Monday, 10 October 2016

Does Peter Hain only supports a referendum if it gives him the result he wants?

The Tanned  one Former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain will  apparently according to the Wasting Mule  launch a devastating attack on the plan to devolve income tax powers to the National Assembly without a referendum today .
Speaking in advance of a House of Lords debate on the Wales Bill Lord Hain, who retired as Labour MP for Neath at the 2015 general election, described the decision to remove the need for a referendum as 
“a flagrant and cynical breach of promise to the electorate”.
In an article for the Mule, Lord Hain states:
 “The current Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, was a government whip and voted for the 2014 [Wales] Act which put into statute the necessity for a referendum just two years ago. So why has he, and why have the government, done a U-turn after such a short space of time? Is he frightened that, if invited to vote, a majority – maybe a large one – in Wales would turn down the powers?”
So is Mr ( sorry Lord Hain's) call for a referendum about democracy coming from him because he believes the bill will be defeated in a referendum?
 Supporting or opposing referendums because you can win or hope it is defeated is hardly democratic.   

Lord Hain goes on to express serious concern that the Conservative Government is seeking through Income Tax devolution to place an extra burden on Welsh taxpayers. He says:

 “Pooling and sharing the UK’s resources also enables redistribution from richer to poorer parts of the UK – like the coalfield communities of the South Wales Valleys. With around 40% of UK GDP concentrated in London and the South East of England, why on earth would Wales choose to cut itself off from that?”
So is Mr Hain seriously saying that  we should continue as poor West Britons ? Dependent for ever on hand outs from our richer Masters in the South East of England.

As the Proclaimers sang " forever going cap in hand".   

Actually I have some sympathy with  the argument against  Tax Raising Powers believing it is a Trojan Horse designed to give the Tories a political advantage as an low tax party in future Assembly elections .

However we must realise that to get us out of the dependency Hain was talking about we must take control of our future and that means taking responsibility across the whole spectrum of powers and that means  Tax Raising Powers.

Of more importance is whether we have control of how we  vary  Tax rates and how much leeway we will be govern

 The original legislation stated that if the people of Wales vote in a referendum for the Assembly to gain income tax-varying powers AMs would only be able to adjust rates in unison.(the Lockstep)

This seems to have been removed  although the devil as always will be in the detail.

Maybe there should be a referendum but are we  going to have to do so every time the there another measure of Devo Dipyn Bach,?

Tax Powers are of course not a small amount  and I agree with Hain that it would probably be defeated.

Where I disagree with the Tanned One is that I  would support a referendum on Major changes because it shows the will of the Welsh people not because I believe it can be Won  or Lost



  1. Peter Hain and his party had 13 years to address concerns about the barnett formula and welsh funding - and they did nothing about it. Peter Hain and his party kicked the Richard Commission into the long grass. And for someone now apparently so in favour of a referendum on 'constitutional' matters i recall that he refused to hold a referendum on the senedd gaining primary law making powers when he was welsh secretary in the brown government. It was left to the tory lib dem coalition to hold the referendum in 2011 (which we won easily of course)

    The truth is Peter Hain - and some others in welsh labour sad to say - are simply opposed in principal to wales gaining meaningful fiscal powers, like the powers to vary income tax. I think it's because they fear wales may go in the same political direction as scotland if we get more devolution.

    I know there are problems with this bill - most eloquently highlighted by elystan morgan onradio wales yesterday morning - but wales gaining income tax varying powers could prove to be very significant development in terms of the the future prospects of welsh self government. It would mean that for the first time in wales history a welsh government would be raising its own resources through general taxation in wales. Who knows what impact that could have on the development of a welsh political consciousness.

    1. Gain after the result of the referendum was in the Studio s claiming credit for the whole campaign😠