Labour MS hits back at Tories over Queen Jubilee book – ‘ironic that they’re not pro-freedom and choice’
A Labour Senedd Member has hit back at the Conservatives over their criticism that every school child in Wales won’t automatically receive a history book about the Queen’s Jubilee.
Newport East MS John Griffiths said that it was “ironic” that the Conservatives opposed allowing individual schools to decide whether pupils would receive the book as they were usually arguing for “freedom and choice”.
The UK Government want every school child in Wales to receive a copy of the “patriotic” book, but the Welsh Government has said that the decision will rest with schools on whether they want to opt in to receive it.
The contract awarded to DK books by the UK Government notes that 211,000 copies of a bilingual version of the book will be sent to pupils in 1,290 schools and other educational establishments in Wales.
But the Welsh Government said that education was a “devolved matter” and that they had “been clear that the book should be available in Welsh and English and schools only receive the book on an opt-in basis”.
The Conservatives had criticised the Welsh Government for the move, saying that they were “petulant” and that First Minister Mark Drakeford was a “republican who would rather not have The Queen at all”.
But John Griffiths said that it had been “disappointing” to read some of the comments “bandied about on social media by Welsh Conservative members”.
“Allowing schools to decide for themselves is the right approach,” he said. “I find it somewhat ironic that Tory politicians, who often like to use words such as freedom and choice, don’t want to allow schools to decide for themselves.
“I am not a monarchist myself – but I respect there will be other people across Wales who will have different views. Seeing some Senedd members describe Welsh Labour as the ‘true nasty party’ over this shows a lack of judgement and seriousness in political discourse.”
Yesterday Welsh Conservative Shadow Education Minister Laura Anne Jones MS said: “This is a bilingual, educational book about our dutiful, long-serving Head of State. It is utterly petulant for the Labour Government to refuse its universal distribution.
“This book is about teaching the next generation about how our country functions and its history. The only reason Labour would not want children to have them is because they believe it is not in its interest for them to take pride in British institutions and the UK’s past.
“Of course, it might also be down to Mark Drakeford being a republican who would rather not have The Queen at all. Either way, it’s Labour that needs to go back to school and learn how to govern.”
Brecon and Radnorshire Senedd Member James Evans said that refusing to distribute the book to all children in Wales was part of a drive towards separation from the UK.
“The Welsh Government are on a clear path to slowly withdraw Wales from the UK and this is another tactic towards achieving their goal,” he said.
“I will be reaching out to all schools in Brecon & Radnorshire and encouraging them to sign up to receive this amazing book.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.