Welsh independence group details lessons learnt from Nicola Sturgeon – ‘Great inspiration’

Sion Jobbins discusses Welsh independence campaign

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Chair of YesCymru Sion Jobbins spoke with Express.co.uk about how his group have been influenced by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP’s desire for Scottish independence. While Mr Jobbins says “great inspiration” has been drawn from the First Minister, he told Express.co.uk YesCymru still had stark differences such as a greater focus on governance and being less antagonistic. The Welsh independence leader added the 2014 Scottish referendum led to the formation of YesCymru in 2016 and revealed whether he would or would not work with Ms Sturgeon in the future. 

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Jobbins was asked what lessons have been learnt from Ms Sturgeon and the SNP’s bid for independence.

He explained: “First thing to point out that YesCymru non-partisan/political, cross-party grassroots campaign for independence so we don’t stand elections.

“We’ve taken great inspiration from the Scottish referendum in 2014 which led directly to our foundation we founded in 2016.

“I think we’ve learned from Sturgeon, I think from the general Scottish campaign is one to keep things positive.

“The arguments really is about governance, who do you want to govern?”

Mr Jobbins explained later in the interview the Welsh independence movement was less aggressive towards the English or the rest of the UK than the Scottish movement is.

He explained he still welcomed close cooperation with the rest of the UK if Wales left as those advocating independence were more concerned over who makes the laws rather than culture or identity.

Mr Jobbins continued: “In our case, Welsh laws should be made in Wales and the question of identity is the second one.

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“We don’t measure people’s Welshness, we don’t bring out a measuring tape to see how Welsh someone is.

“YesCymru includes people who vote [for any party] and none vote for any at all so we welcome all people of all backgrounds and political affiliation.

“So we’re trying to build a mass campaign for independence and I think what the Scots have shown is how it’s possible to do that, what a person’s identity is that’s not something we ask for.”

Mr Jobbins also said he would welcome working with Nicola Sturgeon in the future as he did not have a “monopoly of truth” with regard to independence.

But he stressed the political landscape in Scotland and Wales were vastly different so any sharing of advice would always be taken with a pinch of salt.

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YesCymru saw a surge in membership following the SNP’s May election victory as Mr Jobbins said supporters appeared to be motivated by Scotland. 

The group has around 20,000 members and saw a few additional thousand join after the May elections.

Polls suggest around a third of the Welsh population would support independence in a referendum with the younger population much more likely to vote to quit the UK. 

Mr Jobbins pointed out it was likely to see YesCyrmu’s support increase over the years simply through attrition. 

Mr Jobbins announced on July 9 he would be stepping down as party chair, citing “personal reasons” as the cause.

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