales Mental Health Research Project, October 2016. I was a contributor with Nigel Jarrett, Rachel Trezise, Tristan Hughes and others to Brush with Fate, an anthology of Welsh fiction translated by Hala Salah Eldin. I am a member by election of the Welsh Academy.

I am the translator of Going South: The Stories of Richard Hughes Williams (Cockatrice, 2015), Hallowe’en in the Cwm: The Stories of Glasynys (Cockatrice, 2017), and A Book of Three Birds, the seventeenth-century classic by Morgan Llwyd (Cockatrice, 2017). In addition, I have translated fiction by D. Gwenallt Jones, Angharad Tomos, and Manon Steffan Ros.