Remember this photo. It matters for Wales. Why? Because it will remind people for years to come that Wales has a border, a frontier, a State Line. “the configuration of the land”* refers to a sleeping Wales, and Offa’s Dyke, and to the possibility that one day this Wales will awaken. A dream. Now Covid has given us an actual sign on our actual border, near Wrexham, which spells out our difference.
Many people would like to think you can run a country without needing a border, let alone enforcing it. They fear and dislike the result of a border, that one of our fellow human beings will be rejected and turned back by a border officer. But this is to dodge the hard reality of how you or anyone runs a country. Let’s stick to the law of borders.
International Law (the Montevideo Convention) says that Wales would be a State and a person in international law if “ if it meets the following criteria: 1) a defined territory; 2) a permanent population; 3) a government and 4) a capacity to enter into relations with other states.” Focus on “defined territory”.
There is no point in Wales asking other countries to recognise Wales as a State, a big ask, if we don’t have “a defined territory”. So let us celebrate the reminder in the photo that we do have a border, and that for once we enforced it. We are on the way to recognition!
No law requires Wales to have permanent border posts or a Woollen Curtain, made from Tregwynt Blankets, mostly closed, running up and down Offa’s Dyke. If Wales were part of the Schengen Agreement, our border would allow free passage. So mostly we’d never notice it. But we remember that its there. When we need it.
*“The Sleeping Lord” David Jones