Sep 192017
 

TWENTY YEARS ON

We are currently celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the referendum that gave us devolution. Ron Davies described it at the time as “a process not an event”, but little if any progress has been made.

In yesterday’s Llais y Sais Ron Davies was allowed to explain why he thinks devolution has failed to deliver, why it has not improved the lives of Welsh people. This seems to have been a print version of what he said the day before on radio (06:00) and television (15:26).

Llais y Sais allowed Carwyn Jones to respond, and his response was pathetic; hiding behind the shade of Rhodri Morgan and talking of increased powers rather than addressing the point raised by Ron Davies, which was that Wales is worse off today – in terms of wealth, health, education and other indices – than she was 20 years ago ergo devolution has failed to deliver. Few outside the Bay Bubble would disagree with Ron Davies.

But lurking in the shadows I perceive another threat, an existential threat to the continuing existence of Wales. A threat made easier to carry out because devolution has failed and because so many people in certain parts of Wales feel that devolution has delivered nothing for their area.

FERRY ‘CROSS THE MERSEY . . . AND MOVING TO BANGOR

Unlike Ireland and Scotland Wales does not have geography or topography on her side, we have a long border with England  and all but one of England’s major population centres are within two hours travelling time of Wales.

This plan for a ‘North Wales Metro’ rather gives the game away (click to enlarge)

Which made it relatively easy for Roman, Norman and English invaders to detach the more fertile, lowland areas from our control, largely confining our ancestors to the uplands. That Welsh nationhood survived was largely due to the fact that Wales had little else invaders coveted.

This helped preserve Welsh identity until the arrival of industrialisation, which impacted on areas that were overwhelmingly Welsh in character, and while the new-found prosperity naturally attracted immigrants these were largely assimilated. But time, an English education system, the resultant decline of the Welsh language, colonisation, tourism, lack of national leadership and other factors have taken their toll, to the point where plans are now being drawn up to finally do away with Wales altogether by dismembering our country.

Of course, these plans will never be called by their true name, they will always be presented as being ‘beneficial to Wales’.

Let’s start in the north east. The decline started with the arrival of the railways, and with them mass tourism. The Rhyl station of the Chester & Holyhead Railway Co opened on 1 May 1848. In the more industrial areas closer to the border Anglicisation took a different form with the importation of English workers and the banning of the Welsh language. Perhaps the most notorious example were the events that provoked the Mold Riots of 1869.

Despite it all, the north east remained Welsh, but it was inevitable that the factors I’ve mentioned eventually took their toll. The Flintshire of Daniel Owen, David Lloyd and Emlyn Williams is gone, replaced by what can often be mistaken for semi-rural suburbs of Merseyside.

Rhyl, the once-bustling holiday resort, is now a dumping ground for English criminals, with the town’s streets haunted by drug-addicts and their dealers. (The only plus would appear to be that the gangsters are killing each other quite regularly.) The same fate has befallen smaller communities on the north coast. And as this chaos wreaks havoc on Welsh communities Welsh politicians have done nothing.

So we arrive at the point where someone asks, ‘Oh dear, what can we do to ‘revitalise’ this region? I know! we’ll have closer cross-border co-operation.’ This was certainly the recommendation of the ‘Welsh’ Government’s City Regions Task and Finish Group’s Final Report, the group chaired by Elizabeth Haywood.

Who is Elizabeth Haywood? You don’t remember voting for this woman who wants to dismember Wales? Of course you never voted for her, nobody did; she’s Mrs Peter Hain, or Lady Hain, I suppose, since the Orange Man was ennobled. (You really should get all silly ideas about democracy and accountability out of your head, they’ll only confuse you in one-party Wales.)

The Mersey Dee Alliance to which Lady Hain refers is a body that has been in existence for some time, though it seems to have a strange idea of Welsh geography, or to go by this map that appeared on the MDA website it doesn’t accept the existence of Wales at all.

The prospect of our north east (or the whole north) being swallowed up by north west England would be bad enough, but as I explained last month in Gwynedd LDP, and Wider Considerations, the threat is not restricted to the old unitary authority of Clwyd.

Nor is this encroachment, this gradual takeover, confined to the north. If anyone was in any doubt about that, then statements made over the past few days should have made the threat very clear.

ENGLAND’S LITTLE MOUTHPIECE

One of the great conundrums of Welsh politics concerns the role of Secretary of State for Wales, and boils down to the question: ‘Is the Secretary of State for Wales the voice of Wales in the cabinet or the voice of the cabinet in Wales?’

Different Secretaries of State have provided different answers, but the current incumbent of that post, Alun Cairns MP, is most definitely – and perhaps more emphatically than any predecessor – the voice of the cabinet in Wales. Little more than a mouthpiece, but because he is a mouthpiece, we can more easily tell the plans of those who put the words into his mouth.

The thinking in London towards Wales now seems to come in two parts – gradually undo devolution and then dismember Wales.

On the first element of that dual-thrust approach I call to the witness stand Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales. The heading gives a clue to the content in “Brexit: Carwyn Jones objects to ‘hijack of devolved powers'”,  or “Ministers in London are trying to get the power to rewrite laws made in Wales – Carwyn Jones”, and a host of similar articles to be found on the internet.

Just about everyone outside of the Conservative and Unionist Party believes that Brexit will provide the excuse for Westminster to a) withhold powers repatriated from the EU, and b) ‘retrieve’ powers already devolved. While those inside the party know it but won’t openly admit it.

Even so, the clues come thick and fast. Alun Cairns was given a lot of space in Llais y Sais – with David Williamson serving as his amanuensis – to promote the idea of Cardiff detaching itself from Wales and linking up with Bristol in a Severnside region. (For some reason I can’t find the piece on the WalesOnline site.)

To ram home the message Llais y Sais chipped in with an editorial, one that went beyond Bristol to “the string of cities along the M4” which of course take us to London.

click to enlarge

I was so vexed by what I read, and incensed by the lies spouted by Cairns, that I took the unusual step of putting out a short post on my Facebook page.

On Monday morning Cairns maintained his assault on honesty with the claim that too much power is centralised in Cardiff . . . and this, remember, is the voice of the Conservative and Unionist Party that wants to centralise even more power in London!

Some might be tempted to agree with him, until they remember there’s little real power in Cardiff because Wales lacks an effective form of devolution. Of course, most people would agree that Cardiff gets more than its fair share of investment and jobs, and it was this resentment that Cairns hoped to tap into.

But let’s take him at his word. He says he wants to devolve power to the regions, he even talks of elected mayors. So would Wil Pughe of Llanfair Caereinion, like his counterparts in London and Manchester, have power over policing? Would Wil – as he has long desired – have control over local PCSO Cerys Evans?

Having one day advocated a Severnside region Cairns pushes on with a back-of-a-fag-packet suggestion masking a deeper message – ‘Devolution isn’t working for most of Wales. In fact, devolution isn’t working at all – let’s get rid of it.’

“Give power to the regions” is something trotted our regularly by the Tories, but it displays no real concern for the regions at all, it’s just a method of doing away with devolution and undermining our sense of nationhood.

DIVIDED, DISMEMBERED, DESTROYED

What of the areas left outside the shining megalopolis of ManPool and the ‘string of cities’ from Cardiff to London?

The remainder of the northern coastal strip along the A55, or those areas not being used to house drug addicts and criminals from over the border, or serving as geriatric ghettoes, will become commuter communities, even over the bridge onto Ynys Môn, as I found out by accident.

For when trawling the internet I often turn up things I wasn’t looking for, such as the map below, produced by Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners. They know that there are three Strategic Development Areas (or Strategic Planning Areas) for Wales, the two city regions and the A55 Corridor. I found a number of other references to the A55 Corridor: here’s one, here’s another.

All the sources tell us that these three SDAs/SPAs will be brought into existence by the Planning (Wales) Act 2015, which received Royal Assent on July 6.

click to enlarge

So why, two years on, are the chattering classes only talking of the two city regions? Is the A55 Corridor a dirty secret being proceeded with by stealth? Interestingly, one feature demanded by a SDA/SPA is joint Local Development Plans, which might explain why Gwynedd and Ynys Môn were recently required to produce one.

The area between the A55 Corridor and the urban south is to become one vast recreation and retirement area for England, offering everything from granny farms and zip wires to Cheshire-sur-Mer (Abersoch), the Birmingham Riviera (Cardigan Bay), and Bear Grylls parting suckers from their money with his ‘get-muddy-and-pretend-you’re-in-the-SAS!’ bollocks.

With assorted ‘Care’ bodies, probation companies and housing associations taking in England’s decrepit, dysfunction, delinquent and downright criminal. For housing ex-cons pays well.

The Valleys are to endure yet more managed decline, the Swansea region will be offered scraps from Cardiff’s table, while Cardiff itself expands and grows fat through exploiting its capital status but simultaneously playing the English provincial city, increasingly linked to Bristol and “the string of cities along the M4”.

Cardiff being a player in Severnside will be welcomed by those Cardiff politicians, such as Russell Goodway, who have always wanted Cardiff to enjoy all the benefits of being capital of Wales while looking down their noses at everything Welsh.

Result: Wales enfeebled, fragmented and exploited as never before. There can only be one outcome.

WHO CAN WE TRUST?

It should go without saying that we cannot trust an individual, or a political party, that has allowed this situation to develop.

Wales is being assaulted from all sides, yet Carwyn Jones may be motivated by loss of prestige rather than the loss of nationhood, or maybe it’s the thought of his party losing its vast network of patronage that moves him to stand alongside Nicola Sturgeon.

The Tories of course are driving this project and they’ll be supported by Ukip. As for the Lib Dems, well, who cares? Which leaves only Plaid Cymru.

Seeing as the destruction of Wales has little to do with Donald Trump, refugees, or trans-gender toilets, and is only tangentially connected with another of Plaid’s current obsessions, Brexit, it would be unrealistic to expect any opposition from Plaid Cymru.

In addition, Plaid Cymru is unsuited for the coming fight because, being a civic nationalist party that welcomes everyone (especially those with ‘ishoos’) – and by so doing supports the colonialist system that sees Wales exporting talent and importing problems – it is psychologically incapable of standing up in a struggle in which it will have to be said, ‘No, you’re not dumping any more of your problems in our country!’

And yet, one doesn’t even need to be a nationalist, or a believer in independence, to become involved in the forthcoming struggle. All that’s needed is the belief that Wales is a nation, with a defined and accepted territory, and that both must be respected.

But our enemies are gathering, they’ve laid their plans, they’ve even told us their plans, so we must resist.

Are you up for the coming fight?

♦ end ♦

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69 Comments on "An Existential Threat to Wales"

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Paul Luckock
Guest

A “tour de force”. I hope politicians of any political party can provide a rejoinder, I doubt they can or will.

Daley Gleephart
Guest

Note what Alan Cairns is saying about the Assembly and how, in his view, the regions are neglected. I agree that Cardiff gets the lion’s share, but anyone believing that duplicitous shit, Cairns, and the rest of the Tory rabble are genuinely concerned about Wales and its people is an idiot.

Dafis
Guest

Been out of the loop for a couple of days, but good to come back to such a succinct accurate view of Mr Cairns’ stance on matters Welsh.

Between London’s creeping plans to dismember Wales by bolting bits of it on to the regimes leading English conurbations and the passivity of Welsh Labour and our drippy Plaid, guardians of Wales,we are definitely into a period of extreme danger to our nation’s future identity. Bits deemed “not worth a lot” will get handed over to “entrepreneurs” like Bare Grills to develop into leisure/recreation amenities for tired Anglos. The native Welsh won’t be able to afford such treats unless employed in the bankster/political/corporate bubble.

Big Gee
Admin

Old Ron Davies is a good sort, I’ve always had a lot of time for him. I’ve often contemplated that deep down he is more Nationalistic and less ‘Socialist’ than many in Plaid’s hierarchy. In fact there was a time when it was whispered that he was going to defect to Plaid. Maybe that would have been a positive step for us ‘Welshies’.

Devolution however is not a failure. A devolved Cymru, run by a one party system is a TOTAL disaster – that’s why our country is now, in terms of wealth, health, education and other indices – worse off than she was 20 years ago.

The problem is Welsh Labour and not devolution per sey

On the question of ‘regionalisation’ has no one wondered why we have such a strong east – west road and rail infrastructure connecting us with England? On the other hand, why is the north – south connection ignored, simple, it’s designed to divide our country, whilst strengthening our connection with Gwlad Y Sais. It is a planned strategy to allow the flow of demographic colonial flooding. As for those ludicrously labelled “corridors”, that’s exactly what they are easy access corridors into our country by the colonisers, whilst limiting the flow of our own country’s population. Simple innit?

As for the ‘Wasting Mule’ – surprised? I’m not in the least. I’m just surprised that it’s comment was toned down from what they actually mean to say. Who reads that crap anyway? I wouldn’t put it down on my dog’s kennel floor for him to shit on it – it’s that bad!

Eos Pengwern
Guest

Hits the nail on the head. Devolution has not failed. Labour has. And Plaid Cymru has for letting them get away with it.

Big Gee
Admin

Thank you Eos. In fact it peeves me greatly that most ignoramuses – fuelled by a biased and shit stirring media, put the whole idea forward as a Nationalist ‘thing’. So, we we had a load of voters thinking that if they opposed it they didn’t need to vote in the Assembly elections “dugh”, and if they supported devolution they should only vote Plaidcomment image

So for the first election we saw lots of Plaid members get in from places like the south Wales valleys! Plaid stupidly thought they’d turned the corner.

Labour got in and made a total pig’s ear of things for the next twenty years. So the same ignoramuses blamed the nationalists and the devolution bill itself and have started baying for Y Senedd to be demolished! Not being bright enough to realise that devolution is NOT to blame but LABOUR is. Pathetic isn’t it?

Trailorboy
Guest

Funny this one. I’ve been commenting on a Guradian thread as “wiliwonka” on an article by Huw Edwards: Comments such as these crop up:

SwanseaPeacefulguy 9h ago

In reality, the idea that Wales is a country of closely related communities bound by a common culture is a myth. I was born and raised in Swansea and feel a far greater affinity with Bristol than I do with, say, Rhyl. In fact, I would go as far as to say that while many people in Swansea and Cardiff could easily negotiate the streets of Clifton and the Broadmead and may have friends across the Seven Bridge, they would struggle to locate Bangor or Wrexham on a map.

I would suggest that people in north Wales would likewise feel a greater affinity with neighbouring English cities, such as Liverpool or Manchester, than they do with Swansea or Cardiff. The culture of the former coal-mining Welsh Valleys is again totally different from Welsh speaking rural Wales and the relatively cosmopolitan cities of the south Wales coast.

While there are definitely factors that identify Wales as being a distinct country, separate from England, they are not as strong as the nationalists might like us to believe, and I would contend that outside of sport (where there is a passionate and very vocal support of any Welsh national team) there is little to bind the regions.

CambroUiDunlainge
Member

Guardian is a useless rag. I used to spend a fair bit of time reading it… then i realised I had very little in common with many of those who commented there and the articles they posted. I then stopped going there. Their kind of Liberalism does not accommodate Welsh identity. There is also similarities between Guardian ideals and many prominent features of Plaid Cymru’s ideals these days… explains why Welsh identity seems to have disappeared from the main menu doesn’t it?

Trailorboy
Guest

Totally agree, but Huw wrote a nice piece yesterday that grabbed my eye. You can’t just ignore them, when lots of people are reading them and getting their ideas from them. I think Plaid has just shot themselves in the foot again – suspending Neil McEvoy yet again – how much of that is he going to put up with?.

Anon
Guest

No doubt Bethan Jenkins has got the daggers out (behind closed doors)yet again for her ex partner Neil 🙁

CambroUiDunlainge
Member

If there were that many people reading it, they’d not be begging for money – nor turning out so much clickbait.

As for the McEvoy fiasco… when the leadership was mentioned a few months ago Bethan Jenkins immediately implied McEvoy. When this issue started she rather publicly challenged him on Facebook. I found that amateur for starters and there’s clearly dirty laundry being aired which reflects back on Plaid and Welsh nationalism. Suspension seems a bit much for disagreeing on something like RTB… personally I think neither option is perfect its just personal preference. However for it to get so serious as that… i see the suspension being more controversial than the reason for being suspended in the first place.

Honestly I think Plaid set me off early this week. It was Owain Glyndwr day on Saturday. The leader of Plaid Cymru managed one re-post on Facebook of Adam Price about the flag being flown over the Senedd. A Welsh national hero who managed to unite Wales and formed a Welsh parliament. Surely the leader of Plaid Cymru could have made more of an effort?

Respect to Adam Price on it though.

Daley Gleephart
Guest

It’s advertising, not sales of copies, that provides the printed media with a sustainable income. The Guardian is a liberal (note small ‘l’) that continues to keep news and opinion separate and that’s something its rivals cannot claim without lying.
The Guardian posts comments from readers without them going through a vetting process. Many newspapers will only publish comments that meet with the approval of the editors. Consequently, you’ll get all sorts posting btl comments such as the one Trailorboy quotes from the Huw Edwards opinion piece. On the same thread as used by SwanseaPeacefulguy, someone accuses Huw E of bias and praises Andrew Neil for impartiality – Iesu Mawr !

Anon
Guest

Always use quotation marks, please 😉

Anyway, the comment itself from ‘SwanseaPeacefulguy’ is absolute nonsense but a typical tactic of the english nationalists, “I was born and raised” followed by anti-Welsh racist diatribe etc

Trailorboy
Guest

No I think there is more here – admittedly I’ve been baiting a bit to get comments, but the responses are too well developed in my mind, to be random trolls.

They will close down the comments on that article soon – worth a look.

Carrie
Guest

The Mersey Dee Alliance with their West Cheshire sub region land grabbing b******s need to go. It costs the north east authorities tens of thousands to be part of the MDA, fuming looking at that map but their plans go back to at least 2006, probably further. We tried in Wrexham over a decade ago now to shine a light on all this.

Nigel Stapley
Guest

And the luvvie-lickers, crook-coddlers and hippie-huggers in what passes for the ‘leadership’ of Ddy Parti Of Wêls have just suspended one of the few worthwhile politicians they have yet again!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-41320685

Wynne
Guest

The short answer to your question Jac. Yes, we are up for the coming fight. Where you lead we will follow.

Dafis
Guest

Just re-reading the original posting and found – “……the destruction of Wales has little to do with Donald Trump, refugees, or trans-gender toilets, and is only tangentially connected with another of Plaid’s current obsessions, Brexit, it would be unrealistic to expect any opposition from Plaid Cymru.”

Excellent summing up of the Party suffering the most self inflicted impotence in history.No appetite for real confrontational politics, loves a cuddle with peripheral causes.

Dafis
Guest

When and where is the next Plaid annual conference ? You know that thing where one or two serious issues are touched upon before everyone hops onto the current flavour of the month, probably the debate about colour schemes for transgender toilets at football stadiums being insufficiently inclusive.

Now that might be a good time for a number of entryists ( is that a Kinnockian, Blairite or Corbynite term ?) to turn up and start giving the lentil munching, millimetre-deep thinkers a hard time. Just pick the lazy bastards up on 5 or 6 key points relevant to the making /revival of a nation. Adam Price,Neil McEvoy & young Ben Lake might have some ideas, not all to my liking, but at least they have ideas. Then I start scratching to find anyone with that blend of intellectual depth and hitting power to drive arguments assertively right through to conclusion a few years down the track. This band of dippy souls like to embrace common causes that come pre-resolved so that political confrontation is avoided or becomes a matter of grandstanding pretence.

So out with the fuckin’ lot of them and in with a new leadership team. Let all the prancing pretenders waltz off to Carwyn’s mob where they won’t last long with the class of gorilla that’s beating around in that jungle. Maybe they’ll be happiest in Vince’s yellow LibDem cart where not many will trouble them and they can embrace whatever daft causes that takes their fancy.

One Wales
Guest

This ‘final solution’ of splitting Wales between Merseyside and Severnside seems to be the motivation behind every single thing Alun Cairns says at the moment. Here he is again endorsing the idea of a new ferry between South Wales and Devon which, according to this story, he states will ‘bind the two regions’ together:

Dafis
Guest

Plaid’s annual smug fest is scheduled for 20th Oct at Galeri Caernarfon, with a big Dinner at Seiont Manor, Llanrug for those who desparately need to schmooze with Plaid’s “big names”. All for 40.00 plus grub thrown in. So the schmoozing can’t be worth much. Sounds more like a chance to do some cozy mutual admiration rather than influencing and introducing worthy ideas.

Nice opportunity for discussing with Leanne and Co the value of her recent trip to a Basque education conference, no doubt telling them how to fuck up an education system within no time at all. Plaid’s input to the decline of standards in Wales is summed up in their unwillingness/inability to hold Labour to account for their systematic erosion of standards. Was that also part of a plot to produce a higher percentage of low achievers tailor made for those service industries they are so fond of attracting ?

Brychan
Guest

I see that while the BBC has a news blackout on the events taking shape in Catalunya, they are also wiping out any mention of Welsh history in their coverage of events this weekend in Wales. We see here..

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-west-wales-41361549

The BBC reports : “Pendine became synonymous with land speed attempts since Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the record in the legendary Blue Bird in the 1920s. Welshman JG Parry-Thomas died trying to break the record at Pendine in 1927.” With a photo of ‘Blue Bird’, Cambells car.

The actual events were that on April 28th 1926 the land speed record was set by Parry-Thomas in the car ‘Babs’, at 170mph. It was at Pendine. He broke Campbells previous record of 150mph.

Parry-Thomas then held the world land speed record for a year.

Campbell did win BACK the world title at Pendine on 4th April 1927 edging up to 174mph and whilst Parry-Thomas died on 3rd March of that year attempting to re-capture the title. Campbell only held the record for a month. The record being taken by Henry Segrave at Daytona Beach in the United Sates on 29th March of that same year, setting the record at 203mph.

Here’s the photo of ‘Babs’ setting the record at Pendine which the BBC could not find.
comment image

The BBC report the death of the Welshman yet fails to report that in fact he held the world land speed record for much longer, and it was set by a Welshman in Wales. The car, “Babs”, was retrieved at restored by Owen Wyn Owen of Capel Curig and now rests as one of the great “hidden” treasure of Carmarthenshire County Council. But don’t tell the BBC.

Dafis
Guest

I see that Carwyn is in “prophet of doom” mode again sounding off that London Tories will kill off the proposed Swansea Bay Barrage. No doubt he’s probably picked up some bad odour and decided to get his retaliation in first to show just how proactive a fat guy can be. Sadly his distinct lack of real enthusiasm for the project since it first became a real proposition is evidence that, once again, he is just an opportunist tuning up his lines of empty crap in time for the Labour conference where he will no doubt get the customary hug and pat on the back that all provincial nobodies get from Corbyn. Yet another open goal for Plaid to go for but sadly most of them are on a seminar on some new emerging faddish belief which will keep them well in with pseudo believers up and down the country, but mostly OUTSIDE of Wales.

Nigel Stapley
Guest

As we know from our nation’s recent past, symbolic acts can be very powerful.

I’ve worked out that there are 50-odd roads crossing the border (counting only the ‘M’, ‘A’ and ‘B’ roads). What if large signs were made and placed at the points where those roads enter our country, saying, “THIS ISN’T ENGLAND”, just so that the corridor commuters, the good-lifers and the village-grabbers would be put on notice that we know what they are, where they are, what they’re doing to us, and that we’re at the very least watching them?

It would be a start; a small one, I grant you, but a start nonetheless, and one which could inspire others to useful action. Part of the problem we have is that nobody thinks that anyone is doing anything because the Imperial Broadcorping Castration and Trinity Mirror won’t report it.

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