You can give Wales a voice

Picture: Rhondda by rhonddawildlifediary (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ifan Morgan Jones weighs up the options before the Westminster General Election this week…

Wales faces waking up on Friday morning to a grim future.

If the opinion polls are correct, then the Conservatives will have won a majority, albeit a smaller one than they hoped to win when the Westminster Election was called seven weeks ago.

Labour’s internal civil war will continue. Jeremy Corbyn won’t have won power, but he will have done just enough to cling on for the foreseeable future.

And it looks very likely that Plaid Cymru’s forward momentum will have stalled, after voters who would like to have lent them their vote will have given it to Labour once again to ‘keep the Tories out’.

The truth is that there is nothing Wales can do to keep the Tories out. Zip. Nil. Nada.

Our country has 40 MPs out of 650, a mere six percent of the total. And of those 40 seats, only two or three, such as Bridgend, Wrexham and Gower, are seriously up for grabs.

The only choice facing the people of Wales at this election is how much of a voice we want to give Wales at Westminster, and who can give Wales that voice.

Vote Labour?

Labour in Wales have been keen to wave the Red Dragon at this election, although that has had more to do with distinguishing themselves from Corbyn’s Labour than any renewed dedication to putting Wales first.

The likeable Carwyn Jones has been the face of this campaign for Labour. But he will have no control over the party’s MPs once they step into the House of Commons.

UK Labour’s MPs in Wales, who you would be electing again on Thursday, have demonstrated time and again that they will not put Wales’ interests first.

They won’t even support the Labour Welsh Government on matters such as devolving justice and air passenger duty.

For all their complaints about the Tories reducing policing numbers, they abstained on a vote to transfer those same powers to their own Labour colleagues in Wales.

Wales has voted Labour continuously for over 100 years. Before then we had 50 years of voting Liberal. All to keep the Tory bogeyman at bay.

It has never worked out for us. Wales has become slowly poorer and poorer, and is today the poorest European region within 1000 miles. If you started in the valleys you would have to walk to Poland to find a poorer region.

Something needs to change. This pattern needs to be broken.

Vote Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru aren’t perfect. And you could argue that five Plaid MPs rather than three would make little difference at Westminster.

But it would send a powerful message, which is that Wales is its own country, politically, with its own unique circumstances and desires which should be taken into account.

It would hand momentum to a movement within Wales that is saying ‘enough is enough. We’re poor, we lack good jobs. Our opinions are ignored by the Westminster elite. And we’re not taking this anymore’.

Once the election is over the UK Government’s thoughts will turn to negotiating Brexit. And it will be more important than ever that Wales’ voice is heard.

A bad deal for Wales will be a crushing blow for the country. A massive 67% of the country’s exports outside the UK are to the European Union.

The supine, deferential Wales of the past 150 years will be steamrolled yet again.

Voting for Plaid Cymru over a Labour candidate, especially in Ynys Môn, Rhondda or Blaenau Gwent, will not damage Labour’s chances of getting into power at Westminster.

Due to the unbalanced nature of the Westminster constituencies, Labour would need to be 8% to 12% ahead to get a majority. Not a single poll has even put them in front.

The best they can hope for is a hung parliament. And even if that does happen, Labour will be reliant on other progressive parties such as Plaid Cymru, the Greens and the SNP to secure a majority of the votes at Westminster.

Wales will awake on Friday to a grim future, and there’s nothing that we can do about that. But a few extra Plaid Cymru MPs would be the ray of light breaking through those dark clouds.

Wales needs a voice. Only you can give it to her.

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