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Opinion

Why aren’t you screaming?

21 Mar 2024 4 minute read
Image Sarah Morgan Jones

Ben Wildsmith

For a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, we were treated to an amateur dramatics performance of what democracy might look like in a society that still cared about it.

Rhun ap Iowerth was put forward by Plaid Cymru as an alternative First Minister. The ‘party of Wales’ duly ticked their oppositional box without, of course, threatening to tear up their agreement with Labour.

Meanwhile, Andrew RT Davies’s Tories offered their toxic support to Vaughan Gething on condition that he acquiesce to their talking points: the 20 mph limit and reversing expansion of the Senedd.

Finally, word emerged of meetings between Labour MSs who were disquieted by the patently irregular funding of Gething’s campaign. What turmoil! How fortunate we are to live in a vibrant democracy!

What tosh.

Party lines

Eventually, of course, it split perfectly on party lines. The self-interest of every single member of our legislative chamber was untouched by yesterday’s proceedings, whilst the living standards in every city, town, and village here decline.

A few days ago, I asked if anyone out there had a positive enthusiasm for Vaughan Gething as FM. None was forthcoming, despite the thousands of words written in response to the article. I have no clue what new policies he has in mind, do you?

What I do know is that months ago he was being profiled in the Guardian as the coming man in Welsh politics. His appointment has had an air of inevitability utterly at odds with his anonymity amongst the general public, and the alarm felt by people who have followed his career closely.

Projecting forwards, Wales seems to be a stalking horse for the Starmer government to come. Nobody in the UK has the remotest enthusiasm for them either but the unhinged cruelty and economic vandalism of the Conservative Party renders them unelectable.

Margaret Thatcher

Over the last couple of days, we have heard both Rachel Reeves and then David Lammy express their admiration for Margaret Thatcher.

The economic assumptions of the last 40 years have laid waste to much of Welsh civic society. Our living standards have been sacrificed on the altar of kleptomaniac economics as our values have been ridiculed and our culture denuded.

Starting with ‘Lord’ Neil Kinnock and progressing through Tony Blair’s subversion of the Labour movement, we have arrived, finally, at the point where all that is left of it is the name.

How, I beg you, can a party of labour in Wales possibly align with people in England who admire Thatcher? Were the people she deprived of a livelihood, of the dignity of work, somehow undeserving of their representation? For shame.

This is a pantomime, a shadow play that bears no relation to the lives we are pursuing as citizens. Wales and the UK requires urgent revitalisation that can only come from capital investment in infrastructure and the retraining of our people.

Austerity is a blatant confidence trick that concentrates wealth in the hands of those who already have it.

Crime

If Labour seeks to perpetuate this crime which, historically, has disadvantaged Wales more egregiously than anywhere except the North East of England, then Plaid Cymru needs to sever their agreement forthwith.

Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is explicit in its intention to involve private capital in the NHS. It has set its face against the opinion of the nation over Palestine; it is an overtly Thatcherite entity that has rejected further devolution for Wales.

Your new First Minister has been elected against the chuckles of pseudo-opposition by politicians who do not face the day-to-day struggles that are consuming everyone who visits A&E, drives on a pot-holed road, or tries to ensure an adequate education for their child.

You’ve never voted for him and nobody has mounted a serious opposition to his questionable ascent. Why aren’t you screaming?


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David C
David C
19 days ago

Thank you for expressing my despair thus. I thought I was going quietly and sadly mad watching this unfold.

We deserve better representatives and representation than we get from either Westminster or the Senedd.

Annibendod
Annibendod
19 days ago
Reply to  David C

I agree with you and so much of what Ben says but at the end of the day it is actually up to us, the public, to change things. We happily abrogate our political responsibilities. We go online and moan but most don’t vote at the Senedd electons. The vast majority have no membership of any political party. We are largely recipients of politics as opposed to participants. We act like indignant consumers at an unresponsive politics retailer as if we paid our money and got a banger. But that’s not what politics is. Politics is an emergent dynamic of… Read more »

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
19 days ago
Reply to  Annibendod

The general public sadly has to bare some responsibility. You cannot keep voting for the same party again and again even when they are not delivering. It could be said that Welsh Labour has weaponized apathy.

Mary Adams
Mary Adams
19 days ago

We’re not screaming because 25 years of incompetent Welsh Labour government has inured us to tyranny. Seeds of tyranny’, President Harry S. Truman once said, ‘spread and grow in the evil soil of poverty and strife. They reach their full growth when the hope of a people for a better life has died. This is Wales.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
19 days ago

This article fully expressed how I feel.

It’s a cosy club for those in their bubbles, in westminster and in Caerdydd, with them all friends with each other irrespective of party — their adversarial display is nothing but pantomime!

I wish they had the spirit and sentiment of Aneurin Bevan, “No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the tory party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.”

Frank
Frank
19 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

Vermin are useful. They clean up the shyte that humans leave around the place.

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
19 days ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

There was a politics show a few months back with the guests being Rhun, Rebecca Evans and RT. RT looked like he had dragged himself out of bed, no tie, shirt unbuttoned, not a very good look. The whole feel of the interview between supposed opposition leaders felt rather like a WWE work than a serious political show.

Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
19 days ago

If Rhun ap Iorwerth wanted to make a statement, he would invite the UK media to a press conference, and on camera tear up the cooperation agreement. This would fire a bit of energy into the political discourse and give people hope. However we know that will not happen. Instead will be lead this time by a deeply compromised Labour leader, propped up by their good Green and Yellow servants with democracy ever slowly slipping from our grasp.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
19 days ago

Lets be honest. We’ve failed Wales. And the sad thing is. Unfortunately Wales has got the worst of both worlds. Labour in ruling in Cardiff and the Conservatives in London. And where Labour manages Welsh poverty and limits any aspirations we have as a country , the Conservatives preference is to rule by proxy, repatriate powers , abolish devolution without a referendum , and assimilate Wales culturally & politically into a greater England. And recently we have Welsh Labour, like the English Conservatives in London, who have become so emboldened that even with the shadow of financial scandal over them… Read more »

Elaine
Elaine
19 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

I agree with every word. My fear however is that the broader media’s fascination with the ‘novelty’ of Reform will see the wider Welsh electorate turning in their direction. It may be democracy in action but I still shudder at the memory and embarrassment of 5 years of UKIP/Brexit Party.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
17 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

I agree. One of the best comments in Nation Cymru.

We must take action now. The Senedd general election is only a couple of years away.

To clean up Wales, we need a Party for Wales. Plaid Cymru is our only realistic choice.

Both Labour and the Conservatives are UK parties controlled by outside interests.
We need rid of them.
Reform UK is an English centric party – the clue is in its name. occupation continues.

We need our own law, justice and political system.
CYMRU is an EUROPEAN NATION in its own right.

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