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Threat of independence not ‘strong enough’ for Westminster to give Wales more power, says German academic

28 Oct 2021 3 minutes Read
Picture by Ifan Morgan Jones / Llinos Dafydd. (CC BY 2.0)

The threat of independence is not yet “strong enough” for Westminster to give Wales more control over its own affairs, a German academic has suggested.

Dr Marius Guderjan of Humboldt-University Berlin said the Welsh Government’s proposals for strengthening the union by devolving more powers to Wales don’t have “any hope” of being accepted by Boris Johnson’s administration.

The lecturer and researcher in British Politics at the Centre for British Studies said that the Conservative government is “hostile” to devolution, and argued that even if there were to be a change in government in Westminster it is “unlikely” to be willing to give up parliamentary “supremacy”.

He also said he was “shocked” by how much power Westminster has taken away from the Senedd with the Single Market Act, whiich “undermines in practice” the decisions that are made in Wales because the Welsh Parliament “have to accept” decisions “that are decided somewhere else”.

He made the comments during a discussion organised by the Deutsch-Britischen Gesellschaft Berlin-Brandenburg forum about Wales’ place in the UK.

The discussion also included Ruth Marks from the Wales Council for Voluntary Action and Dr Ed Poole from Cardiff University.

Dr Guderjan said:  “The Welsh Government has proposed various ideas to strengthen joint decision making, and to overcome the notion of parliamentary Westminster sovereignty through kind of a shared multinational understanding of sovereignty and a system of shared governance.

“They proposed in 2019 several measures in a document ‘Reform our Union’ to make the union work in the future, among them was to reform the upper house effectively the House of Lords and give that a more multinational character and representation, to give the Supreme Court a stronger role, to have a constitutional convention to really think through what the constitutional architecture could be in the future.

“To my understanding are still not federal measures in the sense they are not meant to bind the UK Parliament to decisions. There’s still only politically binding, but this kind of idea of having a systematic dialogue and try to stay and create involvement is a step towards a federal system, a federal idea.

‘Don’t think it’s very likely’

He added: “I don’t think it’s very likely to be supported by the UK Government, particularly not under Boris Johnson who has rejected all kinds of demands from devolved legislatures, particularly from the Welsh Government.

“When there’s the notion of hyper or masculine unionism that they portray is actually quite hostile to devolution. I don’t think there’s any hope. They haven’t really taken, acknowledged really these proposals, propositions of the Welsh Government.

“Even if that would change, the UK Government would change, I think it’s unlikely you will find a government which is willing to submit parliamentary sovereignty, supremacy to the Welsh on a kind of binding basis to the devolved legislature. Wales particularly is too small and the threat of independence not yet strong enough to give them a greater say as it is the case for Scotland.”

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Gareth
Gareth
30 days ago

An outsiders view, that the Federalist plans of the labour party are doomed to failure, and will never take off. Time to wake up in the Labour party in Wales and smell the scent of Independence.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
30 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

We should remember that Germany is a federation of 16 states so Dr Guderjan would think Wales in an UK federation not unusual (apologies to Tom Jones).

Gareth
Gareth
30 days ago
Reply to  Huw Davies

I agree with you, that Dr Guderjan would not think it strange if we were to become a nation of Federal states, I think what he is saying, is that Westminster will never agree to giving away its controll right now, as the threat of us going our own way indy wise is not great enough. A higher % of voters in opinion polls lasting several years, as in Scotland, wanting Indy, and voicing that opinion, just might change their minds

Mike
Mike
30 days ago

It is always useful when you get a view from an outside perspective. The words of Dr Guderjan encapsulate the reality of the predicament of Wales’ position within the UK and the almost total disregard of the current UK government for Welsh devolved government and the democratic choice of the people of Wales. There are signs that the calls for independence are growing, with the Yes campaign having been its recent catalyst, but at present there is no majority. The realization that the voice of Wales is of no consequence to the Johnsonian tories will eventually increase the backing for… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
30 days ago
Reply to  Mike

Letters to all our local newspapers by all posters, with facts and figures, might help to counter bought media propaganda?

Last edited 30 days ago by j humphrys
Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
30 days ago

What this article states shows us is we must forget federalism – it is a lost cause – and solely focus on raising support for independence. Not in the hope that Westminster will give Wales more powers, that will never happen, but to make the movement so big that 1/ more people will be inclined to support it, creating a domino effect and 2/ make the Welsh government realise that this is now what the people of Wales want – as is the case in Scotland. The concept of independence needs to be built on emotional rather than the economic… Read more »

j humphrys
j humphrys
30 days ago

More influential Europeans now viewing England as “the problem”, not us or Scotland.
Hope this view, and friendship, continues to grow, as it will help a lot!

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