Audio: People of Wales ‘pissed off’ and looking for radical and progressive solutions
The people of Wales are “pissed off” by the political status quo and looking for radical and progressive solutions to their problems.
That’s the opinion of Dr Dan Evans, of Desolation Radio, who criticised Labour’s record in government and Plaid Cymru’s failure to ignite a popular nationalist movement in a speech at the launch of Yes Merthyr.
He said that people would turn to the far right if the left wasn’t able to offer solutions to their problems, and argued the case for an independent socialist state in Wales.
“Devolution was never meant to work,” he said. “Devolution was never meant to rejuvenate Welsh society. It wasn’t meant to improve the economy.
“It only had one aim and that was to keep the Labour Party in charge in Wales and Scotland and it was quite open in the language about devolution at the time.
“One Labour minister said if we don’t control the assembly then it is better we don’t have devolution. The Welsh Government and Welsh Labour are just f***ing useless.
“They believe in nothing other than staying in power and will do or say anything to achieve that end. They are innately, cripplingly conservative. Completely reluctant to embark on any radical idea in any field.
“They always want to see how things play out elsewhere and reject any progressive ideas that come from our parties purely because they can’t claim them as their own.
“They’ve got no idea, no ambition and it is important to realise they are not socialists. Just like the Soviet Union discredited socialism, Welsh labour is doing a bang-up job of discrediting the socialist movement in Wales for everyone else.
“They are very good at utilising the rhetoric of socialism. Everything they do is “progressive” or “radical”. Progressive league tables in schools, radical changes to the NHS, you know fining hospitals who don’t get waiting lists down.
“But these are neo-liberal right-wing policies and they’re dressed up and given a veneer of respectability because Welsh Labour are good at using socialist rhetoric and the longer they’re allowed to do that the more people are going to be put off socialism.”
‘Horrible halfway house’
Predicting an upsurge of support for the abolition of the assembly, Evans also contended that Welsh Labour will become more openly unionist and unlikely to push for further devolution in future.
“I think it is highly likely that anti-devolution sentiment in Wales is going to rise. People will look at the Welsh assembly and see how useless it is – legitimately,” he said.
“Where we’re at now – this horrible halfway house in the assembly – is very much viewed as ‘this is it.’ This is the endpoint. We’re not going to get any more powers, we’re not going to keep moving towards a Welsh Parliament and this is perfectly fine for Welsh Labour.”
The Cardiff based academic also expressed concern at what he sees as a move to the right within some Welsh nationalist factions.
“There are a lot of people within the Welsh national movement who are using worrying language,” he said. “They are talking about globalism. They are railing against political correctness, they are railing against LGBT people.
“They are using the tropes and language of the alt-right. It’s getting a bit worrying for me because that’s not the direction the Welsh nationalist movement or the Welsh independence movement should be moving in.
“I strongly and firmly believe that unless Welsh independence is a popular socialist movement it is going to fail.
“The reason Plaid Cymru, the reason the Welsh nationalist movement has failed over the last 100 years is precisely because the founding members of Plaid Cymru, people like Saunders Lewis, weren’t socialists.
“They completely alienated a great majority of working-class people. That’s the reason Plaid Cymru has never made any real gains in south Wales. It doesn’t understand socialism, it doesn’t speak the language of socialism and it really doesn’t understand anglophone south Wales.”
Highlighting the Brexit vote, Evans said he believes there is a historic opportunity for the left to reach out to those that voted leave and advance the cause of Welsh independence.
“Whatever you think of Brexit, the vote proved that people are pissed off,” he said. “They are unhappy at the current state of affairs, pissed off at the status quo.
“People are ripe for radical progressive solutions but the fact is that radical progressive solutions are not being offered to people. What’s happened is that they are being channeled, being funneled into the arms of the far right.
“People are desperate for change, absolutely desperate for change, so it’s a mistake to look at Brexit and think these are the voices of reactionary people.
“These are the voices of pissed off people and they have a right to be upset. It’s a massive opportunity for people on the left in Wales, the independence movement, to harness that anger and to tell people (and) articulate a vision of a better, more progressive, just society, but in my view it’s not being taken. People are saying independence is just neutral.
“We have to be united. There has to be a broad church uniting left and right. Why? Why would you want independence if it is not to create a better, fairer society?”