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Federalism means ‘right-wing economics and illegal wars’ says Plaid Cymru leader

14 Jan 2021 4 minute read
Adam Price. Picture by Plaid Cymru.

Labour proposals for a federal UK would mean “right-wing economics and illegal wars” according to the leader of Plaid Cymru.

Adam Price MS took aim at a report co-authored by Labour Senedd member Mick Antoniw and said his ideas were “not radical.”

Radical Federalism calls for “decentralisation of power” and for the UK to be “a voluntary union of nations”.

Mr Antoniw said under a federal system the “UK would only carry out those strategic tasks that could not be best performed at a more local level”.

He argues for a “fair share of resources and prosperity across the UK with a needs-based financial settlement”, but critics say that this would leave the economic levers of power in Westminster and outside of Wales’ control.

The idea has been dismissed by Mr Price who believes that the case for independence is “rich and robust”.

He said: “Federalism is not radical. It means right-wing economics and illegal wars we never voted for. The case for independence is not ‘sparse and ill-thought out’ but rich and robust. Support is growing every day. It’s time to get on board or get out of the way.”

In an article on LabourList Mr Antoniw hit out at the Conservative government in Westminster for “clawing back devolved powers” through the Internal Market Act and for creating “acrimonious dissatisfaction and dissent, which could lead to the eventual break-up of the UK.”

The Labour Member of the Senedd said that Westminster is seen as “increasingly Anglocentric” in Wales, and that the growth of YesCymru, which now has a membership of 17,000, is evidence that more people are struggling to identify with the “London-based institution”.



He added: “With Scottish opinion increasingly embracing independence, English regions demanding greater regional autonomy, Northern Ireland moving closer to economic union with Ireland and growing calls for independence in Wales, it is now time for a new progressive agenda.

“For too long, this debate has been channelled by political parties and groups through the myopic parameters of either an outdated separatist model of independence or an increasingly hardline British Unionism.

“At the heart of the report lies a frustration with the narrowness of the current choices and options for reform and the absence of a clear Labour strategy for reform.

“Decentralisation of power is at the core of the paper, together with the empowerment of people and communities over the decision-making processes that affect our lives.

“This isn’t a new philosophy. Aneurin Bevan, architect of our NHS, wrote many decades ago that the purpose of securing power was to give it away. Devolution has contributed to this process in Wales and Scotland but has now reached the limits of its useful purpose.

“Merely creating parliaments in Scotland, Wales and England as mirror image versions of Westminster will not in the future deliver the scale of empowerment we all want to see without the continuance of strategic decentralisation and an expansive role for local government.”

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Minister for Public Service Transformation, Delyth Jewell MS said: “These are yesterday’s ideas from yesterday’s party. Labour had thirteen years in power in Westminster to deliver radical devolution for Wales and failed.

“They again promised a “radical extension of devolution” in 2017, as did Keir Starmer during his leadership campaign only to now deny Scotland’s right to hold a new referendum on independence.

“A broken record won’t save a broken union. Time and again they have voted in the UK Parliament against more powers for the Senedd.

“The Labour Party is quickly being overtaken by events and the desires of the people of Wales – including half of their membership – to see our nation have full control over deciding its own future.

“More and more people want independence for Wales but if they want it, they have to vote for it in the Senedd elections.

“The common goals of social justice, a greener future and a nation free from Westminster rule means that there is a home in Plaid Cymru for everyone who believes in the most radical and meaningful devolution of all – an independent Wales.”

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