socialist republic of wales

7 ceiniog stamp commemorating the 100 years of the Welsh republic.
Picture shows the 120' high limestone statue of republican father John Frost.
Morlais Hill, Merthyr Tydfil, SROW.

I like this one a lot, but the idea itself arrived late in the day almost pre-packaged. It goes something like this: Acheron's 'hideout' was originally on an airship. The ex-aircraft carrier M333 'Queen of the skies', sailed around thousands of feet above England, working as a repeater station for TV and radio because satellites hadn't been invented. Here's a bit of an early draft of TN-1:

"...Hades was in the control gondola at that time, smoking a pipe and watching the clouds part in front of the airship as it turned gently and headed North towards Anglesey. The telemotors linked to the helm and ballast controls whined as the autopilot took up its new heading - coincidentally at about the same time as we hooked on. Hades didn't notice the trim changes as the ship made allowance for our additional weight. Jane was with him, sitting on the edge of her seat, glaring at Hades and every now and then staring anxiously out of the window.'Beautiful view, wouldn't you say, Miss Eyre?'..."

Anyway, getting Thursday and Bowden up there on a biplane rigged with a hoop above the centre section to 'hook on' to the airship (as they used to in those fun filled halcyon days of the thirties), then getting in and all that technical malarkey was all great fun and totally understandable to me (as a flying nut), but a few members of my family, after reading Version 6.2 thought it just too, well, techy. Who wants to know that airships have condensers to make water ballast to compensate for the fuel used anyway? After I had finished tearing at the wallpaper with my teeth I calmed down and agreed. I spent a great deal of time in Wales when a boy, so there it was. Airship out, Wales in. I much prefer it and it has taken me to new and exciting places that the M333 could never take me. Although dead, the M333 idea has not been forgotten. Who knows.

The following are my less-than-meticulous notes to support the (not so as it turned out) bizarre notion of a Welsh Republic. I apologise now if I have made any dramatic omissions. In common with most English schoolchildren, I wasn't taught any Welsh history in school - nor Irish, either - I wonder why that was? The birth of trade unionism bad reading for schoolchildren?
Henry Vincent, an early Chartist leader and a fiery orator, issued a call to arms in April 1839:

"...I could not help thinking of the defensible nature of the country in the case of foreign invasion. A few thousand of armed men on the hills could successfully defend them. Wales would make an excellent republic..."

"The Cambrian" of May 11, 1839 noted that a large number of colliers in the hills of Tredegar had given notice to discontinue work, and the leaders of the Chartists were to give a demonstration requested many of those who were unemployed to join them. So the idea is not new. But for me, looking for a 'stopping off' point where history separates from what we know and goes off on a Nextian tangent, I found the following extract in my 'Net-gleaned' history of Wales:

'....November, 1839: ...up to 5,000 rioters "from the hills" Ebbw Vale and surrounding districts entered Newport in three columns, one being commanded by John Frost. They marched to the Westgate Hotel where a small detachment of military waited inside. Accounts of what happened next vary, but someone opened fire on the soldiers, who responded with a volley into the crowd. In the ensuing panic, a score of workers were killed and many more wounded; the rest fled back into the hills, having brought this particular rebellion to a violent and speedy end...... On December 7, Newport held a public meeting to thank the soldiers for their brave defence of the town "thus saving it and the whole of England from rebellion." "The Cambrian" also commented that there was every reason to believe that the Chartists' order of the day was for SIMULTANEOUS ATTACKS OF THE CROWD UPON CARDIFF AND PONTYPOOL, BUT THE OUTBREAK AT NEWPORT HAD TAKEN PLACE A DAY TOO EARLY. (my caps) According to the paper,its failure had prevented the general uprising expected to take place throughout south Wales....'

Very interesting. What if the Newport rising had taken place on the right day? The ill-equipped Welsh rioters would have suffered appalling losses yet the Chartists might have won the day in the legislature; such bloodshed might have caused an earlier reform act. After all, the Chartists six main grievances:

Universal male suffrage,
Vote by ballot,
Equal electoral districts,
Annual parliaments,
Abolition of the property qualifications for election to Parliament,
Payment for parliamentary members (so that it could be open to all classes).

As you can see, all of them apart from annual parliaments were taken up - and several of them during the Chartist's movement's life, to try and take the wind out of their sails. So I guess the following might just happen:

1839: Newport, Pontypool and Cardiff have risings on same day; large fighting, 720 Welsh killed to 47 British. Rather than fight a protracted civil war in Wales and under pressure from Landowners, the British Government decide to look at the Chartist's proposals and agree to many of them.

1840: Hate of the British still high; each of the twelve Welsh constituencies elected members from the newly formed Welsh Colliers Society, all of whom argue successfully for a nationalisation of Welsh coalfields.

1844 Home rule established and iron and steel production starts to peak; Under the leadership of Frost, there are calls for a Welsh Republic run on strictly socialist terms. Karl Marx invited to join Government and lives in Llandeilo; buried in cemetery there.

1852 Wales declares independence. England, weighed down with troubles in Russia and the Irish Famine, see's no reason to argue with a belligerent and committed Welsh assembly. Trade links are good and the partition is agreed. (more...)

1876 New government in England declares intent to unify Britain by force if necessary.

1878-1882 First Anglo-Welsh battle fought near Chepstow. Attritional, there is little loss of life. An attempted Naval landing at Swansea is thwarted by bad weather; three men-o-wars are wrecked - 720 British sailors drowned.

1890 Anglo-Welsh non aggression treaty. Trade links re-established.

1901 Welsh council suffers split as various factions argue of the future of the republic. Pro loyalists want unification and civil war looms.

1903 Lenin visits Wales assumes command of newly formed Welsh 'Soviet.' Borders closed but trade links maintained.

1908 Wales gains huge market share of world steel - Welsh coal and iron needed to fuel British war machine in the first world war, and railway lines from Port Talbot snake around the globe. England remains distrustful and steps up production of iron and steel in the Midlands.

And why not?

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