LibLink: Kirsty Williams – Scottish independence result will have ‘colossal impact’ on Wales and UK

rally kirsty williams 1Kirsty Wiliams, leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, has added her voice to those calling for Scotland to remain within the United Kingdom. Here’s an excerpt of what she had to say at BBC Online:

I firmly believe that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom. 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. It’s clear that the constitutional make-up of the entire UK will have to change even if the No side wins.

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. …

The Liberal Democrats in government 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.

We must be given the tools we need to build a stronger Welsh economy, create a fairer society and provide the opportunity for everyone to get on in life.

You can read Kirsty’s article in full here.

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23 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Sep '14 - 3:17pm

    People should resist the urge to fight for their own regional interests too strongly. It will be a negative sum game where regionalism replaces nationalism and you’ll have the same negative consequences.

    If this rhetoric continues then Lib Dems will have to kiss goodbye to London and the South East. Things like the bank bonus tax and the mansion tax don’t only affect rich people, but the local economy and there will be a back-lash.

    Best wishes

  • Stephen Hesketh 13th Sep '14 - 4:04pm

    Eddie, I think you would find that a Lib Dem bank bonus and mansion tax would only affect the rich!
    I’m sure you agree that only a very small minority of people in London and the South East earn (get paid) ridiculous bonuses. The rest may, on average, earn more than the rest of us but they have to struggle with crazy house prices.

    I would love to see a proper study conducted regarding the effect Land Value Tax might have on house prices and also the introduction of a heavy tax on the profit made on empty ‘investment’ properties in particular.

    I rather think ordinary London residents would benefit.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Sep '14 - 4:14pm

    Hi Stephen, regardless what we are talking about is reducing solidarity, so I’m surprised so many on the left seem to be so pro devolution. Unless wishful thinking things richer parts of the country are just going to let other parts do a power grab without fighting back.

    I know not all of London is rich (I used to live there), but the commuter belt and other areas won’t accept it.

    Manifestos are all going to be including “power powers”, but soon we’ll end up going backwards and calling for “further integration”. People should be able to see the pros and cons of this.

    A poll came out today that 40% of people wanted more regional powers, compared to 16% against, but the words “colossal” can link to “instability” and more powers doesn’t necessarily mean “more powers, on demand”.

  • Ian MacFadyen 13th Sep '14 - 4:18pm

    I agree with Kirsty. We need a symmetrical federation, which all the members, including Wales and Scotland, have the same powers.

    Eddie: Wales is not a region. It is a nation and we have been fighting for home rule since before Gladstone promised it.

  • Eddie Sammon, you are a few months too late when you warn that –“.. Lib Dems will have to kiss goodbye to London and the South East”.
    This happened in May — we lost all our MEPs except one, we now have not a single councillor in 18 London Boroughs and fewer than five in most of the other twelve boroughs.
    This is not because of the mansion tax or threats to bankers’ bonuses (both of which are popular policies amongst the great mass of voters in London and theSouthEast. It is because the national leadership decided that party political broadcasts should be devoted to Nick Clegg talking about Europe and his poor performance against Farage in the TV debates. It is because the ridiculous “local manifesto” had nothing to do with our councillors and candidates at local level and had been cobbled together using the Tax Payers Alliance and The Daily Mail as sources.
    It is because Clegg and co are not up to the job.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Sep '14 - 4:38pm

    Ian, doesn’t Wales receive more in state spending than it pays in taxes? The radical devolution model falls apart once other areas call for it.

  • Eddie Sammon 13th Sep '14 - 5:07pm

    Hi John, I agree with some of your sentiments, I just get exasperated by certain things.

  • John Roffey 13th Sep '14 - 5:31pm

    @ John Tilley

    “It is because Clegg and co are not up to the job.”

    Although this is probably true – the actual reason why the Party cannot make any progress is because its current stated aim is to continue in coalition with the Tories after the next GE – not to act in the best interests of an independent party by adapting itself to changing circumstances . This aim requires that only ‘Tory approved’ policies can be adopted – so that there is no conflict in the creation of a coalition agreement.

    Even if Clegg were trying to act in the best interests of the Party – his high disapproval rate coupled to the fact he is not trusted to keep his word – would mean that he would have little or no chance of success.

  • Well done Kirsty for writing your essay without a single reference to England,

    Surely you have heard of England, it is that that great big lump to the east of Offa’s Dyke that has a population some 17 times the size of Wales, and it pays most of your bills.

    You can class Wales and Scotland as nations , and ignore the real national powerhouse in these islands if you have a suicide wish, we all know your party for political reasons has been at the forefront in trying to erase England from the map over recent decades. In the new sense of English national identity brought about by the undemocratic nature of the devolution system your party fully supported, there is now an ever increasing demand for a Parliament for England in a fully federal system, not your cobbled together regional stitch up, I would have thought that the last thing your party needs is another reason for the public to despise you, to add to the long, long list that they already have.

    You could start by beginning the task of repositioning your party by acknowledging the existence of the major nation in these islands England in any further essays.

  • Eddie, it would be good if we could have a system that could dynamically respond to the challenges of the time by either empowering local administrations or increasing centralisation, depending on the needs of the day.

    The current heavily centralised state came about when the Lloyd George and later the Churchill administrations had to rework government to allow Britain to outlast Germany through the world wars. They created a very effective system that could win the war, but at a cost of ending up with a terrible peacetime situation that could only really manage decline. Britain’s 20th Century history is a story of winning the war and losing the peace, and our failure to reform away from the centralised system once the wars were over is part of why.

    As to the solidarity point, there’s absolutely no reason why federal systems can’t enable and further those goals. The current centralised unitary state certainly does a terrible job at it, just compare the per-head spending between London and Newcastle, Manchester or Liverpool, for example. Federal systems mean that regional spending levels become headline news and make sure that there’s somebody who is accountable for those spending levels in each region. Much easier to campaign for and achieve fairer settlements that way.

    Raddiy, she’s the Welsh party leader, English matters are actually none of her business really. There are articles elsewhere on LDV addressing what we can do to help England. And on that topic, an English Parliament just recreates all the overcentralised uselessness of Westminster at 85% scale. England needs regional assemblies within it to help handle the real wealth and opportunity divide in the country.

  • Raddiy – Kirsty is the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats and was writing an article for BBC Wales. It’s pretty obvious why she would concentrate on Wales (and the referendum).

    You do highlight a major problem though: the majority of people in scotland and wales was more devolution. In england there is little call for it. How do we deal with that?

  • Tsar Nicolas 13th Sep '14 - 11:52pm

    How about more power for Scotland (and wales and England) to ignore the Landfill Directive, if they so wish?
    Not on offer? Thought not.

  • John Roffey 13th Sep ’14 – 5:31pm

    I agree with you.

  • Oh dear, just as The NO campaign thought the polls were looking good.

    from The Observer — “The former prime minister Tony Blair, who has been absent from the debate, said he hoped the vote would go against independence.
    “I hope Scotland votes to stay part of the UK,” Blair

    No doubt he has found a dossier that tells us there are weapons of mass destruction in Faslane.
    If people in Scotland vote YES those of us south of the border will be seeking an escape to asylum in Iraq which is a haven of peace and tranquility after Mr Balir’s intervention there.

  • @ John Tilley

    You never have anything positive to say, do you?

  • RC —– In answer to your question, in the last few days I have made very positive comments in the thread about David Rendel being selected as ppc in Somerset and Inwas very positive in thread on this week’s byelection results Inwas very positive about the victory of a Liberal Democrat who had worked with the local community to save green belt land.

    By definition, my support for a YES vote in Scotland is positive line and Inhave commented in four of YES repeatedly.
    In so doing I Amin line with very many Liberal Democrats in Scotland who are voting YES.
    By definition the unionists who say NO are the negative ones. Lined up with the Orange Lodge fanatics they are the ones shouting the Paisley slogan “Never, never, never”. You cannot get much more negative than that.

  • Eddie Sammon 14th Sep '14 - 10:38am

    T-J, thanks for your informative and good post. I broadly agree with you. I still think the option of an English parliament should be on the table, but I’m interested in both. As I said, there are problems with devolving too much to the richer regions and I think all regions are going to demand for equal powers.

  • @John Tilley – “I Amin” – I do hope that was a typo?

    Or have the divorce campaign started co – opting African dictators?

  • Should we be talking about Amin, the “Last King of Scotland”?

  • JUF
    Apologies just one of my many typos. That line should have read —
    “…I am in line with very many Liberal Democrats in Scotland who are voting YES.”

    David Allen. 🙂
    I hope I was not under the influence of the Ugandan Dictator.

  • Phew 😉

  • I’d forgotten the King of Scotland bit

  • Simon Banks 17th Sep '14 - 4:57pm

    Regionalism is not about regional advantage at the expense of others. It’s about devolution, bringing power closer to the people. “Good government is no substitute for self-government” (Gladstone).

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