Cover independent nation

Should Wales leave the UK? It’s a conversation that has – unfairly – been all but disregarded by many, including some of the Welsh themselves, with all the focus on their Celtic cousins in Scotland. But independence movements are gaining momentum across Europe, and Wales will be a key voice in these debates. Support for Welsh autonomy is at an all-time high, with the latest polls suggesting as many as one in three are in favour. This is not just unprecedented; it is all but revolutionary.

Scotland’s 2014 referendum taught us that once the independence genie is out of the bottle, it does not go back in. Meanwhile, the Brexit campaign demonstrated that these arguments come with inflated claims, misinformation and scaremongering that can easily poison a complex debate.

In Independent Nation, Will Hayward brings nuance back to the arena for this crucial national conversation. Brimming with interviews from experts and painting a detailed, colourful picture of the realities of life in Wales – from extreme poverty and disconnected infrastructure to expensive urban regeneration and cafés of Gavin and Stacey fame – this is an open-eyed look at the truths and falsehoods around the country’s future. Impartial, informed and thoroughly entertaining, Independent Nation raises the standard of debate around an issue that will affect us all.


“One of the strengths of Will Hayward’s book is that he comes to the subject without any personal baggage. He analyses the subject from all angles and doesn’t pull punches. He confronts the practical issues that would accompany any move to independence. Even if you don’t agree with all the points he makes, he challenges you to think about your own response. He also has the knack of a good journalist in being able to convey sometimes complex ideas in accessible language, without being simplistic or patronising. This book is a major contribution to the debate about Welsh independence. Highly recommended.”

Martin Shipton, political editor-at-large, Western Mail

“Will Hayward came to weigh up Welsh independence the same way I came to Scottish independence: not through any romantic attachment but from a recognition that the UK’s current growth model is unsustainable in its own terms and unresponsive to the needs of the rest of the union. Hayward gives you an engaging and clear-eyed analysis of what is at stake when we talk about independence for Wales. If you want to think this through, Will has already done the heavy lifting.”

Mark Blyth, director, William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance, Brown University

“We are seeing an unprecedented amount of debate about Wales’s future. There are those of us who wish to see a UK that is different but not dismantled. Others see it differently. This book is a thorough investigation of the issues that will form part of that debate.”

Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales 2009–2018

“Will Hayward is asking the right questions about independence in this book. A journalist who moved to Wales and was not in favour of independence, he is well placed to look objectively and honestly at a complex subject. The conversational style and the structure of the book make it an accessible and refreshing read, whichever side of the debate you are on.”

Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru 2012–2018

“Whether an independent Wales is either desirable or viable are questions which are becoming more urgent as a post-Brexit Britain puts strains on the union. This is a comprehensive, intelligent and much needed guide to the issues from one of Wales’ leading journalists. It argues persuasively that, whichever side of the debate you support, Wales must discard its insecurities and step up to the challenges of this century.”

Richard Sambrook, emeritus professor at Cardiff University, former director of BBC News

“Lucid and compelling. Required reading not only on the transformative possibilities and potential pitfalls of independence but also on the perils of remaining as we are.”

Professor Richard Wyn Jones, director of Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre

“The future of the union is one of the big political stories of our time, with the focus all too often on Scotland. Will Hayward offers a brilliant, insightful primer on the future of Wales’s place in the UK. A must-read for anyone interested in the future of this country, whatever their view.”

Matt Chorley
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  • Hardback, 320 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785907630
  • 30 August 2022
  • £20.00
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  • ISBN: 9781785907678
  • 30 August 2022
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