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Keir Starmer ‘doesn’t seem persuaded by our polite arguments’ says Welsh minister

11 Oct 2021 3 minutes Read
Keir Starmer (CC BY 2.0).

A Welsh Government minister has suggested that Keir Starmer “doesn’t seem to be persuaded by our polite arguments” on the future of the UK.

Lee Waters, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, has argued that the Senedd “needs to be bigger, and more powerful” during the Tudor Watkins Memorial Lecture, which was delivered to the Brecon Labour Party.

Starmer, Labour’s leader in Westminster has committed to holding a Constitutional Convention if the party is ever able to form a UK Government.

But Waters criticised him for emphasising local services in speeches and in his writing instead of “creating a stable constitutional framework for the UK”.

He also said all parts of the UK “deserve equal treatment and respect”, but it “doesn’t feel like that” is the case “at the moment”.

Waters said: “The debate that Tudor Watkins was a part of was ‘should Welshness be expressed in political institutions?’. It proved a contentious question in the Labour movement for decades. It is now settled. We have a Senedd, a Welsh Parliament with law making and tax raising powers.

“The current debate is whether it needs to be bigger, and more powerful, and more plural in the way it chooses our representatives. And my answer to all those questions is Yes.

“But there remains a wider question, and it was this one that Keir Starmer was trying to address: What is the future of the UK?

“The Welsh voice has been a small one in this debate until now. I’m sure historians will judge it a mistake that former First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones was not listened to when he called for a Constitutional Convention to look at the way the UK was working a decade ago. It’s not too late, but it does feel like we haven’t got long.

‘Emphasis’ 

He added: “Keir Stamer has committed a Labour Government to holding a Constitutional Convention, but the emphasis of his recent speeches and writing has been on giving people the power to change local services, like schools, not on creating a stable constitutional framework for the UK. Sadly, he doesn’t seem to be persuaded by our polite arguments yet. But there’s still time for that too.

“I do not myself think it is inevitable that Scotland will vote to leave the UK. I did like the slogan, but that was about all, of the campaign to defeat the independence question in 2014. I think we are ‘Better Together’.

“I like the idea of co-operation between the nations, and that this shared endeavour should have an institutional expression. A recognition that we are more than the sum of our parts. But all parts deserve equal treatment and respect.

“And it doesn’t feel like that at the moment. This is not currently a happy union.”

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Grayham Jones
12 days ago

The Labour Party are letting wales down by still being little Englanders it’s time to start fighting for your children and grandchildren future in wales it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 the Labour Party have been a Disgrace to the valleys of wales it now time to change and start fighting for wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

j humphrys
j humphrys
12 days ago

Constitutional Convention for Cymru, not the YUK.

John Davies
John Davies
12 days ago

Starmer may seem a good man. This is because he is good at seeming. He has broken all the promises he made to get elected leader. He promised radical policies and a united party. Instead he has reneged on all his pledges and waged a nasty internal faction war. He runs the party in a brutally authoritarian style, with purges, proscriptions, gerrymandering, retrospective punishments, topics of discussion uncomfortable for the leadership ruled out of order and disciplinary processes opaque and unfit for purpose used and abused to the max to shut down dissent. His version of “unity” is “Do as… Read more »

Shan Morgain
12 days ago
Reply to  John Davies

Very much agree. Starmer made undertakings to get elected Leader, and has ignored every one of them ever since. He makes no impact on the Tories because he’s busy attacking his own Party members. Voting Labour in Wales is an uncomfortable thing. For Drakeford and the Senedd, fine, but that has the muck of Starmer behind it. Time for surgery.

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
12 days ago
Reply to  John Davies

Pretty much sums it up, I would have liked a referendum on the terms of leaving the EU other than that, agree totally, spot on on the Starmer ‘seeming’ like a good man, would like to use it myself if you don’t mind

John Davies
John Davies
11 days ago

Feel free. The phrase “he is good at seeming” is lifted from a master wordsmith; from Terry Pratchett’s “Monstrous Regiment”. But there is no copyright on the words!

Arwyn
Arwyn
12 days ago

Lee is my MS. Where he says “Better together” and “Cooperation” I say wrong type of togetherness and top down centralisation isn’t cooperation. Neither is the UK necessary for either to exist. We were together and cooperating with our friends in Europe. Last time I looked the EU wasn’t a single contiguous state. Yet that is what the Tories are forcing on us whilst Labour, who are light years away from a Westminster majority, talk to themselves about their constitutional wishlist. Lee, Plaid Cymru has the right policy. A sovereign Welsh State and a confederation of British nations along the… Read more »

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
12 days ago

Cymru or Scotland has never been an equal partner in the union or ever will be they are there to be exploited, it is plain for anyone to see, what part of that don’t you understand Lee?

AnthonyA Coslett
AnthonyA Coslett
11 days ago

At heart Labour remains a Socialist political party and even though Starmer is the total opposite of Corbyn in most things he, like Corbyn, cannot remove himself from the centralising doctrines and instincts of socialism. He is not a ‘Unionist’ because he flies the flag for the UK particularly, he’s a unionist because he is a believer in communal effort and communal identity over and above the smaller identities of ‘Scots’, ‘Welsh’, ‘Irish’, ‘Cornish’. These count as mere constituent parts of the whole and that ‘whole’ is Great Britain sometimes known as The United Kingdom’. British not Welsh etc etc… Read more »

John Davies
John Davies
11 days ago

There are many forms of socialism. Not all are centralist.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 days ago

Keir Starmer must realise from his ivory tower in London that The Britain of old is dead and centrist rule is of the past. You’ve already lost Scotland and Wales won’t be far behind.

We will get a larger Senedd Cymru whether you agree or not. My preference is Welsh independence. Only this can change Wales for the better. Leave it to Labour and we’ll stagnate..

Last edited 11 days ago by Y Cymro
Dafydd
Dafydd
11 days ago

The future belongs to smaller states who are able to operate and survive sustainably. The UK state can only function on the back of £multi trillion debt as it attempts to be all things at once – nuclear military power, taxation friendly for the rich, National Health service for the not so rich ….. all after offloading nationalised assets and ending up being at the mercy of foreign business cartels (many of which have their sticky fingers firmly embedded via conservative party funding). The longer we reamin part of the UK, the poorer (in all senses) we will become. We… Read more »

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
11 days ago

Starmer is just another Tory who hates Wales’ existence.

arthur owen
11 days ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

You have made another useful contribution pal.

Quornby
Quornby
11 days ago

Why not try not being polite? It works for Scotland.

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