Wales needs to realise that good behaviour will never be rewarded

Picture: National Assembly. (CC BY 2.0)


Ifan Morgan Jones

The First Minister, Carwyn Jones was scathing in his assessment of the Tory-DUP deal, calling it an “outrageous straight bung”.

But the truth is that the UK’s politics has always been transactional, and hopefully this episode will remove the scales from the eyes of the First Minister and many others.

There has been a persistent myth in Wales, going back to the Tudor period, that if the country can show sufficient loyalty to the UK government it will be rewarded.

From the humanists in Elizabeth I’s court, through to the liberal nonconformists of the 19th century, to the Labour Party of the present-day, Wales has believed it deserves special treatment because it is more loyal than the rest of the UK.

Like a scrawny dog sitting by its master’s feet, it waits and waits for a tasty morsel from the table.

The truth, however, is that the way to get special treatment in this union is to bark louder than anyone else.

When the Scottish Terrier tried to run away it was tempted back with the ‘vow’ – a veritable feast of promises.

Scotland now benefits disproportionally from the Barnett formula because the UK Government fears that changing it would inflame Scottish nationalism.

And the DUP have now extracted a cool £1bn from Theresa May as the price of keeping her in power.

Meanwhile, Wales sits passively. Carwyn Jones will bristle with moral outrage but there’s no sign of a change in political strategy that will get Wales a better deal.

That will only come when Wales has a fully functional, national movement with mass support.

The only thing the Conservatives, staunch British nationalists, have to fear from Wales is the break-up of the UK. And the only way for Wales to avoid continued neglect by the UK Government is to threaten to do just that.

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  1. Stifyn Richard Davies

    Mewn cytundeb llwyr. Now IS the time to act!

  2. Norma chattington

    Is this what Plaid has been saying .we need strong voices speaking up for Wales in Westminster .Leanne is the only leader that has been consistently standing up in our corner shame more people in the other parties were not .suportive .as usual to little to late from Carwyn .

    • CambroUiDunlainge

      Is she a strong leader? Because they gained a seat in the GE? or because they had a voter surge at the LE? Because they just scraped that extra seat in the GE by 100 votes and almost lost a safe seat. They may have had a surge in the Locals but they did not really capitalise did they? Is Leanne really speaking for Wales? Or just using that as a defence when people cannot tell the difference between New Plaid and Labour? Case and point their election manifesto: Defending Welsh Identity… then they never mentioned it again (Surely they could have used one of the repetitive pages where they patted themselves on the back for being most active in Westminster – talking to an empty House most of the time)… yet while they pretend to be a nationalist party they have that comfortable Welsh speaking vote to fall back on.

      Leanne Wood is on the same bus as Theresa May. Wales deserves a party that does not congratulate itself for stagnation and failure.

    • Sibrydionmawr

      Unfortunately Plaid is full those Pobl Parchus who do still believe that being nice is the way to go. It’s very touching, but hopelessly naive. Gwynfor Evans, great man though he was in many ways, suffered way too much from this ailment, seeking always to appease, and appeal to the English settlers, but most, (not all, it must be said) just ignored him as the naive fool they probably regarded him as, when perhaps he should have been promoting a little more amharchusrwydd.

      I’m not for a moment suggesting that anti-English sentiments should boil over in the way that anti-immigrant sentiments shamefully have in the wake of the Brexit vote,(we already have far too many of those, even though we only have a relative handful) but I do think we shouldn’t perhaps go around being so apologetic about ourselves, and we should assert ourselves. It’s time we reclaimed our country, and if the ‘new arrivals’ don’t like it, then they could always move somewhere else, like the Costa del Sol… Oh, wait, didn’t they vote to leave the EU? Oh well, they could always move back to Clacton or Bromsgrove!

  3. bang on!

    i’r dim!

  4. Carwyn is a time wasting money wasting self preserving twonk! Labour have been ‘in power’ since day one in the Senedd and have done very little but look after themselves and their cronies on the M4 corridor ( doing a Westminster thing by throwing scraps to everyone else like the ‘expressway’ )
    Spent millions of Euromoney on valley roads and bypasses that no one wanted! and can’t get from North to South on a decent road or you have to ‘go through England’ !!!!!!!???? What?????
    Name me any other country where if you travel from one end to the other that you have to go out and back in to another country????? 2017!!!! Bloody ludicrous!

    • Sibrydionmawr

      Actually Norway is a country where, if you are travelling north to south, (or vice versa) it’s faster if you go through Sweden. It seems that Wales isn’t the only country with a north-south ‘main’ road like the A470!

  5. The problem we have is that the present leadership in Plaid Cymru is not up to the job. WE must have a leader who can persuade far more people that Plaid is a viable party with a vision for an independent Wales. Leanne failed in the last election. We were fortunate to win 4 seats but the over all result was very disappointing. A swing of a few hundred votes to Labour and we would have had two seats!

  6. Rhys Jones

    Could you clairfy what you mean by ‘fully functional, national movement with mass support’?

    Are you suggesting that if Wales had more Plaid MP’s that it would allow them to form a colation with the Tories?

    • Capitalist and Welshnash

      Im tired of so many seeing the Tories as ‘the enemy’. Labour has done far more damage to Wales over the last century. At least the Tories beat Wales badly enough to give people a backbone to fight back.

      • Thank you for confirming that it is a Tory-Plaid coalition that the article is arguing for.

        This of course makes sense considering that Plaid councillors in Conwy and Denbighsire wanted to form a coalition in these council areas.

      • It is widespread though. People feel at the moment like the Tories are wrecking their lives and incomes. It’s not undeserved. It may subside after Brexit mind.

    • Ifan Morgan Jones

      I wrote the article and can confirm that I’m not advocating a coalition with the Tories. Thanks, Ifan

      • Rhys Jones

        It would be useful therefore to try and outline a vision of an alternative option. Much of the article is written from the perspective of the West Wales Plaid bubble.

        Most people outside of this bubble are faced with a stark choice, Labour or Tory.

  7. Dafydd Thomas

    The Holtham Commission reported in 2009 that Wales was being underfunded (Barnett formula) relative to Northern Ireland and Scotland. The Welsh Labour Government in Cardiff totally failed to get assistance from English Labour who were in government in London to deal with this failing l when they were in power.
    You can expect the DUP to get a reduction in Air Passenger Duty tax in Northern Ireland from the English Tories. The Tory secretary of state for Wales (Gauleiter of Wales) Alun Cairns said that a reduction in Air Passenger Duty in Wales would disadvantage England.
    Moral… Don’t be foolish enough to expect English parties to stand up for Wales. We have to stand up for ourselves.

  8. Ximi Xwene

    This is such a simple message … and yet … how do we get it across? The British media won’t do it so we need much more direct action – flyposting perhaps, prominent signs, coordinated civil disobedience etc but above all, an aggressively independence-promoting strong leadership group. By “group” I mean the whole range of independence outliers including Plaid and YesCymru and any other bunch willing to stir it up.

    All of that will mean I’ll have to get up off my fat arse and contribute of course!

  9. Suzy Davies

    Would have much preferred a deal with Plaid. However, current leadership has been insistent on cranking up anti-Conservative rhetoric in Wales to appeal to and reinforce her particular locus on the political spectrum. Fine for Leanne to do that – I’m not questioning her right to do that as leader.

    However, it’s made the prospect of co-operation with a pretty moderate Welsh Conservative group in the Assembly difficult. It’s also made it impossible to accept any confidence and supply offer in Westminster, were it to be made, leaving Plaid with plenty of arguments but no leverage at all. Of course minority governments have to be transactional. How much of that £1bn might have come to Wales’s economy if cards had been played differently at home?

    As for the scrawny morsels, the City Deals, the two new prisons, the abolishing of the Severn Bridge tolls and the (admittedly slow) electrification of the railways, the raising of the income tax thresholds, the lowering of corporation tax for our SMEs (our main employers in Wales) and the introduction of a living wage are not bad in the post-crash era where the long-term economic recovery is still likely to be, well, long-term

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