Eddie Butler: Wales has been abandoned by Westminster
BBC rugby commentator Eddie Butler has taken a swipe at Boris Johnson’s government, saying that Wales has been abandoned by Westminster.
The former Wales captain, a keen supporter of independence, said that although the thirst for independence is growing, in general Wales lacks the confidence to govern itself.
“Wales has been abandoned by the landlord, England,” he told told Irish sports podcast off The Ball.
“The government in Westminster has become a more brutal, harder place and to fight a Welsh corner. It started off as a small scrap but it is growing. The theme of independence of devolved powers at least is on the increase.”
Addressing the question of those who can’t see Wales breaking free from the union, he added: “There’s a terrible lack of self confidence in Wales. There’s no question that we in general, simply do not feel we are strong enough or even brave enough to take on the responsibilities of governing ourselves.
“There’s a saying that the Welsh make great footsoldiers, but don’t produce officers. There’s no officer class in Wales because the decisions are left to others. And we have to disprove that.
There is a truth that young people leave Wales to go and find jobs elsewhere, and so we have to get those people who can take on big jobs and big responsibilities, we have to get them to come back to Wales, which is going to be a challenge.”
One of the most distinctive voices in sport, the former Wales international rugby player, who was capped 16 times between 1980 and 1984, gave the inaugural Gwyn Alf Williams Memorial Lecture for YesCymru in Merthyr Tydfil last year, and has become a increasingly vocal supporter of the independence movement.
“If you neglect a land for so long, then the incentives to come home are limited,” he said. “So we are starting from a low base point. But that is part of the problem that you have to ask the question, why is Wales in such a poor state? And it is because the Westminster Government has abandoned it, and we have to do something about it.”
“The Westminster government gives Wales the money to look after itself, they say – to run the Senedd in Cardiff. But that money on its own left Wales in a state where it automatically qualified for emergency European funding. And now that funding has gone because we have left the European Union. We are left with this block granted according to the Barnett formula, and we’re stuck with it. And it is never going to be enough, so we are always going to be impoverished unless we do something about it ourselves.”
“There’s a saying that the Welsh are great foot soldiers but they don’t produce officers”
Eddie Butler is one of the most recognisable Welsh rugby voices around, and he was fascinating on Welsh identity and the possibility of independence.pic.twitter.com/75iqk6heqk
— Eoin Sheahan (@EoinSheahan) February 4, 2022
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