AN IRISH VIEW OF WELSH NATIONALISM TEN generations make a long gap, and they separate me completely from the people to whom I am linked by a Welsh name. The most important part of my knowledge concerning Wales is that I know less of its folk than any other in these two islands, just because they belong to a strongly marked national type to which I am a stranger. I know that I know less of Wales than I should and it is a misfortune which I share with the vast majority of English speaking people. The Welsh are a people- nation-who, as I think, do not make their full contribu- tion to the world because they have had no instrument of national self-expression. That means a loss to the world, but still more certainly a loss to Wales, for it is true, as a wise Greek discovered, that happiness depends upon faculties receiving full play to develop their appropriate excellence. One might call the Welsh a stunted nation. The same is true, though in a far lesser degree, of Scotland. The Scotch have had their own system of law, even if they have lacked the power to modify and refashion it on their own lines but it is far more important that they have had their own system of education, from far back in history. On this priceless inheritance depends the strong originality of the Scots nation, which has enabled them always to produce so many outstanding personalities that they have had a weight out of all proportion to their members in the United Kingdom's affairs. Yet twelve years in Par- liament left me convinced that the Scotch were as a people far ahead of England in social and political thought, and that the pace of their development was retarded by tying up their affairs with those of the larger country. There are many problems common to the modem world for which each self-governing nation has to find its own solution, and in finding it may do a common service. I believe we should, as a commonwealth of nations, be much further on our road to happiness, if Scotland had been dealing freely in Scotland purely from a Scottish outlook with Scottish affairs. About Wales, I can only reason from analogy. Your people are plainly even more distinct from the "predominant partner" than are the Scotch, and we in Ireland know what it is to have decisions taken from us by a majority, who do not understand our country. We know what it is to have our needs interpreted by those not really in touch with them, and so must you. It was plain for instance that in handling your question of disestablish- ment the English Liberal Nonconformist did not really enter into the Welsh mind he did not understand that the grievance was one of pride, of national right; that you wanted disestablishment not because you were Noncon- formist but because you were Welshmen. Your demand was in reality a symbol, a flag. Well, you have carried it; and now that you have won- we Irish helping you-one may be allowed to say that your national demand was very limited and almost negative. In the name of the Welsh nation, you wanted to disestablish something. If you are to keep your nationality alive you will have to seek after establishing something, which shall be an expression of that nationality. By Stephen Gwynn. Or, rather, because your nationality is alive-thanks to the grip you have held on your language-you will be driven by a natural need to seek some such expression. It is not a question whether you should or should not demand self-government. You will not be able to help doing so. The question for you is how to shape your ideal-what to blazon on your flag. If you once put a thing on a flag, it is very hard to take it off again. Pride becomes involved, and pride has no reason. We in Ireland are suffering now from a national demand which has been pushed beyond the needs of national expression; and we suffered in the past, perhaps, from having in our necessity put too little on our flag- set the demand below the limits of our need. You in Wales and the Scots in Scotland can do us a service, and do the world a service, by clearing up the essentials of your case, which is ours also, in broad outline. The four peoples of these two islands are by geography, by history, and by the adoption of a common speech so bound up together that you cannot wholly sever any one of them from the rest without doing violence to the facts of geography, of history, and to the consequences of the common English speech and the culture which it carries. Sinn Feiners recognise this so well that educated men among them lay down that Ireland can never be a nation till it ceases to be English speaking. This means that they can only think of a nation in terms of the sixteenth century. Fortunately, or unfortunately, as one chooses, we live in the twentieth. And, in the twentieth century, what measure of self-government is needed to give Wales its full expansion as a nation-without which it cannot have its rights in the world? That is not a phrase. A League of Nations exists in which New Zealand will be able to state its separate view. Is it unimportant to Wales, or to the world, that Wales should not have its distinct point of view expressed in such a council? If only to ascertain the Welsh point of view, to make clear this national voice, you need some organ for eliciting the will of the community-and for accustoming the Welsh community to frame its separate will. What powers should that organ,-that machinery for discussion, deliberation, decision and action-possess in the modern world The government of a nation within the British Common- wealth of nations, needs first of all absolute control of education. Nobody else can tell you what type of training is needed for your people. You will have to find that out for yourselves, and the measure of your success in this, will be the truest measure of your value to the world. Nobody else can guess what the Welsh language, the Welsh literature, the history of Wales, may be worth to you; but this is only one aspect, though the most obvious, of the need for national control of national education. Secondly, you will need to express for yourselves in law the moral standards of your community-or else your laws will have no living relation to moral judgments- which is the pass we have come to in Ireland. f^This