LibLink: Kirsty Williams: A chance to promote a new union

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams has been writing for Click on Wales saying that she hopes that Scotland remains within the UK and how the Referendum gives an opportunity to make the union between our nations work better.

First she talks of the benefits of remaining in the Union:

The referendum offers us a chance to promote a new Union, rather than stubbornly defend the old.  The Welsh Liberal Democrats offer people a more positive future:  not one of isolation, but one in which all corners of the United Kingdom are indeed stronger and better together.

I firmly believe that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom. Being part of a strong family of nations like ours is in the best interest of not just Scotland but the rest of the UK too. We all benefit from a stronger economy, greater national security and a powerful international voice that would be hard to match as separate states. However, Scotland must have more powers to determine its future.  To simply do nothing in the event of a ‘No’ vote cannot be an option.

And she talks bout what needs to happen in the future for both Scotland and Wales and highlights what the Liberal Democrats have achieved in Government.

I regret the fact that it’s taken such a large threat to our Union for many people to stand up and take notice and start discussing improvements to our nation’s constitutional relationship with the rest of the UK. Liberals have been advocating greater home rule for Wales and Scotland for over a century, and the Liberal Democrats have championed a federal solution for decades.  We want to bring a wider range of decisions closer to the people they affect, enabling local solutions to be found that take into account local circumstances.

While Wales, and the rest of the UK, must gain stronger powers, I have never quite understood the logic used by the SNP and Plaid Cymru to argue for independence. Both parties rightly recognise the vast benefits that come from being part of the family of nations that is the European Union – the economic prosperity, the millions of jobs, the cultural experiences. Yet both parties fail to apply this same reasoning to the United Kingdom – itself a family of nations that musters its economic and cultural strength from all four corners of these isles.

In an ever-changing world with an increasingly inter-connected and inter-dependent population, it seems nonsensical to be putting up new borders. We should be taking every possible opportunity to co-operate with our neighbours across the world to deal with issues such as cross-border crime, global tax avoidance, climate change – problems that all nations face but cannot deal with alone.

In just a few years in Government, the Liberal Democrats have already delivered significant powers for Wales.  This momentum must continue. The rest of the UK has to gain greater devolved powers after September, and I will not allow Wales to be left behind in any such discussions

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  • Ian MacFadyen 11th Sep '14 - 2:02pm

    Da iawn, Kirsty.

    Wales must have the same powers as Scotland. In fact, we should have a symmetrical federation, with each member being equal in status and powers as every other member. A constitutional convention across the UK could help bring this about. Meantime, I hope Scotland votes No next Thursday by a wide margin.

  • Gwyn Williams 12th Sep '14 - 1:04pm

    Labour and Plaid Cymru are both centralising parties.They see devolution from Whitehall stopping in Cardiff. The fear for many of us is that further powers will lead to the creation of not a cascade of devolution down to local communities but just moving Westminster on the Thames to Westminster on the Taff. For those of us in North East Wales , it takes longer to reach Cardiff by train than London. Devolution to Liverpool, Manchester and the other cities of the North could create a new economic hub. Ensuring that a Welsh Assembly dominated by Labour in South Wales did not prevent North Wales from linking into this new powerhouse is a key demand to a UK convention on devolution.

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