Saturday, November 25, 2017


Why are we are still waiting...
Westminster’s failure to commit to the Swansea Bay Tidal lagoon and the broken promise over electrification of the min line to Swansea from Cardiff, while being disappointing are simply very visible symptoms of the Westminster Parliament and most Westminster parliamentarians (with some honorable exceptions) lack of concern for Wales and our national interests. Westminster is simply not interested in making Wales thrive, or allowing Wales to become a world-beater in the development of renewable energy technologies and to generate the technologies and jobs that go with it.

As I have said previously I have long believed that Westminster government’s regardless of their political hue, before and after devolution, and before and after BREXIT, remain fundamentally indifferent to our needs, our aspirations and our national interests.  The cancelation of the electrification of the Great Western line, from Cardiff to Swansea should have come as no real surprise. I had long advocated beginning the electrification process at the Swansea end of the line, something that may well have made the cancellation more difficult.

The foot-dragging over the fate of the Swansea Tidal lagoon remains ominous, but sadly it is to be expected from a Westminster system that remains hooked on expensive subsidies to foreign owned and foreign constructed Nuclear power stations. One reason for this is that it is perhaps easier for former energy minsters to get better paid jobs post their involvement in politics, with subsidy rich energy companies.

Interest in developing Tidal lagoons is not new; the concept has been floated around in Wales since the late 1990’s. The problem that successive private companies when faced with sluggish perhaps finely calculated indifference from both government (at all levels) and the civil service have moved on or lost interest. 

Post BREXIT we need the Tidal lagoons more than ever, if Westminster is serious about reducing the UK’s dependence on imported energy supplies from unstable regions, run by brutal repressive regimes – then developing Tidal lagoons could be a step towards real energy independence. Rather than marshaling their lame tired old excuses as to why they cannot or won’t buy in to the project, we need a commitment to secure power generation.

The devolution of powers relating to energy resource development to Wales and a Welsh government that is not sleeping walking on the job is necessity. Post BREXIT we need to step away from our low wage culture and to develop a much more economically dynamic and sustainable Welsh economy.  We are not going to get anything done with a Labour in Wales government in Cardiff Bay that’s too busy looking after its own personal and party political interests rather than our national interests.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017



Whether people voted remain or leave last year there are going to be real and significant post brexit consequences for Wales. After yesterday's vote the Westminster Conservative / DUP Coalition Government, ably supported by Jeremy Corbyn's Labour MP’s (who abstained), will pretty much be able to force through the Withdrawal Bill even if Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all vote against it, after a Plaid Cymru amendment was defeated in the House of Commons.

Plaid Cymru were supported by the Scottish National Party, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party but were opposed by the Tories and the DUP, with Labour failing to vote at all. The amendment would have required the Prime Minister to secure the agreement of each of the devolved countries in the UK before repealing the European Communities Act 1972.

Plaid Cymru has written to the First Minister of Wales, and leader of the Labour Group in the National Assembly, asking for an explanation as to why the Labour Party changed position on giving Wales a meaningful say in the Assembly on the final Brexit deal.

In the letter, Plaid Cymru’s External Affairs spokesperson, Steffan Lewis AM, has accused Labour MPs of undermining the National Assembly’s ability to act in the interests of Wales and of providing the British Government will a mandate to “ride roughshod over the democratically-expressed wishes of the people”.
After the vote, Plaid Cymru’s Brexit spokesperson in Westminster, Hywel Williams MP, said:

“Tonight, the people of Wales were told that their opinion does not matter on Brexit.

“The Westminster parties have once again teamed up to make sure Wales’s voice counts for nothing when it comes to our own economy, our people’s wages and our children’s standard of living.

“The UK consists of four countries, not just one, but tonight MPs from the Westminster parties ensured that Brexit will be dictated by just one of those countries.

“Our amendment was not an attempt to derail Brexit – it was an attempt to make sure Wales and the other UK countries have an equal say on our future. Every national Parliament should be involved in this process, not just Westminster.

“Plaid Cymru MPs will continue to do all we can to make sure Wales’s interests are protected and voiced in Westminster, despite Labour’s apathy.”

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Secretary for External Affairs and Brexit spokesperson in the Assembly, Steffan Lewis AM, added:

“That our own government in Wales, run by the Labour Party, chose to deny the people of Wales an opportunity to have a say on Brexit, is the single greatest act of harm inflicted upon the Welsh national interest since Article 50 was triggered.

“The Labour Party has repeatedly told Welsh citizens that they believe Wales should have a meaningful say on the terms of Brexit but tonight they went against their word and instead have ensured Wales’s future lies in the hands of the Tories and the DUP in Westminster.

“There is no doubt that the ability of our National Assembly to act in the interests of Wales have been greatly undermined by the actions of Labour MPs tonight. Labour has failed the people of Wales and has provided a mandate for the Tories in London to ride roughshod over the democratically-expressed wishes of the people of Wales in two referenda.

“Once again it falls to Plaid Cymru to fight for our citizens’ interests – the future of our NHS, Welsh jobs and wages and standard of living. Plaid Cymru will be doing all we can at both the Westminster Parliament and our own Parliament in Wales to make sure Wales’ interests are heard and protected. We will start by calling the First Minister to the Assembly tomorrow with a topical question, asking for an explanation of his party’s abstention.”

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


In Flanders Fields...
This Saturday will be the 11th November (with Remembrance Sunday on the 12th) when people pause briefly to publically remember the veterans and survivors of historic and more recent conflicts and those who never came back. My family like far too many others in Wales (and elsewhere) had relatives who served and survived and also relatives who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars and other conflicts. 

One of my maternal grandmother’s lost two brothers in the First World War and its aftermath, her elder brother was a regular soldier, who wrote home and told them not to allow his younger brother to join up and to come out to France. It was too late the younger brother had already joined up was killed in action in 1918 and buried near Amiens. I grew up with a generation of older relative who had seen service in the second world war in the armed forces and the merchant navy - not that they ever talked about it save to those whom they had severed with. 

As I have said previously I have absolutely no problem remembering those who lost their lives and the courage, comradeship and their endurance of those who served in the First World War and other conflicts (and not necessarily in the armed forces); but I have no time for rose tinted nostalgic flag waving foot-tapping pap. As has been said elsewhere, soldiers don’t die for the politicians, for patriotism or even us but for their friends and comrades with whom they serve. 

Far too many lie in corners of foreign fields, are names on a war memorial, faded photographs, faded memories or literally have no grave at all. US President Abraham Lincoln rightly noted at Gettysburg the fallen have given their last full measure of devotion. It may be more true today that the world will little note the current crop of political leader’s lyrical offerings on conflict, nor long remember them. What we should never forget what the former soldiers and veterans did and what they went through and we should not just cherish their memory but ensure that after their military service they are fully honoured as is the military covenant.