The UK is broken – and Welsh Labour can’t wait until we win in England to start fixing it

Mark Drakeford. Picture by CPMR – Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ben Gwalchmai

Mark Drakeford is obviously a thoughtful man. He also made the audience of the recent Wales For Europe event chuckle with a little warm humour. It takes intelligence to do so. Intelligent people also read widely.

Is it possible then, that Mark Drakeford reads Nation.Cymru? Let me explain why I think so.

In that Wales for Europe event, Mark said ‘The Sewel Convention is not designed to bear the weight that Brexit will place on it…’ and that ‘A constitutional convention is urgently needed in order to address the problems in front of us’.

‘Surely,’ I thought, ‘Mark’s been following our work! Finally! They’ve listened to what we’ve been saying!’

Mark said exactly what Lord Elystan Morgan said at Labour for Indy Wales’ first event. Lord Morgan said ‘The Sewel Convention is broken’ and that we need a Constitutional Convention that sets up a new body between all countries of the UK.

Or perhaps Mark is catching up with Carmarthen’s oracular influence. Either way, it’s good to hear the leadership has diagnosed one of the problems and the medicine.

Leverage

If so, it’s a shame to see that the EU Withdrawal Bill was voted through the Senedd on May 15th.

If Mark wants a Constitutional Convention, he just gave away his best chance of making it happen.

We’ve been saying it for seven months and we’ll keep saying it: Westminster won’t bring equality, we have to force it to.

It is not in Westminster’s interests to change the current system. The only way to make it is with leverage. Leverage the Scottish Government still has, but Wales has just given away.

It seems that Mark is, unfortunately, a unionist even in the face of his own country’s imminent peril. We had a chance to talk briefly with him after his Wales for Europe talk and he has no plans for what happens if/when the UK breaks apart.

Alongside Lord Morgan, we’ll continue to inspire him. Here or otherwise.

Recovery and remedy

Sometimes it feels as if Welsh Labour respond more aggressively to Plaid in the Senedd than they do the situation at hand.

Wouldn’t it be better to see an honest and open discussion about the EU Withdrawal Bill & our constitutional placing rather than being dominated by the political imperative to put Plaid in their place?

We’re still so young. Let’s build our nation in the spirit of togetherness. Instead, our ministers shout to hide their embarrassment over of a (highly symbolic) decision to rename a bridge.

For our part, we sent a positive, internal party email and a press release before the vote on the LCM encouraging a free vote. It had no response.

This is an odd state of affairs when even the committees Labour AMs are on within Welsh Government couldn’t recommend the LCM.

The only remedy is reconciliation with the truth: the UK is broken. The Sewel Convention is fundamentally broken. Westminster will never change without being forced to change.

Let’s get ahead of these things: let’s work with the Scottish, Irish, and whatever Welsh & Scottish MPs in Westminster see sense to build a future we can rely on – to build an independent Wales in a confederal UK and, perhaps, in a Celtic Union until England sees sense.

Let’s not wait on a Labour win in England to ensure our future, our safety; let’s fulfil our potential. Let’s do it soon, before it’s too late.

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