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Brexit has galvanised Welsh independence Leavers and Remainers have little to lose

There is much to regret (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

There is much to regret (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)


February 2, 2023   4 mins

These days, it is tempting for those of us who voted Remain to be a bit smug about “Bregret”, taking it as evidence that we were right all along. But such smugness was partly what caused Brexit in the first place. For so many voters, Brexit was not just a rejection of the EU but also of the British political establishment and its ways of doing things — ways that have failed far too many working-class communities for far too long.

This was particularly true in Wales. Here, the Leave vote was strongest in post-industrial communities that successive governments in London and Cardiff had failed. These areas had benefited from EU investment, but it had done little to alleviate the corrosive social, cultural and economic effects of the decline of the coal industry.

In the 19th century, coal made modern Wales. It created a modern economy and a population boom, transforming rural communities into vibrant, industrial towns, each with a fierce sense of pride in themselves, their class and Wales itself. They were British places too: proud of their King, Country and Empire, proud that so many Royal Navy ships ran on Welsh coal.

In 1920, the number of miners in Wales stood at 290,000. Lured by cheaper production abroad, however, the United Kingdom they helped build turned its back on the Welsh coalfields, and decades of decline followed. The depression of the interwar years was devastating and led to mass unemployment and migration. The nationalisation of the industry in 1947 gave the miners some respect back, but it could not stop the decline of an industry gradually being replaced by oil. Between 1948 and 1970, the number of Welsh miners fell from 128,000 to 50,000. In 1974, a memo from Mid Glamorgan County Council to the Secretary of State for Wales said bluntly: “The Valleys are dying.”

As colliery after colliery closed, a slow-burning sense of anger started to grip communities that rightly felt forgotten and neglected. And as the industry that created them disappeared, many places worried they had no future. When Thatcherism arrived and finished the coal industry off, this anger intensified. Whereas previous governments had at least tried to manage the change, Thatcher seemed to relish hammering communities already on their knees.

The Brexit vote in post-industrial Wales owed much to this history. Voters there were disillusioned and looking for the better future so long denied to them. And that is what they were promised. They were sold a vision of a world where Wales and Britain had dignity and self-respect again, a world where there was a better economy and more money for the NHS. They were sold scapegoats for their ills: red tape and bureaucrats, immigrants and foreigners.

Three years on, the promises have not come true. Across the UK, the NHS has got worse, public services are on the brink, and inflation is fuelling a cost-of-living crisis. But in Wales, equally important — but less obvious — has been the way Brexit has distracted voters from the problems of devolved government. Particularly when it comes to discussions around the nation’s failing NHS, Welsh Labour must surely be thankful that voters’ eyes have focused on Westminster and Europe. And when attention does turn to their record, Welsh Labour points, not entirely unreasonably, to the lack of funding it receives from the UK government. Indeed, because so many Welsh Labour voters supported leaving the EU, it suits Wales’s strongly pro-EU government to blame Westminster rather than Brexit for its litany problems.

Perhaps it is fitting, then, that Brexit also failed because of its Anglo-centricity. In their arguments, its prime movers and shakers paid little attention to the parts of the UK that are not England. It does not seem to have occurred to most of them to consider what might happen to the UK’s land border with the EU and how Brexit would intersect with the Good Friday Agreement. Brexiteers outside England should have known better, but they too seemed too distracted by ideological dreams to think much about the practicalities. The result was political turmoil and the effective end of the UK’s own single market.

In Wales, this gave a shot in the arm to those who seek independence. This may remain a minority cause, but Brexit showed that radical political change can happen. For many Remainers, Brexit has destroyed the liberal European United Kingdom they felt attached to; for some, independence offers an appealing route back to more tolerant politics. Meanwhile, for many Leavers, the failures of Brexit is yet another case of London politicians letting them down. For those who haven’t given up on politicians entirely, independence can feel the only hope they have left. Some feel they have little to lose.

For a while, Yes Cymru, the focal point of the independence movement, rode on the coattails of the disillusionment of Leavers and Remainers. But it has ridden into its own problems. A group of socially-conservative members became alarmed at Yes Cymru’s adoption of what they saw as socialist causes and they staged something resembling a progressive coup. In doing so, they destroyed the group’s momentum. Like Brexit, the cause of Welsh independence has been undermined by lack of consensus over what it is actually for.

Nonetheless, now Brexit has put independence on the table of mainstream debate, it is unlikely to go away. In these debates, the mistakes of Brexit ought to be a cautionary tale. Those who seek Welsh or Scottish independence must learn that people’s fears about the practicalities of major constitutional change should be addressed, not dismissed as nit-picking or a “Project Fear”. They should see that winning a referendum has to be a beginning, not an end. And they should understand that sovereignty alone achieves little unless the power of the state is harnessed to direct and temper the markets.

Away from the ideological and political games, many people’s lives in Wales continue to worsen, and the economic pain is deepest in the very same marginalised communities — particularly in the southern coalfields — whose support enabled Brexit in the first place. According to UnHerd’s polling, the majority there now seem to regret Brexit. In 2016, Blanau Gwent was the region’s capital of Brexit, with 62% voting to leave the EU. Today, only a third don’t think it was a mistake.

Yet this whole sorry affair is further fuelling what made them vote for it: a sense of anger at being let down by mainstream politics. And they are right to be angry. For decades, post-coal Wales has been let down by Left and Right. Successive governments have spoken warm words about regional policy and levelling up. At times, significant money followed those words. But it was never enough and far too often it was spent on things rather than people. It did nothing to address how free markets could not undo the damage free markets had done.

There are no easy answers to the problems of the UK’s post-industrial communities. Some Brexiteers did at least recognise that the UK needs radical change, but that change is yet to appear. In Wales, it is little wonder that people regret; there is much to regret.


Martin Johnes is Professor of Modern History at Swansea University and most recently the author of England’s Colony? The Conquest, Assimilation and Re-creation of Wales

martinjohnes

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polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
1 year ago

“Yet this whole sorry affair is further fuelling what made them vote for it: a sense of anger at being let down by mainstream politics.”
I have a sense that this “sense of anger” is as true for England as it is for Wales. I wish we could all stop seeing Brexit as the go-to explanation for everything that ails us. It is an irrelevance.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I wouldn’t say it is an irrelevance so much as a catalyst…it has swilled all kinds of issues to the surface that have been brewing for ages but had been ignored or unnoticed. Now everything is out in the open, you have a chance to really look at everything in the cold light of day and try and find a way forward. That is actually a huge opportunity…but like I wrote elsewhere, too many simply invoke Brexit again at that point, arguing that rejoining is the solution and in many instances, it wouldn’t be. In those cases, the prospect of rejoining is kind of like a child’s comfort blanket – held onto tightly for so long, it’s become a toxic rag that needs prising out of their desperate little mitts and burning.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Well, Brexit was put forward and voted in as the solution. It was the remainers who said that Brexit would make Britain poorer and solve nothing – which is exactly what has happened. Brexit was a very costly irrelevance. If we can all agree on that, could we not agree to repair what can still be repaired of the relationship to the rest of Europe. That way we will at least be better off and stop getting distracted while we try to figure out what to do about the real problem?

polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Leavers merely claimed that it would provide the opportunity for the UK to do better. The UK economy hasn’t performed better or worse than that of the EU since 2016.
I see the EU as a shambolic empire that will fall apart soon enough. I don’t want to be there when it does.

Samuel Gee
SG
Samuel Gee
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Once again, a Remainiac shows their lack of understanding. It was never about economics or Britain being richer, though there is no reason why it shouldn’t be. It was always about democracy. Of people wanting to control their own laws and borders and money. Remainiacs, as opposed to honest decent Remainers who accept the result of EURef, remind me of the old refugees from Empire that were knocking around when I was a kid telling everyone that India and Kenya would have been better off economically as colonies. They too didn’t understand that people prefer to run their own country badly, if necessary, rather than have it run well by foreigners. Or as Tony Benn put it so well. They prefer a bad Parliament over a good King.

“Some people genuinely believe that we shall never get social justice from the British Government, but we shall get it from Jacques Delors; They believe that a good king is better than a bad Parliament. I have never taken that view. …. We are discussing whether the British people are to be allowed to elect those who make the laws under which they are governed. The argument is nothing to do with whether we should get more maternity leave from Madame Papandreou [a European Commissioner] than from Madame Thatcher. That is not the issue. I recognize that when the members of the three Front Benches agree, I am in a minority. My next job therefore is to explain to the people of Chesterfield what we have decided. I will say first, ‘My dear constituents, in future you will be governed by people whom you do not elect and cannot remove. I am sorry about it. They may give you better creches and shorter working hours, but you cannot remove them.’ I know that it sounds negative but I have always thought it as positive to say that the important thing about democracy is that we can remove without bloodshed the people who govern us or even a Right Hon. Lady by internal processes. We can get rid of a Right Hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr Major). But that cannot be done in the structure that is proposed. Even if one likes the policies of the people in Europe one cannot get rid of them. Secondly, we say to my favourite friends, the Chartists and suffragettes, ‘All your struggles to get control of the ballot box were a waste of time. We shall be run in future by a few white persons, as in 1832.’….We must ask what will happen when people realize what we have done…..

Last edited 1 year ago by Samuel Gee
Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

As it happens I share the worry about democracy. The EU is an unlovely beast, and it tends to take over ever more areas, whether it makes sense or not. It is just better than the alternatives. Surely the point of running your own country is that you can do things differently from what the foreigners do. If the laws remain exactly the same, why should you care who signs them? If Britain had been bursting with ideas of how to do things differently that were being blocked by the EU, getting out would have been a great idea. But so far all the ideas are either missing or impractical. The latest wheeze is a law that will abolish all laws that came in through EU membership – without even knowing what should replace them. Anything, anything – as long as you can say it is a break from the EU.

As long as nobody can make a convincing case for what it is that should be done differently and why it should work, I shall keep thinking that the entire Brexit project is simply a displacement activity. It is an irrelevance – exactly as Polidori Redux says in his post.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Samuel Gee
SG
Samuel Gee
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

But we do care how our laws are made and who signs them. If you don’t then OK. In some ways you are lucky there’s plenty of places that take that view. There are only really a few that prefer the difficult but democratic process, with the chips falling where they may, over a bureaucratic technocracy – that asks you to look the other way and not to care so long as you have bread and circuses and the trains run on time. We aren’t one of them. Which is why we don’t fit.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

Do not get too sanctimonious here. I do believe in democracy, but what matters is the result, not the process. Democracy is a better system, because in the long run it produces a better society – more responsive to popular demand, more robust against capture, easier to recover from bad governments. A good king is a lot better than a bad parliament, in the short term, but unlike a parliament there is no protection against the next king being bad. ‘The worst system, except for all the others’, as Churchill put it.

A more sovereign UK is a good thing, IF it means that the UK will do more and better things than it could in the EU. If it just means that there will be much the same society dominated by international economic interests, but run by English bureaucrats instead of EU bureaucrats (and poorer), then there really is no point.

John Smith
SE
John Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Not sure why you’re getting down voted so much… your point is a valid one, but too my earlier reply it will take time for the UK to reap the full benefits of more sovereignty as we currently have second rate politicians and a second rate civil service to match them. They will need to be winnowed out – results take sadly take time, competence and hard work.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Your argument is a revealing shift on the better known motto that ‘democracy is the worst system except all the others’. Now apparently it is the EU!

You are actually arguing for the ‘good’ – or at least ‘better’ king here – ie the EU, in your opinion. If we join again the argument will be over, as we would never be allowed to leave, the EU would want a pretty hard guarantee of that. However that were accomplished, it would not be democratic.

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Agreed, Rasmus seems to think real politik EU style democracy – achieving ends just to humour the people sometimes while the elite get what they want all the time – is preferable to genuine democracy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Elites always do better than plebs – as they say, it is better to be rich and healthy than to be poor and sick. It is one of those things.

As for ‘genuine democracy’, all I am saying is that there is a trade-off. It does not help that you are free to choose what you want, if it also means that you are too weak to get it or too poor to pay for it. As the Greeks found out, your sovereign democratic decision is not worth that much if you are depending on someone else to deliver the result.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Elites always do better than plebs – as they say, it is better to be rich and healthy than to be poor and sick. It is one of those things.

As for ‘genuine democracy’, all I am saying is that there is a trade-off. It does not help that you are free to choose what you want, if it also means that you are too weak to get it or too poor to pay for it. As the Greeks found out, your sovereign democratic decision is not worth that much if you are depending on someone else to deliver the result.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Rejoining is not on the cards. Neither side would accept it in less than a generation – and who knows who would want it then? Anyway, Britain would never move back to a deal much worse tahn the one they left just three years ago. The thing to do now is to look for a sensible arrangement from the outside that can recoup as much as possible of what Britain just threw away, at some reasonable cost. At best that would still take a few decades, though.

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Agreed, Rasmus seems to think real politik EU style democracy – achieving ends just to humour the people sometimes while the elite get what they want all the time – is preferable to genuine democracy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Stewart
Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Rejoining is not on the cards. Neither side would accept it in less than a generation – and who knows who would want it then? Anyway, Britain would never move back to a deal much worse tahn the one they left just three years ago. The thing to do now is to look for a sensible arrangement from the outside that can recoup as much as possible of what Britain just threw away, at some reasonable cost. At best that would still take a few decades, though.

John Smith
SE
John Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Not sure why you’re getting down voted so much… your point is a valid one, but too my earlier reply it will take time for the UK to reap the full benefits of more sovereignty as we currently have second rate politicians and a second rate civil service to match them. They will need to be winnowed out – results take sadly take time, competence and hard work.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Your argument is a revealing shift on the better known motto that ‘democracy is the worst system except all the others’. Now apparently it is the EU!

You are actually arguing for the ‘good’ – or at least ‘better’ king here – ie the EU, in your opinion. If we join again the argument will be over, as we would never be allowed to leave, the EU would want a pretty hard guarantee of that. However that were accomplished, it would not be democratic.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

Do not get too sanctimonious here. I do believe in democracy, but what matters is the result, not the process. Democracy is a better system, because in the long run it produces a better society – more responsive to popular demand, more robust against capture, easier to recover from bad governments. A good king is a lot better than a bad parliament, in the short term, but unlike a parliament there is no protection against the next king being bad. ‘The worst system, except for all the others’, as Churchill put it.

A more sovereign UK is a good thing, IF it means that the UK will do more and better things than it could in the EU. If it just means that there will be much the same society dominated by international economic interests, but run by English bureaucrats instead of EU bureaucrats (and poorer), then there really is no point.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Brexiteers and Atheists are alike in that they are very sure of what they don’t believe in but clueless in what they do believe in. Knocking stuff down is so much easier than building stuff.. also much more popular among the great unwashed. What did the Romans ever do for us?

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

What is the answer to Tony Benn’s challenge? You show a revealing but unfortunately all too typical arrogant attitude to voters you don’t agree with! Can I ask a very specific question? Do you want sovereignty to be established at the European federal level? This must be the outcome of ‘ever closer union’. And are you happy for Ireland and all other EU nations to have the status of Louisiana? Unless of course, they don’t really mean it – but that in itself makes any form of accountability even more opaque and distant.

We can ‘build’ in our own nations – of course this will always be politically contended, we don’t need a vast European nanny to do this on our behalf with inevitably minimal input from us. Who for example voted for the Euro, which has heavily contributed to economic stagnation and high unemployment in several southern European countries. However it is course extremely good for Germany!

It’s not even primarily about Brexit, there is huge dissatisfaction within the EU. Some of you Europhiles ought to read Varoufakis’ book ‘Adults in the Room’ describing the punishment beating given to Greece by the EU when the costs of bad loads of French and German bankers were dumped on the Greek people.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

What is the answer to Tony Benn’s challenge? You show a revealing but unfortunately all too typical arrogant attitude to voters you don’t agree with! Can I ask a very specific question? Do you want sovereignty to be established at the European federal level? This must be the outcome of ‘ever closer union’. And are you happy for Ireland and all other EU nations to have the status of Louisiana? Unless of course, they don’t really mean it – but that in itself makes any form of accountability even more opaque and distant.

We can ‘build’ in our own nations – of course this will always be politically contended, we don’t need a vast European nanny to do this on our behalf with inevitably minimal input from us. Who for example voted for the Euro, which has heavily contributed to economic stagnation and high unemployment in several southern European countries. However it is course extremely good for Germany!

It’s not even primarily about Brexit, there is huge dissatisfaction within the EU. Some of you Europhiles ought to read Varoufakis’ book ‘Adults in the Room’ describing the punishment beating given to Greece by the EU when the costs of bad loads of French and German bankers were dumped on the Greek people.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Remember we only actually left the EU 3 years ago. It seems a lot longer, because of the preceding period of constitutional crisis.

On the issue of laws, what positive result to some or many of these laws have? There is a strong argument that far too many unnecessary laws are passed by bodies of all kinds – it’s just what politicians do. A radical idea might be that we get rid of two laws for every one new one.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

But we do care how our laws are made and who signs them. If you don’t then OK. In some ways you are lucky there’s plenty of places that take that view. There are only really a few that prefer the difficult but democratic process, with the chips falling where they may, over a bureaucratic technocracy – that asks you to look the other way and not to care so long as you have bread and circuses and the trains run on time. We aren’t one of them. Which is why we don’t fit.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Brexiteers and Atheists are alike in that they are very sure of what they don’t believe in but clueless in what they do believe in. Knocking stuff down is so much easier than building stuff.. also much more popular among the great unwashed. What did the Romans ever do for us?

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Remember we only actually left the EU 3 years ago. It seems a lot longer, because of the preceding period of constitutional crisis.

On the issue of laws, what positive result to some or many of these laws have? There is a strong argument that far too many unnecessary laws are passed by bodies of all kinds – it’s just what politicians do. A radical idea might be that we get rid of two laws for every one new one.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Julian Pellatt
C
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

It was always about democracy. Of people wanting to control their own laws and borders and money.”
Spot on, Samuel Gee!
But I don’t agree that the colonised vs independent Africa is a meaningful comparison as that context was totally different from the UK vs EU dynamic.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

What’s really needed is the ability to elect a government that genuinely cares for the needs of the people… yawn.. the plebs will elect their betters and wring their caps, just like they, idiot victims have always done, and will always do.. they are too stupid to ever do otherwise.. get used to it!
Fully brainwashed, whitewashed and greenwashed the great unwashed will vote for their betters and await the lash which is their due! It’s what they expect.They are just not capable of anything else.. too stupid, too defeated, too mesmerised, too dependent on MSM, beaten into the ground; slaves and stoically willing to accept their lot while always, hopelessly hoping for better from their Lords and masters who cannot contain themselves from laughing at these idiots.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I have no idea what this distasteful rant actually means. Apart from that most Mr O’Mahony is much superior to anyone else.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

I have no idea what this distasteful rant actually means. Apart from that most Mr O’Mahony is much superior to anyone else.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

As it happens I share the worry about democracy. The EU is an unlovely beast, and it tends to take over ever more areas, whether it makes sense or not. It is just better than the alternatives. Surely the point of running your own country is that you can do things differently from what the foreigners do. If the laws remain exactly the same, why should you care who signs them? If Britain had been bursting with ideas of how to do things differently that were being blocked by the EU, getting out would have been a great idea. But so far all the ideas are either missing or impractical. The latest wheeze is a law that will abolish all laws that came in through EU membership – without even knowing what should replace them. Anything, anything – as long as you can say it is a break from the EU.

As long as nobody can make a convincing case for what it is that should be done differently and why it should work, I shall keep thinking that the entire Brexit project is simply a displacement activity. It is an irrelevance – exactly as Polidori Redux says in his post.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rasmus Fogh
Julian Pellatt
C
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

It was always about democracy. Of people wanting to control their own laws and borders and money.”
Spot on, Samuel Gee!
But I don’t agree that the colonised vs independent Africa is a meaningful comparison as that context was totally different from the UK vs EU dynamic.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

What’s really needed is the ability to elect a government that genuinely cares for the needs of the people… yawn.. the plebs will elect their betters and wring their caps, just like they, idiot victims have always done, and will always do.. they are too stupid to ever do otherwise.. get used to it!
Fully brainwashed, whitewashed and greenwashed the great unwashed will vote for their betters and await the lash which is their due! It’s what they expect.They are just not capable of anything else.. too stupid, too defeated, too mesmerised, too dependent on MSM, beaten into the ground; slaves and stoically willing to accept their lot while always, hopelessly hoping for better from their Lords and masters who cannot contain themselves from laughing at these idiots.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Your appear to have forgotten to tell us what the “real problem” is …

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

That is in the article. Apparently people of the UK feel ignored and rejected, they do not like the way the country is going, and they feel no one is addressing their concerns. I would not know, myself, but it sounds right to me. There is certainly a lot of discontent about. And apprently people thought that getting out of the EU would improve whatever it is they are unhappy about. Only it did not. So we are back at square one, apart from being poorer for having done Brexit.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

OK, thanks. Yes, I agree that is a real problem. And these feelings are real – and valid – for large numbers of people.
And I’ll admit that was a factor – far from the only factor – in people voting to leave the EU. I’m not sure we can say that Brexit won’t make any difference to this though – it’s far too early to judge that and a lot of the adjustments needed have either not been made or not worked their way through yet (mainly the former).
I’m not strongly convinced that people believed that voting leave would automatically solve these problems. I think it’s more the case that they hoped it might, since there were no other possibilities open at the time that might have made a difference.

Dominic A
DA
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

“since there were no other possibilities open at the time that might have made a difference.”

Such as good national governance? Gov UK had tried everything…except leaving the EU, so let’s try that?

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I’m talking about the agency and concerns of individuals here – not the government. Individuals can only remove bad governments – they cannot force or create good ones – they must just keep trying until one emerges. Of course, in the EU, the people with the power cannot be removed at all. A critical reason for leaving for many of us (“at least with our incompetent leaders, we can get rid of them and eventually find something better”).
Let me be a bit more precise: there were no other/better possibilites on offer to them as voters in elections. That is all a voter can really do – vote.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You could have sacrificed a goat to Moloch. There is no particular reason to think it would have made anything better, but it had not been tried, and you could always hope it might help. Rather like Brexit, no?

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’m attempting to describe and rationalise the behaviour of some other leave voters – and not my own.
The ultimate outcome from Brexit will not be clear until a) it is properly implemented and b) the changes have settled in and worked through. That was always going to take around 10 years. Probably a little longer after the last 7 years largely spent in messing around, obstruction and political games.
No sane person should be attempting to pass final judgement on Brexit at this stage. Indeed, I never expected to in 2016 and shall not follow your misguided enouragement to do so !
I don’t believe in sacrifices or related religious mumbo-jumbo.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

“No sane person…” and yet here we have another article by a supposedly distinguished academic that demonstrates all the brainpower of a piece of Welsh coal. A bright spark? I think not, but it says more about our Establishment that this short-termist short-sighted drivel should emerge on the back of a poorly-defined poll.

Will the ‘learned’ ever learn?

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

OK, I was rather rude there. But the logic you are describing is ‘We need a big change; Brexit would be a big change; Therefore we need Brexit’ – *without even considering what the likely consequences would be*. Which is reckless, irresponsible, and frankly not very smart. That may not have been your own reasons, and indeed there was an honest case for Brexit. It would be to admit that the country would be poorer and weaker to start with, and that it would take at least ten years before you knew if it worked, but that it was worth it for having accountable, sovereign government and the hope of doing better twenty years down the line. A slogan like “We may be poorer, but we will be free“. But no one made that case in public, because you knew perfectly well that in order to win you would have to let people think that Brexit would be a quick easy win with no downside. You ran on ‘have your cake and eat it’ and they believed you, and voted for you.

That is why remainers will not shut up, or let you get away with saying ‘ah, but we never expected it to be easy’. Because you won that referendum on a barefaced lie.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Not at all (rude). And far less so than I can be when I get carried away.
In any case, we’re actually not disagreeing about everything.
Actually, if you check the comments, you’ll find that speech by Tony Benn in which he makes precisely the point that it is about freedom, regardless of the cost.
But I also believe that we’ll be better off medium and long term outside the EU. For example, by not bailing out unreformed continental countries and their unfunded pension liabilities (check out for example Tony Blair’s utterances on the desirability of “mutualising EU debts”). Any short term cost and transitional turbulence is a bargain compared to those.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It was a not particularly elevated campaign, but little different in that from most general elections whose results we usually accept! Remainers also of course ‘lied’, if you want to use that language, by saying the economy would collapse, as would house prices, war would be more likely, and that we would have to have an emergency budget, none of which proved true.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Not at all (rude). And far less so than I can be when I get carried away.
In any case, we’re actually not disagreeing about everything.
Actually, if you check the comments, you’ll find that speech by Tony Benn in which he makes precisely the point that it is about freedom, regardless of the cost.
But I also believe that we’ll be better off medium and long term outside the EU. For example, by not bailing out unreformed continental countries and their unfunded pension liabilities (check out for example Tony Blair’s utterances on the desirability of “mutualising EU debts”). Any short term cost and transitional turbulence is a bargain compared to those.

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

It was a not particularly elevated campaign, but little different in that from most general elections whose results we usually accept! Remainers also of course ‘lied’, if you want to use that language, by saying the economy would collapse, as would house prices, war would be more likely, and that we would have to have an emergency budget, none of which proved true.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

“No sane person…” and yet here we have another article by a supposedly distinguished academic that demonstrates all the brainpower of a piece of Welsh coal. A bright spark? I think not, but it says more about our Establishment that this short-termist short-sighted drivel should emerge on the back of a poorly-defined poll.

Will the ‘learned’ ever learn?

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

OK, I was rather rude there. But the logic you are describing is ‘We need a big change; Brexit would be a big change; Therefore we need Brexit’ – *without even considering what the likely consequences would be*. Which is reckless, irresponsible, and frankly not very smart. That may not have been your own reasons, and indeed there was an honest case for Brexit. It would be to admit that the country would be poorer and weaker to start with, and that it would take at least ten years before you knew if it worked, but that it was worth it for having accountable, sovereign government and the hope of doing better twenty years down the line. A slogan like “We may be poorer, but we will be free“. But no one made that case in public, because you knew perfectly well that in order to win you would have to let people think that Brexit would be a quick easy win with no downside. You ran on ‘have your cake and eat it’ and they believed you, and voted for you.

That is why remainers will not shut up, or let you get away with saying ‘ah, but we never expected it to be easy’. Because you won that referendum on a barefaced lie.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’m attempting to describe and rationalise the behaviour of some other leave voters – and not my own.
The ultimate outcome from Brexit will not be clear until a) it is properly implemented and b) the changes have settled in and worked through. That was always going to take around 10 years. Probably a little longer after the last 7 years largely spent in messing around, obstruction and political games.
No sane person should be attempting to pass final judgement on Brexit at this stage. Indeed, I never expected to in 2016 and shall not follow your misguided enouragement to do so !
I don’t believe in sacrifices or related religious mumbo-jumbo.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You could have sacrificed a goat to Moloch. There is no particular reason to think it would have made anything better, but it had not been tried, and you could always hope it might help. Rather like Brexit, no?

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

I’m talking about the agency and concerns of individuals here – not the government. Individuals can only remove bad governments – they cannot force or create good ones – they must just keep trying until one emerges. Of course, in the EU, the people with the power cannot be removed at all. A critical reason for leaving for many of us (“at least with our incompetent leaders, we can get rid of them and eventually find something better”).
Let me be a bit more precise: there were no other/better possibilites on offer to them as voters in elections. That is all a voter can really do – vote.

Dominic A
DA
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

“since there were no other possibilities open at the time that might have made a difference.”

Such as good national governance? Gov UK had tried everything…except leaving the EU, so let’s try that?

Rick Lawrence
RL
Rick Lawrence
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

No. We are poorer,like almost every other country , not because of Brexit but because of COVID management and it’s economic fallout, and now the war in Ukraine pushing prices of everything up substantially. It’s easy to say that our politicians are not up to it, but in better times ( no 2-year gong show due to COVID and no wars in Europe) incompetent politicians can get away with it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rick Lawrence
Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

OK, thanks. Yes, I agree that is a real problem. And these feelings are real – and valid – for large numbers of people.
And I’ll admit that was a factor – far from the only factor – in people voting to leave the EU. I’m not sure we can say that Brexit won’t make any difference to this though – it’s far too early to judge that and a lot of the adjustments needed have either not been made or not worked their way through yet (mainly the former).
I’m not strongly convinced that people believed that voting leave would automatically solve these problems. I think it’s more the case that they hoped it might, since there were no other possibilities open at the time that might have made a difference.

Rick Lawrence
RL
Rick Lawrence
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

No. We are poorer,like almost every other country , not because of Brexit but because of COVID management and it’s economic fallout, and now the war in Ukraine pushing prices of everything up substantially. It’s easy to say that our politicians are not up to it, but in better times ( no 2-year gong show due to COVID and no wars in Europe) incompetent politicians can get away with it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Rick Lawrence
Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

That is in the article. Apparently people of the UK feel ignored and rejected, they do not like the way the country is going, and they feel no one is addressing their concerns. I would not know, myself, but it sounds right to me. There is certainly a lot of discontent about. And apprently people thought that getting out of the EU would improve whatever it is they are unhappy about. Only it did not. So we are back at square one, apart from being poorer for having done Brexit.

John Smith
SE
John Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

That’s incorrect. Brexit was never a “solution”, it was an alternative. An alternative to the prevailing status quo at that time, where British voters elected politicians who were largely unable to effect any changes in areas such as trade, agriculture, competition, fisheries, social policy, internal markets, environment, consumer protection, areas of justice, state aid, industry, culture, tourism etc etc. If we had been members of the euro you could have added interest rates, debt and monetary policy to that list as well.
Now that Brexit has happened our elected representatives have the power once again to make changes in all those areas that reflect the will and desires of the electorate, and we can vote for them at elections. So it is not an irrelevance at all it, is extremely significant.
It is certainly fair to say that the implementation of Brexit has been poor and the quality of the politicians low, ditto the civil service. Both of the latter have been infantilised by 40 odd years of EEC and EU membership where their ambit steadily shrank, and their competence with it, as the EU accreted ever more power to itself from national governments.
Whilst the vehicle may be in poor condition, the driver incompetent and the mechanic second rate, that does not mean we are on the wrong road; simply that our progress along it will be rather slower than it might otherwise have been.
It will probably take a couple of election cycles plus some serious civil service reform to recalibrate the levels of ability required for the executive to set sensible policy and the bureaucracy to competently manage the ship of state, but it is not insurmountable and the destination, I believe, will be worth it.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  John Smith

Maybe. But my guess is that a much more competent political class and civil service could have done a lot better within the EU, too. And that significant changes in trade, agriculture, competition, fisheries, industry and many of the others will still run against opposition from your neighbours which will make changes hard. The EU, for all its shortcomings was good at promoting deals and compromises, and you are still going to need those. Anyway, if the car is breaking down and you are an incompetent driver, it would seem to be better to fix that before making grand plans about where to drive.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  John Smith

Maybe. But my guess is that a much more competent political class and civil service could have done a lot better within the EU, too. And that significant changes in trade, agriculture, competition, fisheries, industry and many of the others will still run against opposition from your neighbours which will make changes hard. The EU, for all its shortcomings was good at promoting deals and compromises, and you are still going to need those. Anyway, if the car is breaking down and you are an incompetent driver, it would seem to be better to fix that before making grand plans about where to drive.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’m looking at the Emperor and as far as I can see he’s magnificently dressed!

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Brexiteers were obviously entirely divided as to what course they wanted the country to take. However I am a democrat, and rejoining the EU, or anything approaching this, would mean that there would be even less control of the agendas and ideologies of elites than there is now. Handing over powers to a far more distant and undemocratic authority seems a somewhat strange way of addressing this dissatisfaction. People are very dissatisfied, but it could get still worse.

I don’t even know whether it is still possible to go down the path you recommend, but if so it would be on bad terms, and obviously none of the specific agreements and opt-outs previously negotiated would apply. All the aspects of the EU that the UK never found agreeable would be pushed onto the British whether we liked it or not.

On the less specific plane of morale and self confidence, the country would likely be utterly humiliated and treated as a pariah by other EU states for many years.

Specifically, we would have to agree to join the Euro in time (only Denmark has a legal opt out), of course having no control over migration even theoretically, having to agree to have a constitutional lock to prevent any future change in the undesirable opposite direction. There would be no turning back a second time.

But the biggest problem with the EU is – what’s the end state? The logic of ever-closer-union must logically mean all the current nations being reduced to the status of a US state. This point is rarely addressed by Remainers, except that alarmingly a few do say in terms that is exactly what they want to happen! Since there is little common feeling between German, French, Italian and British electorates, (ie do people like the idea of being outvoted by a hundred million foreigners?) there is no true European polity, and therefore no chance of a democratic European federal state, at least for many decades or even centuries.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I would actually not recommend rejoining the EU anyway even if it was politically possible, since I pretty much share your analysis. What could be done now (to ‘make Brexit work’) is to decide on a close and constructive relationship with the EU that would be useful for Britain, and then spend 20-30 years of patient politics looking for opportunities for achieving that. Continuously fighting or ignoring your biggest neighbour and closest trading partner is simply not smart and (whatever some economists claim) dealing with Indonesia or Uruguay is not going to take up the slack.

I dislike the same aspects of the EU as you do, and absent a common polity and fellow-feeling a superstate would indeed not be viable – not that it might not be tried even so, regrettably. The problem is what to do about it. The EU is what it is, and it is not going to disappear any time soon. Staying outside will give you more freedom in some areas, but for anything that impacts on trade or the economy (and what does not?), you will still have to deal with the EU and its demands. That means either abandoning a major market and potential partner, or adapting to their decisions anyway. As a member you got more leverage over EU rules in return for promising to abide by them. As an outsider it becomes purely a matter of arm-wrestling – and you are not strong enough to force them to do things your way. I would argue that staying in actually gave more power and choices to UK poiliticians than you are likely to get from the outside. If the politicians lacked the will or ability to make use of those opportunities, they are not going to discover them just because they are now in a weaker position. So whatever democratic theory might say, anybody who hoped that leaving the EU would lead to a society closer to (their) popular will, was always going to be disappointed. Just too bad that Britain had to leave the EU to pursue this mirage.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

I would actually not recommend rejoining the EU anyway even if it was politically possible, since I pretty much share your analysis. What could be done now (to ‘make Brexit work’) is to decide on a close and constructive relationship with the EU that would be useful for Britain, and then spend 20-30 years of patient politics looking for opportunities for achieving that. Continuously fighting or ignoring your biggest neighbour and closest trading partner is simply not smart and (whatever some economists claim) dealing with Indonesia or Uruguay is not going to take up the slack.

I dislike the same aspects of the EU as you do, and absent a common polity and fellow-feeling a superstate would indeed not be viable – not that it might not be tried even so, regrettably. The problem is what to do about it. The EU is what it is, and it is not going to disappear any time soon. Staying outside will give you more freedom in some areas, but for anything that impacts on trade or the economy (and what does not?), you will still have to deal with the EU and its demands. That means either abandoning a major market and potential partner, or adapting to their decisions anyway. As a member you got more leverage over EU rules in return for promising to abide by them. As an outsider it becomes purely a matter of arm-wrestling – and you are not strong enough to force them to do things your way. I would argue that staying in actually gave more power and choices to UK poiliticians than you are likely to get from the outside. If the politicians lacked the will or ability to make use of those opportunities, they are not going to discover them just because they are now in a weaker position. So whatever democratic theory might say, anybody who hoped that leaving the EU would lead to a society closer to (their) popular will, was always going to be disappointed. Just too bad that Britain had to leave the EU to pursue this mirage.

polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Leavers merely claimed that it would provide the opportunity for the UK to do better. The UK economy hasn’t performed better or worse than that of the EU since 2016.
I see the EU as a shambolic empire that will fall apart soon enough. I don’t want to be there when it does.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Once again, a Remainiac shows their lack of understanding. It was never about economics or Britain being richer, though there is no reason why it shouldn’t be. It was always about democracy. Of people wanting to control their own laws and borders and money. Remainiacs, as opposed to honest decent Remainers who accept the result of EURef, remind me of the old refugees from Empire that were knocking around when I was a kid telling everyone that India and Kenya would have been better off economically as colonies. They too didn’t understand that people prefer to run their own country badly, if necessary, rather than have it run well by foreigners. Or as Tony Benn put it so well. They prefer a bad Parliament over a good King.

“Some people genuinely believe that we shall never get social justice from the British Government, but we shall get it from Jacques Delors; They believe that a good king is better than a bad Parliament. I have never taken that view. …. We are discussing whether the British people are to be allowed to elect those who make the laws under which they are governed. The argument is nothing to do with whether we should get more maternity leave from Madame Papandreou [a European Commissioner] than from Madame Thatcher. That is not the issue. I recognize that when the members of the three Front Benches agree, I am in a minority. My next job therefore is to explain to the people of Chesterfield what we have decided. I will say first, ‘My dear constituents, in future you will be governed by people whom you do not elect and cannot remove. I am sorry about it. They may give you better creches and shorter working hours, but you cannot remove them.’ I know that it sounds negative but I have always thought it as positive to say that the important thing about democracy is that we can remove without bloodshed the people who govern us or even a Right Hon. Lady by internal processes. We can get rid of a Right Hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr Major). But that cannot be done in the structure that is proposed. Even if one likes the policies of the people in Europe one cannot get rid of them. Secondly, we say to my favourite friends, the Chartists and suffragettes, ‘All your struggles to get control of the ballot box were a waste of time. We shall be run in future by a few white persons, as in 1832.’….We must ask what will happen when people realize what we have done…..

Last edited 1 year ago by Samuel Gee
Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Your appear to have forgotten to tell us what the “real problem” is …

John Smith
SE
John Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

That’s incorrect. Brexit was never a “solution”, it was an alternative. An alternative to the prevailing status quo at that time, where British voters elected politicians who were largely unable to effect any changes in areas such as trade, agriculture, competition, fisheries, social policy, internal markets, environment, consumer protection, areas of justice, state aid, industry, culture, tourism etc etc. If we had been members of the euro you could have added interest rates, debt and monetary policy to that list as well.
Now that Brexit has happened our elected representatives have the power once again to make changes in all those areas that reflect the will and desires of the electorate, and we can vote for them at elections. So it is not an irrelevance at all it, is extremely significant.
It is certainly fair to say that the implementation of Brexit has been poor and the quality of the politicians low, ditto the civil service. Both of the latter have been infantilised by 40 odd years of EEC and EU membership where their ambit steadily shrank, and their competence with it, as the EU accreted ever more power to itself from national governments.
Whilst the vehicle may be in poor condition, the driver incompetent and the mechanic second rate, that does not mean we are on the wrong road; simply that our progress along it will be rather slower than it might otherwise have been.
It will probably take a couple of election cycles plus some serious civil service reform to recalibrate the levels of ability required for the executive to set sensible policy and the bureaucracy to competently manage the ship of state, but it is not insurmountable and the destination, I believe, will be worth it.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’m looking at the Emperor and as far as I can see he’s magnificently dressed!

Andrew Fisher
AF
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Brexiteers were obviously entirely divided as to what course they wanted the country to take. However I am a democrat, and rejoining the EU, or anything approaching this, would mean that there would be even less control of the agendas and ideologies of elites than there is now. Handing over powers to a far more distant and undemocratic authority seems a somewhat strange way of addressing this dissatisfaction. People are very dissatisfied, but it could get still worse.

I don’t even know whether it is still possible to go down the path you recommend, but if so it would be on bad terms, and obviously none of the specific agreements and opt-outs previously negotiated would apply. All the aspects of the EU that the UK never found agreeable would be pushed onto the British whether we liked it or not.

On the less specific plane of morale and self confidence, the country would likely be utterly humiliated and treated as a pariah by other EU states for many years.

Specifically, we would have to agree to join the Euro in time (only Denmark has a legal opt out), of course having no control over migration even theoretically, having to agree to have a constitutional lock to prevent any future change in the undesirable opposite direction. There would be no turning back a second time.

But the biggest problem with the EU is – what’s the end state? The logic of ever-closer-union must logically mean all the current nations being reduced to the status of a US state. This point is rarely addressed by Remainers, except that alarmingly a few do say in terms that is exactly what they want to happen! Since there is little common feeling between German, French, Italian and British electorates, (ie do people like the idea of being outvoted by a hundred million foreigners?) there is no true European polity, and therefore no chance of a democratic European federal state, at least for many decades or even centuries.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Dominic A
DA
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

“I wish we could all stop seeing Brexit as the go-to explanation for everything that ails us.”

Indeed – it started at least four decades ago with the ERG types, and Sun newspapers etc using EU activities and membership as the go-to explanation for everything that ailed us, and harping on about it ad nauseam for decades.

They cannot now expect to be free of such reverse-harping – particularly as it increasingly seems to be a case of, ‘you broke it, now you pay for it’. Take back control, take responsibility.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Brexit is an irrelevance? ..sure, like air is irrelevant; and water; and gas! Actually it’s all irrelevant.. the only thing that is real is good old fashion British stiff upper lip and Uncle Albert’s time “during the war”.. are you guys really that far gone? ..really that hopelessly irredeemable?

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I wouldn’t say it is an irrelevance so much as a catalyst…it has swilled all kinds of issues to the surface that have been brewing for ages but had been ignored or unnoticed. Now everything is out in the open, you have a chance to really look at everything in the cold light of day and try and find a way forward. That is actually a huge opportunity…but like I wrote elsewhere, too many simply invoke Brexit again at that point, arguing that rejoining is the solution and in many instances, it wouldn’t be. In those cases, the prospect of rejoining is kind of like a child’s comfort blanket – held onto tightly for so long, it’s become a toxic rag that needs prising out of their desperate little mitts and burning.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Well, Brexit was put forward and voted in as the solution. It was the remainers who said that Brexit would make Britain poorer and solve nothing – which is exactly what has happened. Brexit was a very costly irrelevance. If we can all agree on that, could we not agree to repair what can still be repaired of the relationship to the rest of Europe. That way we will at least be better off and stop getting distracted while we try to figure out what to do about the real problem?

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

“I wish we could all stop seeing Brexit as the go-to explanation for everything that ails us.”

Indeed – it started at least four decades ago with the ERG types, and Sun newspapers etc using EU activities and membership as the go-to explanation for everything that ailed us, and harping on about it ad nauseam for decades.

They cannot now expect to be free of such reverse-harping – particularly as it increasingly seems to be a case of, ‘you broke it, now you pay for it’. Take back control, take responsibility.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Brexit is an irrelevance? ..sure, like air is irrelevant; and water; and gas! Actually it’s all irrelevant.. the only thing that is real is good old fashion British stiff upper lip and Uncle Albert’s time “during the war”.. are you guys really that far gone? ..really that hopelessly irredeemable?

polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
1 year ago

“Yet this whole sorry affair is further fuelling what made them vote for it: a sense of anger at being let down by mainstream politics.”
I have a sense that this “sense of anger” is as true for England as it is for Wales. I wish we could all stop seeing Brexit as the go-to explanation for everything that ails us. It is an irrelevance.

Paul T
Paul T
1 year ago

This article reads like it was written by a teenage student union activist at some tenth rate polytechnic, circa 1975. The mantra that Brexit has failed is an assertion stated as though it’s a fact. The author is simply following the lazy and dishonest tactic of linking every problem faced by the UK at the moment to Brexit and ignoring the many other significant and probably overriding factors. Brexit is about restoring sovereignty to the UK and re-instituting accountability among our political leaders. If we have a bad bunch at the moment, we can get rid of them and replace them, unlike Ursula van der Leyen, Olaf Scholz or Guy Verhofstadt, none of whom was ever voted for by anyone in this country. Sovereignty is not about outcomes like ‘tempering the markets’, it is about underpinning the democratic fabric of the country by aligning political leadership to the demos.
I echo the previous commenter that the notion of independence creating a route to tolerant politics is delusional. Constitutional disputes always foster division. Look at the intolerance shown by remainers to Brexit supporters, or at the visceral divisions being thrown up in Scotland. And that’s without mentioning Northern Ireland.
The author promotes the case for independence while bemoaning the lack of funding received by Wales from the UK government. Which is it then?  Were you happy enough to receive UK vaccines and furlough money?  It’s more than 30 years since Margaret Thatcher and the pit closures, and 25 years (near enough) since you got devolved government. Scotland and Wales could have chosen a path of encouraging enterprise, creating wealth and positioning for life as viable independent entities. They have gone down the path of statism, dependency, handout culture and grievance. I can only assume that this miserable status quo suits the interests of the majority of politicians, and people, in these places.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Superbly clear explanation.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

The article does not actually say that Brexit has caused all the current problems. It just says that it does not solve anything. People are still discontented for the same reasons as they were ten years ago, and Brexit has not helped.

Paul T
PT
Paul T
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

And I didn’t claim the article said that. It does, though, very clearly link the shopping list of problems (NHS, public services, inflation) to Brexit failure. This is a common theme in Remainer literature – positioning today’s issues alongside Brexit, or portraying them as a description of ‘Brexit Britain’, or inventing strawman promises that supposedly haven’t been met. I could respect a clear argument, even if I would rebut it. It’s argument by insinuation and smearing that is lazy and dishonest.

Rasmus Fogh
RF
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

As I remember the argument for Brexit, it promised the world’s easiest trade deal, continued market access, lots of new trade with the rest of the world, and umpteen million a week for the NHS. If anybody – then – said that there would be huge amounts of trouble, lorry parks and extra red tape, and that it would take 20 years or more before the advantages showed up, it was certainly not the brexiteers. Just how does one misrepresent Boris ‘have your cake and eat it’ Johnson?

Paul T
PT
Paul T
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You are changing the terms of the discussion here from the article’s NHS, strikes and inflation to trade. But OK, taking that topic, we do have a trade deal and market access. UK trade (globally, in and out) is pretty much at record levels, although it’s impossible to decouple the effects of COVID recovery, Brexit, inflated energy prices, and general economic performance (www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-trade-in-numbers/uk-trade-in-numbers-web-version). We are spending billions more on the NHS, although we get diminishing returns from it. It was acknowledged that there would be changes to trading arrangements and a theme in Brexit campaigning was the ‘Nike tick’, acknowledging likely short term difficulties but with potential longer term benefits. This was, I recall, done to counter the doom-laden prophecies of Remain (economic collapse, mass unemployment) but you might say even that was if anything too pessimistic.
Anyway, I’m signing off on this thread now. I appreciate the head-to-head discussion though.

Paul T
PT
Paul T
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You are changing the terms of the discussion here from the article’s NHS, strikes and inflation to trade. But OK, taking that topic, we do have a trade deal and market access. UK trade (globally, in and out) is pretty much at record levels, although it’s impossible to decouple the effects of COVID recovery, Brexit, inflated energy prices, and general economic performance (www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-trade-in-numbers/uk-trade-in-numbers-web-version). We are spending billions more on the NHS, although we get diminishing returns from it. It was acknowledged that there would be changes to trading arrangements and a theme in Brexit campaigning was the ‘Nike tick’, acknowledging likely short term difficulties but with potential longer term benefits. This was, I recall, done to counter the doom-laden prophecies of Remain (economic collapse, mass unemployment) but you might say even that was if anything too pessimistic.
Anyway, I’m signing off on this thread now. I appreciate the head-to-head discussion though.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

As I remember the argument for Brexit, it promised the world’s easiest trade deal, continued market access, lots of new trade with the rest of the world, and umpteen million a week for the NHS. If anybody – then – said that there would be huge amounts of trouble, lorry parks and extra red tape, and that it would take 20 years or more before the advantages showed up, it was certainly not the brexiteers. Just how does one misrepresent Boris ‘have your cake and eat it’ Johnson?

Paul T
PT
Paul T
1 year ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

And I didn’t claim the article said that. It does, though, very clearly link the shopping list of problems (NHS, public services, inflation) to Brexit failure. This is a common theme in Remainer literature – positioning today’s issues alongside Brexit, or portraying them as a description of ‘Brexit Britain’, or inventing strawman promises that supposedly haven’t been met. I could respect a clear argument, even if I would rebut it. It’s argument by insinuation and smearing that is lazy and dishonest.

Christopher Thompson
CT
Christopher Thompson
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Harold Wilson closed more pits than Thatcher.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Excellent summary

Jonathan Andrews
JA
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Absolutely. I can’t see how the SNP and Plaid can honestly propose independence while contentedly pocketing the cash from England. Surely, the first stage on this road is to be able to say to the voters that the nation can fend for itself

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Superbly clear explanation.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

The article does not actually say that Brexit has caused all the current problems. It just says that it does not solve anything. People are still discontented for the same reasons as they were ten years ago, and Brexit has not helped.

Christopher Thompson
CT
Christopher Thompson
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Harold Wilson closed more pits than Thatcher.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Excellent summary

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul T

Absolutely. I can’t see how the SNP and Plaid can honestly propose independence while contentedly pocketing the cash from England. Surely, the first stage on this road is to be able to say to the voters that the nation can fend for itself

Paul T
Paul T
1 year ago

This article reads like it was written by a teenage student union activist at some tenth rate polytechnic, circa 1975. The mantra that Brexit has failed is an assertion stated as though it’s a fact. The author is simply following the lazy and dishonest tactic of linking every problem faced by the UK at the moment to Brexit and ignoring the many other significant and probably overriding factors. Brexit is about restoring sovereignty to the UK and re-instituting accountability among our political leaders. If we have a bad bunch at the moment, we can get rid of them and replace them, unlike Ursula van der Leyen, Olaf Scholz or Guy Verhofstadt, none of whom was ever voted for by anyone in this country. Sovereignty is not about outcomes like ‘tempering the markets’, it is about underpinning the democratic fabric of the country by aligning political leadership to the demos.
I echo the previous commenter that the notion of independence creating a route to tolerant politics is delusional. Constitutional disputes always foster division. Look at the intolerance shown by remainers to Brexit supporters, or at the visceral divisions being thrown up in Scotland. And that’s without mentioning Northern Ireland.
The author promotes the case for independence while bemoaning the lack of funding received by Wales from the UK government. Which is it then?  Were you happy enough to receive UK vaccines and furlough money?  It’s more than 30 years since Margaret Thatcher and the pit closures, and 25 years (near enough) since you got devolved government. Scotland and Wales could have chosen a path of encouraging enterprise, creating wealth and positioning for life as viable independent entities. They have gone down the path of statism, dependency, handout culture and grievance. I can only assume that this miserable status quo suits the interests of the majority of politicians, and people, in these places.

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

Most Welsh nationalists seem as unaware of the powers devolved to the Senedd, as Scots Nats are of Holyrood’s mismanagement. Always quick to blame Westminster for failures in areas that are actually devolved competencies. (To use the word “competency” in the loosest possible sense).
Of course the devolved Welsh Govt is happy to complain about the uselessness of Westminster.
A case of the pot calling the sospan fach.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

That’s two puns using the native language of the subject in question in one day!

Keep ’em coming.

Paddy Taylor
PT
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I’m afraid I can’t help myself. It borders on a medical condition!
The Telegraph is currently running a story on the spineless Welsh RFU dictating what can and can’t be sung at the Rugby.
To wit: Wales ban rugby choir from singing ‘Delilah’ at Six Nations (telegraph.co.uk)
I felt compelled to respond thusly …

This is all part of the trans-activists’ ongoing fight against the idea that your sex/gender is dictated by your chromosomes.

XX – Female

XY – Male

YYY – Delilah

I can only apologise.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paddy Taylor
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Fantastic!
And to that, i can only add: very wise
Arrrrgggghhhhhh!!!!

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Superb

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Fantastic!
And to that, i can only add: very wise
Arrrrgggghhhhhh!!!!

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Jonathan Andrews
JA
Jonathan Andrews
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

Superb

Paddy Taylor
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I’m afraid I can’t help myself. It borders on a medical condition!
The Telegraph is currently running a story on the spineless Welsh RFU dictating what can and can’t be sung at the Rugby.
To wit: Wales ban rugby choir from singing ‘Delilah’ at Six Nations (telegraph.co.uk)
I felt compelled to respond thusly …

This is all part of the trans-activists’ ongoing fight against the idea that your sex/gender is dictated by your chromosomes.

XX – Female

XY – Male

YYY – Delilah

I can only apologise.

Last edited 1 year ago by Paddy Taylor
Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Paddy Taylor

That’s two puns using the native language of the subject in question in one day!

Keep ’em coming.

Paddy Taylor
PT
Paddy Taylor
1 year ago

Most Welsh nationalists seem as unaware of the powers devolved to the Senedd, as Scots Nats are of Holyrood’s mismanagement. Always quick to blame Westminster for failures in areas that are actually devolved competencies. (To use the word “competency” in the loosest possible sense).
Of course the devolved Welsh Govt is happy to complain about the uselessness of Westminster.
A case of the pot calling the sospan fach.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

“…independence offers an appealing route back to more tolerant politics”.

Unless you can be sure of a massive pro-independence majority, you’ve got to be either daft or really, really desperate to think that. It will simply open up the same toxic and lasting divisions within one nation as it has across the UK as a whole.

Personally I think the Scottish and Welsh pro independence movements should be heard as a wider discussion about the UK’s constitutional settlement, which just isn’t working. Perhaps a more federal structure can be offered, which offers them more autonomy…whereby England would probably demand a rethink of the Barnett formula and that the then federal provinces are given more powers and responsibilities for collecting tax. Then you could put the new idea to the Scottish and Welsh electorates as part of referendums where independence is also on the menu.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

No thanks. Had enough of that. I don’t want independence and nor do I want the possibility of even more power given to a hopeless assembly full of deranged Marxists. I’m referendummed out, thank you very much.

Alphonse Pfarti
AP
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

No thanks. Had enough of that. I don’t want independence and nor do I want the possibility of even more power given to a hopeless assembly full of deranged Marxists. I’m referendummed out, thank you very much.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

“…independence offers an appealing route back to more tolerant politics”.

Unless you can be sure of a massive pro-independence majority, you’ve got to be either daft or really, really desperate to think that. It will simply open up the same toxic and lasting divisions within one nation as it has across the UK as a whole.

Personally I think the Scottish and Welsh pro independence movements should be heard as a wider discussion about the UK’s constitutional settlement, which just isn’t working. Perhaps a more federal structure can be offered, which offers them more autonomy…whereby England would probably demand a rethink of the Barnett formula and that the then federal provinces are given more powers and responsibilities for collecting tax. Then you could put the new idea to the Scottish and Welsh electorates as part of referendums where independence is also on the menu.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Roger Mortimer
RM
Roger Mortimer
1 year ago

There’s probably not much I agree with John Major about, but he was right to say that devolution was a cynical, vote-winning exercise, with the Scots granted greater powers of self-government than the Welsh purely because Blair was more worried about losing votes to the Scottish National Party than to Plaid Cymru.

Roger Mortimer
RM
Roger Mortimer
1 year ago

There’s probably not much I agree with John Major about, but he was right to say that devolution was a cynical, vote-winning exercise, with the Scots granted greater powers of self-government than the Welsh purely because Blair was more worried about losing votes to the Scottish National Party than to Plaid Cymru.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago

Yet another article that fails to recognise that Wales actually voted for Brexit (as it did, by a small majority) and is written as though the reverse were true. Then tries to put all the “blame” onto England. It’s OK – they won’t get the credit later either.
And then there’s nonsense like this “Welsh Labour points, not entirely unreasonably, to the lack of funding it receives from the UK government”. Two words: Barnett formula.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

Yet another article that fails to recognise that Wales actually voted for Brexit (as it did, by a small majority) and is written as though the reverse were true. Then tries to put all the “blame” onto England. It’s OK – they won’t get the credit later either.
And then there’s nonsense like this “Welsh Labour points, not entirely unreasonably, to the lack of funding it receives from the UK government”. Two words: Barnett formula.

Linda Hutchinson
LH
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

“Yet this whole sorry affair is further fuelling what made them vote for it: a sense of anger at being let down by mainstream politics.”
I’m just wondering if there is some way that England can leave the UK, too, as many people in England who feel the same way.

Linda Hutchinson
LH
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

“Yet this whole sorry affair is further fuelling what made them vote for it: a sense of anger at being let down by mainstream politics.”
I’m just wondering if there is some way that England can leave the UK, too, as many people in England who feel the same way.

Malcolm Webb
MW
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago

Myopic best describes this piece. Furthermore, the idea that Brexit has galvanised the case for Welsh independence (a point nowhere substantively developed in the article) is laughable. Yet another committed Remainer, blind to the mess that is the EU but still crying over the loss of an EU dream, which, in truth, was already becoming a nightmare – and has only become more so since we luckily left.

Milton Gibbon
MG
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

Having read the title I thought that the argument was going to be backed with some statistics on support for independence. It is unfortunate this academic has caught remania and can’t see anything – even his own nationalist cause – except through the prism of leave/remain which was decided 7 years ago.

Milton Gibbon
MG
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  Malcolm Webb

Having read the title I thought that the argument was going to be backed with some statistics on support for independence. It is unfortunate this academic has caught remania and can’t see anything – even his own nationalist cause – except through the prism of leave/remain which was decided 7 years ago.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
1 year ago

Myopic best describes this piece. Furthermore, the idea that Brexit has galvanised the case for Welsh independence (a point nowhere substantively developed in the article) is laughable. Yet another committed Remainer, blind to the mess that is the EU but still crying over the loss of an EU dream, which, in truth, was already becoming a nightmare – and has only become more so since we luckily left.

Dominic A
DA
Dominic A
1 year ago

I suppose what is all too real is that if a Brexiteer is against an independent Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, London or Hay, they have no leg to stand on. They all have a right to ‘take back control’, and resist the pernicious influence and poor management of the outsiders. It is a political expression of today’s hyper-individual activism (aka narcissism, overt or covert) – identity is paramount; everyone must respect my uniqueness, my views, and my prescription for change – or I’ll cancel them.

Dominic A
DA
Dominic A
1 year ago

I suppose what is all too real is that if a Brexiteer is against an independent Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, London or Hay, they have no leg to stand on. They all have a right to ‘take back control’, and resist the pernicious influence and poor management of the outsiders. It is a political expression of today’s hyper-individual activism (aka narcissism, overt or covert) – identity is paramount; everyone must respect my uniqueness, my views, and my prescription for change – or I’ll cancel them.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Another pointless Bregret article, suckering intelligent Unherd readers into debating Bregret instead of dismissing the concept completely as irrelevant. We left a trade organisation that wanted to create a supranational government, before we got concreted into place.

It’ll be years before we get the trade and economic benefits of it, but in the meantime we’ve already reaped huge medical benefits (vaccines) and foreign policy benefits (leading the west on defending Ukraine; AUKUS in the next field of war threat) that have unexpectedly made Brexit well worth it immediately.

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

Another pointless Bregret article, suckering intelligent Unherd readers into debating Bregret instead of dismissing the concept completely as irrelevant. We left a trade organisation that wanted to create a supranational government, before we got concreted into place.

It’ll be years before we get the trade and economic benefits of it, but in the meantime we’ve already reaped huge medical benefits (vaccines) and foreign policy benefits (leading the west on defending Ukraine; AUKUS in the next field of war threat) that have unexpectedly made Brexit well worth it immediately.

Ray Andrews
RA
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

Britain long ago decided to become a 3d world country, and that’s what it now is, what’s the problem? Do you want better living conditions than in Somalia? That would be racist.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

You appear to be nothing more than a condescending left wing pseudo-intellectual who imagines himself to be a member of an all-knowing, superior, metropolitan social elite… a group that engages in cynical, pro-EU, anti-British rhetoric and prides itself on running down the country, its government and its institutions at every opportunity.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

You appear to be nothing more than a condescending left wing pseudo-intellectual who imagines himself to be a member of an all-knowing, superior, metropolitan social elite… a group that engages in cynical, pro-EU, anti-British rhetoric and prides itself on running down the country, its government and its institutions at every opportunity.

Last edited 1 year ago by William Shaw
rob drummond
RD
rob drummond
1 year ago

If the good people of Wales want to Leave UK thats up to them. I am certain if there was a Vote ENGLAND would.

But unlike Scotland and possibly Wales England would not vote for independence and then join an organisation that would IMMEDIATELY deny them exactly that.

On a passing point how would the Government of Wales explain to their citizens “we lost the English / Barnet formula – and also our new EU masters are demanding £2bn in subs.

Sue Frisby
SF
Sue Frisby
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

I know Welsh people who support both independence and want to be part of the EU. It’s confused me. Let me know if I’m missing something.

Sue Frisby
Sue Frisby
1 year ago
Reply to  rob drummond

I know Welsh people who support both independence and want to be part of the EU. It’s confused me. Let me know if I’m missing something.

rob drummond
RD
rob drummond
1 year ago

If the good people of Wales want to Leave UK thats up to them. I am certain if there was a Vote ENGLAND would.

But unlike Scotland and possibly Wales England would not vote for independence and then join an organisation that would IMMEDIATELY deny them exactly that.

On a passing point how would the Government of Wales explain to their citizens “we lost the English / Barnet formula – and also our new EU masters are demanding £2bn in subs.

Chris W
CW
Chris W
1 year ago

What a terrible, biased account. Some points:

1) Every year the Welsh Assembly commissions poll after poll on independence and report after report on the economics of independence. The poll questions are cleverly(?) changed from poll to poll to try to push towards ‘yes’. The voting age was pushed down to 16 to try to get more positive results. We even have polls for 16-18 year olds only. The results show that about 25% would vote for independence. A long way to go but the policy is clearly to hope that enough people die to allow a better result in tbe future. Of course, this shows that the assembly is only concerned with itself and not the people of Wales.

2). Wales keeps and funds a staffed house in Brussels to grease the way forward.

3) The responsibility for NHS Wales is firmly with the Assembly, not with Westminster.

4) The Assembly is always moaning that Wales does not get enough money to manage. But it can pay for itself, the cost of polls and the house in Brussels. I suspect that each of the 60 members costs a lot of money in security alone.

5) The number of members of the Assembly is rising from the present 60 to 96 at the next election.

So, having got the mismanagement out of the way, I fully believe in the advantages of Welsh independence but we need to remove our inward-looking politicians and manage things properly with tbe help of the people. Wales has more than enough natural resources to drive ahead of England, where government is just as self-seeking. Ultimately, the problem is England but at the moment it is the poor quality of our Assembly.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris W
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Right, so you’re saying the assembly is concerned with itself and not with the Welsh people, the state of NHS Wales is solely the Assembly’s issue and not Westminster’s, that the whinging about not getting enough cash from the UK kitty is also off-kilter and that Wales is basically the victim of its own mismanagement…but you then conclude by saying that “ultimately, the problem is England”? How does that make sense?
Sorry, but this “it’s all England’s fault” is just as big a cop out as “it’s all Brussels’ fault” ever was. If Wales wants to go about its independence in a smarter way than Brexit has been handled then stopping the knee-jerk whinging about England has to be job 1.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Graeme Laws
GL
Graeme Laws
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

The problem is that Wales is relatively poor. Without Westminster, it would be a lot poorer. I have yet to see any evidence that any of the politicians have any practical ideas to facilitate the creation of more wealth. Having more politicians, a trophy airport, bilingualism and jobs for the boyos won’t butter any economic parsnips. I wish I knew the answer. I’m not clever enough. But nor is the current crop of Welsh politicians.

chris Barton
CB
chris Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme Laws

Brussels (Germany) stands ready with buckets of cash to fill the gaps in exchange for any new found independence and the dismemberment of another part of the UK which our leaders are only too happy to sell out.

Graeme Laws
GL
Graeme Laws
1 year ago
Reply to  chris Barton

Some might assumptions here. Would Wales be let into the EU? Wales would have to be independent first, and then satisfy the criteria for entry, which would be seriously difficult. Then Wales would hope for massive injection of EU funds, which may or may not be forthcoming. Big leap of faith required.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  chris Barton

Let me tell you, popular support in Germany for forking out money for another net recipient in the EU is pretty limited. You may like to think that there is appetite in Brussels for the UK to break up as a kind of spiteful revenge for Brexit…but it would create FAR more problems for them than the UK staying entire. For them, the ideal solution would be to have the UK back in the single market – under their regulatory control but without a voice – and hope that that pacifies the Welsh and the Scots sufficiently to dampen any independence movements.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Graeme Laws
GL
Graeme Laws
1 year ago
Reply to  chris Barton

Some might assumptions here. Would Wales be let into the EU? Wales would have to be independent first, and then satisfy the criteria for entry, which would be seriously difficult. Then Wales would hope for massive injection of EU funds, which may or may not be forthcoming. Big leap of faith required.

Katharine Eyre
KE
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  chris Barton

Let me tell you, popular support in Germany for forking out money for another net recipient in the EU is pretty limited. You may like to think that there is appetite in Brussels for the UK to break up as a kind of spiteful revenge for Brexit…but it would create FAR more problems for them than the UK staying entire. For them, the ideal solution would be to have the UK back in the single market – under their regulatory control but without a voice – and hope that that pacifies the Welsh and the Scots sufficiently to dampen any independence movements.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Sue Frisby
Sue Frisby
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme Laws

Wales has a lot of land. Land could lead to food independence. It has lots of beautiful places. That can and does lead to tourist income. Add technology to the mix and Wales could do very well independently. But if the WRU can’t stand up for itself, then maybe there’s no hope!

chris Barton
CB
chris Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme Laws

Brussels (Germany) stands ready with buckets of cash to fill the gaps in exchange for any new found independence and the dismemberment of another part of the UK which our leaders are only too happy to sell out.

Sue Frisby
SF
Sue Frisby
1 year ago
Reply to  Graeme Laws

Wales has a lot of land. Land could lead to food independence. It has lots of beautiful places. That can and does lead to tourist income. Add technology to the mix and Wales could do very well independently. But if the WRU can’t stand up for itself, then maybe there’s no hope!

Doug Pingel
DP
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Chris – where were you around about the first referendum on devolution? Did you miss the financial exercise carried out at about that time? The results said that “Every local and national (un)Civil Servant, not to mention all politicians and all public sector workers would have to take a 33% (yes – ONE THIRD) pay cut because that’s all we can afford.” Now tell me about all those ‘natural resources’ that will make up the shortfall.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Sorry – this is just plain wrong about Wales being able to “drive ahead of England”. Even if it has “more than enough natural resources” (which is far from clear – one might make the same argument about Cornwall), that’s not what matters these days. Things like world class universities, international transport links, cities where overseas professionals want to come and live, innovation hubs for technology and life sciences, centres for professional services (law, finance, business). That’s all in England – and mainly in London and the South East. And that’s not likely to change.
Nothing against Wales here and not necessarily an argument against Welsh independence if that’s what Wales wants (but we’re a long way from that today). It’s just too small and lightly populated and takes too long to get to.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Right, so you’re saying the assembly is concerned with itself and not with the Welsh people, the state of NHS Wales is solely the Assembly’s issue and not Westminster’s, that the whinging about not getting enough cash from the UK kitty is also off-kilter and that Wales is basically the victim of its own mismanagement…but you then conclude by saying that “ultimately, the problem is England”? How does that make sense?
Sorry, but this “it’s all England’s fault” is just as big a cop out as “it’s all Brussels’ fault” ever was. If Wales wants to go about its independence in a smarter way than Brexit has been handled then stopping the knee-jerk whinging about England has to be job 1.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Graeme Laws
Graeme Laws
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

The problem is that Wales is relatively poor. Without Westminster, it would be a lot poorer. I have yet to see any evidence that any of the politicians have any practical ideas to facilitate the creation of more wealth. Having more politicians, a trophy airport, bilingualism and jobs for the boyos won’t butter any economic parsnips. I wish I knew the answer. I’m not clever enough. But nor is the current crop of Welsh politicians.

Doug Pingel
DP
Doug Pingel
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Chris – where were you around about the first referendum on devolution? Did you miss the financial exercise carried out at about that time? The results said that “Every local and national (un)Civil Servant, not to mention all politicians and all public sector workers would have to take a 33% (yes – ONE THIRD) pay cut because that’s all we can afford.” Now tell me about all those ‘natural resources’ that will make up the shortfall.

Peter B
PB
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris W

Sorry – this is just plain wrong about Wales being able to “drive ahead of England”. Even if it has “more than enough natural resources” (which is far from clear – one might make the same argument about Cornwall), that’s not what matters these days. Things like world class universities, international transport links, cities where overseas professionals want to come and live, innovation hubs for technology and life sciences, centres for professional services (law, finance, business). That’s all in England – and mainly in London and the South East. And that’s not likely to change.
Nothing against Wales here and not necessarily an argument against Welsh independence if that’s what Wales wants (but we’re a long way from that today). It’s just too small and lightly populated and takes too long to get to.

Chris W
Chris W
1 year ago

What a terrible, biased account. Some points:

1) Every year the Welsh Assembly commissions poll after poll on independence and report after report on the economics of independence. The poll questions are cleverly(?) changed from poll to poll to try to push towards ‘yes’. The voting age was pushed down to 16 to try to get more positive results. We even have polls for 16-18 year olds only. The results show that about 25% would vote for independence. A long way to go but the policy is clearly to hope that enough people die to allow a better result in tbe future. Of course, this shows that the assembly is only concerned with itself and not the people of Wales.

2). Wales keeps and funds a staffed house in Brussels to grease the way forward.

3) The responsibility for NHS Wales is firmly with the Assembly, not with Westminster.

4) The Assembly is always moaning that Wales does not get enough money to manage. But it can pay for itself, the cost of polls and the house in Brussels. I suspect that each of the 60 members costs a lot of money in security alone.

5) The number of members of the Assembly is rising from the present 60 to 96 at the next election.

So, having got the mismanagement out of the way, I fully believe in the advantages of Welsh independence but we need to remove our inward-looking politicians and manage things properly with tbe help of the people. Wales has more than enough natural resources to drive ahead of England, where government is just as self-seeking. Ultimately, the problem is England but at the moment it is the poor quality of our Assembly.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris W