Adam Price is the leader of Plaid Cymru

SOMETHING is happening in Wales and Scotland. Today in Wales, our capital city will play host to the first ever March for Welsh independence.

It will see people from all across Wales will come together in their hundreds and thousands to proudly declare that Wales’s brightest possible future is as an independent nation at the heart of Europe.

The march has been organised by AUOB Cymru (All Under One Banner), the sister counterpart to Scotland’s All Under One Banner movement which held an independence march in Glasgow a and drew a 100,000-strong crowd.

READ MORE: 'Tide is turning' in Welsh indy movement as AUOB holds first march

Both Scotland and Wales know the same reality. We have both been let down by the Westminster government. We have both seen projects abandoned and investments slashed. We have both been ignored by a government that can never really truly represent us.

We both realise that Brexit will having a devastating impact on our communities and industries. We both understand that the loss of vital EU structural funds will never really be replaced by the UK Government. We both reject the hostile environment and right-wing British nationalism that Brexit has brought into the mainstream, and instead embrace the outward-looking, progressive civic nationalism that Wales and Scotland can offer, with EU citizens and refugees welcome here.

The last three years of Brexit chaos in London have laid bare for all to see that Westminster is not fit to govern either Wales or Scotland.

The two largest political parties in the UK are in freefall, with the European elections likely to see them sink to even further lows.

While Labour and the Tories squabble among themselves, our communities and our industries wither on the vine.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Both Scotland and Wales are headed in the same direction. Towards a better future as an independent country. That future is getting increasingly closer. In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has already called for a second independence referendum by 2020 and in Wales, an inclusive and mainstream movement for independence is stirring.

The rebuilding, repainting and reproduction of Cofiwch Dryweryn across Wales. The sold-out Yes is More gig which drew 1000 attendees. The grassroots organisations Yes Cymru, Undod, AUOB Cymru and Welsh Football Fans for Independence and a newfound confidence in engaging and discussing with the citizens of Wales on what an independent Wales could actually look like.

The National:

Adam Price

People are waking up to the idea that independence is normal and that independence isn’t just a “nice to have” – it’s a necessity. Westminster has ignored us for generations, and people are starting to see that.

Decades of neglect have resulted in poverty and under-investment. In Wales, one-third of our children live in relative poverty. Our citizens suffer under an unjust and unfair justice system with the highest number of imprisonments in western Europe. Homelessness is epidemic. We’re in a climate emergency but have little to no control over energy and environmental protections.

These reasons alone should be enough to seek our independence from Westminster.

There is another way. There is another future. And the only way

to solve the problems we have in both Wales and Scotland is to take our future into our own hands. We’ve already seen through devolution of powers to Wales what we can achieve. We were one of the first parliaments in the world to declare a climate emergency and one of the first countries in the world to declare our solidarity with the Kurdish hunger strikers protesting human rights abuses in Turkey and the continued solitary confinement of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Imagine then, what an outward-looking, fairer, progressive and welcoming country – where anyone who wants to be Welsh or Scottish can call Wales or Scotland their home – could contribute to the world with all the powers we need?

Independence isn’t the end. It is a beginning.

All of this is happening, of course, against a European election backdrop and I believe that a vote for Plaid Cymru in Wales and a vote for the SNP in Scotland in these elections could be another significant step on our journeys to a better, independent European future.

Some people will say this election is pointless but they are wrong. This election could send a more powerful message than any other.

Plaid Cymru’s message is simple – we will make Wales matter.

Plaid Cymru and the SNP are the only parties in our respective countries that unequivocally support holding a People’s Vote, remaining in the European Union and have a chance of winning seats in the European Parliament.

I understand why people voted for Brexit. I understand the exasperation and the frustration

and I don’t blame anyone who voted Leave. It was the wrong answer to the right question and I do not believe leaving the European Union is the answer to our democratic deficit as nations.

It is Westminster, not Brussels, that has ignored Wales and Scotland over the years.

Joining the EU as an independent member would double our number of MEPs, give us the presidency of the Council on a rotating basis and a commissioner, and billions of cohesion funding until we are brought back up to decent levels of prosperity. When did Westminster ever offer us that? For many years, our desire to see an independent Wales has seemed distant. But the tide is turning, the marches are growing, and the voices are louder.

Today, I will be proud to march alongside my fellow citizens under banners and banging drums in Cardiff, as we walk hand in hand towards a better, brighter and bolder future for Wales and its people.

It is time to make Wales matter and take our future into our hands as an independent nation.