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Devolution has created a ‘viable framework for independence’ complains conservative website

18 Jan 2021 3 minutes Read
Photo by Mark Mansfield.

A conservative website has complained that devolution has “created a viable framework for independence”.

Christopher Harries, who recently resigned as Chair of the Cardiff Central Conservative Association, wrote on the right wing website Prydain Review that “enhanced devolution” would be “misguided” because it would “further weaken the integrity of the United Kingdom”.

Mr Harries, who is also co-founder of the website, argued that unionists need to challenge the YesCymru “narrative” that “asserts that Westminster is failing Wales”.

He also suggested that the UK Government should not be “perceived to treat any of the constituent nations differently” and pointed to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak rejecting a request from the First Minister Mark Drakeford for an extension to the furlough scheme when Wales went into the firebreak lockdown in the autumn.

Mr Harries said: “Some Unionists have come to believe that the Union can survive through constitutional reform with enhanced devolution that would create a confederal, United Kingdom.

“Such an approach would be misguided, moves towards such a body would further weaken the integrity of the United Kingdom.

“The confederal approach ignores the reality of the last twenty years, devolution seen as the means of reconciling national identity within the United Kingdom has merely created a viable framework for independence.

“In addition to creating a viable framework for independence, devolution has also created a cycle of agitation.

“Cardiff Bay may have responsibility for devolved powers however irrespective of the devolution settlement Westminster receives the blame for Wales woes. Just look at how the campaign group YesCymru often asserts that Westminster is failing Wales.”

 

‘Funding’

He added:  “Any challenge to this narrative receives the response that despite devolution Westminster is responsible for funding and so any failings are excused due to inadequate funding.

“So the cycle of blame continues despite Westminster having passed competencies to the devolved institution, with Westminster now presented as a miserly impediment.

“The government of the United Kingdom must be must not be perceived to treat any of the constituent nations differently.

“When the First Minister, Mark Drakeford wrote to the Chancellor before the implementation of the Firebreak lockdown requesting the Job Support Scheme start a week earlier than planned to provide support to those impacted by the Firebreak lockdown.

“The Treasury rejected the request, the Secretary of State for Wales suggested on social media, that the Welsh Government when requesting this also failed to ask for an extension to the Furlough scheme.

“Did Treasury officials lack the initiative to propose an extension of the Furlough scheme in the circumstances?”

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