Expanding on an idea he first mooted in the Institute of Welsh Affairs’ Agenda journal, Mr Price said it was clear that independence was not a realistic option in the short term.
“As a nation we lack self-confidence because of the weakness of our economic position,” said Mr Price, who stressed that he was speaking for himself and not on behalf of Plaid Cymru. “Nations that lack self-confidence do not tend to back independence.
“So from the point of view of someone like myself, who believes Wales’ best chance of future prosperity lies in our having control of the necessary levers in an independent state, there’s the need to look at other possible constitutional arrangements as an interim measure.”
Mr Price, a leading adviser to Plaid leader Leanne Wood, said Wales was one of just five areas within the EU that saw themselves as nations but did not currently have their own state – the others being Catalonia, the Basque Country, Scotland and Flanders.
“Wales is the only one of them where independence isn’t realistically on the current agenda, for a combination of historical, economic and demographic reasons.
“Yet – and this is a very strong point – survey after survey has shown that most people in Wales want the big political decisions affecting them to be taken in Wales rather than at Westminster.
“Increasingly, too, there is an understanding across the political spectrum that the different crises affecting Wales – the drive to create more successful schools being pursued by [Education Minister] Leighton Andrews, the concerns about the Welsh language highlighted by the census figures and, underpinning everything, our economic performance – will only find solutions in Wales.”
In such a context, said Mr Price, it may be possible to work out a new constitutional relationship between Wales and the rest of the UK. Such a change could become inevitable whatever the result of the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, the former MP argued.
The new arrangement suggested by Mr Price would be founded on the principle that sovereignty resided with the people of Wales, who could decide what powers would be delegated to a “confederal” British Parliament
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