Westminster Wages War.
It’s an all action start in 2012 on the political spectrum, with the makings of a political civil war on our hands. Westminster seems intent…well, the Tory led government is perhaps the better way to put it, seems intent on grabbing the hot iron of irritation from the fireplace and ramming it deep into Alex Sammond’s agenda. For a Tory party that is clearly against the breaking up of the Union, they are doing an impressively disastrous PR job in terms of undermining support for the break with their bold posturing and ‘you can’t do that unless we say so’ stance. Sammond must be sitting in a leather arm chair with a whiskey in hand, rocking himself with uncontrollable laughter, knowing that if the Tories keep treading their current path, they could well walk themselves into the dismantling of Britain, with the SNP having to do little more than sit back and watch the separation happen before their eyes.
While all the Scottish excitement has been bouncing about, Wales managed to make the BBC headlines as well, as the planned reform of political constituencies was formally announced and presented for public consultation. The reduction of 40 to 30 Welsh MPs has been presented as a logical one in terms of redrawn constituencies being of roughly the same size, and therefore fairer to the democratic process. Of course, the redrawing of boundaries in such an arbitrary fashion of ‘one-size fits all’, is not going to be without its problems.
There is initially the slightly odd system of cutting and changing boundaries. Political constituencies exist in Wales the way they have done for a reason, geography. The landscape in Wales is one element that cannot be overlooked when considering the boundary of seats, yet this would appear to be the one thing that the electoral commission have indeed decided to overlook. One fears how disastrous this could be for voter apathy, as thousands will find themselves unsure of who they are voting for, and, in the case of North Wales, voting for an MP who will be busy on Anglesey, while the MPs mainland voters will inevitably become second class constituents given the landscapes involved.
But the main point of concern should really be the slap dash decimation of the democratic voice of the Welsh people. Remember the hoops that had to be leapt through for devolution, for increased devolution? We in Wales certainly have to work hard to gain our political voice, however, those in London have to do very little work indeed to be able to take it away. With all this talk of referendums, surely the people of Wales should be offered a referendum on whether or not they approve of a massive lump of their political say over what happens in London, and therefore Britain, being removed from them on the whim of a committee that is not directly answerable to those affected? For all the wailing of British politicians on democracy overseas, it would appear that the democratic process in this island is one that very much operates on a ‘when it is convenient’ system, and little more.
The boundaries proposed are at the very least problematic, and will serve to disenfranchise many, rather than achieve the opposite and (in theory) stated goal of the project. However it is the arbitrary removal of the Welsh political voice that should be more of a concern. As we have seen with the Scottish question, Westminster is not shy of flexing its muscles when its Celtic siblings start throwing the toys out of the pram. What if, having cut the Welsh MPs down to 30, Westminster then decides to cut a few more, and then perhaps decides to cut the Assembly, because it can, what then? What is being proposed by Westminster, for Scotland and for Wales, is very dangerous, and should serve to all as a reminder where the true intentions of this government sit. It is one that harbours an obsession with central power, that would rather see the voice of the ‘regions’ silenced, than empowered.
Watch out Wales, Westminster’s coming!