Where is the voice for Wales?
The sky has not fallen over the north of Ireland this week. No bombs have exploded, nobody has been forced to change their language. Neither has anybody been compelled to accept the veracity of transubstantiation.
Instead, a talented female politician has assumed office with the intent of reuniting the island peacefully. The path to this extraordinary political juncture was violent, heartbreaking, and complicated.
No side in the Troubles can escape accusations of atrocities, those of us who were around at the time remember how horrifyingly routine they became.
As a kid in Birmingham, I was evacuated out of the city centre three times because of IRA bomb threats, and my school was closed twice for the same reason.
When I was a little older, singing the wrong song got me duffed up by someone incensed by the 1974 pub bombings that my mother only escaped by 10 minutes.
It was an ugly, contradictory business, and its passing is as close to a miracle as I have seen.
Cut to the bone
As our councils’ budgets are cut to the bone by a Tory government that revels in the understandable fury of people who despair at diminished services, our votes are courted via appeals to xenophobia on one side and petrified obedience on the other.
The safe, obvious Labour bloc that we deliver election after election is impoverishing us. Do you remember the billions that Theresa May bestowed upon the north of Ireland to pass her long-forgotten Brexit compromise?
People in Belfast and Derry are walking around with that money in their pockets right now because they knew how to be a problem when it counted.
Michelle O’Neill has floated ten years as a timeframe for secession from the UK. That would take us to 36 years after the Good Friday Agreement. So, it’s fair to assume that posting ‘Annibyniaeth’ under every idea advanced for our nation is unlikely to bear fruit in the short term.
If 30 years of carnage didn’t shift the UK establishment then your bumper sticker is doomed, I’m afraid.
However, the Labour party does need us. Its entire foundational schtick is founded upon the radicalism of industrial Wales.
If it wants to make a marketing claim for the Merthyr Rising, the NHS, and workers’ rights then it has to reckon with the economic devastation it has allowed in the country that birthed it and has sustained its fortunes.
Wales should be a prize for progressive UK politicians, not an accepted hinterland whose urgent needs can be kicked down the road.
Show us the money!
You can rest easy that the Tories are not winning this year: it is as certain that we are not going to be instituting an independent Wales in the next decade.
So, put your boot on the neck of Keir Starmer’s administration and demand investment in the place where you live. The billions shipped out of Wales in coal, steel, and water still exist in the investment funds of London.
Being well behaved, democratic citizens of the UK has delivered us penury. In 2024 we need to become a headache to everyone, a wild card to be fought over and bought off if necessary.
No Farageiste fantasies are going to play here, regardless of their occasional overtures.
Where is the voice for Wales, for our sincerely held values of community and social justice? I say that Labour needs to deliver them or lose us.
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