The contributions being made to the Silk Commission by our masters from London, and other recent statements, make it clear with what contempt we Welsh are regarded. Let’s start with some examples from the recent 114-page submission to the Commission by the UK Government. First, in arguing against a separate prison system for Wales the document lists four insurmountable obstacles. These are:
- There is no male prison in North Wales
- There is no female prison in Wales
- There is no high security prison in Wales
- HMP Usk and Prescoed takes prisoners from England
All true, of course. Though when I read that I thought I’d mis-read the argument; thinking these were reasons for having a separate prison system. But no, the UK Government has, in all seriousness, listed these shortcomings of its own system, this clear evidence of neglect, as justification for persisting with that system! Using that ‘argument’ no deficiencies would ever be remedied. ‘We can’t give you the power to build a road from A to B because there is no road from A to B’. As for taking prisoners from England, well . . . um . . . couldn’t this facililty just stop taking prisoners from England. Maybe take some of the Welsh prisoners in English facilities?
Later in the document, at page 104, water is discussed, and this is what it has to say in justification of the current arrangement: “This area is inevitably complex. Put at its most straightforward, this is because the border between England and Wales does not reflect the river basins or river catchments which span the boundary. The water and sewerage industries are undoubtedly one of the most complex areas in terms of the Welsh devolution settlement.”
And you thought it was simply a matter of us being ripped off! Silly Billy! It’s all to do with basins and catchment areas. You know, like with the Nile, where Egypt rules the waves all the way upstream. Or the Danube, for everybody knows that Romania controls all the water resources right back to the river’s Black Forest origins, because of the international laws relating to river basins, catchment areas, etc., etc. As the map shows, only one country is seriously disadvantaged by this basins and catchment areas bollocks. And only one benefits hugely from it. No prizes for guessing.
This section on water provides quite a few laughs, I recommend it. Possibly also something to worry about. Because if I’ve read the document properly then there is a draft Water Bill knocking about of which part of the submission, 22.29, says: “This is a change from the current approach to regulation of the water sector in that it removes the powers of the Welsh Ministers to determine the size of the market which may be served by the new entrant licensees.” So here we have the Silk Commission, looking into more powers for the Assembly and the Welsh Government, yet the Wales Office can actually submit a document that makes reference to taking powers away from Wales!
Other recent gems from London included the statement made in January by Damian Green, the Minister of State for Police and Criminal Justice in Englandandwales, who said that there is “no real appetite” for devolving to Wales powers over police and criminal justice. That is, no appetite in Wales. Nonsense of course. As explained by Syniadau in this excellent post.
This reminded me of Peter Hain (so much does) and his fatuous arguments against holding a referendum on increasing the Assembly’s powers. The referendum that was held on March 3rd 2011 and won by a margin of two to one. Hain had always argued that we weren’t ready, that a referendum held too soon would be lost, and would damage the devolution process. As late as February 2011 Hain was blaming Plaid Cymru (In coalition with Labour at the time) for the referendum being held so soon, and fearing a low turnout which would invalidate the result. Hain’s thinking on the referendum even got a mention in WikiLeaks.
Allow me a wee digression before I proceed. Believe me, it is not without relevance to the subject under consideration. I recall watching some years ago a self-congratulatory bash held by the chief constables of the four Welsh forces. Some top cop was on his feet effusing about this and that. He glanced towards the chief constable of Gwent and made some insane reference to the “special conditions” of Gwent. Obviously a feeble attempt at justifying that conundrum which has foxed greater minds than his – why should Gwent have a separate police force. But it made me think . . . ‘What “special conditions”? Is Gwent an alpine state? Is the population Buddhist? Spanish speaking, perhaps?’ The scene brought home to me yet again what idiots people make of themselves when trying to justify that which either cannot be justified, or else that for which they cannot give the honest answer.
And so it is with the intellectual quality of the arguments laid out above. They would embarrass a 12-year-old. But they are what we expect from politicians looking for excuses because they can’t give their true reasons. They all boil down to the same thing: ‘It’s in England’s interests that these powers be withheld, but we’ll try to kid you that we’re doing it for your benefit’.
When you realise that; when you understand that these bastards are lying through their finely polished teeth, you have to wonder how they view us Welsh if they expect us to believe this bollocks. They must think we’re a bunch of knuckle-dragging primitives. And then you remember your history . . . or rather, their history. For the English and their native allies have always pulled this stunt – ‘You aren’t ready to do things for yourselves. Trust us and we’ll look after you . . . and of course your resources.’ ‘Mother England’ and her ‘children’. I think it’s time we told the old slag she’s never been our mother, so stop squandering our inheritance and go stand on your own two feet.