The Evolution of Devolution project has Failed

I canvassed in favour of a Yes vote in the 1979 Devolution Referendum. At the beginning of the campaign there was a considerable amount of enthusiasm for the proposal in Merioneth. As the campaign progressed I saw that enthusiasm wane into indifference and even into outright hostility. As the likes of Neil Kinnock, Leo Abse and Donald Anderson made their tirades against the Welsh language, Welsh culture and the dreaded monsters that lived to the north of the Beacons the opposition to devolution grew stronger. The starting message of the 1979 campaign was that Wales was being ignored by Westminster so we needed a parliament of our own. As the campaign went on fervent Nationalists were telling me that they would prefer Welsh issues to be ignored by Westminster rather than be oppressed by the likes of Kinnock etc in a Welsh parliament.

One of the arguments made by Plaid Cymru in favour of campaigning for enhanced devolution rather than ought right independence is that if devolution works well for Wales, then the people of Wales will embrace the process and demand more and more powers for Wales. Opinion Polls suggest that there is an element of truth to Plaid's theory and as time has gone by support for devolution has increased substantially, but every attempt to move the process of devolution on is stymied by the same old opponents of Welsh self determination – the Labour Party.

In the four years prior to the 2011 referendum all of the talk was about parity with Scotland which seemed to have massive support amongst the electorate. It was only in the statuary period three weeks before the vote, that honesty entered the campaign and we were told that the actual referendum would be on a cosmetic issue!

The first volume of the Silk Report suggests another referendum on another cosmetic issue that won't be held for at least another 10 years, I'm sure that the second volume will contain even further obstacles to attaining what many thought they were voting for a year and a half ago.

In the meantime the Labour Government in Cardiff is doing what the cynics of 1979 were predicting: Ruling Wales poorly in order to prove that Wales can't run its own affairs. We have had a Labour Government since the beginning of Devolution and in that time it has lowered Wales' economic performance, worsened the health of the nation, inflicted poorer education on our kids and encouraged maximum immigration of non Welsh speakers into the Welsh Language Heartlands.

Broadcasting has been administratively devolved to Wales since the 1950's. Before the creation of the Assembly we had Teledu Cymru, TWW, HTV Wales, BBC Wales, BBC Cymru, The Welsh Light Programme, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru, S4C and a number of regional broadcasters. Local broadcasting within Wales is likely to expand over the next few years. As the media has been practically devolved for so many years, one would think that the governance of broadcasting should naturally be devolved – but Labour is opposed to devolving broadcasting!

Some have laughed at the unfortunate timing of the Welsh Labour Government asking to pull an episode of a soap opera on the day that Lord Levison published his report on statutory control of the press. I don't think it's funny, unfortunate nor an accident. It is another case of the Labour Party deliberately creating a situation which proves that Wales shouldn't have broadcasting devolved, because Wales can't be trusted, even in the case of the editorial independence of Soap Operas. Labour attitude through and through.

The Evolution of Devolution project has failed, and failed miserably, it's high time that all of us who support the National Cause - Left or Right- In Plaid or anti-Plaid – Cultural, Political, Economic and every other sort of Nationalist to give up on the Devo project and go four square for independence, because at the current rate Wales will become extinct before it evolves or devolves much further.


  1. The reason for this failure is because Plaid refuses to educate the people of Wales as to the damage being done by Labour. They would rather focus on slating the Tories and putting their uber leftie green wet dream ahead of a free Wales.

    It is not for Plaid to decide what a free Wales looks like, it is for the people of Wales to decide that. And this is why Plaid continues to be unelectable.

    It needs to focus on pro-Wales / anti-Wales politics.

    When Labour handed control of our water over to England that was anti-Wales.
    When Labour MPs voted against devolving The Crown Estate and energy that was anti-Wales.

    There's two to start with, educating the people of Wales is not negative. It's the most positive thing they could do.

    Once Wales is free then they can campaign for a left and green Wales but not before. Not unless they want to remain the third party of Wales.

  2. The people of Wales, to my mind, clearly don't want to govern themselves. And who could blame them?

    The Welsh don't trust the Welsh. And the English migrant doesn't trust the Welsh either. Any thoughts of independence are dead in the water. And will remain so until we can find a good Scot or good Englishman/woman to take this country by the scruff of its neck and show us how to become self respecting, self supporting and self sustaining.

    After all, this is the true legacy of the Scots and English around much of the rest of the world. Self sustaining democracies!

    1. Thank you KP for giving such a perfect example of the Welsh Labour attitude towards devolution- your bosses will be proud of you.

  3. It is the anglisised Welshman I fear wants to kow-tow to English in Westminster and fears any form of home-rule, mostly because they fear the handouts ending and do not think Wales can survive without them, which is pretty sad and lacking in self-confidence really. Westminster ensures our compliance by holding the purse strings. Plaid IS a lost cause, they never engaged with the doubters and still don't. If they did we wouldn't vote labour, the only reason we do, is to make sure Tories never get a voice here. We have 500 years of English rule to counter, you need a strong argument for that. Cardiff cares nothing for welsh rule, they care about the power base and the M4 link to London.

  4. A passionate piece, as ever. But I tend to take a colder look at things. The people of Wales are just not that enthusiastic about independence. Much less so than in Scotland or in Catalonia, for example. But instructively, Scotland and Catalonia have only got to where they are now (in the position to get independence), by building on devolution. And by having nationalist parties in the government.

    Wales could only possibly ever get independence through evolving devolution. "Going for it four square" is in fact completely the wrong way to do it and will simply not advance the cause.

    Also, evidence from other countries shows you need the nationalist party to be in the government first. To get a Welsh nationalist party into the government in Wales, to do more than being a junior partner, you probably need to talk less about independence, not more, because it is simply not a vote winner.

    Maybe this sounds cold. But I think Welsh nationalists, pro-Plaid or anti-Plaid, always put their heart above their head, relying on the emotional commitment without understanding how to actually get there.

    We can only get an independent Wales, by toning it down in the short-term and having more devolution. I don't even mind if people disagree with this, because it's so evidently true it isn't even up for debate really.