.Or The Winter of 79 in Wales
Historically the result of the 1979 Devolution referendum was a blow to the cause of any kind of devolved governance in Wales but shadowy activists such as Meibion Glyndwr showed that some people were taking up part of the mantle of Free Wales Army and MAC.
So much for reality.
In Winter of '79 terms, the realisation of the policies and agenda of the Conservative Government meant that Tories disapeared from the political landscape; MPs retreated to London, councillors resigned out of shame, fear and in some cases were strong armed off in local council coups. Cardiff and Newport went Labour but declared themselves open cities while the mining communities of the Valleys joined with the Neath-Port Talbot-Swansea-Llanelli areas in a loose hard left alliance. A combination of militancy, terrain, acess to mining explosives, armed local TA members and presence of a number of Spanish Civil War veterans as radical leaders rapidly turned the Rhonddas into No Go Areas for Govt Forces.
In the hilly, wooded, sometimes misty, frustratingly named and twisty roaded, countryside, the Liberals and the Nationalists shared influence with many farmers and landowners forming local patrols to keep outsiders out.
The Army is already pulling troops east into England and the remaining forces are ordered to adopt "Ulster Rules" and bemused locals see armoured watch towers appear as the Army forts up in it's bases. With the M4 zone effectively closed at Swansea, the MSR runs from Hereford to Dering Lines at Brecon and then along the A40 to SENTA; from there it runs only as far as land rover based patrols can escort lorries down towards Carmarthen. Penally and Castlemartin are supplied by the Navy or helicopter lifts. The Army, dug into bases has no real idea as to the mood of the locals and refer to the country in general as "Indian Country" and the rumoured armed Nationalists as the "Viet Taff".
Does an armed Nationalist movement exist? Is there a threat of weapons and ASU's filtering in from Ireland through the now porous and long Anglo-Welsh border? Many senior officers in London now realise why Edward I made sure of Wales before moving on Scotland. There are reports of helicopters flying into Mid Wales from Hereford and lost sheep are blamed on long haired men with fearsome moustaches and carrying
M16s spotted at dusk or dawn. But are they the SAS or Yr Rhyfelwyr, The 1st March Brigade or any one of many alleged armed groups?
As an anomymous 2 Para Officer said to Max Hastings at a rainsoaked LZ in the Mynydd Eppynt, "Out there, Max, is the entire 2nd Welsh Nationalist Division. We only have to find him."
The next day the entire TA stock of kit at Carmathen was reported as "Lost on manouvres" along with most of the TA troop.