Gareth Ceidiog Hughes
The fact that we have a deadly pandemic on our hands hasn’t stopped some from telling the Welsh they should know their place.
This was made clear when the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, confirmed that the lockdown restrictions to tackle the coronavirus would stay in place for a further three weeks.
As I understand it, this was on the basis of a COBRA meeting with the UK government and leaders from the devolved administrations.
A tweet from Sky News Breaking said: “Wales’ First Minister says Scotland, Northern Ireland, and UK government have confirmed a three-week extension to lockdown restrictions.”
The tweet received an avalanche of hostile and sneering responses from people aghast that the leader of a nation in his own right had the temerity to divulge what was happening on a matter of the utmost importance.
A typical response read: “It’s like a flipping echo chamber in the U.K. now. Everybody nationalist politician wants to get in on the act and claim ownership to demonstrate that they who are in charge (which they ain’t), and it’s them that’s funding crisis support, which they aren’t. they U.K. Govt are.”
It should be pointed out that Mark Drakeford is not a nationalist politician. He is in fact a unionist; though his support for the union is not without caveat or equivocation. I can’t image that being treated this way fills him with a great deal of warmth towards the United Kingdom, and indeed who would blame him.
Another response said: “Rather stealing the thunder there, isn’t he?”
Another said: “You should of let the UK Government announce it before telling people. Comedy at its best.”
Let’s just leave aside the fact that it’s “should have” not “should of” for a moment, and think for a moment about the sheer contempt this shows for the people of Wales. The message is clear. Get back in your box Welshies. We’re better than you.
Similar scorn was directed at the First Minister of Scotland a few weeks ago when she announced what had been decided at a COBRA meeting before those who think of themselves as her betters.
But if you thought that all the hostile responses to the First Minister of Wales came from England then you’d be wrong.
One such response from a chap who went by the name of Lee, from Cardiff, no less, said: “That’s great @MarkDrakeford, but most of us here in Wales will wait for the proper government and their announcement.”
There are people in our midst who believe that it is big, that it is clever, to look down on their own country. They do not have confidence that the people of Wales can make their own decisions. It is a form of Stockholm syndrome. Siding with a school bully can make the weak feel strong.
But it isn’t strength to fail to stand up for your own kin when they’re being demeaned by morons. I don’t know about you, but I am not so pathologically insecure in the ability of my own nation that I believe that we can’t handle briefing the media on a subject that is highly relevant to us.
Governments elected by the people of Wales are just as legitimate as any other, and should be accorded the same respect, and I despair at my compatriots who cannot see this. Unfortunately for some, they have absorbed the views of those who look down on them, and have made them their own.
Wales should not have to wait around for the Westminster establishment to get a move on. Indeed, doing so, especially in these circumstances can have deadly consequences. The idea that we should just sit around, twiddling our thumbs waiting for the Westminster establishment to tell us what to do, at any time, is frankly absurd. The seriousness of our current predicament makes it even more so. When a deadly virus spreads exponentially, time is very much of the essence.
Wales has announcements made on its behalf without it even being consulted all the time. It has policies that its people didn’t vote for imposed on it all the time. Its leader reveals something important on a matter of real public interest that pertains to all four nations of the UK just once, and people lose their God damn minds. The pique demonstrated was really quite extraordinary.
If you can only feel secure when Wales behaves meekly, then I suggest the problem isn’t ours. The public health crisis engulfing the nation makes this even more apparent.