Devolution has failed; Wales either moves forward or we get taken back

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

I am a nationalist; all my life I have wanted my country, Wales, and my people, the Welsh, to be independent of Britain/England.

I want independence now more than ever.

THE CASE FOR THE ASSEMBLY

Let me start this section by admitting that this piece was prompted by something I read in yesterday’s Wasting Mule. (See below.)

The thought of those buffoons down Cardiff docks having a self-congratulatory bash  for twenty years of devolution is insulting to every one of us outside of the tiny minority that has benefited from devolution.

The picture shows people celebrating the referendum result in September 1997. I guarantee there will be no such celebrations for the Assembly’s 20th birthday – no matter how much free booze is laid on. Click to enlarge

Even so, let us try to be positive and look on the bright side, let’s try to remember the good things that twenty years of devolution have delivered.

Well, there’s . . . um . . . and then there’s, er . . . and we mustn’t forget, uh, you know . . .

Truth is that in concrete and positive terms – beyond free prescriptions and other gimmicks – there really is nothing. For unless you’re Stan ‘the pies’ Thomas or some other ‘developer’, a third sector parasite who smelled easy money and slithered over the border, or you’re one the shysters with their snout in the grants trough, there really is nothing to celebrate about two decades of devolution.

Away from the banal and the everyday we are told by otherwise intelligent people that devolution is a wonderful thing because Wales is taken more seriously as a country because we have an Assembly. We are now in the realm of the symbolic.

Don’t get me wrong, in my younger days I was a great one for the symbolism myself. It’s why I tried to saw the head off a statue in Aberystwyth prior to the Investiture in 1969. For what could be more symbolic than beheading the statue of a soi-disant ‘Prince of Wales’ to remind our people of the beheading of a true Prince of Wales in 1282?

But symbolism can only take you so far. It don’t put food on the table. So I reject the ‘more of a country’ argument. To those who truly care, Wales has always been a country, with or without devolution.

And if symbolism is the best that defenders of devolution can come up with, then in reality there’s little to be said in favour of the Assembly, and nothing to celebrate.

THE CASE AGAINST THE ASSEMBLY

It is proven by countless surveys and studies that Wales is worse off today than she was in 1999 when the First Assembly sat. Whether it’s the economy we look at, or education, the health service, or any other field, Wales has gone backwards over the past twenty years.

That would be bad enough, but because of devolution, and the absurd symbolism attached to the Assembly, devolution has facilitated damage that would have been difficult if not impossible to inflict directly from London.

What am I taking about? Let’s consider a few examples.

I’ve mentioned the third sector, so let me explain what I mean. I’m talking now of the influx we’ve seen of third sector ‘professionals’ to set up or grow organisations that supplement or replace local and/or central government agencies. This influx has been so great that we now have a much bigger third sector pro rata than either England or Scotland.

And because the driving imperative is securing careers and salaries rather than public service devolution has created a vast superstructure of publicly funded bodies competing with each other and duplicating each other’s work. For as I was informed in the answer to a Freedom of Information request submitted to the ‘Welsh Government’ we have no less than 48 organisations combating homelessness.

click to enlarge

Each and every one of those organisations has a vested interest in NOT solving the problem of homelessness because to do so would mean a loss of funding resulting in many people losing their cushy jobs.

What applies to homelessness can be extended to every other segment of the third sector – duplication, competition, waste of public funding and a financial disincentive to achieving the espoused goal.

Why does this insane system persist? Because a bloated third sector provides benefits for ‘Welsh’ Labour:

  1. ‘Welsh’ Labour can blame the need for such extravagance on the Tories.
  2. A vast third sector needed to combat Tory callousness allows ‘Welsh’ Labour to present itself as ‘caring’.
  3. The third sector provides countless opportunities for ‘Welsh’ Labour to practice the cronyism for which it is rightly famed.
  4. ‘Welsh’ Labour uses the third sector as an auxiliary organisation to the party proper and even as a means to extend the influence of the party in areas of the country where it has little electoral support.

This third sector is a creation of devolution, and would be retained, or even expanded, if Plaid Cymru was in coalition with Labour or replaced Labour.

Now let’s consider ways in which Wales is damaged that would have been far more difficult to achieve were it not for devolution.

Not so long ago I wrote about the despoliation of Powys by wind turbines. Specifically, the Hendy site where, under pressure from her London masters, the wretched Leslie Griffiths over-ruled the planning inspector’s decision and allowed the development to proceed.

Let’s say we had no devolution, and someone in London had said; ‘Now look, you Welsh chappies, we intend desecrating some place called Llan-thingey so that some of our hedge fund chums can capitalise on the generous subsidies’. I suggest there would have been a hostile reaction.

But run it through the ‘Welsh Government’ filter, throw in a load of bollocks about saving the planet, and the only objectors can be dismissed as a bunch of ‘nimbys’.

Staying with environmental bollocks, the ‘Welsh Government’ has signed up to the One Planet scam, which in Wales means encouraging an influx of hippies to take over land and ignore planning and other regulations because it’s good for the environment, innit.

The justification given is that Wales must reduce her carbon footprint . . . so we are expected to believe that this can be achieved by encouraging people into Wales, letting them take over unused land, working that land, driving their vehicles around the countryside, and filling the air with smoke from their wood-burning stoves, their joss sticks, and whatever they’re smoking.

Let the full idiocy of that premiss sink in for a minute.

Emboldened by previous successes these well-to-do enviro-shysters are no longer satisfied with hobbit houses and pig shit, they have now set their eyes on vast swathes of our country – and again, the ‘Welsh Government’ is helping, as we see with the Summit to Sea project, the first of many.

The area claimed by Summit to Sea runs along the coast from Aberdyfi to Aberystwyth then inland, following the A44 up to Llangurig (deviating south to Cwmystwth) and then on to Llanidloes, after which it’s the minor road up to Llanbrynmair, and Glantwymyn, before heading down the Dyfi valley to Aberdyfi. The area of sea claimed begins well north of Aberdyfi near Llanfendigaid. Click to enlarge.

Again I ask you to imagine a spokesperson for the London government announce, ‘We shall clear Welsh farmers and other indigenes from the land so that thousands of acres can be taken over by Mr Monbiot and his friends for their rewilding projects’.

There would have been a national outcry . . . but get the ‘Welsh Government’ to promote this clearance and colonisation programme and it confuses the issue, and makes it much easier to push it through.

What I’m describing here is what I’ve dubbed ‘The Godfather Syndrome’. You’ll recall that in that movie the Mafia had a profitable relationship with the Batista regime. Hardly surprising seeing as US corporations controlled the economic life of Cuba and despite being nominally independent the island was almost a colony of the USA.

Something similar is happening in Wales, with the beneficiaries speaking Estuary English rather than Brooklynese. Some may think I’m going too far with this analogy but the facilitating principle is the same – weak leadership here and a colonial relationship with their home country allows such groups and individuals to benefit from our country, at our expense.

Small countries and ex-colonies being run by remote control is a global phenomenon. For example, the ‘stans’ of Central Asia are of course independent – but still take orders from the Kremlin. The former French colonies in West Africa remain under a loose form of French control and the old colonial power regularly sends in the Legion to safeguard its interests.

I’m not for one minute suggesting that George Monbiot is to be compared with Michael Corleone, Vladimir Putin or the President of France but the truth persists that well-organised lobbies and groups such as those to which Monbiot belongs have looked at Wales and said, ‘Mmm, here is a small country, with a devolved legislature and an Assembly stuffed with third-rate politicians that we can bend to our will’.

And because Monbiot and his ilk have establishment connections they are aided by the fact that so much of our national life is controlled by civil servants that ostensibly serve the ‘Welsh Government’ but in reality answer to London.

But it’s not just Monbiot and his environmentalist friends, there’a whole galaxy of interests able to take advantage of ‘The Godfather Syndrome’ in ways that would be impossible without the chimera of devolution and a ‘Welsh’ Assembly acting as a ‘screen’ for what is – as in pre-Castro Cuba – thinly-disguised colonialism.

Finally, there’s the naked corruption. Cardiff Bay is a cess-pit where politicians and civil servants can be ‘influenced’, to the extent that the ‘Welsh Government’ is unique on this island in refusing to introduce a register of lobbyists . . . at the insistence of the lobbyists!

WHERE DO WE GO NEXT?

You must understand that devolution was never supposed to work for Wales. We were offered devolution, in a package with Scotland, because there were some in the Labour Party that agreed with George Robertson, who thought that devolution would “kill the SNP stone dead”.

Obviously he was wrong about the SNP, but in Wales devolution has worked perfectly because ‘the threat of nationalism’ has been represented by Plaid Cymru. After the initial shock of the first Assembly elections in 1999 Plaid obligingly removed Dafydd Wigley and then went on to bury its head up its arse by becoming obsessed with niche issues.

This is why those who argue that devolution is a ‘stepping-stone’ to independence are wrong. As are those who believe that devolution could work if we only ‘got rid of Labour’.

What devolution has achieved – and what it was designed to achieve – is to create a class of politicians, apparatchiki, third sector operatives and others, who either rely on devolution for their pay cheques or else enjoy having status and prestige without the responsibility that would come with independence.

And for as long as it toes the London line this colonial management class will be defended and supported by its Whitehall masters, for it disguises what is not merely continuing control from London but increased control.

Which leaves Wales stuck in a situation where not only is devolution not delivering for Wales, it is actually making things worse than they would be without devolution.

Which, for me, means the choice has to be moving forward or going back. And I want to move forward, to independence. But one of the biggest, and most bizarre, obstacles is that many of those claiming to want independence rush to the defence of devolution!

Make up your bloody mind – you can’t have both!

Image Jane Barlow PA/AP/File reproduced courtesy of the Christian Science Monitor. Click to enlarge.

The UK is already tearing itself apart over Brexit and this leads to an increasing likelihood of Scottish independence and Irish reunification, and then there’s the rise of the far right in England, all of which mean there has never been a better time to push for independence.

Devolution is thoroughly discredited, so anyone defending devolution is lining up with the colonial management class and their London masters.

We must be bold and push for independence, because defending the indefensible leaves the field open for those who will capitalise on devolution’s manifest failure to take us in the opposite direction and, ultimately, assimilation.

But being asked to ‘celebrate’ twenty years of devolution takes me back to 1969 and the Investiture, when we were asked to commemorate 700 years of subjugation. Now where did I put those hacksaws . . .

♦ end ♦

 

39 thoughts on “Devolution has failed; Wales either moves forward or we get taken back

    1. Big Gee

      Spot-on Jac. It was a clever and insidious move to form an ‘Assembly’ in the form prescribed for us in Cardiff Docks. The wholehearted support at the time, and I myself was among those who rejoiced at the move to get some sort of autonomy which we (in child-like innocence) believed could be a stepping stone to eventual independence. A bad mistake. Sadly many still don’t see through the plot.

      At this juncture I would now, with hindsight, be the first to admit the naivety of my reasoning at the time. What we didn’t take into account was the cunningness of the plan. It was never designed to help us on the road to independence, but a tool to block movement in that direction in the long term, a spoiling tactic if you wish.

      Those behind the scheming have to be given full credit for their clever far sighted intelligence and raw cunning, but they’ve always been strong in that department. Devious underhandedness comes naturally to them as evidenced by their chicanery throughout their colonising history. Our tendency to be trusting and fair-minded serves us badly when we come across this cultural difference in our make-up.

      Trying to occupy the moral high ground and rejoice in our suffering on the peaks of that high ground is a particularly cruel form of masochism that we revel in – which cuts no ice with our ‘old enemy’. That is yet a lesson to be learned amongsts the ‘sons of the manse within Plaid, and lately their new look young Liberal Progressives from the Labour party) indeed it attracts nothing but derision and mirth aimed at our weakness The Germanic tribes are famous for coming up with schemes that we would never dream of. But not just us, generally the colonies have suffered in the same way, because to put it simply, few nations are as underhanded and devious as the colonising powers. they are by nature trusting, and that has been their downfall.

      My worry is that the calls for the dissolution of the Assembly from certain sources – like UKIP, could gain support from many of us, only to be a retrograde step in jumping back into the clutches of London, thanks to the job that has been done on us via an extreme unionist party, operating on our soil – Labour.

      The writing was on the wall, if only we had been astute enough to notice, when we compare what the set-up was to be for Wales compared to Scotland and even the Six Counties.

      The Assembly needs to be abolished, but not to go back to full rule by Whitehall – as UKIP desire, but abolished in favour of proper sovereign status as a fully independent country. That’s why we at Ein Gwlad have gone back to the drawing board to get it right – once and for all.

      1. The problem we face now is that devolution is discredited, so unless there is a meaningful campaign for independence the BritNats wanting to abolish the Assembly – as a precursor to assimilating Wales into England – will have an audience they don’t deserve.

        What worries me is that so many of those claiming they want independence jump to the defence of devolution when Ukip or the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party raise their voices. The line should be, ‘Yes, you’re absolutely right, devolution has failed Wales – but now we need to move forward, not backward’.

        ‘Forward’ and ‘backward’ are loaded words. Used properly, and with the London government screwing things up nicely, real progress can be made. But not by flogging the dead horse of devolution.

        1. Big Gee

          We need to do the groundwork now. With everyone’s eyes off the ball, there’s an opportunity to set ourselves up for a goal at the opposite end of the pitch.

          We need more communication and co-operation from others who are fighting for independence. In my view, Plaid are the obstacle in that regard. With their dog in the manger attitude towards us, and to a lesser extent the other indy campaign groups. They believe that they alone have a God given right to be the only ones to represent our nation politically.

          If only they weren’t so bloody hard headed, short-sighted and stubborn, and instead of messing things up, could see the sense in working with others towards a common goal (assuming that they are truly interested in that goal – I fear a lot of it is Adam Price style hot air). He’s like a bee, that flits from flower to flower, what he earnestly says he wants this month, is dropped when he spots another flower that takes his interest next month.

          We are dealing with Plaid here – the dog that can’t eat the straw in the manger, but are too jealous and possessive of the manger bed to allow the bull to get on with eating the straw. Instead they’re wasting their time with ridiculous issues like Brexit, the LGBT community, feminism and this week at their conference low level tinkering with a NHS that needs rebuilding from top to bottom. Instead they faff arond with any ridiculous ‘ishoos’ and causes they can get their hands on. Anything but get stuck into the real battle.

          Aled wrote an article on this UKIP statement a couple of days ago on our News Portal, well worth a read as it dovetails nicely into what we’re discussing here:

          https://eingwlad.wales/NewsPortal/index.php/2019/03/21/troi-ymgyrch-ukip-ar-ei-ben/

          When you get there scroll down the page for the English version.

  1. Kevin Bates

    You have just put your boot into the idea of independence.
    Devolution is part of the process.
    People will think if we cant make that work, what chance have we got if we went alone.

    Every poll that has asked the question has showed time and time again that the welsh support devolution and want more powers.

    1. What the Welsh want and what the Welsh have, historically, received are two different things.

      Devolution will not deliver independence because it is designed to thwart independence. The only positive role for devolution has been to familiarise people with us having some control over our own affairs. That has now been achieved, so we argue that devolution has been a failure – which it most certainly has – and we move on to push for independence.

      Because when Scotland becomes independent and Ireland re-unites England will make sure she can’t lose Wales by doing away with devolution and assimilating us. The only defence will be a powerful independence movement, not trying to protect devolution, which every man and his dog knows has been a total failure.

    2. CambroUiDunlainge

      Tony Blair stated the entire point of devo was to stop a push for Independence. We’ve (I say we i mean Plaid) have failed to capitalise the same way as the SNP. It’s light years behind. The want for more powers and the current running of the Senedd by Welsh Labour doesn’t make a lot of sense. It’s Wales pulling away from Westminster – not because devolution is a way forward – but because WM is failing them. In support of continued devolution and new powers for the failed Labour party we’re missing a boat to promote Indy.

  2. Max Wallis

    What about the debacle of Wylfa-B? Hardly a ‘niche’ issue. Carwyn was pro-nuclear and pro-subordination of our economy to multi-national interests. Plaid hid behind non-devolution of powers on “infrastructure of national importance”, excusing its nuclear ambivalence by letting Westminster decide for us. They can’t celebrate that the project is dead, that Wales is no longer to generate nasty nuclear waste to bequeath to future generations, in order to supply power to England. They oppose deep disposal (burial) of nuclear waste in Wales by claiming our geology is unsuitable (https://www.partyof.wales/don_t_make_wales_a_nuclear_dumping_ground_says_plaid), while Labour would agree communities could be paid to take England’s nuclear waste. Both apparently expect Wylfa’s nuclear waste, existing and planned, to go for disposal in England. Unlike the SNP in Scotland, Plaid never adopted a coherent nuclear waste policy – to take responsibility for wastes generated in each country. They never demanded devolved powers for Wales, so can’t now celebrate the collapse of Westminster’s imposition of nuclear power and that the public has been saved from paying through the nose to subsidise a most ‘unsustainable’ industry.
    Not devolution itself, but Wales’s compromised politicians hiding behind limits on devolution that have failed us.

  3. Alwyn ap Huw

    I campaigned for devolution in western Merionethshire in the 1979 referendum, including in your patch in Aberdyfi. The first canvasing returns were very positive. Going round the second and third time the reception was much worse. Given the attitudes of Neil Kinnock, Donald Anderson etc I was told quite clearly, by nationalists, that they didn’t want Welsh issues decided by bastards like them and they were going to vote No to such an anti-Welsh south Wales Labour hegemony on Welsh issues.

    On reflection, they might have been right.

    The national cause may have been ill served by the acceptance of devolution in 1997 too, because those same anti-Welsh Labour bastards have been running the show ever since. But what do we do? Say it has failed and go back to direct London rule? I can’t see that advancing the national cause. I can’t see any other way of advancing the cause other than accepting the Assembly, warts and all, and hoping against hope that things gets better.

    1. In 1979 people like Wyn Roberts were giving out two distinct anti-devolution messages. In the north: ‘Devolution will mean control by those communists down south and (to farmers) they’ll want to confiscate your land’. In the south: ‘Devolution will mean you’ll be ruled by hairy-arsed sheep-shaggers from the north making you all speak Welsh’.

      Mutually exclusive of course but in the pre-social media days, and with a friendly media, these things could be done.

      Accepting the Assembly is to accept decline and Anglicisation. We must seize the opportunities being presented by Brexit to push for independence. It’s sad to see Plaid fighting to remain in the EU, ‘People’s Vote’, etc., rather than using the shambles to argue for independence. It’s as if they can’t accept that most of us voted for Brexit.

  4. Brychan

    Scotland.
    A significant factor in the George Robertson prediction/hope that devolution would ‘kill the SNP dead’, was the surge in support for the Scottish Socialist Party, a left wing party supporting independence, led by Tommy Sheridan. It got 6 seats in the 2003 Scottish elections. Labour voters (those of working class heritage) saw through the ‘New Labour’ scam, wanted democratic representation for workers in the industrial heartlands, and switched their votes away from Labour for the first time in three generations. These areas have since been won by the SNP, bypassing Labour. The destruction of Labour was a two-staged affair.

    https://youtu.be/UE-C-HXlKJA%5Bremove to play]
    When Glasgow turned YES.

    Wales.
    In Wales, we saw Rhodri Morgan champion ‘clear red water’, an attempt to hold onto their voters in the Labour heartlands, and Plaid Cymru went off on a love-in with the English greens. Something that would never have happened if Wigley had not been ousted. Those in the valleys who genuinely saw Labour as their salvation from poverty were duped into remaining loyal to Labour, and Plaid has since failed to win in these areas, apart for Leanne Wood who made the right noises for a while but has since been seduced by skinny lattes and ethnic daps. She ain’t no Sheridan.

    Future.
    People vote Labour in Wales from desperation and no alternative. There needs to be a party which provides them with that alternative, and, other than McEvoy in Cardiff, we see Plaid retreat into ‘ishoo’ politics and in some areas (like Llanelli) actively amputating whole communities of support. I also think the temporary surge in support for Ukip was just desperation from lack of direction experienced in Wales (and England) but not, of course, in Scotland. Currently, all the Labour Party offers is soothing words and betrayal, Ukip offers the ‘fuck you’ option, and Plaid Cymru keeps disappearing into niche symposiums of ‘ishoo’ flagellation.

    Speculation.
    If McEvoy is not re-admitted to Plaid Cymru (which will change the whole dynamic in Plaid) then Llanelli must be a serious option for Ein Gwlad, given the right candidate.

    1. I went to hear Sheridan speak in the ‘Stiwt in Wrecsam, when Marek broke from Labour and tried to set up a new, radical party. Sheridan was head and shoulders above everybody else there, an impressive speaker. Marek of course was a shyster, he eventually swung the other way and became ultra Brit. Then Sheridan’s reputation (and that of his party) was damaged by tabloid sex stories. Which probably helped the SNP.

      As you suggest, McEvoy is the big test for Plaid. I see no way they can resolve the problem without some damage.

  5. Stanley

    Our time in history is unique and many through Brexit are seeing we are being ripped off by the political elite. They feed us like mushrooms, we are disposable.

    Wales belongs to the welsh and should have the same controls as any other country. Those coming in should be vetted and if approved swear allegance to the country. At the moment you are being torn apart by third rate beurocrats who have big ideas well above their punching weight. And what you should be proud of and identified with is ignored.

    They have stripped you of your pride, character and sadly historical importance. Your being moulded into a corrupted vision thats so far fetched it is no longer funny, because these people can exercise real power.

    The big question is how you rise up now….someone needs to grow some balls and fight before its to late and your lands are just controlled by this global-shit mob.

  6. Dafis

    Devolution has failed …….. thus far. Lots of questions can be asked, and need to be answered to enable a more sober diagnosis. The launch of a campaign to get rid of the Cynulliad is really a campaign to reinforce the process of dilution and assimilation. This is NOT an initiative to introduce something fundamentally better but to restore that “post imperial” structure that pre dated 1999. It is correct to assert that what came after 1999 is a disappointment, merely creating a sham, a façade where a reshaped colonial relationship was developed rather than anything radically new and innovative. To compound the misery we have seen during the last year a Labour administration tamely surrender certain jurisdictions back to Westminster/Whitehall.

    Which leads to my point. The most evident weakness of our present situation is the nature of the relationship between the Cardiff and London regimes, a servile posture with which most, perhaps all, of our sitting A.M’s are prepared to tolerate. They acquiesce in the appointment of placemen ( maybe a few women too) in key administration roles. These appointees are there to ensure that policy and our little bits of “independent” legislation don’t wander off beyond the tramlines laid down by senior mandarins in Whitehall.

    So the failure of devolution is a failure of people. Those elected are mostly compliant, those who do the electing are either indifferent ( they don’t vote) or too wedded to that same dependency mindset that cripples our politicians. Politicians blessed with real backbone would have taken Ron Davies’ assertion that devolution is a process and by now would have shunted that process many miles further down the track towards the ultimate goal, no matter what might have been in the manipulative deviant Blair’s mind in the 1990’s.

    That’s what the Scots have done. They may have started from a different point in the relationship but they have worked far harder to move the debate forward. Our lot have succumbed to the temptations of irrelevant side issues and are stuck in a siding in a dead end valley. So they need shunting out and replacing with a set of people who have serious ambition and a clear vision, not tempted to debate the irrelevant.

    Beware this snake with a UKIP badge. He offers nothing other than eventual extermination.

    1. You’re right in what you say, Dafis, we all know the true aims of both Ukip and the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party is assimilation. But what worries me is that since Bennett made his statement about abolishing the Assembly people who should know better have rushed to defend devolution. What they should have done was agree with him, ‘Yes, devolution has been a disaster, now let’s move on to independence’.

      There is no mileage in defending that which cannot be defended, you only make yourself look stupid. And what worries me is that they have behaved in the manner of Pavlov’s pooches. Consider this:

      1/ The Brexit fiasco and the sheer incompetence of Westminster has made independence more attractive to an increasing number of Welsh people. This is confirmed in both opinion polls and the number of YesCymru groups springing up in every part of the country.

      2/ There is a growing awareness on all sides of the political divide that 20 years of devolution have done nothing to improve conditions for the vast majority of Welsh people. This is not helped by ‘Welsh’ Labour now having a lacklustre, almost anonymous leader more loyal to Comrade Corbyn than to Cymru. This also increases the attractiveness of independence.

      3/ But then, increasing publicity is given to the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, and Ukip comes out with its plan to abolish the Assembly.

      4/ This has the result of people rushing to defend indefensible devolution rather than pushing the independence argument.

      If I wanted to be a cynical bastard I might think that all this talk of abolishing the Assembly is done to get people to take their eye off independence and rush to the defence of the Assembly and all the arseholes therein. Like talking to a child, ‘If you don’t stop screaming for a big ice cream I’ll take away the biscuit I’ve just given you’.

      1. Dafis

        There is no reset button, and it would be unwise to try to create one as it would offer the UKIP and any other abolitionists a big “destruct” button to play with and it only needs one good poke !!.

        The choices are evident – go flat out for a big push through the democratic processes, and that will take time, or go for a programme of civil disobedience escalating into some kind of insurrection which given the kind of resources used by the Brit state would only last as long as they choose to let it last.

        There must be people within Plaid Cymru and particularly in the recently launched Ein Gwlad and Yes Cymru who can be mobilised to deliver the sustained barrage of grassroots activity coupled with attacks on the non performance of the corrupt “Government” that inhabits Y Cynulliad building and its branch offices. In the meantime build a body of draft policies and plans to deliver the major pillars of our future society – the things people really need – and use these to highlight how feeble and wasteful the existing regime has been and will continue to be. This is all about communicating outward to communities and will need a dramatic shift away from churning out high falutin’ ideological guff for consumption by the few who inhabit fashionable echo chambers.

        I rest my case

  7. Brychan

    Devolution is just a stepping-stone. Some argue it’s useful to cross that river with the stepping-stone, some think that a full leap is easier. The real test is what ‘independence’ means, and then to consider the usefulness of the stepping-stone. Let me explain what independence means for Wales. There has to be three concepts, citizenship, right of residence and right to work. To avoid confusion I give an example from Sweden.

    (a) Residence Permit.

    Issued by Migrationsverket in Sweden. If you wish to be resident in Sweden for more than three months, you have to apply for one. Those born in Sweden automatically have one, inherited from the national ID number. Currently EU citizens also get one automatically, when applied for, as long as you don’t have a criminal record. For Welsh people currently living Sweden the photo and details are migrated digitally from the DVLA in Swansea. Those granted asylum in Sweden are also issued with a residence permit, in this case a set a digitised fingerprints are included, to prevent migration fraud and people trafficking this means there is no ‘migrant camp’ on the Øresund, as in Calais. You cannot buy residential property in Sweden without a residence permit, and a residential tenancy is limited to three months without one.

    (b) Work Permit.

    To work in Sweden on a permanent contract you must have, or have been offered a job, before you can obtain a work permit. You cannot enter Sweden until the permit has been granted. This does not apply to EU citizens, although most do as this allows for a social insurance number via the försäkringskassan this giving full access to the generous welfare system (doctor appointment within 24hrs). Might as well use it if you pay tax in Sweden.

    (c) Citizenship.

    All Swedish nationals have a national ID card. Anyone seeking citizenship not born in Sweden need apply. You need be 18 or older, already hold a residence permit (see above), been resident for at least 5 years (does not have to be consecutive years), and is subject to a previous conduct test. In other words, if you have been made bankrupt, failed to pay child maintenance in any other EU state, or have any debts or rent arrears. The test includes any ‘cautions’ for drug possession. Those with Swedish citizenship can apply for a passport, transfer driving license (lower car insurance), and only citizens can benefit from full health and welfare benefits. Dual citizenship is allowed.

    If Wales adopted the excellent example of Sweden, it would mean no holiday homes (a second home is allowed for citizens, or one used for execution of work is allowed), there is no ‘social dumping’ or ‘granny dumping’ as access to generous welfare is only afforded to citizens having gone through the hoops. Also, criminals from abroad cannot reside or obtain work, and it still affords the internationally agreed standards for asylum. I have previously explained the above concepts to ‘progressive’ individuals in Plaid Cymru and, although they espouse the Nordic example, they are often horrified by what ‘independence’ actually means. Time to be more honest and formulate policy. Essential if Adam Price wants an indy referendum in Wales.

    The Swedish example also answers the ‘currency issue’ that was a problem for the SNP during indyref1. Glad to see this is now been addressed in Scotland ready for Indyref2. Although applying to be a member of the EU (if desired) does involve a commitment to joining the Euro, the joining process is conditional on membership of the ERM. That is voluntary. Sweden is one of those countries that is not in the ERM, decided against, yet still enjoys full EU membership, unhindered, on their own terms.

    1. There can’t be a ‘leap’ because we are already on the ‘stepping-stone’, and have been for 20 years.

      I’m beginning to suspect that there are many people professing otherwise who are quite happy on the ‘stepping-stone’ because it’s created a lot of cushy, well-funded and undemanding jobs in a colonial management set-up.

      1. Dafis

        You are dead right about that flock of wankers happily perched on the “stepping stone”. These are the crowd referred to in my piece yesterday evening, them who …….” need shunting out and replacing…….”. Ideally it would be a swift one way ticket to a gulag but we’re not allowed to utter such harsh words in this land of the mealy mouthed.

      1. Brychan

        There is an example of three ‘stepping-stones’ used for full independence.
        Ireland, 1922 (Free State), 1937 (Éire), 1947 (Republic).

        The first stepping stone was in 1922 when the Dáil Éireann was recognised along with the Seanad (no translation required) but it did include the English monarch as head of state. This was the pro-treaty. It wasn’t until 1931 with the formal settlement between the anti and pro treaty factions that full statutory soveirgnty were gained. Two nationalist political parties (as well as a low level civil war) were then reconciled between Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil, but this resulted in an ‘economical war’, sanctions by the British empire, up until 1937. During the ‘emergency’ of WW2, the economic sanctions of the British Empire became unsustainable and Ireland was turned from a country of colonial famine to saviour breadbasket. Then in 1947, the ‘Republic’ was established, providing full sovereignty.

        I always remember my tadcu, who was invalided in WW1, saying that during WW2 the ‘windingmans ration’ in Brynamman also consisted of off-ration butter with clovers on, bread with oats in, and the pig in the yard spoke gaelic when the man from the ministry came knocking. This is as much OUR history in Wales. Yet on our current stepping stone we still get the kings of England taught in our schools as ‘history’, a curriculum that we have complete control over under devolution. Although we have a ‘stepping-stone’ we’re kneeling on it rather than taking strides.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I24fSktQKEs%5Bremovetoplay%5D
        Even Slovakians can sing this in Cardiff. Hefin David AM is not happy, maybe he should get a knob of windingmans butter.

        1. Welsh involvement with Ireland takes strange forms. During WWI my grandfather, Owen Rees, was in the Welch Regiment, as was his brother-in-law Llewellyn Williams, my mamgu’s brother. But Llewellyn transferred to the Welsh Guards. Many years later my mamgu used to reel off the names of the men in her bother’s platoon.

          Now these names meant nothing to her, and nothing to me when I first heard them, but as I learnt Irish history I realised that the names she remembered were ‘Old English’ names like Butler, Fitzgerald, etc. Names that have been so long in Ireland that they are now regarded as Irish. The ‘Old English’ intermarried with the Gaelic Irish and, more crucially, lost out by remaining Catholic during the Reformation and the period of the Ascendancy.

          Yet despite being regarded as Irish by the English many of them still protested their loyalty to England. I often wonder if volunteering during the First World War – when there was no conscription in Ireland – was their last attempt to prove that loyalty.

          1. Brychan

            There were only two bits of Westminster legislation that were ‘suspended’ for the duration of hostilities of WW1, (using the Parliament Act 1911 to bypass the lords, direct signatory of His/Her majesty) as emergency powers.

            Ireland.
            The Government of Ireland Act 1914 (Devo Max). Armistice saw Sinn Féin winning 73 parliamentary seats to the unionists 22. In WW1, the British had effectively enlisted the whole of the unionist militia (Ulster Volunteer Force) into the 36th (Ulster) Division. It was the only religiously sectarian armed unit, ever, in the British army. Set up by Lord Kitchener and there was clear political intent. This resulted in the partition of the northern counties in the Government of Ireland Act 1920.

            Wales.
            The second bit of suspended legislation was Welsh Church Act 1914, which can into effect, unhindered, in 1920 after strong support from Cymru Fydd.

            This history is only taught in Irish schools (and those of an enquiring mind). Banned from the Welsh curriculum. Perhaps Theresa May will soon dust off an old copy of the Parliament Act 1911 to deal with her current difficulties?

            1. Doesn’t really matter that much, it has to be weighed against all the BritWelsh of pure Welsh ancestry.

            2. David Smith

              I do fear with talk of “pure” Welsh ancestry you’re going into very murky territory given we are a small yet fat and short peninsula with a far larger population to our east with the inevitable osmosis of people. That with invasions by saxons, vikings, normans, romans, Irish etc etc. Also don’t forget that names like Williams, Jones and the like are originally anglicised versions of ap John etc, as I understand it.

            3. The point I was making was that there are people of pure Welsh ancestry who prefer Britain to Wales and people of mixed background or little or no no Welsh ancestry who support Welsh independence. Therefore, it’s attitudes rather than antecedents that count.

          2. David Smith

            The problem for me is the relationship between the “Celtic fringe” and England is always framed by apologists in terms of “loyalty” and appeals to emotion like “standing together” and such rubbish. These people are invariably too thick, or wilfully deceptive to acknowledge that Britain is an island, one in which we all share in terms of familial connections, history and geography and no nationalist in his right mind is advocating for a bonfire of all that. It’s probably no coincidence that the most vocal of these sorts are your BNP types to whom a different jurisdiction=foreign=other=baaaad. They are too thick to realise that “foreign” is a state of mind when it comes to people around you. This is one “plus” of the EU to my mind, the close cooperation of sovereign states with cultural ties, as a sort of ideological model for a future relationship between Wales and her neighbours.

            1. David Smith

              Indeed I think a good angle for Ein Gwlad or other campaigns would be to cut the legs off any sort of “they’re trying to break up Britain” argument by turning it on its head by advocating for a better Britain – a better, more respectful and equitable relationship between the three nations of this island. I would also myself argue that this new reality would afford our neighbours in England the chance to re-evaluate who they are. I would also like to think that losing the last overlorded nations would puncture that undercurrent of smug superiority that bubbles away under the surface with certain sections of English society.

            2. I agree, say we want something more like Scandinavia and less like the old Soviet bloc or the USSR.

          3. David Smith

            This is in reply to your ussr comment. It won’t let me reply directly below it. Yes Scandinavia is a far better model for a family of nations than the UK. There is no third way between English hegemony and self determination given the sheer size of England vs everyone else. To fudge it as a partnership of equals would do a disservice to the people of England. As you’ve argued here, “regions” of England on an equal basis with Wales and Scotland in some kind of senate will piss a lot of English people off, and rightly so. It is the carving up of their nation after all.

    2. Wrexhamian

      I think we can all (except Kevin) agree that Jac’s right in saying that devolution hasn’t worked for Wales and was never meant to. What to do with such an inherently ineffective system is a conundrum. It either needs to be abandoned, or used effectively to bring about a showdown that would convince people that independence is the only sane option.

      I don’t think Wales is yet ready for the “dump devo, go for indy” option, notwithstanding the potential of Brexit to make it appeal to those who are happy with royal weddings and Strictly Come Baking. Maybe we should stick with devolution, however fraudulent it is, and push for the election of an Ein Gwlad government that will aim to make it work at last for Wales rather than South East England. With the right party in power in the Docks, this might make the path to independence smoother and quicker because any new measures passed by a defiant Welsh Government would oblige Westminster to openly declare its hostility to any EFFECTIVE use of devolution, since it could no longer rely on a compliant Welsh Government to do its dirty work for it.

      Brychan’s Swedish residency model, for instance, would be perfect for our country. It would also be a huge vote-winner. Since (unless I’m mistaken) it would be illegal under the current devolution settlement, it would require defiance, but this defiance would be based on a popular mandate. This and any other pro-Wales legislation passed by such a government in Cardiff would soon show Westminster in its true colours. Then would be the time to hold an independence referendum.

      1. Brychan

        On legality, there is the ‘agricultural use covenant’ that can be applied to individual properties pre-dates devolution. It’s used extensively in planning law for properties like barn conversions, previously tied cottages and some new-builds. Mainly in Powys. Less so in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Gwynedd who appear to think ‘tourism’ is a holy grail. There is also new ‘Croft Legislation’ in Scotland since devolution, but they have a different legal set-up over residency and land title. It should be noted that the Channel Islands and Ynys Manaw have their own residency permit scheme, there exempt from EU complications on ‘free movement’. Of course we can do a Monaco on marinas like Pwllheli. Can’t park your yacht unless you deposit a million Euro in the national bank, charge a hefty taxes on hotel stays, and only short leasehold apartments for ‘foreign’ residents.

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