National Left - Wales needs a progressive left future.
Monday, 20 May 2019
"Welsh" Labour MP still don't back further devolution.
If Plaid Cymru were not embroiled inthe European Elections then I suspect they would be making more of claims by ex-first minister Carwyn Jones, that the referendum on extending the powers of the Welsh Assembly might not have happened if Labour had won the 2010 general election. According to BBC Wales.
Mr Jones, who was Welsh Labour leader at the time, said Tory Prime Minister David Cameron's "relaxed" attitude enabled it to take place. "In some ways, it's because of him we had it, ironically," he said. Mr Jones said Mr Cameron was "generally favourable" to holding the referendum, in which Wales backed giving the assembly direct law-making powers by a substantial margin. Mr Jones made the comments in BBC Radio 4's programme The Devolution Decades, marking 20 years since devolution.
"I do think that had a Labour government been elected in 2010, we might not have had that referendum in 2011," he said. "Because there was a lot of opposition to it, amongst Labour MPs."
Mr Jones claims Welsh Labour MPs "were, you know, concerned about losing their own powers".He goes on:
"I don't want to make them sound as if they were only looking after themselves… they weren't... they were Westminster-based, and that's the way they saw it at the time. "And they didn't see the need for a referendum. They saw it as, well, hang on a second, if they get primary law-making powers, what next, what next, what next? "And at that time - it's different now, but at that time, that was a consideration. "And I think we'd have found it difficult in 2011 to have had that referendum, in the teeth of what might have been opposition from… Welsh Labour MPs at that time."
No party won an overall majority in the 2010 general election. The Conservatives formed a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats.
This admission may go some way to explaining, why after 20 years the slow growth of powers of the Welsh Assembly, where it lags behind even Northern Ireland let alone parity with the ScottishParliament. Indeed i am at a loss to name any Welsh" Labour MP (apart from the late Paul Flynn), who would indicate they supported parity. Even in the assembly where AM Mike Hedges has supportedIndependence in the past. Labour AM's still seem in awe of their London masters and even in their latest leadership elections after Carwyn resigned as First Minister there seems to be a complete lack proposal for carrying Welsh Devolution forward. To be fair they may well be looking at Scotland, where it the early years of devolution Labour thought they had Shot the Independence Fox only to be out flanked by the SNP and even pushed into third place behind by the Tories. Though even if Labour was the dominant force "Welsh" Labour are still stuck in a Pre-Devolution Mentality and even the split between Pro-Corbyn (Who seems to have no knowledge of devolution ) supporters and the Blarite heirs, has not seen any sign enthusiasm for further Welsh Devolution. The group Labour for an Independent Wales may well have good intentions , and I would advice them to stick with it for now even though I doubt they will make any difference. But it is clear to me that even further devolution will not come from a future Labour Westminster government, and just as in Scotland their hegemony here needs to be broken .