IT would be fair to say that the Yes movement may well be ticking along but in the absence of a date for the second independence referendum there is certainly a debate going on about how we are to achieve independence.

A possible answer may come from Wales where no poll has ever indicated sizeable support for Welsh independence but where the Welsh Government has just announced the establishment of a constitutional commission that can consider independence as an option.

The commission is expected to research and consider all aspects of the governance of the UK but with special attention as to how Wales can go forward. Significantly, its establishment is a Labour policy – it was on page 62 of the Welsh Labour manifesto for the 2021 Senedd election.

The National: First Minister Mark Drakeford

Labour First Minister Mark Drakeford (above) told the Senedd that nothing is ruled out from the commission and anyone with an opinion can make their case – that includes for independence. Drakeford said that a second referendum on Scottish independence within the next five years was “very likely” and added he agreed with people who said Northern Ireland’s future had become more “uncertain” since Brexit.

He did indicate his personal choice – if he gives evidence to the commission, he said he would argue for “entrenched devolution within a successful United Kingdom”.

Co-chair of the commission Professor Laura McAllister, formerly of Plaid Cymru, said the commission would look at independence.

“I think everything is supposed to be on the table, quite rightly. So it would be ludicrous to remove any options at this stage,” she said.

“It’s important to be clear about language. Independence means different things depending on different contexts.”

The other co-chair is Swansea-born Dr Rowan Williams (below), Archbishop of Canterbury from 2002 until he retired in 2012. He said the commission would be addressing “urgent” questions about how to “make a democracy fit for purpose”.

The National: Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams gave evidence to the inquiry (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Dr Williams added: “At the moment we have a four-nations model which is pretty imbalanced. Devolved government is something which has been, to some extent, tacked on to an extremely centralised system.

“It’s time we thought through what the implications were for working better for the people of Wales and the people of the UK.”

Professor McAllister added: “I don’t think it’s going to be an easy task but Rowan and I will put our backs into making sure we listen to every community and every individual who wants to give us their take on how Wales should be governed.”

Rhys ab Owen, Plaid Cymru constitution spokesman, added: “A constitutional commission is an opportunity to hold the most wide-ranging national conversation about Wales’s future in the history of devolution.

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“Plaid Cymru looks forward to engaging constructively with the commission and its work, making use of every opportunity it presents to make the case for independence and that our nation’s interests will be best served when decisions over Wales’s future are placed in Wales’s hands.”

As you might expect, Welsh Conservative spokesman Darren Millar, said: “People in Wales overwhelmingly rejected independence at the recent Senedd elections; and why the Welsh government would want to waste its time and resources discussing the topic is beyond me.”

A BBC Wales report on the story elicited a Unionist backlash. One comment read: “Even without full independence the SNP have made a mess of running Scotland, and clowns like Drakeford, clearly out of his depth, would ruin Wales if he had full control.”

One independence supporter replied: “The voters of Scotland’s backing for independence started from a low base but now the pros and cons have been debated the majority are now in favour of independence. Perhaps this is what a lot of the posters on here are scared of the thought Wales can be a successful independent country.”

It’s possible that this Welsh move has taken many people in the Yes movement by surprise and it certainly begs the question why a similar body has not been set up by the Scottish Government to examine exactly how Scotland can go forward. There is a directorate dealing with constitutional matters but that is not the same as a commission with powers to talk to witnesses, expert or otherwise.

There are various Yes groups examining constitutional matters but perhaps the movement should be asking the Scottish Government to set up its own commission.