Wales faces an existential threat.
Make no mistake about it. Wales’ very future as a nation is under threat like never before.
It seemed like things were moving along in the right direction. The pace was slow, but the direction was correct.
1969… the Royal Commission on the Constitution
1979… the first devolution referendum
1997… the second devolution referendum
2011… the third devolution referendum
2014… the Silk Commission and the subsequent Wales Act
2017… the Wales Act giving Wales the ability vary taxes for the first time in 800 years
And now 2018, and the roll-back.
Yesterday both the Welsh and UK Governments announced that they had come to an agreement on a Brexit Deal which would result in devolved powers which will return from the EU following the UKs exit being repatriated back to Westminster instead of to Wales. The UK Government will now take back control in fields such as agriculture, fisheries and the environment. These are devolved areas, but following this agreement between both Governments the UK Government will now be allowed to legislate in these areas.
The Scottish Government under the Scottish Nationalist Party resolutely refused to these terms, but have instead shown real leadership by offering a solution.
The Welsh Government boasts that the UK Government will need to seek the consent of the devolved Governments before it can pass any legislation in these devolved areas.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Mark Drakeford, today said:
“The original Clause 11 was constructed such that primary legislation to put in place new UK-wide frameworks – for example, on agricultural support – could be pushed through Parliament without obtaining, or even asking for, the Assembly’s consent. The agreement specifically rules out this possibility”.
But as the UK Government Minister David Liddington said: “If that approval is not given, the UK Parliament may nevertheless approve them…”.
This is a blatant power grab by Westminster, clawing back powers which had previously been devolved to Wales. It also shows the weakness of the current settlement and proves the old adage that power devolved is power retained.
The Welsh Government have capitulated completely and given in to London without even a fight.
This website has been extremely careful not to promote any of our political parties, even though all bar one of the political parties who campaigned at the last election were avowedly Unionists. Even though, we’ve welcomed such important developments as Labour for IndyWales and Liberals for IndyWales warmly, promoting both groups on various online platforms.
But it’s difficult to even attempt to remain politically neutral when one understands that this agreement has been made between the two unionist parties that have jointly Governed Wales and run the country down over the last hundred years or more.
Both the Conservatives and Labour have signed this off and are telling us that allowing London to legislate in devolved fields is a good thing. It’s not. It wasn’t before devolution and it’s not now.
We’ve seen how Wales has been treated with utter contempt by the Conservatives in London. All the promises to invest in the electrification of the Cardiff-Swansea line have been scrapped. The Swansea bay Tidal Lagoon is but a distant memory.HS2, Crossrail, Thames Estuary development – huge multi-billion pound projects which are meant to be for ‘national’ (UK) benefit are sucking limited resources away from Wales to metropolitan England.
In each case, and many more besides, the Labour Government in Cardiff and their flunkies in Westminster have either been completely disinterested or supported the UK Government’s stance. And now we have this.
Conservative and Labour working in unison to strip power away from Wales.
What’s clear is that all our hard fought gains, small step by small step, over many years, can be taken away in an instant. So much for Standing Up For Wales.
This is a betrayal. There’s no other word for it.
Our precarious devolution settlement – indeed our very existence, is under threat. The UK Government know that they can do anything they want to Wales, completely against our interests, and the Welsh Government – under Labour – will do nothing to stop them. In fact, worse than that, they’ll join them.
Contrast this with Scotland, where the Scottish Government under a strong SNP leadership have refused to sign off on this attempt to roll back on their devolution and are preparing to take the UK Government to court.
They are indeed standing up for Scotland.
Action must be taken by those of us who love Wales and who believe in Wales.
We’ve fought too long and too hard for these scraps – slowly building up a Welsh legislature answerable to the people of Wales, only for the Unionists to laugh in our faces and sell us down the river.
Anyone who knows anything about our history will know that Wales’ biggest traitors were the Barons of the late middle ages. Those who had personal and vested interests, and refused to stand up for Wales having been bought off by English gold.
The Labour Party are the heirs to those old Barons. The people of Wales were too weak and powerless to stand up to those Barons back then. We’re not today.
These Unionists need to learn that Wales will not stand for this anymore.