Posts Tagged ‘ Westminster ’

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!

Senedd Politics: Not the Place for Peter Hain

Lembit Opik was the first, a crass useless individual with no tangible connection to Wales, who, though having been told where to go by both Welsh local electorates, as well as his own party when it came to shortlists, continued to parade himself as the political voice of Wales, long after the notion was no longer applicable (if it ever had been). Now, after careful, rational and considered thinking, it is long overdue that the ineffectual and habitual ‘dropper in on Welsh politics’, Peter Hain, can join him on ‘the list’.

Hain would probably have made it on to ‘the list’ some time ago, but was due a stay of execution given his generally excellent handling of and subsequent fund raising following the Gleision Colliery disaster. There Hain acted as a local politician should, for the good of his community, and for that he should be praised.

However, so much of what Hain does is not for the good of his constituents, his community, and his (so called) nation. Many following the post AV referendum fall out will not have failed to notice Peter Hain complete one of the most shameless u-turns of recent political history, overnight switching his allegiance to FPTP because, as he stated, that is what the voters wanted. Not only was his u-turn embarrassing, his subsequent interpretations bordered on horrifying – as Hain went on to then proclaim that the AV referendum was a clear indication from the voters of Wales that they wanted to switch voting to FPTP for the Senedd as well. Now anyone with the most basic grasp of political history in Wales will be able to tell you that there has been a historic split amongst Welsh voters, that for local/national(Welsh) elections, PR is always favoured, whereas Westminster elections have consistently seen FPTP favoured by Welsh voters. It may not be consistent, but there it is. For Hain to suddenly suggest that this was a mandate for electoral reform in Wales was rash, short-sighted and verging on idiotic.

Now he is at it again, meddling in the affairs of the Welsh political scene, meddling in the policies of the Welsh Labour Party. Meddling is very much the word for it. Hain is not an elected representative of the Senedd, therefore he has no voice in this elected institution, and should be distancing himself from policy developed by the Labour Party inside it, not trying to lead it.

Now, while current Labour positioning regarding electoral reform stinks of their long strived for goal, to be unmoveable from Government in Wales, should that be their policy then fine, let them have it – it will be fought against and hopefully defeated, but if it is policy the Labour Party in the Senedd wish to develop, then let them try, it is their party after all. However, Hain does not stand in or speak for the Senedd. Should he wish to shape policy in this institution he would do well to pluck out his finger nails out of his shredded ambitions within the London Labour Party, give up his Parliamentary seat, and stand for the Senedd. Then, if elected, his views, liked or not, would at the very least be respected as those provided in the elected house of Welsh representatives. His current views however should be regarded with contempt, as they do nothing but subvert the voice of those who should be speaking on behalf of Wales, but are being led by the nose by their old slave masters in London.

So Hain, welcome to the list, you can keep Lembit company in his self contrived pit of decay. And there you can remain until such time that you can man up, leave your comfort zone of London, and stand for the elected body that you spend so much time trying to manipulate. Until then, shut your trap, and stay out of things that don’t concern you.