This week is Brexit week.
There have been debates at the Assembly and at Westminster.
I’m not going to express an opinion on the Brexit referendum per se here, but rather on the recent debates.
The debate which was held at Westminster last week wasn’t about whether or not Parliamentarians wished to go against the plebiscite and stop Brexit, but, as Jonathan Edwards MP said,
As we are told time and again the decision for the UK to leave the EU has been made. But what sort of relationship we have with the EU hasn’t been discussed in any way at all. What form that exit takes is entirely a blank canvas. So the question last week was , does Parliament give Carte Blanche to the Conservative Government or do they set boundaries and guidelines as to what sort of Brexit we have.
After all part of Brexit was meant to be about sovereignty. Sovereignty doesn’t lie with the Government – that would be an extremely dangerous thing.
However what we are being told is to ‘shut up and let the Government do get on with it’.
That’s not democracy, and down that path lies totalitarianism.
Last night (Monday, 6.2.2017) was when MP’s from the devolved countries got a chance to challenge and put their cases forward.
Keep in mind that Parliamentary debates have time constraints.
It started with a farce,
then later on we had MPs from outside of the devolved nations contributing at length to waste valuable time:
You’ll recall that during the referendum campaign all manner of promises were made. Remember that £350m a week for the NHS, or this from Tory leader in Wales:
Or you might recall the letter signed by Boris Johnson, Priti Pattell, Michael Gov, Chris Grayling, John Whittingdale and others saying,
“It is important that people and organisations now receiving funding from the European Union know that their funding is safe if we Vote Leave on June 23.”
amongst many other promises.
So, this week a group of ‘enterprising Welsh MPs’ decided to hold them to their word. They put down 16 amendments to the Brexit Bill insisting that these promises were to be kept.
As was noted earlier, the time for debating was in short supply, made even shorter by the purposeful time-wasting of the Tories.
This was their opportunity to honour those promises, pledges, vows, whatever you want to call them.
We often here about ‘British values’. Well, a quintessential British value is supposed to be keeping your word, the old ‘gentleman’s agreement’, ‘shake on it’.
An Englishman’s word is his bond, after all.
So when the votes on these amendments were cast, which way do you think Boris, Gove and the others voted?
They voted against Wales’ interests.
They voted against the proposal to give Wales £17.5m a week (the Barnett equivalent for the £350m a week NHS promise), they voted against ensuring that equivalent funds to those currently sent to Wales from the EU (“our own money anyway” – remember that?) would continue. They voted to make Wales even poorer.
Isn’t it us Welsh that are supposed to break promises?
Some years ago the Encyclopedia Britannica had ‘For Wales see England’ under it’s Wales section. Maybe the Oxford Dictionary should now have’ ‘For welsh see brexit’.
These have clear echoes of the 1956 Tryweryn Bill. Wales’ interest were simply discarded for the good of greater England.
This isn’t democracy.
This isn’t a ‘nation of equals’.
This is an insult.
Whatever you think of Brexit, this shows utter contempt towards Wales. Spitting in our faces while laughing merrily.
And the people of Wales still believe that this Union looks after their interests?
Are we naive, gullible, or stupid? Or maybe, truth be told, just plain desperate and tired.
Maybe this week some more will have woken up to our desperate need for independence.