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UK governments view Wales as ‘ungrateful subsidy junkies’, says Drakeford

26 Oct 2021 3 minute read
Mark Drakeford giving a speech to the Labour Party conference.

Successive UK governments have viewed Wales as “ungrateful and ever-demanding subsidy junkies”, according to Mark Drakeford.

The First Minister has taken aim at the “determined and aggressive unilateralism” of the Conservative government in Westminster, which he accused of trying to “demonstrate who is boss”.

He suggested that the UK Government should have shown “some humility” following the Senedd election in which Labour won 30 out of 60 seats, and the Conservatives won 16.

Instead he argued that it has launched a “very direct assault” on the powers and the budgets of the Senedd, using what he described as “the ‘show them’ playbook”.

Drakeford made the comments in the 2021 Aneurin Bevan Memorial Lecture at the UK Parliament, which was hosted by the Aneurin Bevan Society.

In the lecture he said: “In Wales, even in the bleak circumstances of that election, Labour won a majority of Welsh constituencies. What might you expect the reaction of a Government loudly and proudly associated with the Union to be?

“You might, I would argue, have expected some humility in the context of the result. A sense that the best thing to do would be to work closely with others in parts of the United Kingdom where its own mandate was much weaker.

“A sense even of needing to tread a little carefully. To ensure that a voluntary association of four nations could be preserved through consent.

“Through delivery of the tangible benefits of being part of a larger political, economic and social union. You might have thought so.”

‘The reality turned out to be quite the opposite’ 

He added: “But the reality turned out to be quite the opposite. The dominant strain – not the only strain, but the dominant one – in the first majority Conservative Government since devolution has been, for nearly two years, determined and aggressive unilateralism.

“Their theory is plain to see: ‘Devolution has undermined the United Kingdom. It has placed too much power and too much prominence in the hands of opponents with which they do not agree.  Successive UK Governments have been too placatory in the face of the ungrateful and ever-demanding subsidy junkies of the Celtic fringe – and it is time to demonstrate who is boss.

“It’s what I describe as the ‘show them’ playbook. A mixture of Ruritanian dressing up and a very real and very direct assault on devolved responsibilities and budgets.”


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Barry Pandy
Barry Pandy
11 months ago

If they carry on it’ll all end in tears (for the Tories).

Welsh_Siôn
Welsh_Siôn
11 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

And if HE carries on, Drakeford will come out in support of independence! Roll on the day …

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
11 months ago
Reply to  Welsh_Siôn

He is talking the same way as the separatists now

Quornby
Quornby
11 months ago

“separatist”…… I think that’s Tory-speak for “patriot”.

Crwtyn Cemais
Crwtyn Cemais
11 months ago

And what are Tory Brexiteers, but ‘Separatists’ themselves ?!

George Bodley
George Bodley
11 months ago

And about time too roll on scottish and welsh independence

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
11 months ago
Reply to  Welsh_Siôn

That alas is something mark drakeford will never do – he’s unionist to his core and takes every opportunity he can to speak in support of the union.

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
11 months ago
Reply to  Barry Pandy

All depends how many ‘Welsh’ people are too scared to change. Very similar to an abused partner who believes they can’t survive without the ‘care’ of the controlling partner. Years of being told they are useless and should be grateful for what they are given. Wales is basically Harry Potter living under the stairs in his ‘caring’ relatives’ house. The time to fly is getting nearer.

Paul
Paul
11 months ago

You do not maintain control of other countries for the purpose of throwing them massive parties. You do so, so that you may be exploited for the benefit of the core. The “we subsidise you” narrative, feeds into that…

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
11 months ago
Reply to  Paul

Renewable power is one thing we have already being looted, re: crown estate story last week to name one of many

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
11 months ago

If Mark Drakeford thinks this. Why then isn’t he doing more to silence these Whitehall cretins? He should as part of the Constitutional Commission established demand not only the devolution of the Crown Estate, but also seek the transfer of full powers over water resource to our Senedd Cymru. And if the hypocritical Tories dare to refuse those powers sought, Drakeford should then counter by stating how Wales is attempting to stand on its own two feet and they cannot infer that we are “subsidy junkies” when we are denied the ability to end our “dependence” on Whitehall handouts. The… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
11 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

I think you’d better check your facts and figures mate as you are wrong on this occasion.

George Bodley
George Bodley
11 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

It was the immigrant english in wales that decided and tipped the balance to leave in the brexit referendum the majority of the indigenous welsh voted remain who says so cardiff university data is one source

hdavies15
hdavies15
11 months ago

Dependency culture is the curse of modern Welsh politics. We all do it, shout for more handouts when really the argument has to shift to focus on what is rightfully ours. All the dodgy accounting for tax receipts, the free issue of water and energy supplies to our “benevolent carers” over the border, the crass charging of a share of HS2 when there is no link whatsoever in terms of benefits, and the allocation of costs of other vanity projects. Those are just starters but go a long way to proving what we know instinctively to be right – time… Read more »

Humphreys Alwyn
Humphreys Alwyn
11 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

On the nail frawd!

Gareth Wyn Jones
Gareth Wyn Jones
11 months ago

Slowly but surely coming around to independence, the tories will not change and middle England will not give up their political crack cocaine of the Conservative party. The Tories have always been like this it is just out more in the open. Let’s form an alliance to get rid of as many of them in the next elections, any party left of this extreme right wing hooligan party must be better

j humphrys
j humphrys
11 months ago

Yes, this is the correct approach. Maybe an entirely new “progressive alliance” that even people on the right can go along with. I have to say, I am thrilled that Welsh Labour guys are coming over, especially Drakeford who would be a steady hand.
We will all have to work like blazes though.

Last edited 11 months ago by j humphrys
H Dickins
H Dickins
11 months ago

The Tories speak in favour of the Union, while consistently doing the most to undermine it.

Richard
Richard
11 months ago

Says it all – thats us 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Heard it many times when working in Westminster…🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

We arw almost as bad as those who grab
‘ foreign aid ‘

MD hits the nail on the head – but of course he may wish to share this view with many in his own corner @ Westminster

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
11 months ago

Drakeford knows this yet he still slavishly supports a union which continues to treat Wales with such contempt 🤔 ☹️. Believe it’s a condition known as Stockholm Syndrome

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
11 months ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Mr Drakeford will fail to keep the UK together JUST as Makhail Gorbachev failed to stop the Soviet Union from collapsing.

For a person who believes in public ownership of the economy through wider share ownership I am beginning to think the Tories are worse than the Soviet Communists.

JonathanEdwards
JonathanEdwards
11 months ago

I can look at myself in the mirror. As a nation, we are indeed  “ungrateful and ever-demanding subsidy junkies”. We were conquered and made that way. And the Labour Party kept so many Welsh people on the (council house) plantation and stifled their desire for progress. So we Welsh are junkies. But I am ashamed of this and my pride makes me challenge Wales, and myself, to get off the heroin. Won’t be easy but recognising the addiction is step one. And step two can be that single step that starts us on that journey of 1000 miles to Indy.

Notta Bott
Notta Bott
11 months ago

Marky boy getting more and more indy by the day. Can’t wait for the inevitable Labour Cymru rebrand and indy push.

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
11 months ago

When is Drakeford finally going to realise that the UK will never ever be a collection of equal status countries while the Tories are in power and that the best course of action is Welsh independence? He can moan and groan all he likes but nothing will change, he must end these acts of Unionist appeasement in the hope of gaining more powers and finally join the campaign to get the hell out. And now.

George Bodley
George Bodley
11 months ago

Drakeford is right i think its time england to go its own way and for Wales to opt for independence and to those that say they cannot survive on our own there are smaller nations doing so within the eu time to wake up wales

William Black
William Black
9 days ago

I’m struggling to see what is inaccurate about viewing Scotland and Wales as ungrateful subsidy junkies. That view is borne out by the comments here. Scottish and Welsh separatists seemingly have no idea of what we the English feel. I know nobody who views Scotland and Wales as anything other than countries in a union with our own, as the United Kingdom, and when I was younger we felt proud of the union, viewing it as a country made of countries, each distinct from our own. Of course, you are focussing on all this whilst ignoring the elephant in the… Read more »

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