‘Appeasing nationalism’: Conservatives attack Mark Drakeford after he says independence referendum ‘likely’
Mark Drakeford has been accused of “abandoning his responsibilities as First Minister of Wales and leader of a supposedly-unionist party” by the Welsh Conservatives following comments made to a newspaper about a second independence referendum in Scotland.
The First Minister told the Morning Star that it is “likely” a second Scottish independence referendum would occur before 2025 – despite the British Government stating would not allow the SNP to hold one – and Wales must thus prepare by holding a constitutional convention.
In his comments Mark Drakeford added: “The fragility of the United Kingdom is very real and our convention is designed to make sure we do the thinking on what choices there are on that future.”
Responding, the Welsh Conservatives said that Mark Drakeford had “undermined his own supposed unionism”.
Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Constitution Minister Darren Millar MS said that Mark Drakeford had a “constitutional obsession” and was “appeasing nationalism”.
“The UK is not broken, but the First Minister is beginning to sound like a broken record. The reality is that the First Minister is on a power grab because of his political disagreements with the UK Conservative Government.
“Instead of bewailing the UK and seeking more powers the First Minister ought to focus his attention on using the powers that Wales already has to get to grips with the problems created by his own Government here in Wales and work collaboratively with the UK Government for the benefits of all.
“Wales is going through its worst-ever A&E waiting times, longest-ever NHS waiting list, and second slowest ambulance response times. The families of the victims of Covid and lockdowns are being denied an inquiry. Getting to grips with these issues should be the First Minister’s priority, not constitutional reform.”
The Welsh Conservatives said that in addition to opening up talks for a “cooperation agreement” with Plaid Cymru, the First Minister had:
- Likened the United Kingdom to be being nothing more than “an insurance policy”;
- Said that his support for the existence of the country is “not unconditional”;
- Regularly undermined the fabric of the UK through his many assertions in the Welsh Government’s Reforming Our Union document such as sovereignty no longer resting in the British Parliament; and
- Consistently played up the break-up of the country despite Wales being the most “Unionist” part of the UK.
Mark Drakeford had told the Morning Star that the Welsh Government would be pressing ahead with the convention “to make sure we do the thinking on what choices” would be available to Wales.
“In this Senedd term there is likely to be a second referendum in Scotland,” he said.
“The fragility of the United Kingdom is very real and our convention is designed to make sure we do the thinking on what choices there are on that future.
“The membership and terms of reference will be announced in the next few weeks and will include a very strong strand of citizens’ voices in the work of the commission.”
His comments puts the Welsh Labour leader slightly at odds with Scottish Labour, whose official position is that there will not be another independence referendum until at least the next set of devolved elections.
“While the country is focused on recovery from Covid-19 over the next five years, we will not support a second independence referendum,” their manifesto for May’s Scottish Parliament election said.
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Darren Millar says that the UK is not broken, but last week his London based master, Boris, said in the Sunday Times newspaper that the UK IS broken, was Darren not listening? Mark Drakeford is being a realist in his comments, while Darren Millar does not appear to even know what his London leader and UK PM is saying.
Pardon me Darren, but when you and your colleagues tout the UK as a single contiguous nation, you are imposing a confected British nationalism of your own making on the historic Nation of Wales. As the expression goes, get in the bin.
So the Conservative plan is to stick their fingers in their ears and keep blundering about?
We’ll be left to pick up the pieces unless we take the responsibility now to plan Wales’ future; I don’t see that Westminster have any interest in us unless they can use us for their own gain.
Take our resources like renewable energy,
You don’t need a weatherman to see which way the wind blows.
And you certainly can’t blame him.
If we want another referendom, we will decide that democraticaly when the time comes.
In the meanwhile it would be better for the ‘Unionists’ to toss us a few more devolved dog biscuits to keep us from their thoats, rather than poking us with their ‘Union’ Schtick.
It is not true that tories don’t take the knee, they do, on our necks
It gets so frustrating to hear the Conservatives constantly shooting down our government by telling them to “use the powers they have already got.” If Wales turns against the union, the Tories will only have themselves to blame for not listening to what several polls have shown, i.e. that most Welsh people want more control over our own affairs. Keep shooting people down Mr Millar and I have no doubt that public opinion will go in a more pro-independence direction. I live in your seat of Clwyd West by the way, probably one of the most ‘unionist’ of seats (at… Read more »
Lots or retirees there also but enough home grown unionists
For evidence of the “broken” state of the union look no further than Johnson waddling off on holiday while crises mount on numerous fronts. What a fool, what a post imperial ruin.
Kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories Labour and all Brexit party’s its time for a new wales 🏴 stop being little Englanders and be proud to be welsh start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales 🏴
“sovereignty no longer resting in the British Parliament” said like its a good thing that it does currently. They love control over another country. Wales is not the most unionist, its the most undecided. Darren, move to England buddy
English public opinion on the union is the elephant in the room. An opinion poll earlier this year found that 25% of 1894 English respondents support Scottish independence and 30% don’t care one way or the other. And last year, a survey of 1015 English people found that 34% support English independence from the UK, 36% are opposed, and 30% aren’t bothered. The most hilarious part of the earlier survey — unless you’re a Scottish or Welsh Conservative or an Ulster Unionist — is that support for English independence rises to 52.5% among respondents who voted Conservative in the 2019… Read more »
Let’s all get behind them and help them make their dream of English independence a reality 👍
Said the hypocritical Darren Millar, who represents a party that appeased its ERG British/English imperialist faction with the 2016 Brexit vote that’s caused insurmountable economic, democratic & cultural damage to Wales but has also threatened the Northern Irish peace treaty. You ignorant self-hating moron!
The denial has become so convoluted and ingrained that they contradict each other and themselves constantly. This will end in tears but hopefully they will be theirs not ours.
Nope you are wrong. However, it’s that sort of attitude that will gain us independence quicker, so you’re welcome to keep it up.
I love it when a Tory say’s that Drakeford is against the Union, he is completely missing the point. Mark is pro Wales and if the Union is not fit for purpose he will and is doing what is necessary. cross the T’s and dot the I’s will look very good to the International community, especially and specifically the UN if we ever need to use their protocols to have a referendum 😉
Yes, the International community does look at how things are going.
What a load if tripe.. We in Wales have sovereignty too. The “British Parliament” is a creation of England and serves England only. You forget. We in Wales had no vote to join this false British Union like Brexiteers did the opportunity to leave the EU. Wales were forcibly Invaded, then annexed, with our Welsh laws abolished, language banned. It was an English dagger to our throats diplomacy. I advise you to read the Act of Union Wales 1535 to 1543 , then flick through the OED definition of the word Union. Educate yourself rather than being blind to history.… Read more »
Seems that Drakeford is talking fairly good sense on this important matter. A unionist he may be, but his first priority is the welfare of Wales, and in raising the constitutional issue he is acting accordingly. Millar doesn’t like Welsh and Scottish political leaders talking about the constitution because the UK Conservative Government doesn’t want the finger of guilt pointed at them while they act unconstitutionally in their war on devolution. Nor can he acknowledge that that the current UK constitutonal set-up is a train wreck. Expect a lot more of this kind of denial-talk from the Tories in all… Read more »
Iron fist and jackboots?
why are the engish so much against Scottish independence as they always say the scots need them more than the english need the scots . and as for a broken record miller is quoting the exact same thing as johnson quotes to blackford
Not the brightest is he? A Tory moaning about nationalism, after Brexit, is somewhat hilarious, bless him, wonder what he wants to be when he grows up?!