20:20 vision: The instability and squandered opportunities of the first twenty years of devolution

Articles via Email

Get instant updates to your inbox

We do not moderate comments before they appear. The views expressed in the comments are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nation. Cymru. Please read our community standards and participation guidelines before contributing.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of
JD
Guest
JD

He’s hit the nail on the head.

Pen-Cloch
Guest
Pen-Cloch

What were we voting for in 1997? I was voting for a step on the road to Independence. Twenty years on we have an overblown County Council which has given us free bus passes and free prescriptions which for a man of my hair style and kidneys I’m not complaining about but I don’t understand how at the last Assembly Elections 7 UKIP members were voted in and then at least three AMs were allowed to become Independent or align themselves with other parties. It feels that the Senedd/Assembly/Welsh Government is just a reflection of wider British Politics which doesn’t… Read more »

Gareth
Guest
Gareth

7 UKIP members were voted in because that’s what the public wanted. The same public voted 52:48 in Wales for Brexit. Remember that too.

As for three AMs defecting. That’s happens all the time in Parliaments/Assemblies/Councils etc. Frustrating if they leave a party you support, enjoyable if they join a party you support.

Pen-Cloch
Guest
Pen-Cloch

Is that Gareth as in Gareth Bennett? UKIP

Gareth
Guest
Gareth

Certainly not ;-p

FWIW I voted remain, but it never ceases to amaze my how the political bubble constantly have there head in the sand. Leanne bless her seems completely oblivious to the real day to day concerns and problems people have. Last year she said she was ‘surprised’ by the strength of the Leave vote in Wales.

You with respect seem similar as you seem shocked/confused that Wales elected some UKIP members. Despite polls pointing that way for over a year and the strength of UKIP’s support in Wales in 2004,2009 and 2014.

Gareth Turner, long term reader.

sibrydionmawr
Guest

It’s to Wales’ eternal shame that seven Kippers got elected. Hopefully the Welsh electorate won’t make the same mistake again.

sibrydionmawr
Guest

I voted for devolution in 1997 knowing full well that there was no more on offer than there was in 1979, and that all we were likely to get was an overblown county council. Of course, I hoped it would progress from that, and in the early days, under Ron Davies it looked quite promising – it’s a pity that he gave in to the pressure put on him by Blair and resigned. He had plenty of support in Wales, and I doubt that he’d have had any problem remaining as First Minister. In his place we got Alun Michael,… Read more »

Tame Frontiersman
Guest
Tame Frontiersman

On the 20th anniversary of the poll that gave Wales devolution many will be reflecting. The survey from Cardiff University Wales Governance Centre published in the Western Mail today makes for interesting reading. Professor Roger Scully is quoted as saying: “This latest data strongly confirms the picture established in previous research: that devolution is the settled will of the Welsh people. But what we have been able to reveal is that we appear to have reached this point despite people being markedly unimpressed with the actual policy achievements of the last 20 years of devolved government”. The verdict of 65%… Read more »

Edeyrn
Guest
Edeyrn

Having no wealth-creating powers is the real crime here

We are one of the oldest run colonies in the entire world – a periphery to the main event – not the core of our own destiny……….most other colonies gained self rule – many were not even colonised very long

Singapore – once an inhabited swamp gained self rule in the 1960s – a time when many Welsh were trying desperately to kill off their culture and identity and replace it with materialism and consumerism fed to them on an unattainable silver plate from London

We need a radical party to offer something new

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

“Having no wealth-creating powers is the real crime here” – agree totally. Devolution was about delegating control and administration of powers and not ownership of them or the power to devise new powers. Things that stand out are absence of power to control significant power generation, control of planning, widespread control of taxation and lack of significant borrowing powers. Why so many chose to oppose airport duties is beyond me and highlights the unwillingness of some of our supposedly own to front-up – this lack of commitment or desire is a very serious issue. To develop our economy we need… Read more »

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

Sad to say but in my opinion the whole devolution and Welsh Language industry has been a gravy train from start to finish. The Kinnocks are prime examples of a political family who have done well milking their Welshness. However Dafydd Iwan must be at the top of the tree. One of the key founders of the Welsh language movement. Founder of Sain Records. When I worked for BBC Radio Wales in the 70’s and 80’s just about every Welsh language record we played was on tne Sain label. Radio Cymru had no choice about labels as all Welsh language… Read more »

Royston Jones
Guest

The Kinnocks have never ‘milked’ their Welshness, but they have exploited their Welsh links for their own political advantage while trying to deny Wales devolution and never missing an opportunity to attack the Welsh language. How can you possibly compare them to Dafydd Iwan? Who, incidentally, is based in Caernarfon and has never belonged to “the Cardiff Taffia”. (Whatever that might be.)

Eos Pengwern
Guest
Eos Pengwern

When I was pounding the streets for the Yes campaign in 1997, it was clear to me that the inevitable outcome in the short term would be complete Labour dominance of the Welsh political scene and, as a result of that, accelerated social and economic decline relative to the rest of the UK. Such has turned out to be the case. In that knowledge, I nevertheless supported Yes because this seems to be a necessary phase to go through – I’ve always had faith that eventually, we’d get through it and some new party would emerge as a serious alternative… Read more »

Capitalist and Welshnash
Guest
Capitalist and Welshnash

I can not possibly agree with you on UKIP, and I consider them nothing more than common brownshirt wearing populist chavs. By you are correct, we need a right-of-centre, pro-business and pro-Wales party.

Eos Pengwern
Guest
Eos Pengwern

Just the least bad option; see my reply to Colin Mann, below.

Colin Mann
Guest
Colin Mann

Eos – I was impressed with your post until the last sentence. If you think UKIP is the answer you must be desperate

Eos Pengwern
Guest
Eos Pengwern

I am. I don’t think they’re the answer, but in the last election it came down to choice between UKIP or a spoiled ballot paper, and I narrowly swung for UKIP in the last days of the campaign. It was their willingness to speak out in support of Donald Trump over the Paris Climate Accord that won me over that time.

Gaynor
Guest
Gaynor

Dafydd iwan has hardly creamed off the fat of the land by the BBC playing his records! And you equate him with the Kinnocks ‘ familial gravy train- hysterical

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn
Royston Jones
Guest

You claim to have worked in the media, so you’ll know that anything can be ‘proved’, and any agenda served, with a carefully-edited vox pop.

Cymru Rydd
Guest

The disappointments of devolution over the past 20 years can be laid fairly and squarely at Welsh Labour’s door. Let’s not forget that devolution was engineered in effect by Tony Blair to ensure that Wales could remain a Labour fiefdom- job done in that respect. Welsh Labour have always treated the Assembly as merely a pawn in the wider game, i.e gaining or retaining power at Westminster. That remains their holy grail. With such a mentality, is it any wonder that devolution has been so uninspiring, unimaginative and underwhelming in all respects? It’s no coincidence that the Assembly resembles a… Read more »

Pen-Cloch
Guest
Pen-Cloch

Well Done Cymru Rydd! That reply alone deserves the right and ability to share it!

Cofi Dre
Guest
Cofi Dre

I must say Mike Flynn’s increasingly demented view of the Welsh language being the cause of all our ills makes him fitter to comment on BBC Wales’s Have Your Say or the Daily Mail than on this site. but he appears also to be historically and politically illiterate, as well as off-topic: Mike: Dafydd Iwan ran a production company and a studio, as well as wrote and performed his songs. It’s normal for artists and record companies to get money from their music being played (yes Mike, hate to break it to you: it happens in England too), and as… Read more »

Gillian Jones
Guest
Gillian Jones

Appalled by the timidity of all political parties to tackle the problem of many thousands of elderly English retirees draining the Welsh economy.When they settle here , their pensions and health care are paid for by Welsh funding. Money is being diverted from other devolved responsibilities e,g. education to cover this.

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

That is not unique to Wales. For example Norfolk,Suffolk and the West Country suffer the same.

Royston Jones
Guest

You’re talking of English people moving within England, which means that ‘Norfolk, Suffolk and the West Country’ all come under the England NHS. Health in Wales is a devolved matter and is struggling to cope with the numbers of English retirees and others being moved to Wales by various agencies.

Gillian Jones
Guest
Gillian Jones

Cornwall as well, Mike Flynn. However, Wales is always mentioned in “the lowest ” league. The drain on our economy by elderly,English immigrants is never equated with this.

Cofi Dre
Guest
Cofi Dre

Mike – so what if they suffer the same? I mean, really, so what? Since when has other people having the same problem been an argument for not trying to resolve the problem?

Mike’s Flynnosophy might be summed up thus: ‘This is a problem, but other people have it to, so, er… let’s ignore it’.

GJ’s point is that Wales, like the other places you mention, might want to do something about it.

Do you have anything coherent to say, Mike?

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

I am saying that Wales should have fixed all of these problems over the last 20 years. Retirees from England and elsewhere are not responsible for the poor education results. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-38208738 Scores of Welsh students in science, reading and maths were below the average of 72 countries and economies taking part in a major study of educational performance. Welsh students also did worse than their counterparts in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Pisa tests are taken by 15-year-olds every three years. This is the fourth time Wales has done worse than the other UK nations. The latest results show:… Read more »

Royston Jones
Guest

When the education and other budgets are being robbed to maintain a Welsh NHS stretched to breaking point by English retirees then those retirees contribute to the poor education results.

Gillian Jones
Guest
Gillian Jones

Mike Flynn,Professor Gerry Holtham(supported by The Hodge Foundation)”The biggest single mistake in Welsh Government policy has been to bleed education spending( on schools) in favour of health”Wales lagged £604 per pupil behind England.

Cofi Dre
Guest
Cofi Dre

Ah OK Mike you’re now making sense: there’s no direct correlation between crap results and massive influxes of old English retirees into areas where they don’t assimilate , learn the language or even recognise the cultural distinctness of the place, that’s true. Your ‘and elsewhere’ is a nice touch. Where do you mean exactly? PISA results aren’t that useful, tbh. GCSE and A level results are more useful, since PISA results aren’t used to judge people, so much as places and systems. No-one looks at someone’s country’s PISA result and says: ‘I’m not giving them a job because they’re from… Read more »

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

That is just an excuse to blame someone else. Wales has a terrible record for health as well and it is certainly not retirees causing the problems. “In the most deprived areas of Wales 28.4% of children are either overweight or obese compared with 20.9% in the least deprived.” Smoking is another major problem. Both of the above cannot be tackled by throwing money at them. They are social issues found elsewhere especially in the north of England. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/wales-failing-tackle-health-gap-12158282 The report above makes interesting reading. Every year in Wales there are: 18 million primary care contacts 400,000 emergency admissions Around… Read more »

Royston Jones
Guest

The percentages in Wales, compared with England, Scotland and Northern Ireland that are obese, is marginal, so don’t try to use these minor fluctuations to avoid the elephant in the room.

And answer me this, how does Scotland, with its notoriously unhealthy lifestyle – smoking, heavy drinking, fish suppers, deep-fried Mars bars – have a better health service than Wales? Rhodri Morgan explained it in his Memoirs, recently serialised in ‘Llais y Sais’: “Elderly people retired away from Scotland, but retired TO Wales”. (My capitalisation.)

Dafydd Thomas
Guest
Dafydd Thomas

There are none so blind than those who do not wish to see. The number of Social Housing units per 100,000 people is almost identical in Wales to that in England. The 2011 Figures for Wales (ONS) gives 225,559 Social Housing units of which 46,848 on a population basis are used for housing 112,436 English immigrants in Social Housing. With Social Cleansing in England, where poor, sick, and vulnerable residents are forced to leave, the evidence available is that 48% have a health condition that affects their housing needs and over 89% have worsening mental health when they arrive in… Read more »

Gillian Jones
Guest
Gillian Jones

Many English immigrants already have existing health and social problems.It would be beneficial to deal with our own problems with our own funding.

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

Agreed Gillian but how do you convince the overweight smokers and drinkers to give up their Sky TV lifestyle for some brisk walks?

A drive through any council estate in the UK illustrates Murdoch’s biggest clients. Wall to wall Sky dishes adorn old industrial terraced houses while
the occupants binge on junk food. Many have never worked in their life.

Obesity is self inflicted and not the result of poverty.

As for “English immigrants” health problems what about other nationalities?

Royston Jones
Guest

You right, of course, Wales gets hundreds of thousands of immigrants who are not English.

Cofi Dre
Guest
Cofi Dre

Which other nationalities Mike?
And who are the ‘among others’ you mention as being prone to retiring to Wales?

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

We live in a multi cultural UK so to use the blanket term English in addressing any migration in to Wales is racist.

There appears to be a general attitude on this board to blame everything on the “English” instead of using the word British.

Royston Jones
Guest

“There appears to be a general attitude on this board to blame everything on the “English” instead of using the word British.” So using the term British’ would change the fact that 95% of the ‘British’ who come to Wales are English?

Blaming the English or England has more basis in fact than your approach, which is to blame the Welsh for everything wrong with Wales.

Dafydd Thomas
Guest
Dafydd Thomas

Mike the English referred to are self defined as such in the 2011 census, not British. Are they racialist for not calling themselves British. All the English people I know are happy to call themselves such. Incidentally the 2011 census shows little immigration into Wales that is not English. We’ve heard all this racialist claptrap before from people when they can’t have a rational debate. We need to say things as they are and call things what they are. English Labour and English Tories are together in wanting control on immigration. Well let’s have a good look at immigration into… Read more »

Cofi Dre
Guest
Cofi Dre

There’s nothing racist whatsoever about pointing out that the vast, vast majority of economically inactive people moving here are English. Defined as such, by themselves and by the census. Immigration into Wales that is not English immigration is nugatory. So when we say that health spending has been prioritised over education (you’re the one with the beef about Welsh education), there is nothing racist about pointing our why. 30 per cent of the population of Wales is English. Put 3/4 of a million French people in Kent and you’ll see an analogous effect. The Welsh are too hospitable for their… Read more »

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

You appear to blame Welsh health problems on English retirees while ignoring the facts. According to Public Health Network Cymru the proportion of overweight or obese adults in Wales has remained at 57% since 2008. This includes 22% of adults classed as obese with levels of obesity higher across all ages in the more deprived areas (Welsh Health Survey 2013). The following story appeared in Wales online four years ago. Are you suggesting the majority mentioned below are English migrants while the locals are fit and healthy? http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/welsh-communities-more-60-overweight-2493562 According to a wide-ranging health study, Merthyr Tydfil is Wales’ fattest town… Read more »

Royston Jones
Guest

Give it up, you’re getting repetitive and making yourself look silly.

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

Or to put it another way Royston you are not prepared to accept facts. You must be Jac o’ the North. Trailerboy who posts on here recently added this to your blog….. “Funny this one. I’ve been commenting on a Guradian thread as “wiliwonka” on an article by Huw Edwards: Comments such as these crop up: SwanseaPeacefulguy 9h ago In reality, the idea that Wales is a country of closely related communities bound by a common culture is a myth. I was born and raised in Swansea and feel a far greater affinity with Bristol than I do with, say,… Read more »

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn