Support our Nation today - please donate here
Opinion

Get lost, Rob Roberts! Why disgraced MP’s bid to scrap the Senedd is itself a disgrace

26 Sep 2023 6 minute read
Delyn MP Rob Roberts

Martin Shipton

Why is Wales uniquely ridden with a minority of individuals who want to dismantle our democracy every time the Welsh Government makes a decision they disagree with?

Partly, of course, because they are led by the nose by politicians who should know better.

The latest politician to jump on this disreputable bandwagon is the odious Rob Roberts, the Tory MP for Delyn. He’s a man who shouldn’t even be in Parliament. In 2021 he was suspended from the Commons for six weeks for repeatedly sexually harassing a male member of his staff who was left feeling “shocked” and “horrified”.

But because Roberts was suspended by an independent panel rather than a parliamentary committee, a legal loophole meant he was not subject to a recall petition – which would likely have led to a by-election in his constituency.

Angered by Roberts’ political survival, MPs voted to change the rules so members suspended for offences including sexual harassment or bullying can now face a recall petition. However, they voted against Labour’s proposal to make the rule changes retrospective, meaning they couldn’t be applied to Roberts.

Now, doubtless in a desperate – and hopefully vain – attempt to revive his career, the man has the effrontery to propose a referendum intended to result in the Senedd’s abolition. Announcing his plan on Facebook – arguably the sure sign of a charlatan – Roberts stated: “This morning I have emailed the House of Commons Public Bill Office to ask them to assist me in drafting legislation which will provide for a referendum to be held asking the very simple question: ‘Should the Welsh Senedd remain in place, or be abolished?’ It is my intention to present this Bill to Parliament in the new session after the King’s Speech.”

The disgraced MP described devolution in Wales as a “failed experiment” that had “run its course and should come to an end. Enough is enough.”

20mph speed limit 

Roberts is doing this on the back of the furore over the introduction of the default 20mph speed limit on restricted roads – an issue which has led to a sprinkling of other calls on social media channels for the end of devolution in Wales.

The people involved have been banging the same drum for years. They are mostly from the hard right, and in many cases are also Brexiteers, anti-lockdown, anti-vaxxers, anti-migrant and hostile to the Welsh language.

I can’t think of anywhere else in the world where people actively campaign to abolish their own democracy. Many countries have authoritarian regimes that people would love to be rid of, but don’t have the means to achieve that, usually because the power structures and weapons are controlled by the oppressors. It’s absolutely perverse to argue that a democratic national institution which holds regular elections should be scrapped. If people are disenchanted with a government in a democracy, they have the opportunity to vote them out at the next election. But we still have a minority that doesn’t accept that. Why?

There are, I think, two main reasons. Firstly, many on the right are frustrated that as things stand there is little prospect of them ever winning power at the Senedd. They can’t stand the fact that left-wing parties have a majority that seems impregnable.

It wasn’t necessarily always thus, of course. In 2007 a Plaid Cymru / Tory / Lib Dem coalition very nearly formed an administration. But today, after approaching a decade and a half of largely regressive policies at Westminster and with a Tory Senedd group led by a dinosaur, the immediate prospect of such a coalition being formed again is non-existent.

Self-hatred

Secondly, there is a minority group in Wales that seems to thrive on what can be characterised as self-hatred. I explored this phenomenon a few years ago in a book I wrote about George Thomas, a former Secretary of State for Wales and Speaker of the House of Commons.

Thomas moved to the right as his career progressed, becoming not simply a sycophant to the royal family but a creature of Margaret Thatcher when she was Prime Minister and he was Speaker. He had a pathological hatred of the Welsh language, arguably having its roots in the fact that his Welsh-speaking father abandoned his mother for another woman.

Thomas was also a rabid anti-devolutionist as well as a Brexiteer. Despite presenting himself as a professional Welshman, he in fact opposed any question of self-government for Wales. He died four days after the 1997 referendum that narrowly gave the green light to the establishment of a National Assembly.

Thomas represented a shameful tradition of anti-Welshness within Wales that had existed for many centuries. Wales’ position as England’s oldest colony and its subsequent incorporation into a British union meant that its people’s relationship with power was not straightforward.

Never a united country, the death of Wales’ last native prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd in 1282 ended what remained of it as a separate political entity. Llywelyn himself was killed as a result of an ambush perpetrated by noblemen related to him by blood and marriage – an early example of collaboration with the English that amounted to treachery.

Many members of the Welsh gentry enthusiastically joined the English armed forces, seeing it as a means of advancement for people denied progression in their own country.

When Owain Glyndwr undertook his rebellion a little more than a century after Llywelyn’s death, the support he gained in Wales was by no means universal and a large proportion of those fighting against him were Welsh. After the rebellion was defeated, and Henry V went to Normandy to fight the French, many of his captains and infantry were Welsh. It was the skill of Welsh bowmen that was most decisive in Henry’s victory at Agincourt.

Material advantage

To escape the harsh penal laws that affected Welshmen, those wishing to make their way in the world gave up rebellion and bought what were known as letters of denizenship which declared them to be English. Rejecting Welshness therefore became associated with seeking and obtaining material advantage.

Centuries later the satirical poet and balladeer John Jones, known more widely by his bardic name Jac Glan-y-gors, devised and mocked the character Dic Sion Dafydd, who in his desperation to ingratiate himself with the English rejected the Welsh language and Welsh culture.

In his rousing anthem Yma o Hyd, which celebrates the survival of Welsh against all the odds, Dafydd Iwan alludes to “Dic Sion Dafydds”, the Welsh equivalent of an Uncle Tom.

Mostly the Dic Sion Dafydds have been consigned to history, but they’re still around, trying to persuade the people of Wales that they would be better off run without mediation by the kind of Westminster government whose corruption became rampant during the Covid era.

No thank you, Rob Roberts.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
38 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ann
Ann
4 months ago

Sadly there are still plenty of Dic Sion Dafydds around, just read the comments on Wales On Line to find them!

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
4 months ago
Reply to  Ann

I don’t think we need to worry too much about those commenting on WoL, after all, they seem to share the same single brain cell and are probably a subset of those who signed that anti-20mph petition and subsequently gathered in their masses to protest in Cardiff last weekend… That is, if 200 constitutes a mass protest!

As a friend of mine would describe them, they’re all mouth and no trousers.

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
4 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Protesting against “cashless society” and “digital IDs” amongst other things.
It seems it was a veritable buffet of protest.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
4 months ago
Reply to  Nobby Tart

Well, there’s a surprise!

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
4 months ago

A great article, hits the nail firmly on the head. I often wonder how future historians, writing about our times, will judge those politicians that try their best to stand in the way of the development of our democracy and self-rule. I am sure they won’t write favourably of them.

Llyn
Llyn
4 months ago

There is no difference in the outlook of those British nationalists like Roberts’ views of Wales and those of Russian nationalists regarding Ukraine. Both believe that the smaller country should have no separate democratic/political structures; want rule centralised in the imperial capital; mock the historical existence and political separateness of Wales/Ukraine; have little time for Cymraeg/Ukrainian; are right wing/far-right and attack the Welsh/Ukrainian political leaders as illegitimate and extreme.

Riki
Riki
4 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

English nationalists! How can they be British nationalists when Wales is the only British founded country?

Llyn
Llyn
4 months ago
Reply to  Riki

Well I would think that many in the Donbas who want the end of the Ukrainian forces and fighting alongside the Russians would also call themselves Ukrainian.

Silenced!
Silenced!
4 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

Generally no. Those fighting against Ukraine in the Donbas region are ethnic Russians and refer to themselves as such. Sorry if it doesn’t suit your narrative

Richard
Richard
4 months ago
Reply to  Silenced!

Troll Alert 😈

Riki
Riki
4 months ago
Reply to  Silenced!

Spot on! What the Welsh don’t realise is that England would do the same if Wales outlawed English and started attacking ethnic English in Wales. The people of Wales are fundamentally on the wrong side. The Ukrainian government after 2014 decided to to change the designation The 14th Galician division of the SS as not Not-zee their symbols as such. This choice explains everything about Kiev.

Rob
Rob
4 months ago
Reply to  Riki

So because England may potentially violate international law, then its okay for Russia to do the same, since when does two wrongs make a right? I’m pretty sure that if your scenario ever became a reality (ie. an independent England invaded a sovereign Wales) you would be the first to pick up a gun and defend your country, you wouldn’t be much of a nationalist if you didn’t. So its rather hypocritical to criticise Ukraine for using every resource possible to defend their sovereignty when you would do the same for yours. The UN Charter specifically rejects the violating the… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by Rob
Rose Dee
Rose Dee
4 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

Cymraeg / українська I think is what you meant to say.

No harm done. From your post you clearly know nothing about Ukraine or its language.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
4 months ago
Reply to  Llyn

The war in Ukraine started back in 2014 after a coupé.The Present Ukrainian government have had ample opportunities for a road map to peace but have chosen not to implement the The Minsk agreements of 2014 and 2015 which was brokered by France.
I am oppressed to all aspects of military involvement whoever the perpetrators are. I am certainly no fan of Putin however people should read up on the background of The Ukrainian Azov battalion plus in WWII a Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera is still held in high regard by The Zelensky regime.

Silenced!
Silenced!
4 months ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

Maybe you want to practice your English tovarisch. Many of those words do not mean what you think they mean. Perhaps YOU should read up on the Russian nazi battalions fighting in Ukraine on behalf of Putin like Rusich, The Russian Imperial Legion, Reserve Squad and of course Vagner, along with the nazis who fight within the “Union of Donbas Volunteers” and specific Ruyssian Nazis such as Aleksei Milchakov, Yan Petrovsky, Denis Nekrasov and Stanislav Vorobyov

Riki
Riki
4 months ago

It’s because they don’t want the native British to have a say on their own island. They have convinced the World that the British are “Welsh” and the Anglo are British. And we compound it by using their terminology for ourselves. Wales will get its heritage and respect back when we call all this out. Unfortunately too many Brits in Wales have fallen for this English invented culture, they think they are doing the right thing by calling themselves Welsh over British but in reality they are backing up all the English work in adopting our historical identity. They do… Read more »

Riki
Riki
4 months ago
Reply to  Riki

Down votes prove said point about Wales’ historical illiteracy.

Silenced!
Silenced!
4 months ago
Reply to  Riki

No. The downvotes prove that people disagree with your take on our history

Riki
Riki
4 months ago
Reply to  Silenced!

So The Romans And Saxons must of been liars huh? How about all the Authors of Wikipedia and Newspaper articles throughout the centuries?! Thank you for proving my point.

Last edited 4 months ago by Riki
Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
4 months ago

Can we have a referendum on abolishing the sex predator Roberts?

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago

With people like Rob Roberts and his ilk on the right of politics, no matter how many referendums have been held to establish devolution and confer more powers to the institution, he will not stop calling for another referendum untill the vote goes his way. We have seen this with Brexit, following decades of anti EU propaganda, they are now silent on the subject, after finally getting the result they wanted. Now they are setting their sights on the Senedd.

Gareth
Gareth
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Oh, and once the vote goes the way they want, that is it,no more voting, no more referendums, as it is the “will of the people” and can not be undone.

Llyn
Llyn
4 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

The that there will not be another referendum on devolution is that once there is then that will be the trigger for another Scottish independence, EU referendum and Northern Ireland border poll. The Tories don’t care about Wales but they don’t want those referendums.

Crwtyddol
Crwtyddol
4 months ago

An un- wholesome man in pursuit of a specious aim. That should speak volumes.
If you wants civil war, let him succeed .

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
4 months ago

Unlike Norway, Wales has struggled to get rid of its Quislings. People like RR should be booted out of the country.

Last edited 4 months ago by Steve Duggan
Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
4 months ago

With the Tories doing as bad as they currently are, I think it’s far more likely that Rob Roberts will be scrapped before the Senedd is. A gwynt teg ar ôl yr uffar.

Rob
Rob
4 months ago

Is Rob Roberts also calling for the abolition of the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly or is it just Wales that has incompetent politicians? AFAIK Starmer is also considering a 20mph speed limit for England, are we to assume that he will support abolishing Westminster if this happens? Because his kind of thinking implies that the people of Wales are somehow incapable of governing themselves. Wales voted for devolution twice in 1997 and 2011, maybe he should respect that, the same way we are supposed to respect the vote for Brexit. I’ve have said this before and I will… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob

This has nothing to do with the 20mph issue. Just, 1/ saving his skin and 2/ following his master’s orders as they don’t want any form of Welsh autonomy. As for respecting a vote – that is only of concern to them if the vote was in their favour.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
4 months ago
Reply to  Rob

What ‘legitimate concerns’ could there possibly be about the new 20mph default speed limit in built up areas? As has been well publicised, there are local exceptions, decided upon by local authorities who have complete control over the process, the Senedd merely enabled the legislation.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
4 months ago

Rob Roberts. An MP who should not be an MP due to his inappropriate behaviour and an MP sitting in (not representing) a WELSH constituency in a country he wishes to abolish. These things are entirely incompatible and there must surely be a mechanism such as recall which can be enacted against him purely based on his plan to threaten our right to exist as a nation. He must be removed from his post.

hdavies15
hdavies15
4 months ago

Here’s another who should not be getting the oxygen of publicity. Indeed no oxygen at all might serve a better purpose.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
4 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

The Victorian Museums of the Grotesque would be the perfect place for the likes of Roberts, Braverman and the rest of this Tory government…or perhaps the London Dungeon would be more appropriate…

It is not a good look, but N.C does like to scare the children with their portraits sometimes…

Richard
Richard
4 months ago

I walked through Mold on market day two weeks back and as usual a lonley and isolated figure could be seen touring the stalls encouraging conversation with our regular stall holders – most of whom come from over the border.

  • a picture i have in mind each time these angry outburts occur.
Y Cymro
Y Cymro
4 months ago

Here we go again. We’ve been here before with these Anti-Wales cretins who continue to fight lost devolution battles.

I’d like to remind sex pest Rob Roberts that devolution is here to stay, and the only thing that will be removed will be you come the next general election.

And ponder this. Our Senedd Cymru can only get stronger, larger, more powerful, ending with independence. It’s not if but when. There is nothing you can do to stop this process. Welsh Democracy trumps Tory idiocracy.

Last edited 4 months ago by Y Cymro

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.