Wales faces decades of Conservative rule – will the left-wing majority back independence?
Ifan Morgan Jones
Almost exactly a year ago I wrote an article for this site called ‘Corbyn can’t win in England – the only path to socialism is more powers for Wales’.
It was obvious then that Labour had no hope of winning the kind of middle England seats they needed to secure a governing majority. No one would have guessed that it was far worse than that – they couldn’t even win post-industrial communities like Workington.
The scale of the task facing Labour was illustrated by the result in Nuneaton. This was the kind of middle England bell-weather seat that Labour needed to win in order to gain power. The Conservatives won 60.6% (+9.0) of the vote to Labour’s 31.5%.
Closer to home, take a look at Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire. This was Labour target seat 64 – the exact threshold they needed to cross to win a majority at Westminster. The Conservatives won a thumping 52.7% of the vote to Labour’s 34.3%.
If a centre-left party cannot win in parts of Wales, it’s clear that they cannot win in England. It is a resolutely conservative, centre-right country.
What yesterday’s result means is that Wales doesn’t just face five years of Conservative government but probably at least another decade. The road back for Labour is as long as it was in 1979 when the Conservatives last made such inroads across the country.
It would be another 18 years before Tony Blair won his 1997 landslide, largely by moving his party closer to the Conservatives.
Blaming it all on Brexit, as some on the left have done, is a cop-out. Divisions on the left on this issue may have added to the scale of the defeat but the Conservatives were winning in England before the word Brexit was even coined.
Wales has voted Labour for 100 years but has only had a Labour government for 34 of those. And with just 40 of 650 seats in the UK, whether Wales gets the government it voted for is largely a matter of chance.
Ultimately, England decides, and 100% of the time it chooses a government of either the centre or, usually, the right.
With boundary changes soon to reduce our number to 29 MPs we will have even less of a say.
There are positives to take from yesterday’s result, however. The main one is that despite the Conservative encroachment into Wales, over 50% voted for centre-left parties in Wales. Only 41.5% voted for the Conservatives or Brexit Party.
The question for Wales’s left, therefore, is whether they are happy to be ruled by an unrepresentative government out of loyalty to the union or if they would rather Wales have the powers to run itself as a centre-left country.
Socialists have a natural aversion to nationalism, favour internationalism and open borders. But Welsh nationalism is internationalist and defines itself in contrast to right-wing, intolerant British nationalism.
Whether the left in Wales finds it more palatable to call it independence, federalism, home rule, dominion status or whatever else, it seems obvious that increased powers for Wales is the way forward.
Labour has long described itself as Wales’ shield. Well, to survive the next 10 years, the left are going to need not just a bigger shield but a bazooka too.
Wales stands at a crossroads now. The population is at the same time moving politically towards independence and, as yesterday’s results show, towards greater political integration into England.
With a Senedd election on the horizon in 2021, and results in both Scotland and Northern Ireland suggesting they are quickly moving towards independence and reunification, the national question is likely to dominate the next year at least.
With a powerful Westminster Government determined to take back control from the devolved nations, a middle of the road approach to maintaining the devolved status quo is no longer tenable.
It’s time for the left in Wales to make a choice, between greater independence and a decade – or possibly decades – of right-wing government.
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One of the problems as I see it (living in Prestatyn) is that here it is hardly even Wales, there are so many people that have moved here from over the border (at least 50% of our population) . A lot of them (not all) go on behaving and feeling like they are still in England. We voted like England did yesterday. How would we get them to support independence?
Cathy opens her gambit by making a commentary about English immigrants living in her community and “behaving and feeling like they are still in England” nice work Cathy.
And? What exactly is your point?
Costa Geriatrica, Cathy.
There is a movement for English people to support independence, English for Indy?
Though these people are perhaps younger, idealistic, and educated?
You make a salient point, Cathy. I live just half a mile outside your Vale of Clwyd constituency, just inside the Clwyd West patch which has just solidly re-elected the appalling (at least to me!) David Jones, arguably the hardest right of the Welsh Tory MPs. We’re not quite as Anglicized as you are in Prestatyn with all your retirees from Merseyside and Greater Manchester, because this constituency extends much further south away from the seaside. With the consequence that there are, overall, somewhat fewer English ‘blow-ins’ here. But we still cover the very Anglicized seaside resorts of Towyn, Abergele,… Read more »
I agree with this article. I believe we are at a vital crossroads in the history of the nation of Wales, the mainstream media is already saying “Scotland and ENGLAND going in very different directions” not “Scotland and the REST OF UK”. We need to start giving Wales a louder voice, look how much attention Scotland garner. We have a choice, integration with england and the loss of our identity and even greater imposed poverty or stand up and make our voice heard, MAKE WALES MATTER
I question whether the UK is in for another Groundhog Day cycle of Atlee to Callaghan, Foot to Blair, Corbyn to an electable Labour Party at Westminster in the 2030’s. UK society has changed fundamentally. It’s become a country of “JAMs” and “Gigs” and “hustles”, of serial redundancies, of generation-can’t-afford-to-rent, of people struggling with mountains of debt. People who are living on the edge are more likely to vote conservatively even when they desperately want change, simply because they can’t afford the risk.
Drop the left – right distinction as it is far too simplistic. What we have in Cardiff Bay purports to be left wing, in reality on a good day it is just about mildly so. Plaid tries to outdo it by adopting stances but to us ordinary punters out in the communities it reeks of pseudo-socialism, posturing for effect. The truth is many of our present cadre of politicians don’t even like the public, they much prefer mixing with their own kind and selected “professional classes”. We need to get together instead of fostering further divisions when any prospect of… Read more »
Drop the psychobabble and get behind the Welsh Indy movement
Is “Psychobabble” a recent addition to the vocabulary of the pseudo socialist elite clique that strives endlessly to control and manipulate the Indy movement? Is it officially adopted by your group think controller ? Try some real socialist thinking for a while and come away from the toxic air you breathe in the big city. It might clear your head.
I agree with Huw Davies and his commentary is spot on.
Drop the psychobabble and get behind the welsh indy movement.
‘psychobabble’ has been common parlance for years (decades in reality!) just because some of us have a reasonable vocabulary doesn’t make us part of some imaginary elite in the shadows. Independence – the only sensible route for a strong future for wales. Oh yes I am a ‘real’ socialist. What is this clique you speak of? There are thousands of people like myself that are not part of a group or a club but managed to come to our own conclusions independent of the central scrutiniser thank you.
Totally agree, all those left wing voters voted Tory, so much for right wing, left wing it’s meanigless. That needs to be dropped now
Well said Huw.
The westminster government will now drive British nationalism. I suspect the move towards independence to stall and wouldnt be surprised if the next Welsh Parliament elections see a large number of Unionist and end devolution AMs elected l.
On the 1st of Feb, for millions, Brexit will be done and Johnson must give them a massive ‘make britain great again’ party, so they don’t notice their services are being savaged. Distraction is Johnsons go to strategy.
It’s ENGLISH Nationalism. Conservatism is the dead parrot sketch.
But they will be nutted by reality. Their empire is gone.
I think you may be seriously underestimating the British patriotism that delivered this election to the Tories. It wasn’t Corbyns anti semitism, it was his perceived lack of patriotism, that made him unpopular. You may question what the reality of British nationalism is but it will be the union jack that will brand brexit and many people are desperate for hope. Rule Britannia, land of hope and glory, God save the king (biological realities make this transition almost certain in the next five years). Nationalism is a fig leaf and the Tories are naked after January.
England is the new UK.
Er some of us on the left made that choice a long time ago and have been supporters of Welsh independence for decades
We now need a serious discussion about the ins and outs of independence. Public consultations to bring the subject fully into the public consciousness. Brexit will hurt us but the good thing is it will make self determination more palatable as a result. Scotland and Northern Ireland going their own way will also heighten awareness for independence., we must grasp these positives.. With decades of a right wing Westminster now very much a possiblity – we must break free and forge our own path to prosperity or find ourselves permanently in poverty.
I must emphasise (“Oh must you dear? I’ve a terrible headache!”) that QE2 dying will have an impact.
“The population is at the same time moving politically towards independence and, as yesterday’s results show, towards greater political integration into England.” Its possible to resolve this. The answer for Wales is to use labels the English will accept ie (1) adopt a British model for Indy = ‘Dominion Status’ and (2) ‘self-expression’ rather than ‘socialist’. Dominion Status is how all UK colonies got whatever Indy they now possess, so go for it. The Queen won’t mind. And free the Welsh to express their aspirations. Work out what they actually are. They won’t be fascist, so don’t worry. Free the… Read more »
If what you mean by “Dominion Status” is “Commonwealth Realm”, then as a matter of pragmatism, I agree. In medieval times Dominion of Wales meant England’s conquests west of Offa’s dyke. From 1867 to 1931 a self governing colony of the British Empire. OK, maybe “Do you want Dominion status for Wales”‘ is just the question for a referendum ballot paper as it might well get a cross from everyone from Senedd abolitionists to those seeking independence, but otherwise the word “dominion” does rather conjures up associations on a continuum from subservience to S&M.
Actually no, Walter. Here are some examples
(1)”What is is that women most desire?” – “Dominion!” – Chaucer. Dominion = power, control over their lives..
(2) State of Virginia, US’s first among equals, is very very proud of being “Commonwealth of Virginia” and “The Old Dominion”. Used for whisky, well-known trucking company etc etc
(3) Ireland – very happy to get Dominion Status. Guess what? As a stage to full Indy.
(4) See also Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka).
Main thing is – this route WORKS
“(3) Ireland – very happy to get Dominion Status. Guess what? As a stage to full Indy.”
Only if you ignore the Irish Civil War that followed the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the refusal of the anti-Treaty TDs to make the Oath of Allegiance, Irish neutrality in WW2, and over 25 years until becoming a republic – and all without mentioning the Six Counties. Happy? I don’t think so.
Any discussion based on the assumption that all those who voted for Labour and Plaid Cymru are socialists is pointless.
Your ‘party’ lost £1,500 in deposits and couldn’t even scrape 1,500 votes last night. Shouldn’t you be busy fundraising?
We put up our own money and our own time, and stepped up to the plate to give people a choice and reach out beyond the narrow confines of Plaid Cymru’s inward-looking groupthink. And we’ll do it again.
What did you do?
I actually spoke to people, but hey, you carry on being an embarassment.
Or actually, don’t. Your rabble is cringeworthy.
Agree. I voted Labour in Preseli to protect Remain. Sorry, Royston. But now its back to basics. Welsh are NOT socialist over all – myth – false basis for action. Stand for what actual Welsh voters actually wan and need.
Nationalists really do need to move beyond the left right trope. The SNP made their biggest in roads into the scots psyche, not with policy or traditional party positioning but with a very clear message, they will protect the Scottish people. In the Thatcher/Major era, to Scots, this was an appealing message. Emotion motivates more than ideology for the vast majority of people when it comes to voting.
The points made in this article seem a bit antiquated. This left right thing is sooo 1986 and the constant narrow minded anti torysim and anti conservatism is tiring and holds Wales and the Welsh independence movement back. All under one banner really should mean that. And what does the tired old trope of internationalism really mean? Anyone who does their research knows that it is a fluffy word dreamt up by globalists for well intentioned dupes to bring in a system of global power run and owned by transnational corporations – a system that would not want to see… Read more »
You make sound points. The stance and general policy profile of the current AngloBrit Tory party holds little promise for Wales. However people of a mildly conservative inclination are part of our social mix and they crop up at all levels of society top to bottom, west to east, north to south. Many hold deeply socialist convictions about matters like health and education, while appearing conservatively “tough” on crime and disorder. To dismiss these as right wingers, fascists or Nazis, bigots or xenophobes is lazy exclusion of a host of people whose only offence is to fail to subscribe to… Read more »
Exactly, it’s genuine liberal bigotry held by what I would guess is a small but noisy minority within the movement who seem to feed off the division that this creates. Most Welsh people and those that want Welsh independence are far more rational and even keeled than that. The terms left wingers and right wingers are largely obsolete now and probably always have been. If there is any friction it is mostly between rational people who believe in free speech and free thought – and those that don’t , even though they may not realise it
Oh, it’s a conspiracy theory! What a load of tosh. Those who decry the left-right political axis are very often those who could be described as proto-fascist, and sometimes there is a crypto element, not that anyone is trying to hide it, except, perhaps, from themselves. Anti-conservatism and Anti-Toryism tiring? Maybe sometimes, but now, I would suggest that these qualities are essential to anyone who regards themselves as a decent human being. Especially now that it is known that Tommy Robinson has joined the Tory Party, thus confirming the Tory’s proto-fascist tendencies. Oh, and by the way, your notion that… Read more »
@Sibrydionmawr You’ve sadly proven my point about liberal bigotry. All you’re showing in your comment is the usual reactionary, fallacious ad hominem name calling – people encouraging more open debate to include all voices and avoid silly polarisation are somehow proto fascist in your fantasy world? Perhaps it is this kind of reactionary, intolerant rhetoric shown by yourself that is showing signs of proto fascism? Anti toryism is tiring because shouting tory scum etc at tories is hardly edgy, radical or likely to make any difference. Most people know that whichever party is in power in Westminster is likely to… Read more »
You fail to add at the end that the outcome, far from a happy one, will be further erosion of rights and material well being to the point where “ordinary ” people will be de facto slaves. There is already a massive shift in wealth and that is likely to continue as governments in tandem with large corporates suck out money from ordinary citizens/consumers and concentrate it in fewer hands. Thus far the so-called middle class don’t realise that they, just like the lower class, are targets already zeroed in and probably losing out in real terms but anesthetised by… Read more »
Very much agree Huw, people really need to look up from their smart phones and wake up
Jesus wept! This has already happened, and was always largely true of capitalist economies anyway – ever heard of wage slavery? It’s a thing, and more and more people are being dragged into it. They are a new class called the precariat, and consist of both low paid low skilled workers and also highly educated low paid too, such as McDonalds workers and many working in academia as university lecturers. These workers do realise what is happening, as do many others, such as university cleaners in London. Earlier today Royal Parks staff have just won a campaign to be paid… Read more »
Okay, let’s start at the beginning shall we? You call out ‘liberal bigotry’ seemingly without realising that that is an oxymoron. And it couldn’t possibly relate to me anyway, I’m not a liberal, never have been, never will be. Oh, I wasn’t aware that I’d actually done any name calling ! Against whom? Pray tell! Secondly, you are not encouraging open debate but rather seeking to enforce your opinion that somehow it’s all a global conspiracy, and you brook no disagreement. It’s a wonder you didn’t mention the Iluminati. And whilst it’s true that globalism is a form of internationalism,… Read more »
@sibrydionmawr Lots more lazy assumptions and ignorance of history here sadly. A few basic points in reply: “We might use the word international combined with another word, e.g. capital, which could stand in for globalism, but internationalism is most often associated with socialists or other progressive forces. ” – I would encourage you to learn your history in order to realise how the forces behind both international socialism and international capital are the same i.e. globalist financiers – a dialectic if you will. “I wasn’t criticising small c conservatism, how could I have been, as you didn’t mention that in… Read more »
Problem is sibrydion, majority of Welsh people are conservative with a small c and if PC and others keep ignoring this fact, they are deigned to Groundhog day. 100 yrs on and Plaid is now stuck in a rut because they are blinkered and beholden to the Anglocentric metropolitan groupthink.
I’d say this is both the wrong diagnosis and the wrong prescription. Yes, it would be good if more of the Left embraced the independence movement, for sure. But if that’s all that happened, the association that already exists in many people’s minds between “the independence movement” and “the Left” would just be reinforced, and they’d be repelled from both. Far better, as Simon Brooks has been arguing eloquently over on Twitter today, would be for the independence movement to get out of its ghetto and embrace the centre-Right. A good start would be to recognise that there is such… Read more »
Pragmatism above all is what Wales needs. We are faced by perplexing complexity and tough choices. Rational choices need to be made in a timely manner. We cannot afford endless procrastination and plodding administrations. The very real challenges that face Wales will not be solved by throwing money at problems, devotion to retro ideologies or a teflon coated leader, or by populist rhetoric or politicians parading their values or sharing with us their fears and fantasies and half-baked ideas.
Blimey, only two for you? I prefer Gwlad, but I would vote Plaid as people know them, Adam looks cool, the TV screen likes him, etc. If Plaid welcomed ALL back into the fold their star would shine bright. They must become Pragmatic, and so must we. I’ll give you a third, Walter.
There’s some fallacious assumptions made here. The author seems to believe that a Boris Johnson administration will be a form of rightish tyranny, and that Wales’s only option is now to go in the polar opposite direction on the left. It reinforces some memes i’ve seen trending today that Wales has to respond to Johnson’s win by chasing the moral high ground, i.e that only full-blown Welsh socialism can really be the proper repudiation of the new Prime Minister. I’ve no time for Johnson at all, but there’s really precious little evidence that he is an intolerant right winger. Indeed,… Read more »
That’s an extremely powerful point in that last-but-one paragraph. The only valid reason for wanting Welsh independence is because Wales is a nation. Not an ethno-linguistic monolith within the larger United Kingdom, nor a geographical area in which one particular ideology holds sway, but a proper nation, exactly like any other nation except for its lack of independence to date. Anyone who says they want independence for any other reason – for example, because see it as a way to impose their particular pet political system on Wales more easily than they could on the United Kingdom as a whole… Read more »
Yes that last but one paragraph says it all. Imagine you’re speaking to a group of people and there’s a Welsh Boris type, a Welsh Jeremy type and even a Welsh Nigel type (I imagine it’s possible). Boris may say he’d want an Indy Wales to be a Boris type country. Jeremy would say I want it to be a Jeremy type and Nigel would say a Nigel type. It doesn’t matter. The only question to the three of them is do you want Wales to be an Independent country. If they say yes they’re okay by me. And when… Read more »
If you’ve previously always been on the Brit Left and are only now considering Welsh independence (begrudgingly) because you’re dismayed at the prospect of ‘decades of Conservative rule’ and want to use Wales only as a laboratory for more experiments in ‘woke’ socialism, then you’d be backing independence for entirely the wrong reason.
What’s the point of independence if it doesn’t look to address inequality and unfairness _ to make this a better country for all who live within her borders? A smaller version of the UK holds no interest to me. To be alongside right wingers like Gwlad fighting the same ideological battles against them as we would the Tories in Westminster would be a waste of energy and time. I’m getting more Indy curious by the month but some of this text depresses me
Gwlad, at least, are all for addressing inequality and unfairness, and making this a better country for all who live within her borders is front and centre in both our Constitution and Manifesto.
The most you can say is that we hold a different opinion from most people in Plaid Cymru as to how these aims can realistically be achieved. We believe in freedom because, as it says on our homepage, “No force has ever proved so effective at sweeping away tyranny and poverty, and allowing people to live to their full potential.”
Gwlad website extremely slow in loading – many are going to give up waiting and not read what you are now saying.
You’re right Sibrydionmawr, it is today; I just checked. It was fine last night when I posted up two more blog posts that had been on the old Ein Gwlad site. Thank you for pointing this out.
I’ll check it again in the morning and if it’s still slow then I’ll bring it to the attention of our webmaster.
One of the ones I re-posted last night was the “You don’t have to be white to be Welsh” post, originally written on 7th June: https://gwlad.org/en/2019/06/07/english-on-being-kicked-out/. The other one is referenced from within it.
I’m currently reappraising my previous opinion about Gwlad now that the party is apparently through its recent difficulties. I’m unlikely to be a covert, but I do detect a considerable shift towards moderation now that the party is through its ‘difficult’ period.
I was genuinely concerned about some of the prior leading lights of the party, who had some beliefs and viewpoints that were extremely questionable and who promoted certain purveyors of fake news and conspiracy theories..
You obviously have zero understanding of the context and concepts being discussed. Everyone with a different opinion to you is of course a fascist Nazi ‘evil right winger’. Do you have pink hair by any chance!?
I don’t understand comments like this. Wales wouldn’t become a smaller version of the UK if Welsh people decided they didn’t want it to be.
That’s the whole point of us having the choice as an Independent country.
1 Centre Left: In the original article I think you have made a fundamental mistake in terming Labour as centre-Left. They are not centre-left, they are left-wing (no centre) and under Corbyn they were far-left. 2 Conservatives: for Conservatives today Friday 13th of December was a truly beautiful day 3 Drakeford: was only supposed to be an interim caretaker leader, he is a very weak and ineffectual leader. 4 Senedd: this institution does not offer the kind of leadership necessary to run an Independent country. 5 Nationalism: Nationalism is the way forwards 6 Welsh Labour: haven’t done much for Wales… Read more »
As usual a completely deluded diatribe that is so laughably out of touch. I don’t suppose for a moment that you realise that you’ve just spouted, regurgitated more or less word for word the moronic words of the kind of cretin that has just voted the Tories in for (at least) another five years of their war of attrition against the poor and the weak. The notion that Corbyn is ‘far-left’ is a joke. If you cast off your blinkers and got your head out from your arse you’d see that all of Corbyn’s manifesto plans were in fact very… Read more »
I agree with you on this Arwyn, but I’d add that any party who wants to be successful needs to realise that the old top down, command structures and hierarchies needs to go, and that campaigning needs to be very much at the local, hyperlocal level even, (community council) to build that movement. Let’s not forget that anyone attempting to do this would in fact be building the new Wales in the shell of the old, to paraphase the anarchists – from whom an awful lot can be learned, though perhaps it would be wise to reject the fractionalisms of… Read more »
I think Plaid, needs to realise that if it is to form governments in the future that it needs to perhaps put constitutional reform on the back burner. In the areas where they need to break through, i..e the South East of Wales, there are far too many potential voters more concerned with how they’re going to put the next meal on the table than they are with constitutional reform. . In far too many ways Plaid is still beholden to the ‘vote us in and we’ll change things’ schtick that all the other parties use. If Plaid really wants… Read more »
I don’t disagree with you there Arwyn, but the person I mentioned who is worrying about how they’re going to put the next meal on the table isn’t going to give a damn about UK state governance.
Find a reliable way to ensure that they don’t have to worry about putting food on the table or keeping a roof over their heads and things like constitutional change may begin to feature in their thoughts.
But first, let’s help them take over the community council!
To call Corbyn ‘far left’ goes to show how depressingly far to the right the country has lurched since 1979. The Labour manifesto was centre left, proposing the kind of socialist policies that have been widespread in Europe and Scandinavia for 70 years. Wales would do well to look at Scandinavian countries as an example of what happy, prosperous places small countries can be.
It’s important to remember that this election was only really about Brexit. Boris gambled that the people of the UK (including some who voted Remain in 2016) just want to get it over with; and he won. The other factor, as the world and his wife (including Johnson) could see, was the profound unelectability of Corbyn. The result was inevitable; so, for the same two reasons, were the Tory gains in Cymru. We’ll have five years of continued austerity to the backdrop of ever-greater attempts at integration, disempowerment, and assaults on our culture, in all probability, but the next general… Read more »
I think you’re wrong there. I don’t think that they realised that Corbyn was unelectable at all. In reality they took him so deadly seriously simply because they thought him eminently electable, and he had them really scared. Otherwise why go to the extreme lengths and huge expense of undermining and discrediting someone who was unelectable.
In the end, Corbyn was unelectable simply because the Tories and vested interests made him unelectable.
What you said demonstrates that Corbyn was unelectable (i.e. no-one would elect him because they were afraid of what he would do if they did).
Unfounded fears based on a relentless and expensive campaign to discredit him. The application of a little logical thought would have disabused many from giving credence to the peddled lies.
Repeating a lie many times creates its own truth, as Goebbels discovered and subsequently every ad agency on the planet.
Och a gwae! The main thing now is maintaining the direction of travel, ie the Senedd needs to claim all of its legitimate devolved powers. Its also time to implement the boundary commission changes to Westminster elections for the 2024 general election. With the proviso that Anglesey remains a single island seat ie 30 welsh seats not 29. Without that change its unlikey the Senedd politics will ever take priority over Westminster and Yes Minister politics. At the same time we need to implement the increased number of Aelodau Seneddol/ Members of the Senedd MSs as proposed, approved and warranted… Read more »
In regards the Labour Party in Wales- Q: is change possible from Unionist remain and reformers to support for the dissolution of the UK? Could they follow the path of Maltese Labour Party leader Dom Mintoff who campaigned for a UK of GB, NI and Malta in the 1950’s, then became an arch supporter of independence? I think- NO! (post election blues, maybe). Labour’s managerial admin, with support guaranteed from PC or LD when necessary, works great for them. The only thing that might force a rethink, is if Conservative support continues and Labour loses power in Cardiff Bay.
Changing the status quo, yet alone Wales gaining independence is not coming until fundamental obstacles in the British state are overcome. This election made that plain.
TBQH I am so frustrated with Plaid Cymru. Hordes of Welsh people have been urging them to embrace Brexit instead of climbing into bed with the foreign LibDem Party. Had PC been a Brexit Party instead of Blue most of Wales would have been green. PC lost an opportunity which will probably never come again. It is very very sad when a supposed Welsh Party goes against its own people with a foreign Party.
Yes, it isn’t clear to me why Plaid are so keen to get into bed with the EU. What support did the EU offer when Scotland and Catalonia wanted independence? And when Ireland and Greece tried (and failed) to resist strict austerity measures imposed on them by the EU a few years ago?
Maybe because they care about the greater good of their country? If Wales as an independent country would want to be as prosperous as possible, it would have to be within the EU*. Plaid knows that. I actually respect them because of their honesty. You’re right on one point: would they have adopted a pro-Brexit position, they might have won plenty of seats (especially in the Valleys) in this election. But then what? Keep lying as Johnson does in England? Riding the populist wave without giving a damn about the future? It’s no good way to move forward and it’s… Read more »
“If Wales as an independent country would want to be as prosperous as possible, it would have to be within the EU.” You may be right, but this is a statement that needs to be questioned and examined, critically and as objectively as possible. “Regarding Ireland and Greece, both could have left the EU if they wished. They didn’t. Simply because they too knew where their interests were.” Some might interpret the latter statement as all too typical of an abusive relationship. I recognise the allure and economic benefits of its membership, but like the present British government, the EU… Read more »
The extent of the Tory victory was unexpected to most of us, and we can only hope that the hot-heads amongst them pause and reflect, before rushing towards a “No Deal” Brexit, which would be damaging for Wales, and against the wishes of the majority in Scotland and also Northern Ireland, where, for the first time in 100 years, most of the MPs are in favour reunification with the Irish Republic. I was listening to a discussion on “Galwad Cynnar” this morning about the possible complications of a “No Deal” Brexit for an institution of international standing such as IBERS,… Read more »
Oh yes, if we can, but you’re making the assumption that this is a normal Tory party that is at least amenable to reasoned arguments. It’s not, and it’s so right of centre that it’s now practically far right. The Tory party has basically morphed into the Brexit Party. And whilst it is to be hoped that the new crop of Tory MPs might contain within their midst some with a shred of empathy and compassion, I wouldn’t hold your breath. Three have already been exposed as being rather poor examples of humanity; one claiming to be a nurse when… Read more »
We are where we are, so we start again from here. Boris is starting to say a few of the right things, but when he talks about “One Nation”, this in practice marginalizes the Nations of Wales and Scotland as he promotes a concocted “British Imperial” model almost exclusively derived from Anglo-Norman traditions, which jars this side of Offa’s dyke as it does to the North of Hadrian’s wall. Brexit is now going ahead, and we must adapt as best we can. Where Boris’s policies are in the interests of Wales we should make the most of the opportunities, and… Read more »
Which you can almost guarantee won’t be the case with Johnson. He’s already coming in for a lot of criticism. He ain’t gonna deliver. Quite simply the evidence has been there all along, Grenfell and the aftermath, and also promises to build 200,000 starter homes, a promise not fulfilled.
They ain’t going to change their spots.
Conservative? Al Johnson’s pledges look strangely Blairian. 650 000 000 to NHS………weekly! Continuation of crappy state schools, a windmill society by 2050. It is not Conservative, but weird populist spaghetti. English Nationalism. Good luck to them. It’s their country. It is the end of the British Empire. Ireland united and Scotland independent. Johnson talks of the ” incredible united kingdom”, and that’s exactly what it is. So, England is the new UK ! Which leaves us with Cymru; Aapply for Jersey type status? Out of the EU, means no free movement. Restrict immigration. Within EU, restrict immigration. From outside the… Read more »
Never mind the left-right issues. Wales will have to fight tooth and nail to hang on to what powers are already devolved.
I doubt many are convinced by the arguments for full independence …. yet. But we are deluding ourselves if we think Boris means anything other than England when he talks about a “one nation tory party”.
East wales will decide on what direction wales goes in and that will always be the same direction as post industrial England because they have more in common with the English working classes than the cymry.
As a former shop steward, with a brother also an ex shop steward, I can assure you that the relationship between the Welsh and English workers is, at best, wary. They will take action
together if an international company tries to cheat them. That’s about it.
Well that shows solidarity, which doesn’t require that you like anyone, just that you share similar concerns and causes. This kind of thing should be encouraged, and anyway, wariness is a good quality, so long as it’s not take too far.
It goes without saying that the Welsh and English working classes have broadly similar needs and aspirations, Bev. But the next five years may well impact upon East Wales very differently than upon post-industrial England. No-one’s in a position to predict the mindset of the Welsh working class a decade down the line. I detect an element of wishful thinking in your assertion; let’s wait and see. A lot’s going to depend on what comes out of Westminster and Cardiff Bay.
‘The question for Wales’s left, therefore, is whether they are happy to be ruled by an unrepresentative government out of loyalty to the union or if they would rather Wales have the powers to run itself as a centre-left country.’ I wonder just what might be the practicalities of that? When, as an English ‘blow-in, I lived in the south of Wales in my younger days, I was for much of the time so far west – in Ceredigion and later in Swansea – that the ambiguities of the borderlands weren’t obvious: in the 1960s Ceredigion was overwhelmingly Welsh both… Read more »
Hereford and Shropshire are pretty sparsly populated, and Gloucester isn’t exactly teeming, but I do agree with you, the border region of the North East is somewhat nebulous and ‘porus’. I believe that the border actually passes through the Chester FC ground, so games are played across the border! As regards that kind of border, and managing it, perhaps a lot could be learned from Basel in Switzerland which has to manage a three-way border with both Germany and France. Like the border region of North East Wales, Basel is economically dynamic. Since the time you were in Chepstow I… Read more »
There was an article on this topic on the old Ein Gwlad website, which I’ll re-post on the new gwlad.org site before long. This is a key topic for me, living as I do on the Shropshire side of the border and crossing it at least a dozen times a week. International borders going through built-up areas aren’t by any means unheard-of; the best example (featured in the article mentioned above) is probably the border between Detroit, Michigan (in the US) and Windsor, Ontario (in Canada) which slices straight through a metropolitan area of 1.5 million people. with a huge… Read more »
Here’s the link to the article, which I’ve just restored: https://gwlad.org/en/2019/01/03/t/