Devolution Denial

Huw Davies

Wilful ignorance or deliberate stunt? Those were my thoughts when I saw Unite trade union members along with Plaid Cymru councillors protesting outside the office of a Conservative politician in Wrexham.

But, it is indeed a sign of one failing of devolution, those who should know better were attacking a politician who, even if she wanted too, could not directly influence the running of the NHS in Wales. Perhaps these individuals wanted to take advantage of the public’s lack of interest in devolved politics to try and blame the Tories for political purposes. This seemed to be a deliberate attempt to distort the public’s perception of who controls nurse’s pay in Wales. And the organisers of the protests should quite frankly be ashamed of themselves. It’s dangerous and unnecessary, fuelling resentment against someone who has no ability to control what goes on.

I realise it must be difficult for the unions, who help run the Labour Party in various guises, to protest against their pet political party, but the Nationalists should know better. They after all, hanker for more devolution, yet they are not prepared to hold the elected officials who are actually accountable for that power properly, except jumping on that easy bandwagon of ‘blaming the Tories’. Should they have felt the inclination to visit the office of the Labour representative for Wrexham in the Welsh Parliament it was a twenty minute walk away from where they were protesting, so perhaps it was just laziness, but I’ll let you be the judge of that…..

There is is nothing new about this, over the past two decades there have been recurring misunderstanding about competencies and who has control. . Just look at the confusion during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was mind-boggling. The complexities of this constitutional monolith have become a useful battering ram for all parties to attack each other with. Instead of actually taking responsibility, the blame game is the order of the day – everyday! It is akin to ground-hog day, and it makes you wonder if these politicians seriously want to make devolution work.

Admittedly, the hundreds of thousands spent on a name change right in the middle of a global crisis hasn’t helped matters. It’s taken twenty years for people to understand that an Assembly existed at all, now they have a fresh name to comprehend. In Wales at least, MS is no longer just a shortening for a disease that attacks the nervous system. We don’t need to spend more money on education in schools to ensure people understand what devolution is, we just need politicians to own up about what they control, and those who know better should lead by example, sooner rather than later.

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