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‘Real danger’ of nationalism taking root in Wales says Conservative MP

24 May 2021 2 minutes Read
Robin Millar picture by Richard Townsend (CC BY 3.0).

A Welsh Conservative MP has said that there is “real danger” of nationalism taking root in Wales that will lead to “division” with the rest of the UK.

Abrconwy MP Robin Millar is the chair of the Conservative Union Resources Unit, a group of 80 backbench MPs committed to keeping the United Kingdom together.

In an article for Politics Home, he says that Wales had never been independent in its present form and that the current border with England has only existed for 50 years.

He adds that devolution in Wales has “few champions” being “too expensive and too powerful for some, underfunded and ill-equipped for others”.

He also points to low turnout at Senedd election and a lack of understanding of devolution as signs of a low public engagement with the institution. “Such poor engagement diminishes scrutiny, slows the dynamic of healthy democratic change and fosters nationalist rhetoric,” he says.

“Such a system has fostered place and nation-building rhetoric. The danger is real of a nationalism taking root that seeks out differences in culture and language, making narratives to underpin division not a means of enrichment. Collaboration becomes an opportunity for confrontation.”

‘Modern’

Earlier in the article, he says that the north-west of Wales “is the Welsh-speaking heartland but the umbilical cords of commerce that connect us to England bind us together in a centuries-old embrace”.

“Half a million people cross that border daily to work, visit friends or family – and, more recently, the pub.”

He adds: “No independent Welsh polity has ever encompassed the whole country or held Cardiff. Our distinctive flag is among the oldest in the world, but it was adopted only in 1959.

“Offa’s Dyke may be nearly 1,200 years old, but a modern border with England was settled only in 1972. And our devolved Senedd opened only in 1999.

“Our small population trebled in size during the industrial revolution after an influx of Irish and English immigrant workers. Today, three-quarters of the Welsh population still lives within an hour of Cardiff.”

 

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W. Ken Davies
W. Ken Davies
6 months ago

this is all old stuff and has no bearing on the situation today. Does this fellow really think he is speaking for A Wales defined by territory, not history?

Peter Williams
Peter Williams
6 months ago
Reply to  W. Ken Davies

Translate as ‘There’s a real danger that Westminster’s stranglehold on Wales will be questioned by an increasing number of people and they may forget their place and demand better more equitable treatment’.

Quornby
Quornby
6 months ago

What he says is “a danger”, is in reality, the only hope for our national future. Mind you you have to smile…. Does he think that no-one crosses the French-Belgian border regularly? Have no other countries centuries old relationships with neighbours? As W Ken Davies says….” this is all old stuff” just imagine, this guy is an MP.

Roberto
Roberto
6 months ago

Unionist propaganda machine really getting in to gear now (resulting in more members for Yes Cymru I hope). The “real danger” comes from narrow minded, deluded British nationalism and not from the people of Wales seeking to create a modern nation state and a better, fairer future free from Tory cronyism and corruption.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
6 months ago

He certainly looks like a proper Tory and …he’s too late – the independence movement has already taken root here and why – we are sick of neglect and poverty, time for change.

Shan Morgain
6 months ago

What an ignorant little man. Of course Wales has only existed recently ‘in its present form’. A nation is not static: it changes with each generation and with many changes of law. The same can be said for all modern nations. He is also ignoring history. Hywel Dda. Llewellyn. Owain Glyndwr. These were all periods of independence and unity. As for ‘nationalism taking root in Wales’ he might look at the 18th century and 19th century clubs and eisteddfodau, the universities of the late 19th century, the National Library, Museum around 1900. Neither looking back nor looking at the present… Read more »

Geraint
Geraint
6 months ago
Reply to  Shan Morgain

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland founded in 1921. So the current boundary of the state is only 100 years old Mr Millar.

Vaughan
Vaughan
6 months ago

Many have been lulled into a false sense of security about the existential threat posed to devolution since the demise of the abolitionist parties in the recent Senedd election.
But although those pantomime villains have been booed off the stage make no mistake about the hostility to devolution that exists amongst many main stream Conservatives.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
6 months ago

A Newmarket cuckoo…Handcock country!

Howell williams
6 months ago

He is blowing his top in the total frustration that he and his pathetic party will never controll the Senedd.
It really is comidic to see and for his health a blood pressure test might help.
.

Vaughan
Vaughan
6 months ago

That is very true, like they couldn’t ever control the old GLC which was abolished by Thatcher.
The view of many Conservatives is that because the Senedd will always be beyond their control they must smash it up. And don’t believe it couldn’t happen.

Dafydd Evans
Dafydd Evans
6 months ago

Millar – its too late. Decadees of indifference to Wales by Westminster is the reason I want out. That indifference to us ouzes out of the establishment and the UK media and your sad attempt to educate us in the error of our ways is too late. You can have your opinion…but its a million miles from mine and growing numbers just like me!

Mark
Mark
6 months ago

Are we supposed to sit back and ignore the rise of a far worse kind of right wing nationalism, that of English Nationalism,

cudyll
cudyll
6 months ago

This sort of faux history by a malevolent ignoramus is exactly why the Welsh Govt is so wrong in refusing to include welsh history as a requirement in the National Curriculum.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
6 months ago
Reply to  cudyll

Spot on! Prifysgol Aberystwyth am byth!

Geraint
Geraint
6 months ago

Rather silly comments. You could just as easily pull out individual facts to undermine any set of elections. Last general election results, Tories:13,957,962 votes, Non voters: 15,559,036. London mayoral elections: 42% turn out. Manchester mayoral results: 34.7% turn out. No questions about the legitimacy of these institutions or results, so why is Millar carping on about our turnout? This is all about the Tory push back to weaken devolution. They have seen a Welsh health ministry being more successful and excising real effective power and that frightens them. What happens if people start thinking about the impact of real powers… Read more »

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
6 months ago

If devolution in Wales has “few champions”, then the Welsh people had the chance to de-legitimise it by voting for Abolish. The simple fact that the electorate declined to avail themselves of that opportunity, despite the BBC bigging that party up, shows that Millar is plainly wrong. Or more accurately, in denial. He is a spokesman for a shrinking minority.

Shan Morgain
6 months ago

Such a pretty boy. Shame there is little else but looks. I prefer an MP who knows some history and has a grasp of political reality.

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