Friday, 3 July 2015


At least from this end of the M4 / A55 there appears to be more than a faint whiff of what could best be described as devo rollback in the air. As the new now unconstrained All Con Conservative government settles in at Westminster, what's in it for Cymru / Wales - potentially nothing good. Scotland, as far as the Westminster unionists may quietly (and honestly) admit over a pint of claret may be perceived as a lost cause (perhaps a literal case of 'when' rather than 'if' in relation to independence). Cymru / Wales on the other hand may yet offer far more constitutional room to meddle with, to tinker with or even rollback parts of our deeply flawed constitutional settlement. 

A weak 'badly' drafted Wales bill (which may well be on the cards) may be the green light to ramp up the rollback process. That's why Plaid Cymru's Lord Dafydd Wigley is absolutely right to seek urgent clarification about Westminster's pre-election hint that control of fracking would be devolved to the National Assembly rather than retained at Westminster. The rejection of planning permission for fracking in Lancashire, in North West England is significant as the active search by fracking companies for new locations is continuing. There is a need for complete acceptance by Westminster that that fracking cannot go ahead in any part of Wales without the express permission of the National Assembly. 

There certainly now appears to be a Westminster wobble in relation to the commitment to complete the electrification of the Great Western line to Swansea. This taken with the news that hard pressed commuters and businesses will face at least another five years of Severn Bridge tolls could be taken as a hint that our national priorities have been put on the electoral back burner by Westminster. Our constitutional settlement, such as it is is even to the disinterested should appear deeply flawed and simply unfair, not coming remotely close to either Scotland or Northern Ireland when it comes to powers which could be used to influence and shape economic matters. 

Now, at least from my perspective, the whole sorry laborious constitutional journey, has never simply been about powers for powers sake, it's been about trying to get the appropriate tools to change our countries economy for the better. That said in Cymru / Wales, when it comes to acquiring a degree of constitutional fairness we always seem to have to jump through hoop after hoop, again and again. This if nothing else should clearly demonstrate the degree of contempt with which Cymru / Wales is perceived and treated, not least by our Labour in Wales representatives in Westminster.

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