This week, I have been driving around all around this great little country which, with immense pride, I call home. Wales. After visiting family and friends from earning a well relaxed break in Malta, (which I would advise you to definitely visit!) I was driving back home when my mind wandered inevitably to politics and what the next few months hold in store for Wales.
One thing that I deduced was certain, exciting times definitely lie ahead!
Whilst thinking about all this, driving home in the wet and drizzle, an overhead illuminated sign caught my attention. “Tiredness Kills: Take A Break.”
Now, for many drivers, that isn’t anything new and the same applies to me. I have seen this sign many times before, issuing safety on the roads and of course, we must pay attention. But this sign caught me in a different way, in a political way.
Thinking about that sign, I came to the conclusion that it was the perfect analogy for the state that Welsh politics has become.
Let me explain…
Ever since Devolution was granted to Wales, back in 1997 and the first elections were held 2 years later, the Welsh Assembly has only ever had one driver at the wheel of the car that is our beloved Nation. ‘Welsh’ Labour.
Election after election, ‘Welsh’ Labour have been in charge of our affairs, and quite frankly, it’s becoming quite tiresome, and it is starting to show. The cracks are starting to appear.
The state of Welsh politics today has become, in my eyes, no other word than ‘stale’, disenchanting many voters and putting them off politics all together, resulting in poor election turnouts and all because one party has been driving us continuously down a one-way street, an in my opinion, up the wall!
People in Wales have, unfortunately, become disillusioned with their political life. We all have one, and it’s up to us to use it. Labour are, and have been for a long time, in the habit of taking your vote for granted. Just look at the atrocity of the Welsh Labour MP’s who abstained regarding the welfare Bill. One even issuing a statement after abstaining stating he would vote against the Tory cuts!
Getting your votes and being elected seemed the only thing that matters. Now that the General Election is over, they have disappeared like phantoms into the corridors of power. Suddenly, we don’t matter anymore. It’s ‘them’ over ‘us’.
Should why do we continue to fall for them? We vote for them, subsequently complain for 5 years, and then vote for them again come the next election, as though nothing ever happened. They must be held to account.
Now, whenever I have the great joy of visiting my friends in the North, in the Lochs and Glens of Bonnie Scotland, I am always struck by an unnameable force. Yes, there is the beauty, (though compared to hills and valleys of Wales, I will have to disagree!) the wonderful language of Gaelic (which I want to see used right across Scotland!) and the great friendliness of the people, there is an invisible energy in the air that I simply love and am quite frankly addicted to!
In my opinion, I believe that this, somehow, is energy from the political impact of the SNP radiating from Holyrood and being felt by all in Scotland. From Gretna in the South and across the Lowlands right up to the Highlands and Islands in the North, this is a force to be reckoned with.
What’s more, after the peaceful democratic revolution of the Independence Referendum, held back in September, Scottish politics has been given a hell of a boost and crackles with intense fervour on the tongue of nearly every person in Scotland. The people are very much in control.
And that is what is missing from us in Wales. Although we have the magic of our 600+ castles and fascinating history, we lack the spirit of our national politics which must seek to help all in Wales that has become so evident up North. I mean, just look at the Scottish General Election result!
Furthermore, there must be a cause of this laissez-faire attitude that has become the status quo of Welsh politics in the last decade, which I believe falls squarely on the tiny shoulders of the twig like branch office called ‘Welsh’ Labour.
Returning to the analogy, they, as our driver for the last 16 years, have become quite content in the driving seat and taken their foot of the accelerator and put on the cruise control. Quite frankly, they are letting someone else do the driving, and that is no-one else but their fat-cat bosses in Westminster.
From what I see, this must stop, and stop for good in May. Although Wales has its own Assembly and is a law-making body, with Welsh Labour in control, Wales is treated no-more than a puppet on strings. With David Cameron as our puppeteer, they pull the string attached to us, those of the Assembly and even those attached to the so-called ‘First Minister’ Carwyn Jones.
When Westminster tugs at the strings, Wales can do nothing but jump as a result. We must cut these attachments to us now if we want to get our voice, our eyes and even our body, back. The National Assembly for Wales must have a Government that is capable of standing UP to Westminster and not this tired, lacklustre Government which stands ASIDE for Westminster’s cruel, damaging and as awe-inspiring Mhairi Black put it, ‘outdated’ traditions and laws.
A proper democracy is where the people are in control, not another political establishment. So when May comes around, we need to stop the car and yank the driver out! We need a new driver who will put their pedal to the metal and get Wales moving again, in the right direction and who will put the people at the steering wheel. And neither, the Tories nor Labour or indeed, any Westminster party are fit for that job. That belongs to us. The Welsh people.
So if it isn’t a Westminster party that is looking out for us, then who is? Only one party is active in Wales of whose politics does not owe its allegiance to Westminster. It is the Welsh Nationalist Party: Plaid Cymru.
Their main ambition is to put us, the people, in charge of our own destiny and let us think for ourselves. After all, who knows what is better for our Nation: A cabinet situated 150 miles away from the Welsh Assembly or us, the people? It’s time we thought for ourselves and brought power closer to the people.
We need to apply the brakes quite firmly on this Welsh Labour Government’s doting dependence on Westminster when all Westminster does in return is give us the scraps from the table which is meant to seat 4 but only has 3 seats. England, Scotland and Northern Ireland get a seat each whilst poor, defenceless Wales is left to eat the scraps off the floor. This isn’t good enough! We deserve better!
So, in the upcoming election, we seriously need to reflect as a Nation about what we want for the next 5 years. Another 5 where the cruise control is kept on, where Westminster still pulls the strings and where, it seems, the Welsh First Minister has very little power?
Or do you want to be in control? Where you come first. Where your First Minister puts you at the heart of political life? Think about it.
In the meantime: Welsh Labour, I have a message for you. Tiredness Can Kill: Take A Break.
featured image labour party link