Sanddef's post has caused some controversy and has been reacted to angrily by some of the AM's supporters, some of whom (given Labour's record) should consider their employment prospects before sending angry comments to blog posts. The pamphlet itself, however, doesn't appear to be all that controversial. Indeed, it appears to be so mundane that my first reading left me wondering why she had gone to the trouble of writing it.
Ms Sinclair's basic premise is that Wales has a border with England, that people who live in the border areas often cross the border to access work, services leisure etc and that the National Assembly, relevant Whitehall departments councils and other authorities should co-operate to make sure that cross border facilities provide the best possible services for border dwellers. I don't think that many people would disagree with this premise.
Ms Sinclair makes her case by showing how well the Deeside Hub has worked to the benefit of those on the Welsh and the English side of the Hub
For those who may be unfamiliar with what I mean, the.
Deeside Hub is an economic sub-region of the Welsh/English
economy covering a large area of Flintshire, Denbighshire and
Wrexham as well as Chester, Wirral, Ellesmere Port and
Neston in England.
This example shows the weakness in Ms Sinclair's argument. Her own example shows that what she is calling on the Assembly and other authorities to do is precisely what the Assembly and others have been doing for the past 8 years, with a fair measure of success.
But there is a subtext to the pamphlet that goes beyond cross border co-operation. The pamphlet is scattered with comments such as:
Our continued economic development in the next few years into a world-class, added value area that continues to punch above its weight will rely heavily on developing an integrated transport policy that takes greater account of regional economic patterns than it does of historic, but artificial national borders.
Recently, heavy emphasis has been placed by the current Assembly Government on improving North-South transport links, but important consideration needs to be given to improving and upgrading cross-border West-East links
In South East Wales, Cardiff and Newport have an advantageous position near Bristol to become a financial and creative industries hub.
The sub-text of this Labour document is that attempts to strengthen the links between north and south Wales should be secondary to strengthening the ties of the regions of Wales to Merseyside, the English west Midlands and Bristol. That as little as possible should be done to provide uniquely Welsh based services. In short, that any attempt by the Assembly at Nation Building must be avoided at all costs, because the Labour party can't abide the idea of an united, confident Wales that isn't heavily dependent on England for all things.