Simon Thomas AM, Plaid Cymru member for Mid and West Wales
Railways not electrified. Bridges re-named without the consent of the people. The tidal lagoon scrapped.
That is the legacy of the Secretary of State, Alun Cairns.
He is clearly not able to make the case for Wales in Cabinet. In fact, it is fair to say this week has proved true the mantra that Alun Cairns is Westminster’s voice in Wales, not Wales’ voice in Westminster.
Today, the National Assembly for Wales will debate a Plaid Cymru motion of no confidence in the Secretary of State for Wales. Passing this motion will be the most damning action available to the Assembly to express its discontent with the Secretary of State.
Westminster can never and will never deliver for Wales. This Secretary of State has, however, done irreversible damage to our nation.
From the failure to deliver on rail electrification to the power grab, he has presided over a Wales Office that has relentlessly undermined our nation.
Monday encapsulated this disdain perfectly. On the very day Westminster approved a £14billion runway in London, they scrapped the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon. It is as if they are trying to rub their failure to invest in Wales in our faces.
As the CEO of Tidal Lagoon Power said, the decision to can the Lagoon “is a vote of no interest in Wales, no confidence in British manufacturing and no care for the planet.”
Our economy will be weakened, opportunities lost and jobs jeopardised as a result of Alun Cairn’s inability to deliver on the promises he made.
In doing so, the Tories in London did not just reject one lagoon project, but the entire proposition of tidal range technology. They also rejected their own independent report on the potential for tidal range energy around the British Isles.
However, the only job I want to see lost is that of the Secretary of State.
His consistent failure to deliver for Wales should not, cannot and will not go unchallenged. We must send an unequivocal message to Westminster that we will not put up with a Secretary of State who brings Wales into disrepute.
There is, of course, the prospect of the current Secretary of State being replaced by another obedient Tory without any backbone.
That is why Plaid Cymru’s motion calls for the position to be scrapped altogether. The very concept of a colonialist Welsh Secretary has to be disposed of.
No longer do we live in a one parliament state. It is time for Westminster to realise this and replace the Wales Office with a more equal and representative Council of Ministers.
The vote today will also be a test for the Labour Party who will have an opportunity to prove where their loyalties truly lie.
Surely, this is a step too far even for them? It is a straight choice: side with the people of Wales or with Westminster.