13th July: That the Brexit Party are now committed to campaigning for the abolition of the Parliament of Wales will be met with variations on a theme of weariness. There will be a sense of vindication, first, that our warnings regarding Brexit have proved correct: that it was never about the opportunities of unrestricted global trade, as some believed, nor about the localisation of democracy, as others claimed, but about power – power exclusively for England, and over its Celtic satellites. There will be a sense of satisfaction too that our desire to decide our political affairs, and to use and enjoy our national language, has grown over the last twenty-five years into the default political position in Wales: that as the leader of the Abolish the Welsh Assembly (sic) Party, Richard Suchorzewski put it, Wales is ‘sleepwalking towards independence.’ And there will be a sense of satisfaction also that the abolition campaign has been so roundly rejected by a unionist as distinguished as Carwyn Jones: that Welsh unionism is unionism in the European sense, that it demands an equal and voluntary union of British nations, and as such, is not unconditional.

Our darker responses will include horror at the blatant hypocrisy, arrogance and selfishness of those who seek to do to Wales precisely what they have accused the EU of doing to England, but a weary horror, because since the EU referendum, we have come to know our enemies well. And in addition to this, there will be fear. Despite the fact that support for devolution has risen steadily since its inception, and now exceeds eighty percent of the population, despite the fact that the Brexit Party is supported by just two per cent of the UK electorate in voting intention polls, despite the fact that its handling of the Coronavirus has increased the popularity of the Welsh government, and at the UK government’s expense, we have learnt to expect our enemies to cheat and to lie, and we have become more aware, as German liberals in the 1930s became aware, that the referendum is a ready-made tool for tyrants. And finally, we have an uneasy sense that Carwyn Jones’s condemnation of those who wish to abolish the Senedd as ‘English nationalists’ is too polite: that we are witnessing what Robert O. Paxton and Rob Riemen have warned us of, the resurgence of fascism, which we see clearly in the flood of threats poured out on opponents of Brexit, in the rising use of the swastika against immigrants and Welsh nationalists, in the demands for violence and gloating over death, and in the calls we hear for genocide against the Welsh and Jews. We fight because we are forced to fight, not to ‘make [Wales] great again’ or avenge its historic wrongs, but simply so that it can survive and prosper. It should not be so much to ask.

Image by Wojtek Gurak on Flickr

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.