Welsh Liberal Democrats response to Plaid Cymru’s Independence Commission report

Responding to Plaid Cymru’s Independence Commission report which has been published on 25 September, Welsh Liberal Democrats described the report as a mix of fanatical politics and pie in the sky economics.

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds said:

Politics isn’t working for Wales or the UK as well as it could right now, I understand why independence looks attractive, but it isn’t the answer.

There are far too many uncertainties, too many unknowns and too many risks with independence. We don’t know nor are Plaid proposing solutions to questions such as: What currency we would use? Would we still have access to the BBC? What would happen in towns and villages that straddle the border? Or whether English students will still be able to study in our universities?

Opinion polling constantly shows the vast majority of Welsh voters are firmly against independence and time and time again that voters’ concerns involve bread and butter issues like health, education and the economy.

Economic madness

Figures from Cardiff University show that Wales has an annual deficit of £13.7 billion which is over twice the entire budget of the Welsh NHS. On day one of independence using the most up to date figures available Wales’ debt as a percentage of GDP would be 88%, a figure which will grow over time if current spenidng is maintained. This is a figure calculated before considering the share of the UK’s debt that even Plaid Cymru admit Wales would be expected to shoulder and any of the recent extraordinary spending as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jane Dodds further said:

Plaid Cymru needs to be honest with the public about these figures and come clean with either how much an independent Wales will be forced to borrow on the first day of independence or what public services might be dropped.”

The current pandemic shows how much Wales benefits financially from being part of the UK, there is virtually no way that the current furlough scheme would have been financially possible for example.

Wales absolutely can and should be doing better, but independence isn’t the only option and it certainly isn’t the right one.

A federal and equal United Kingdom

At the weekend Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds joined colleagues from the rest of the UK at the party’s conference to call for a truly federal United Kingdom.

The process would start with a declaration of a federal United Kingdom. A citizens’ assembly would then help draw up a written constitution.

Under the motion The Senedd, the Scottish Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly would have their powers protected and could not be over-ruled by the Westminster government.

The governments would be required to co-operate to tackle big issues that affect the whole UK such as child poverty or the climate emergency.

Jane Dodds added:

The idea to reform the UK to a federal nation similar to Canada and Germany is a constructive middle way between a centralising Westminster government and a dash for independence from the nationalists.

It replaces division with the co-operation which is needed to heal the existing divisions and to build a better future for everyone.

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8 Comments

  • The imposition of the Welsh language on the English speaking majority makes a complete mockery of the concept of democracy and the ever expanding political class are sucking the lifeblood out of Wales, all the sweet nothings of local democracy turn out to be a way to rip-off the actual people who have no interest in politics. Before inflicting any more damage, layer upon layer of useless political nonsense has to be removed, maybe then you can start with some sensible but minimal new structures.

  • It seems to me that PC are trying to copy the SNP – hold a referendum and hope all the “yes” voters switch to them. I hope there is no referendum; the Scottish referendum and the Brexit referendum both caused division and hatred.

    Frank :-
    I think you are on the wrong site. You comment is more suited to “Conservative Home”.

  • “Frank :-
    I think you are on the wrong site. You comment is more suited to “Conservative Home”.”

    Nah, anarchist weekly does me fine…

  • John, that is a strange comment, with a max of twenty percent speaking Welsh (prob a quarter of that actually bother to) why on earth should Welsh born English speaking majority have to leave the country – again, where is the democracy in that? Actually, I have long exited Wales so no problem for me but it is very annoying to have gibberish blared out of railway station spekers whilst running for a train, etc, etc, when I return for a visit. Quite happy for people to speak whatever language they like, BTW, but don’t see any reason for forcing people to speak it. Have a referendum on it and see where it gets you!

    LibDems seem to be getting a rep for believing in democracy but only when it suits them!

  • George Thomas 3rd Oct '20 - 8:34am

    I feel that this is a good statement but given that the most likely outcome from next election is a Conservative majority in some form so the question will boil down to 8.5/9 years to work on answering the questions above or 8.5/9 years of having further powers “stolen” from devolved nations and an ever shrinking voice in Westminster? The Lib Dems and Labour’s failure over the past 10 years has done as much if not more to encourage devolved nations to think about independence.

    One comment I read said that, as a person who has just arrived in Wales, never before had they seen all the majority of parties say their country was too small, too incapable to be independent. Yet Wales is still the most pro-union nation within the UK. What I feel the majority of people want is long term, highly skilled jobs; the ability to get from the north of Wales to the South or north to north west without having to spend hours going into England first and pay hundreds of pounds; for the media to accurately report on what is happening here and for there to be wider respect that it is a separate nation with two languages. It’s not so different to what people in north of England want, but independence does start to have an emotional pull whenever MP’s such as Daniel Kawczynski open their mouth and 40% of the UK still approve of this UK government.

    “O.K. Frank! So the Welsh language is gibberish? That must be why some years ago children were punished for speaking it in Welsh schools.” Punishment in school these days describes detention or a stern talking to, it was more of a systematic desire to kill off the Welsh language utilising financial resources and capital punishment that impacted all age groups.

  • A better argument might be that co-operating on issues such as environmental protection, economic links, health, social issues and security is more beneficial to all because those issues cross borders. A more Federal approach is therefore a better way forward.

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