The Independent Commission on the Constitutional Future of Wales is up and zooming for the time being. And the members, myself included, will be getting out to meet people soon. So stand by!

We’ve got two years to listen to as many people as we can about our shared future; what we want for our children and the community; where we see ourselves in the wider world. 

READ MORE: We need to talk about why Westminster isn't working for Wales

The question for me is how far the Commission can take us? Beyond the confines of the UK towards real independence?

My honest answer is that I don’t know. 

Its first objective, set by the Welsh government, is ‘to consider and develop options for fundamental reform of the constitutional structures of the United Kingdom, in which Wales remains an integral part.’ That would seem to exclude independence from the agenda. Except the second objective keeps the door open: ‘To consider and develop all progressive principal options to strengthen Welsh democracy and deliver improvements for the people of Wales.’

Co-chair Laura McAllister is clear: ‘the Commission has a licence to be radical…to explore the options for a future for Wales outside the Union.’ So I’ll be pushing for Wales to become decentralised and socialist, in line with the constitutional aims of Plaid Cymru.

But this isn’t about me, and Laura is careful to say that the exercise is ‘not about working to an artificial binary of two options - the status quo or independence’ and that we’ll be looking at ‘a broad spectrum of constitutional options’. That will hopefully encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the process.

And for me the most important thing is the process of exchanging views and ideas, more so than the list of options for the government to consider at the end, because independence may not be one of them. Or maybe it will. 

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We all have a part to play but what is still missing from the picture is a Welsh media landscape where those discussions can take place. The fact is that most people in Wales get their news and political analysis from London-based sources. The Daily Mail tops the list, read by a third of those who buy newspapers in Wales, even though 86 per cent of Welsh people surveyed in 2019 said they were very or quite interested in news about their nation, second only to Scotland.

So there is a market and yet we don’t have a single daily national Welsh newspaper. Scotland, on the other hand, has at least four.

So let’s kill two birds with one stone. Take this opportunity to shape our own future and give ourselves a chance to do things differently from Westminster, and use the conversation to feed and grow independent Welsh media, which is why I’m supporting The National, whether I write for them or not, and why I’ve launched my own podcast. Hint, hint. 

Let’s go for it. We’ve got nothing to lose.

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