News

Tories are pushing ‘people towards independence’, say academics

01 Jan 2021 3 minutes Read
West Clwyd and Aberconwy Count for the election of 5 May 2016. Darren Millar (middle) and Janet Finch-Saunders (left); Picture by Llywelyn2000 (CC BY-SA 4.0).

The Tories are pushing people towards independence according to two academics from a Welsh university.

Professor Richard Wyn Jones and Dr Jac Larner from Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre say that the Welsh Conservatives have adopted a position “whose logical conclusion can only be the unwinding of devolution”.

In a co-written article in Progressive Review, they conclude that this, along with the “strident” support for “anything and everything that the UK government does” is leading to more people backing Wales becoming an independent nation.

They also accused the UK Government of “using Brexit as an opportunity to centralise power” though the Internal Market Bill, which has been described by politicians in Wales as a “power grab”.

The academics also said that progressive supporters of the union had offered nothing but “contentless words” about federalism.

 

‘Undermining’ 

The article said: “The country is now faced with a UK government that is using Brexit as an opportunity to centralise power. Indeed, through its Internal Market Bill, it is now actively undermining the foundations on which devolution has been built – all this without any clear or coherent idea of what new order might take its place.

“Since the coming to power of the Johnson–Cummings duumvirate, the Welsh government’s attempts to engage constructively with the UK government have been comprehensively rebuffed, and all its warnings about the likely consequences of doing so for the very fabric and future of the Union ignored.

“Meanwhile, the Welsh Conservatives have not only become increasingly strident in their support for anything and everything that the UK government does but also would seem to be adopting a position whose logical conclusion can only be the unwinding of devolution.

“The entirely predictable consequence of this is to push many in Wales in the direction of independence.”

‘Progressive supporters’ 

It added: “The rapid growth in support for independence is underlined by the fact that the most recent polling shows that around half of Welsh Labour’s supporters at the December 2019 general election – overwhelmingly its younger and more progressive supporters – would vote Yes if a referendum were to be called.

“It remains to be seen if progressives who want to preserve the Union will be able to present an alternative vision for the future of the Union beyond warm and, so far, contentless words about ‘federalism’.

“Equally significant is their ability to present a credible plan for realising that vision. But there should be no doubt that if forced to choose between a centralising UK state hell‐bent on lowering social and environmental standards in the name of ‘Global Britain’, or pursuing the dream of a fairer, greener Wales, many progressives of different political stripes will opt for the latter, no matter the practical obstacles.

“In Wales, support for home rule and progressive values continue to walk hand in hand.”

Our Supporters