Wales needs to realise that good behaviour will never be rewarded

Picture: National Assembly. (CC BY 2.0)


Ifan Morgan Jones

The First Minister, Carwyn Jones was scathing in his assessment of the Tory-DUP deal, calling it an “outrageous straight bung”.

But the truth is that the UK’s politics has always been transactional, and hopefully this episode will remove the scales from the eyes of the First Minister and many others.

There has been a persistent myth in Wales, going back to the Tudor period, that if the country can show sufficient loyalty to the UK government it will be rewarded.

From the humanists in Elizabeth I’s court, through to the liberal nonconformists of the 19th century, to the Labour Party of the present-day, Wales has believed it deserves special treatment because it is more loyal than the rest of the UK.

Like a scrawny dog sitting by its master’s feet, it waits and waits for a tasty morsel from the table.

The truth, however, is that the way to get special treatment in this union is to bark louder than anyone else.

When the Scottish Terrier tried to run away it was tempted back with the ‘vow’ – a veritable feast of promises.

Scotland now benefits disproportionally from the Barnett formula because the UK Government fears that changing it would inflame Scottish nationalism.

And the DUP have now extracted a cool £1bn from Theresa May as the price of keeping her in power.

Meanwhile, Wales sits passively. Carwyn Jones will bristle with moral outrage but there’s no sign of a change in political strategy that will get Wales a better deal.

That will only come when Wales has a fully functional, national movement with mass support.

The only thing the Conservatives, staunch British nationalists, have to fear from Wales is the break-up of the UK. And the only way for Wales to avoid continued neglect by the UK Government is to threaten to do just that.

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