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Plaid Cymru MS suggests ‘prominent’ Labour figures could back independence

08 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
South Wales Central Senedd Member Rhys ab Owen. Picture by Plaid Cymru.

A Plaid Cymru MS has suggested that “prominent” Labour figures could back Welsh independence.

Rhys ab Owen, the pro-independence party’s Senedd member for South Wales Central, said it could happen once they realise that Westminster won’t move towards a federal Britain.

He pointed to the Conservative government in Westminster “trying to claw power back” from the Senedd, and argued that independence is the next “logical step” for Wales. He added that he could see the Labour Party “playing a role” in that.

The First Minister Mark Drakeford has argued for a federal UK where more power is devolved to Wales, but has been repeatedly rebuffed by Boris Johnson’s government.

Drakeford has also argued that it would be “would be absurd” to “rule out independence” in reference to a Constitutional Commission the Welsh Government has set up to consider Wales’ future.

Rhys ab Owen told the Express: “You can see the tension there. With the Labour Party in Wales wanting more power and the Conservative Party in Westminster definitely not going to give more power and actually trying to claw power back.

“So, you could foresee the strong possibility of some prominent people within the Labour Party actually making that final leap then from a federal Britain, saying ‘well actually we can’t do this, this is not possible because of various issues.

“The logical step then is independence, so you can see then the Labour Party playing a role in that within Wales.”

‘Pandemic’ 

Rhys ab Owen also argued that Wales’ experience during the pandemic has strengthened the case for independence.

He said: “For example, when Wales went into firebreak [lockdown] a fortnight before England in the Autumn of last year, the Westminster Government refused to extend furlough at that point.

“When England went into a firebreak a fortnight afterwards, furlough was extended straight away.

“So, you know they haven’t treated us well during the pandemic and quite rightly the pandemic has stoked a lot of the feelings.

“Compared to how the Welsh Government has handled it – they’ve handled it far better than the Westminster Government.

“Certainly, that’s the perception by many in Wales.

“Well, I’m sure nobody in England had heard of Mark Drakeford before COVID, he wasn’t that well-known in Wales.

“But now, some opinion polls have that people know him more than Boris Johnson even, that’s never been true before in the history of devolution in Wales.”

Rhys ab Owen said that an independent Wales could be stronger economically, adding: “The motives for me personally, I genuinely believe Wales would be a stronger country, I genuinely believe it would be better for the people of Wales if we were independent.

“Now a lot of people would point out the fact that well you know, ‘you’re too poor to be independent’.

“I don’t believe that. I believe our economy might not be very strong, but a lot of that’s to do with the fact that we’re being governed from Westminster.

“Wales is a footnote at best when it comes to stuff from Westminster, we’re largely forgotten, we’re largely ignored.

“So, I believe things being decided in Wales for the people of Wales would improve the lives of people in Wales.”

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John Young
John Young
21 days ago

Welsh people actually being allowed to decide what’s best for Wales ! It baffles me how anyone can argue against it.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
21 days ago
Reply to  John Young

I heard that elephant keepers start training by keeping baby elephants tied to the spot by a rope and tent peg. The elephant grows up conditioned to not being able to move from the spot when the peg is in place. So even when fully grown it still believes it can’t move away if the peg is holding it in place. The keeper just pops the peg in the ground an tells the big elephant to stay there. I think we are conditioned by history to believe Wales can’t do anything for itself. Add on a bit of emotional blackmail… Read more »

Dave
Dave
21 days ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

nice analogy Huw

Cai Wogan Jones
Cai Wogan Jones
21 days ago

We need to learn to shun tribal politics in Wales and to see ourselves as one diverse political community who vote in a variety of different ways.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
21 days ago

I believe it is only a matter of time before Welsh Labour backs independence. They will have no choice as their power is being slowly eroded and soon the very existence of the Senedd itself will be under threat. Welsh Labour must prepare now, independence is our only way forward.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
21 days ago

For far too long Labour has chosen this unequal false British Union over Welsh democracy & prosperity.

More recently had the Welsh Conservatives bait Welsh Labour calling them closet Nationalists because they were not supporting their English Tory masters undemocratic incursions into Welsh devolution.

And if those Labour politicians really had Wales interests at heart rather than their own would be screaming Welsh independence from their constituency rooftops. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Dave
Dave
21 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

read what Cai said his observation is more maturely thought through. you win nothing if you fight each other, look at the Labour Party in England then compare it with Labour in Wales, they are different animals

Hannergylch
Hannergylch
21 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

You are positing that Welsh Labour’s lingering unionism is driven by the self-interest of individual Welsh Labour politicians. That would mean that the POSSIBILITY of wielding power over 68 million UK residents is more alluring to those politicians than is the CERTAINTY of wielding power over 3•2 million Welsh residents. You may be right, but may I suggest another, more charitable explanation? Once upon a time I believed that the UK, defective though it is, still had the capacity to reform itself into something that acts in the interests of its people. I’m a dedicated political fence-sitter, so it was… Read more »

Mick Tems
Mick Tems
21 days ago

It’s only a matter of time before Welsh Labour drags Drakeford kicking and screaming into the 1950s and declares Independence – oh, happy, happy day!

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