Wales is the poorest region in the UK, with a GDP per capita that is only 72% of that of England. For centuries, the profits of its natural resources, such as coal and slate, ended up in the pockets of mine and quarry owners who were often based outside of the principality. The UK government too has a rather shady record when it comes to managing the local economy. In 1966, and despite heavy protests, the Welsh Tryweryn valley was flooded to provide water for the city of Liverpool. A year later, the community of Aberfan was devastated, when a colliery spoil tip, managed by the National Coal Board came gushing down a mountain slope above the village, burying the local school and resulting in the tragic loss of 144 lives.
But independence from the UK is, at least for now, not on the cards. Admittedly, the Welsh nationalist party Plaid Cymru (which translates straightforwardly as Party of Wales) is a significant political force. Brexit has hit the country hard with an agricultural economy that has lost its Brussels subsidies and subsequently also a large chunk of its customer base, while the English-nationalist rhetoric and actions of the Johnson administration undermine unionist bonds all across the UK, not just in Wales. But you will find a gentle form of cultural nationalism here, in particular in Welsh-speaking communities that are very prominent in the northern part of the country. No independence-seeking, constitutional sledgehammer just yet; But if the Tory government continues to do what they are doing ….