The Old Man and his Sons
This fable is sometimes alternatively titled ‘The Bundle of Sticks’, or ‘A Farmer and his Seven Quarrelsome Sons’ it is one of Aesop’s Fables. It goes something like this:
An old man has a number of sons who constantly quarrel with each other. As he nears death in his old age, he calls them to him and gives them an object lesson in the need for unity.
Having bound a bundle of sticks together (or in other accounts either spears or arrows), he asks his sons to break them. When they fail, he undoes the bundle and breaks each stick singly (or gets his sons to do so – after all he is on his death bed!). In this way, he teaches them, though each can be overcome alone, they are invincible combined.
The moral drawn from the fable by Babrius (also known as Babrias or Gabrias the author of a collection of Greek fables, many of which are known today as Aesop’s Fables) was that “Brotherly love is the greatest good in life and often lifts the humble higher”. We can substitute ‘Brotherly love’ here for national unity amongst the citizens of our nation (the wider national family) not based on any political affiliation.
In his emblem book Hecatomgraphie (1540), Gilles Corrozet reflected that if there can be friendship among strangers, it is even more of a necessity among family members (or in our case our national ‘brotherhood’).
That the lesson of the fable could be applied to statecraft as well as personal affairs had earlier been realised by Pseudo-Plutarch and those others who told the story of ancient rulers. In more modern times, Pieter de la Court commented on its applicability to the Dutch Republic in his retelling of the story in Sinryke Fabulen (Amsterdam, 1685) as “A farmer and his seven quarrelsome sons”. The story is prefaced with the proverb “Eendragt maakt magt, een twist verkwist” (Unity makes strength, strife wastes).
So where is all this going?
Divide & Rule
Turning this wisdom on it’s head, i.e. viewing disunity in a positive light: colonial powers – more especially in the context of the British (English) Empire, it was quickly realised by this astute colonial power, that the secret short-cut to conquering a nation made up of tribes or individual groups within that nation, is to cause divisions and splits between them, to take advantage of that disunity and thereby break the target nation up into more ‘bite size’ chunks to devour.
This ploy has worked like a charm when it comes to empire power domination Not just in far flung corners of the Empire, but very much so here in England’s first colony – Wales.
It permeates down to all levels of our life, including our transport infrastructure, which is designed to connect us smoothly to England, but disconnects us within our own country. This contrived ploy along with many others, keeps us apart, separating north from south, east from west, and most destructive of all – linguistic divisions – promoted by the English establishment to pitch Welsh speakers and English speakers against one another. As the grotesque paedophile and prominent establishment figure Lord Tonypandy often quipped “we mustn’t let the language divide us”, only what he had in mind was sowing discontent between Welsh and English speakers in our country, and doing away with the former.
Sadly we are complicit in this strategy, based purely on our own stupidity and naivety as a nation, in not uniting and fighting the common cause of independence. Everything else gets corrected and falls into place after we unite and secure our freedom.
We DO have differences both linguistic, cultural, political and historic across our nation, and sometimes these differences permeate down to very small localities. As an example, I was brought up in a little village called Bronant in Ceredigion, with two other villages, Blaenpennal and Lledrod bordering our village – separated by about two miles in each direction. Our parochial differences were evident even within those small distances, with – amazingly – even slight linguistic variations, especially after crossing the small Wyre river between us and Lledrod to the north, where the Ystwyth/ Wyre linguistic fault is observed. Those on one side had subtle differences in language to those on the other side of the river. Whilst not noticeable to outsiders, locals would immediately pick up on those differences.
Only four miles separated the three villages, but they were slightly different and under the surface rivalry and competitiveness was always present, but not of a sinister nature – we were just slightly different to each other, but got on fine – until the annual games between the villages were held each summer! Lledrod was two miles north of us, go twenty miles further north and the distinction really stood out. However ask anyone from north Wales or anyone from south Wales about their patriotism and they are totally united in thought This is evident in many countries, including England, Scotland & Ireland. The Yorkshireman is totally different to your average Cockney, and the Scottish Highlanders are very much different from the Scottish ‘Borders’. However when it comes to patriotism there is a coming together within each country.
Sad to say though, politics often exasperates divisions. Whilst that is understandable, it should not divide us to the point where we will cut our own noses to spite our face when it comes to the really big subjects – like national freedom and independence from colonial rule by another country. In our case, and that of Scotland and Ireland that colonial rule emanates from England – the seat of the once almighty British Empire.
Recent Examples of Petty Divisions
In May of this year, All Under One Banner (AUOB) arranged an independence rally in Cardiff, a great achievement, that was attended by thousands of supporters bearing different banners and flags, and generally united in their support for independence – including Ein Gwlad of course. It was a joy to behold and a pleasure to take part in the rally.
Sadly, there is however a darker and very disturbing underside to this apparent show of unity. It is based on prejudice, ignorance, misinformation and downright lies, cultivated by those who should know better, and who should be mature enough to think a lot deeper than the superficial mentality based on assumptions, bigotry and that perpetual enemy from within that thwarts us – divisions. Divisions based on an inability to see the bigger canvass, allowing prejudice, jealousy and self promotion to shipwreck the most important goal that we have to realise and achieve for our nation and her citizens – INDEPENDENCE.
Gwlad Gwlad (Ein Gwlad)’s number one aim as a political party, (which is highlighted in our constitution and 2021 Senedd elections manifesto) is our determination to accomplish freedom and independence for our country. We do not know of ANY other party that makes that policy their number one priority and gives it the headline status that we do at Ein Gwlad. Within our declared policies – everything else comes second in order of importance to accomplishing independence.
When we were originally formed after a public meeting in November 2017, there was a white hot backlash against us. This came in the form of abuse, accusations and lies based on absolutely no evidence or proof of what we were (or were supposed to be) or what our goals were. Whilst the majority of the membership of the other nationalist party remained relatively calm, sensible and friendly, there was a hardcore of narrow minded members within that other party who went into an hysterical outer orbit of sheer panic. We were immediately accused of being:
- Extreme right wing nationalist fanatics. Some stooping as low as to accusing us of being alt right (alt–right, an abbreviation of alternative right, which is often loosely connected to the far-right, white nationalist movement). Neo Fascists and incredibly – Nazis!
- Ultra right wing populists.
- Nationalist vote splitters
- Saboteurs of the traditional nationalist party, and best of all –
- Jac’s party.
It really beggars belief, and borders on insanity. All of these accusations were fired at us before we had even published our constitution or our manifesto. They appeared all over social media and every attempt was made to discredit us by throwing every vile accusation at us – including the kitchen sink – and based on nothing but empty assumptions and lies. Our responses at all times were calm, fact based truths, balanced debate and polite corrections. Which caused even more frustration amongst these prejudiced assumers and their bigoted, presumptuous accusations that were quite simply fabricated lies. Cloud cuckoo land stuff.
However, when we published our constitution and manifesto, there was a lot of egg on the faces of this minority cabal. The backlash has significantly abated by now – we guess that’s because of a fear of further embarrassment as the reality about us sinks in. Sadly people like this do walk among us.
On the day of the independence rally, a group from Ein Gwlad turned up. They were greeted by some shallow thinking, loud-mouthed automaton, who turned to his children and declared in a loud enough voice for us to hear:
“Oh look the real Fascists have arrived!” His comment was ignored by us and no one reacted. What a way to behave before his children. What lesson did they take home from their father’s bigoted behaviour on that day?
Not Just Individuals – It Goes Deeper
Yes CYMRU has done a wonderful job of promoting independence, and have published excellent literature on the subject. Much of the facts are often borrowed by us, when we put forward the case for independence. They have done a good job to date. But again there are flaws based on contrived divisions.
YC originally announced that they would be a non political campaign group, that would invite support from across the political spectrum – that would suggest that no preference would be given to one political ideology over another. In fact Ein Gwlad does not subscribe to ANY specific political ideology (like socialism or capitalism). We create our policies from any source, as long as those policies are wholly beneficial to the welfare of our country and her citizens. Ours is a
Syncretic Nationalist Populist Party, in keeping with the developing National Populist movement and new parties across Europe, that are sweeping away the ‘old guard’ with their outdated policies and 19th century modus operandi.
These ‘populist’ parties are instantly pigeon-holed by the western establishment and their mainstream media mouthpieces, by calling them ‘far right wing’, or ‘extreme right wing nationalist’ parties. They even go so far as to propagate the idea that Fascism is on the rise again in Europe. This garbage is swallowed by the public and they react to it (more divide and conquer tactics). All of this biased reporting is of course a bare faced lie in essence.
In Wales this primitive labelling causes certain ones to think “our one nationalist party is a self confessed liberal socialist party”, i.e. a ‘leftist’ party’. If another nationalist party rises up, then they must be ‘right’ wing by definition. That’s where the divisive rot sets in. They are incapable of analysing that politics is far more varied and complex than the basic right/ left single dimension that it’s portrayed to be. Despite pointing out that we are NOT ‘right’ wing, but a syncretic party, the detractors still insist on labelling us according to their simplistic mentality in these matters, based on nothing more than a distorted and illogical preconception.
In essence the outdated and abstract convention on party labelling is vaguely based on the right and left seating arrangements during the French revolutionary parliaments. It is a perfect opportunity to pigeon hole parties and campaigners with neat labels, that either demonise them from the start, or portray them as something that is acceptable to the establishment.
No syncretic party is either ‘right’, ‘centre’ or ‘left’. What the populist parties of the 21st century have in common is that they are rebelling against the old political establishment, the banksters and other globalist elites, who have exploited them and lied to them with broken promises over a prolonged period of time. The elitists including liberal governments have also attempted to break down borders to eliminate national identity, with the aid of centralized undemocratic organisations like the EU. The more astute, amongst ordinary people are increasingly waking up and realise what is happening. They are also realising that they can change things at the ballot box.
We hope to do the same in our country. More than many others, our country has suffered long enough, and it’s time to change things for the better. Clinging on to old fashioned establishment parties will never change anything, they are bankrupt of new policy ideas and original creative thinking. Their day has been and is now being replaced by a totally new political concept for the 21st century. People are taking back control over their affairs, and will no longer tolerate those who have dictated to them politically, taken advantage of them and in the process taken them for granted, over the last couple of centuries.
Some populist parties do err on the side of socialism e.g. the Five Star Movement in Italy. Others err on the other end of the spectrum, however, they are showing greater signs of flexibility, and tolerance of each other, when it comes to selecting policies that protect and nurture their own countries. They have become adept at power sharing, because they all have one thing in common, they care for their country, rather than political ideology. Ein Gwlad does not and will not ever put political ideology before the welfare of our country.
Each European country has a different brand of populism, designed to best accomplish what is best for their own people, but ALWAYS for the benefit of their own nation, and NEVER to promote their own political ideology or political doctrines. This is what makes a nonsense of calling all of these populist parties ‘extreme right wing’. The people know best, not the establishment and their media puppets.
The Hand Of Friendship Extended
Being snubbed is not a nice experience. It also speaks volumes of the ones doing the snubbing.
Some time ago, as the Chair of Ein Gwlad, I wrote officially – on two occasions – to the then Chair of Yes CYMRU. On both occasions our letters were totally ignored, and we were not even extended the courtesy of an acknowledgement of receipt of those letters.
We were extending an offer for delegates of Yes CYMRU to meet a delegation from Ein Gwlad to discuss how we could work together on the very important independence project. we had no intention of getting Yes CYMRU to support us as a political party, and we were not fishing for members. We put the lack of a response down to uninformed distrust and a lack of professionalism on their part.
Later, problems emerged within YC itself. It became obvious that there was some kind of progressive liberal socialist element within the YC camp, that was not only influencing the direction that YC should take, but were actively causing a lot of concern within the campaign group’s Governing Committee. It culminated with an internal falling out, that ended with the Chair and others resigning, to be replaced by known Plaid Cymru supporters. We have members in our ranks that were also leading lights within YC. However, we have not come to a full understanding of what actually went on. In fact it is not directly any of our business, but we are extremely concerned about political factions muscling in on what is an extremely important NGO. It’s the divisions that causes us the most concern, it is a dangerous and poisonous thing – as highlighted at the beginning of this article.
From then on, the other nationalist party have become increasingly more prominent in YC’s affairs. There is now an umbrella group that has taken charge – All Under One Banner (AUOB). Now given that the other nationalist party have made noises that THEY should be the umbrella group serving all parties and groups that are involved with the campaign for independence, we, along with many others, are suspicious of who actually runs AUOB. Given the word ‘ALL’ the ‘A’ in the acronym for the umbrella group, we would expect any party or group involved with independence to be welcomed under that umbrella. Amazingly that does not appear to be the case.
It would appear that any party or group that does not label itself as ‘left’ are not particularly welcome. When invitations were sent out to others to attend the rally on the 11th of May, and to provide speakers for the event, the Green party, Plaid Cymru and the Labour for Indy group – not the actual party – were given invites. Some NGOs were also given that opportunity. As you may have guessed Ein Gwlad were not extended an invitation. It is becoming obvious that unless you have declared yourself ‘leftist’ (to coin that silly word) then you’re blackballed. Fair? Hardly. Divisive? Totally.
We, along with others on social media (who were not all active Ein Gwlad members) queried this. We were given the limp excuse that it had been decided that the invitation to speakers was only sent out to Senedd members! Hardly satisfactory, and actually inaccurate. What happened to ‘ALL’ Under One Banner? We turned up anyway, despite the fact that we were not invited to take an active role as the main political party advocating independence. As the Americans say: ‘Go figure’!
So The Burning Question Is:
We put all this down to some people’s limited understanding of modern 21st century politics. Many are still tainted with the absurd, abstract concept that politics is all about the left/ right single dimension paradigm. It is a teaching that has been hatched by the establishment and promoted by the mainstream media, and accepted by traditional political parties – including the other nationalist party.
Other reasons we believe are:
- The other nationalist party wrongly believes that it has the God-given right to the monopoly over nationalism and independence in Wales. Any ‘would be’ competition is immediately attacked and killed off – as has happened in the past – they are dealing with a different animal this time.
- They believe that EVERYONE in Wales supports a progressive liberal socialist agenda. Wrong. Plaid although having been in existence for 90 odd years, can only attract 20% of the electorate in Wales. As the average turnout is 50% , then in reality only 10% votes for them. So the magic figure is 90. 90 years in existence, 90% don’t vote for them. You have to ask why. We don’t need to rob the other nationalist party of members, we have a full 90% of other voters to attract into our party and to support it.
- They believe that they can out do Labour in the socialist camp. Bad mistake. It puts them in the unenviable position of supporting Labour policies, that have been a total disaster for Wales over the last 20 years – something admitted to by the Labour AM Lee Waters only this week. Any socialist who wants a socialist government for Wales will vote for the ‘unionist’ London based party with a branch office in our country. Not a copy-cat party of dubious intent.
- The traditional nationalist party has a leader that has declared that he is a ‘socialist’ first and a ‘nationalist’ second. A good indicator that it’s that party that thinks it should control the AUOB umbrella organisation promoting independence?
- This party is a ‘dog in the manger’ party. Another fable from Aesop. The dog in the manger can’t eat the hay in the manger, he only wants it for a bed, but prevents the bull from eating it. We appear to be the bull in this illustration.
- We view this party to be a dead man sitting in our chair. A chair that should be occupied by the people.
There is only ONE other party apart from Ein Gwlad that officially says it supports independence. Whilst most of it’s members traditionally supported independence to a man (or woman for the ‘snowflakes’ out there) , and always have done, that pleases us no end, as those members, although they may not be associated with Ein Gwlad, are healthy patriots, whose hearts are in the right place, and which we consider to be co-travellers on the road to freedom, regardless of which party they support.
However the other party that today says it supports independence, although having been formed 90 years ago for the main purpose of achieving independence; for many years it would not even mention the word independence, or admit to wanting it, shying away for fear of attack and ridicule by other ‘foreign’ parties. In more recent times that party’s top table occupiers have crept out from behind the sofa where they were hiding, and they once again tentatively declared that their party now supports independence. We at Ein Gwlad are overjoyed at that change of heart, HOWEVER it is still on their policies back burner, with prominence being given instead to all sorts of secondary and irrelevant side issues. We have no need to list them, most people know of their virtue signalling and bandwagon riding on issues that are of minor or no importance to our main struggle, and certainly do not help Wales in any way to better it’s colonial status and economic poverty.
AUOB cannot be two things. It cannot say that it accepts ALL that support independence under it’s umbrella, whilst at the same time rejecting others who do not conform to it’s preconceived political ideals. It has to be one or the other. It appears that at present it has adopted the Plaid model. Thereby dividing the independence supporting political parties. Not a good place to start.
What happened to unity of purpose when it comes to independence? We will gladly fight shoulder to shoulder with Plaid on the independence issue. When we obtain independence, we will fight like cats in a sack to convince the electorate of who should form the government in an independent, modern and forward looking Wales.
Until then, lets show a bit of pragmatism and UNITY shall we? Independence should come first and not old fashioned political ideology that fuels the destructive fire of division.
Recently retired Consultant Electronics Engineer, now living in Aberaeron Ceredigion. Educated at Bronant County Primary School, Tregaron County School and the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (Cardiff).
Involved in politics for nearly 50 years. Former vice president of Plaid Cymru – resigned in 2002. Currently the Chairman and a founding member of Ein Gwlad. Gwilym is also one of our permanent contributing editors at Ein Gwlad’s News Portal.