THE Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is a whole vibe.

For some people, it’s a great vibe - street parties and cucumber sandwiches and pretending to like your neighbours even though the rest of the year you’re complaining to your other half about where they’ve parked their car and why do the cut their grass in their Crocs anyway, do they want to lose their toes or something?

Then there are those of us who are sickened by the vibe. We’re completely stunned by the fact that anybody could inherit any constitutional role in a twenty-first century country by virtue of their birth - installed into the job by a ritual that includes getting holy oil poured onto their head from a twelfth century silver gilt spoon by an Archbishop.

For those in the latter camp, it’s easy to be appalled by the current state of things, but nearly impossible to see how anybody would ever allow themselves to be in the former group. The truth of the matter, however, is that there are more people enjoying their cucumber sandwiches than there are those of us desperate for the end of the monarchy.

READ MORE: Theo Davies-Lewis says the Royal Family are here to stay in Wales

Judging by a recent poll, it might be easy to say that Wales will never become a republic, but I think the only thing that can be taken from current polling is that Wales will not become a republic tomorrow.

The late writer and advocate of natural hallucinogenic drugs, Terence McKenna, among his many drugged-out theories, spoke about “Timewave Zero”. It’s a pseudoscientific idea that there’s a force at the end of time drawing all energy and matter towards it at an increasingly rapid rate that’s responsible for increasing novelty and chaos.

Since around 2016 a theory of increasing novelty and chaos might bring comfort to some of us trying to make sense of the world in that time. However, it’s clearly nonsense. He was off his box on drugs.

The idea of a force at the end of time drawing us all inevitably towards it is also clearly nonsense, but there are certain things - certain processes - which are inevitable, and Welsh people living in a republic is one of those forces drawing us through history.

From Terence McKenna’s moment of madness to Ron Davies. As the so-called architect of devolution in Wales didn’t quite say: becoming a republic is a process, not an event.

There are many in favour of Welsh independence who refuse to accept this very basic fact. The roadmap to an independent Wales doesn’t start with a referendum and ends with people dancing on the streets of Cardiff the following day.

Do we just want an independent Wales, or do we want a better Wales? For some people, they’re one and the same. Realistically, though, one can be the means to the other.

The roadmap to an independent Wales, is a roadmap to a better Wales that’s built beyond a referendum. People will only follow you on that journey if you can inspire them by showing that what’s on the end of it is better than where they are now.

Davies’ proposition that devolution is a process and not an event has proven true, after 2011’s referendum led to a resounding vote where 63 per cent of people were in favour of more powers to the Assembly (as it was then known).

A 2020 survey by YouGov on behalf of YesCymru saw that 59 per cent of people in Wales wanted more powers granted to the Senedd.

The direction of travel is irresistible.

One only needs to look to other countries for confirmation of this as the old Empire’s influence recedes. Many Caribbean nations have stated their aims to become republics.

As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travelled to Jamaica as part of a Platinum Jubilee tour this year, Andrew Holness, prime minister of Jamaica, (in what can only be described as a top ten feat of testicular fortitude) told them to their faces how his nation was "moving on and we intend to… fulfil our true ambitions as an independent, developed, prosperous country”. 


Last week Australia elected Anthony Albanese as prime minister on a republican manifesto. While his constitutional priorities are recognising Aboriginal Australians as the original Australians in the country’s constitution, a referendum on the Queen’s role as their head of state is inevitable.

With the potential re-unification of Ireland happening sooner rather than later, an existential crisis will strike the remainder of the UK, and we in Wales need to be ready. It’s why Dr Rowan Williams and Prof Laura McAllister are leading research into constitutional reform right now.

And it’s why we need to talk about what an independent Wales could actually be like in a practical sense - and how independence is the means to improving lives in Wales.

Day one in an independent Wales will need the Monarchy. Political institutions rely on tradition and history for legitimacy and authority - it’s why the Queen opened the Senedd, or why a golden mace sits in the Senedd chamber, and why she has holy oil poured on her head by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Regardless of what some of us want, there is no escaping Wales’s history as a constitutional appendix to England, and we need to accept that part of ourselves as a way of building consent and legitimacy in a new independent nation.

Wales won’t be a republic the day after an independence referendum, but unless we can convince the people eating cucumber sandwiches of the benefits of decolonisation, it never will be.

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.