Back in 1997, I was one of those who voted against having a Welsh Assembly on the grounds that it was a Trojan horse which would be used by nationalists to achieve their dream of breaking Wales off from the Union. The means to independence would be to continually seek further powers until independence has been achieved. On 1 December, the Welsh Government announced that Labour and Plaid Cymru had signed a “co-operation agreement” on how we are to be governed. An “independent” commission, led by a former Plaid Cymru activist, has also been set up to look into constitutional reform and the current system of devolved powers. The former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams is playing a leading role too. He describes himself as an “old lefty” and recently questioned whether “a Union of Wales and England is where anybody wants to be”.
I have nothing against either of these people. But asking them to lead an inquiry into whether the Welsh Parliament (Senedd Cymru) needs more powers, or Wales needs independence, is likely to be as objective as asking Nigel Farage to produce a report on the benefits of EU membership! Without a crystal ball on my desk, I can make the following prediction: Later this year, having spent much time and money travelling around Wales and meeting with various activist groups and enthusiastic nationalists, a glossy report will be produced. It will call for a vast range of extra powers for the Welsh Parliament, it will want First Minister Mark Drakeford to have the ability to block the UK Government from making laws on anything that is not devolved, and there will be a threat that unless the report is signed up to then full independence will be the only option left for Wales. A small minority voted for Plaid Cymru at the Senedd elections last year and there is no appetite for splitting Wales away from Britain. But for the Labour/Plaid clique in Cardiff Bay this is of little consequence.
After two years of somehow managing to dodge Covid, I finally succumbed. Everyone has had different experiences but for me it was akin to a minor cold and I was even able to exercise in the garden most days. For this I have endless gratitude to those who developed, produced and delivered the vaccine into our arms. Statistics show us what common sense, scientists and medical professionals tell us - which is that the vaccine has saved lives and kept us out of hospital.
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 12 January 2022 and the Abergavenny Chronicle on 13 January 2022*