Pronouncements Under the Emergency Powers Act (2027): Guest Post by Theresa May
A novel by Islwyn Ffowc Elis, Wythnos yng Nghymru Fydd (1957), provides two contrasting visions of Wales in the future. The protagonist, Ifan Powell, is helped to travel forward from his own time in a kind of trance, and arrives in 2033 to find Wales an independent republic, green and prosperous and Welsh-speaking, constitutionally pacifist and without armed forces, but with flourishing arts and sciences and an educated and contented populace. Despite these indications of social progress, and despite their protected linguistic status, the English-speaking minority have formed a Military Society to agitate against the language and pacifism of the republic and for Wales’s re-annexation by the British state, and they kidnap Ifan as a potential spokesman for the British union.
The Military Society is a kind of reverse of the Free Wales Army,(1) fond of uniforms and guns, but ultimately unwilling to use violence in pursuit of their aims, and Ifan is able to escape and return to Cardiff before making the journey back to his own time. But in the meantime he has fallen in love with Mair Llywarch, a member of the national theatre company, and he persuades his associates, Tegid and Dr Heinkel, to send him forward again to make a new life for himself with her. His second journey into the future is not a success. Although he arrives safely in 2033, Wales, now known as Western England, has been abolished as a cultural entity, its language has finally been rendered extinct, and its native population has been displaced to make room for forestry and mining settlements staffed by imported labour, while the towns are dominated by the brothels and casinos which are all that remains of any local economy. As Ifan’s colleagues explain on his return, the future is not fixed, but is the outcome of the decisions made by free moral agents such as himself, and Mair Llywarch’s Wales will come into being if, and only if, the people of our time set themselves the task of rebuilding Wales from a colony into a nation.
My own foray into the future was to a time much closer to our own than Mair’s, and apparently on the trajectory that would lead us to Western England rather than the Republic of Wales. I memorised sections of two speeches by its leader, and I quote them below. I will add that the academics of political theory to whom I showed the speeches were agreed that their authorship was quite unmistakeable.
‘I say once again that the British people have spoken. They have spoken on nationhood; they have spoken on unity; they have spoken on law and on public morality, and we will tolerate no argument, no dissent. And to anyone who would question the will of the people I say this: if you will not have British democracy, you must have the authority of the British state; if you will not accept the result of the Referendum on National Unity and Greatness, then you must obey the orders of the Emergency Committee. And if you will submit to neither the people nor the state, then you are guilty of crimes against the state and against the people, and on those crimes we show no mercy.’
Theresa May, Pronouncements under the Emergency Powers Act (2027), vol. i, p. 17.
‘We do not call ourselves nationalists. Rather, we consider ourselves to be unionists, for what we celebrate and protect is the unity of the British nation, invincible because indivisible. Therefore, we no longer speak of the Welsh language, of Scottish democracy, of the Irish peace process, but rather, of the British armed forces, the British state, and the British language, binding our people together, and to us, throughout the four counties of Britain.’
Theresa May, Pronouncements under the Emergency Powers Act (2027), vol. ii, p. 9.
- Rumour has it that the FWA’s leaders ordered their men to march into Hereford and ‘take’ it, but the annexation had to be abandoned because the men were shy of meeting the SAS. Roy Clews’ account of the paramilitary years (To Dream of Freedom: The Story of MAC and the Free Wales Army. Talybont: Y Lolfa, 1980/2013) records only one incident of threatened violence. While on ‘exercises’ in the forest, the FWA discussed shooting a man who wore their uniform, but whom they suspected of working for British intelligence. He was, in fact, an undercover reporter.