Monday 20 April 2015

Are they decentralists or not?

When the EnglandandWales Green Party manifesto was published, I saw it as something of a step forward in that party’s thinking about Wales.  The reference to a referendum on Welsh independence and the right of the people of Wales to choose that status if we wish was something I hadn’t heard as clearly from them before.
It didn’t tell us where they actually stand on the issue, though.  Are they for or against?  It has long surprised me that any party claiming to want more decentralised decision-making and a more localised economy wouldn’t automatically support any proposal for greater local autonomy.  The position taken by the Scottish Greens in the recent referendum was much more robust.  They not only supported the holding of a referendum, they actively worked to encourage people to vote yes.
But shortly after the EnglandandWales manifesto came the Welsh manifesto, which was a much weaker document as far as this issue goes.  No mention of independence or of any referendum, merely the wishy-washy sentence “We believe that the starting position should be that all powers are devolved from Westminster to the Welsh Government except for those that are best retained at a UK level”.
What on earth does that actually mean, other than that “we’re in favour of devolving everything except those things that we’re against devolving”?  Devoid of any explanation of the basis for deciding what things are “best retained at a UK level”, it tells us absolutely nothing about what they actually believe.  It can mean anything to anyone – and it’s a statement which it’s impossible for anyone to disagree with.  Supporters of independence and supporters of the abolition of the Assembly could both say the same thing.
It looks, from the outside, as though the Green Party in Wales is almost afraid of being too Welsh, or of supporting autonomy for Wales.  But I really don’t understand why.  And I think that they’re missing a trick as a result.


Anonymous said...

just to clarify john the section you refer too in the wider general election manifesto supporting a referendum was actually written by officers of the wales green party. It appears it was omitted from the welsh mini manifesto because they thought it was unecessary to mention it twice, given the welsh manifesto was complimenting the wider manifesto rather than differing from anything in it. So you will no doubt be relieved to know Welsh greens certainly support the right of self determination of the people of wales.

Anonymous said...

Do not touch Welsh Greens with barge pole.

John Dixon said...


You are, of course, entitled to hold such an opinion. But your comment is hardly a contribution to any sort of debate.

Green Dragon,

I take the point about the Welsh manifesto being a supplement to, rather than a replacement for, the EnglandandWales one. But neither tell us whether the Green Party holds any sort of view about what the constitutional status of Wales should be. Were a referendum to be held, would they be for or against the proposition? And neither does it tell us anything about what the criteria are for deciding what is 'best retained at a UK level'. Although, of course, the implied suggestion that the party believes that there are things which should fit in that category may indirectly be answering my first question.

Gwyn Jones said...

Hear hear Anon 19:38.
Read the Green manifesto. It is a very authoritarian party. Much more so than all of the other parties including Plaid Cymru which are morphing into another authoritarian party.
It is a "ban it" and a "something must be done, this is something, let's pass legislation".
Over thirty years ago when I did a degree in Politics and History I could make very good model of a green governmentin Nazi Germany.
Gwyn Jones

Anonymous said...

Dear Gwyn, instead of making blind accusations based on your ideology, why not back it all up with some facts?