Devolution – Why We Need To Let Go Of It
Prior to the 1997 referendum on devolving power from Westminster to Wales, the then Secretary of State for Wales, Ron Davies, memorably referred to devolution as “a process, not an event”. It should have been a process that would be a stepping stone to eventual total autonomy – or so the more naive amongst us thought at the time. Myself included. I’m still kicking myself daily for not realising what the cunning plan was at the time.
It was a clever and insidious move by Tony Bliar & Co. (you know who I mean – that pink Tory ex public school boy, who was famously caught, in a less cheesy than usual moment, with an open mike, saying “those fucking Welsh” – his words not mine) to produce a devolved ‘Assembly’ in the form prescribed for us by Whitehall, and located in Cardiff Docks.
The wholehearted nationalist support at the time – and I myself was among them – rejoiced at the move to get some sort of autonomy – which we (in child-like innocence) believed, could be a stepping stone to eventual independence. A bad mistake. Sadly many still don’t see through the plot. The writing was on the wall when we realised that our ‘powers’ would be weaker than those handed to Scotland and The Six Counties in the north of Ireland.
At this juncture I would now, with hindsight, be the first to admit the naivety of my reasoning at the time. What we didn’t take into account was the cunningness of the Bliar plan. It was never designed to help us on the road to independence, but a tool to block movement in that direction for the long term, a spoiling tactic if you will.
Twenty years later, under a one party Labour rulership we are poorer, sicker and less well educated than we were in 1997. Ample proof that in reality Labour is the party of poverty, it needs to keep swathes of our country poor to justify it’s existence. But after twenty years, the cat is out of the bag. How much evidence do we need to prove that devolution – in it’s Westminster prescribed form – does not work for us. In fact it was designed not to work, and what’s worse it was meant to be used as a brick wall to stop our progress to independence.
Voting System Contrived
Even the voting system was designed to block a one party majority, or rather to block nationalists from ever gaining majority power. Ironically, that has backfired spectacularly in Scotland – but it was never meant to happen that way. Thankfully the SNP are a canny breed that managed the seemingly impossible. We in Wales are way behind the curve, because the ONE nationalist party in Wales over the same period are a different breed to the determined Scots. Plaid Cymru are a bunch of progressive liberal socialists (cuddled up to the UK Labour unionist party) , mixed in with a copious number of sons of the manse. They just don’t cut the mustard. THAT’S why Ein Gwlad is here to change things.
Credit For Well Planned Deviousness
Those behind the scheming have to be given full credit for their clever far sighted intelligence and raw cunning, but they’ve always been strong in that department. Devious underhandedness comes naturally to them as evidenced by their chicanery throughout their colonising history. Our tendency to be trusting and fair-minded serves us badly when we come across this cultural difference to our natural, make-up as a nation.
Break The Taboo
So, if our devolved ‘parliament’ is blocking our progress it must go. We have to break the taboo that the Senedd in it’s present form, dictated to by London based civil servants, is a holy cow for us and can’t be opposed – it isn’t – it needs to be put down – like a terminally sick animal.
Would we prefer powers to be handed back to Westminster?
Of course not! What needs to be done is to present the argument that it’s a choice: a crippled devolved assembly or independence. Get rid of our devolved ‘government’ that is burying us in poverty through it’s (planned) incompetence, carried out by the foreign parties operating on our soil and instead have a referendum on independence, not both. Reverting all powers back to Westminster is NOT an option that’s on the table. The choice is keep the Micky Mouse Cardiff Docks freak show, or get full independence. No other choices are relevant.
This is in stark contrast to the ultra unionist UKIP party, that also says the devolved Senedd should be dissolved, but their reasoning is to put the power fully back in the hands of England. Over our dead bodies at Ein Gwlad, would we allow that to happen!
The Assembly needs to be abolished, but not to go back to full rule by Whitehall – as UKIP desire, but abolished in favour of proper sovereign status as a fully independent country. That’s why we at Ein Gwlad have gone back to the drawing board to get it right – once and for all.
The Myths Surrounding Independence
The propaganda, that has percolated deep into the psyche of the Welsh is that we are too small, too poor and quite frankly too stupid to rule ourselves. These are myths, designed to put us in fear of what would happen to us if we accomplished independence. They are just that – MYTHS.
Busting the Myths
According to incorrect public perception, Wales is too small and too poor to be independent…
Wales is too small to survive as an independent nation
Wales, a country of 3 million people, is not too small to survive as an independent country. It is a fact that there are over 100 other independent countries in the world that are smaller than Wales. Of the top 10 wealthiest countries in terms of GDP per capita, 9 have a population of less than 5 million, and 7 of those have a smaller population than Wales.
Of the countries of the European Union, some of the most prosperous are small countries:
|EU Member State||GDP per head (in PP)||Population|
|Key Facts and Figures about Europe and the European Union (Office for Official Publications of the European Union)|
Economic prosperity is no longer secured through being a large country or empire nor by using military force to gain access to markets.
There is no longer a link between the size of a country and its economic success.
That a small country the size of Wales can prosper is evident.
Those that argue otherwise are either unable to accept the evidence for this, or must believe there is something peculiar about the people of Wales that means they’re incapable of making a success of things.
Myth No, 2:
Wouldn’t Wales’ budget deficit be too big for it to cope?
The UK currently has the biggest budget deficit in the developed world.
The argument that Wales gets more in public spending than it pays in taxes is often seen as evidence that Wales cannot pay its own way. When you consider the deficit of the UK as a whole, the argument does not stand up to scrutiny.
There are undoubtedly economic challenges facing Wales. The current GVA of Wales is around 77% of the UK average.
The challenge to those who oppose independence on the grounds that Wales cannot afford it is to explain why being part of the United Kingdom has led to this poor economic performance.
It’s important to remember that Wales has historically been a creditor to the UK Treasury and more than paid its way over the years. Of course the wealth that Wales once generated, and will do so once again, did not remain in Wales for the benefit of its people (why do you think they fight hammer and tongs to hang on to us? Like Spain in the case of Catalunya, they realise what our wealth generating potential means for them).
Myth No. 3:
People don’t care about independence. It’s a distraction from real issues that matter to people.
We believe that independence for the people of Wales is central to a prosperous economy and society. The quality of local services, job security, affordable housing which are the issues that affect people’s lives can be dealt with far better by an accountable, elected Welsh Government.
Myth No. 4:
We’re stronger together! Why break-up Britain?
The ‘separatist’ label is often thrown around by opponents of Welsh independence. Do they think we’d somehow tear Wales apart at the border and move it somewhere else? The truth is we are the opposite of separatists. We want to be a full part of the international community. An independent Wales would still be a neighbour to the other countries of the United Kingdom. There will always be strong, social, cultural and economic bonds between the people of the countries of the UK. (See our manifesto).
The difference would be that we could be a partner to the other countries with our own voice being expressed. This would make for a stronger relationship.
Myth No. 5:
Most people in Wales feel Welsh and British and will never want independence.
In the modern world it is inevitable that people within Wales will have several identities.
Identity is a personal thing and is separate from questions of democratic accountability.
Personal identity does not necessitate support for a particular way of being governed.
Myth No. 6:
Independence is irrelevant in the modern globalised world?
The inter-dependence of countries is a fact of modern life. We want to play our part in the international community. As Winnie Ewing of the SNP put it: “Stop the World, we want to get on”. Globalisation not only makes an independent Wales relevant; it also makes it a more viable prospect.
An independent Wales becoming a full member of global institutions such as the UN and playing a full part in the global economy would give Wales the opportunity to thrive.
No longer does being a part of a large country or empire provide an economic advantage, small countries have access to the same global market. However we are opposed to the current neo-liberal globalist vision.
We’re Getting There!
The people of Wales are waking up and demanding something better. Our confidence is rising, not just on the sports fields, but the way we are starting to rediscover our unique identity, and our yearning for freedom. Everywhere you look polls are suggesting an upsurge in the support for independence. It’s palpable – one poll suggests that we could hit the 40% mark in support of independence very soon.
Independence will be our opportunity to show exactly what we can do as a nation – when left to our own devices. Just look around the history books to discover what an explosive effect we can have when we are given the opportunity. Not just here but the world over, especially in places like America. A tiny little group of immigrants to the states were the largest ethnic group of signatories (16 in all) on the original draft of the American Declaration of Independence they were Welsh! Thomas Jeffersons’ family who came from Snowdonia wrote and spoke Welsh too! Five of the first six presidents of the USA were Welsh.
Example excerpt from the American Declaration of Independence
When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
And We Are Too Stupid To Run Our Own Country?
Isn’t it a shame that by today, many of us have been brainwashed into actually believing that we are so stupid as a nation that we could not rule ourselves. Amazing, the power of state propaganda!
Ein Gwlad demands that:
- The devolved Assembly, in it’s current form and dictated to by Westminster be abolished.
- A proper referendum on independence voted on by informed citizens in Wales.
- The clearing out of foreign London based political parties from having a say in the way our country is governed.
Recently retired Consultant Electronics Engineer, now living in Aberaeron Ceredigion. Educated at Bronant County Primary School, Tregaron County School and the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology (Cardiff).
Involved in politics for nearly 50 years. Former vice president of Plaid Cymru – resigned in 2002. Currently the Chairman and a founding member of Ein Gwlad. Gwilym is also one of our permanent contributing editors at Ein Gwlad’s News Portal.