Monday, 16 January 2012
What about Wales
What happens in Scotland will have real consequences for Wales. This blog has flagged this up frequently since Alex Salmond won his majority last May.
David Cameron’s attempt to wrong foot Salmond by pushing for an early referendum and Salmond’s response has set off the referendum campaign. Salmond now declares it will be Autumn 2014.
So there will be two years of arguments about independence. It is already dominating the headlines and the airwaves of the UK media.
If this last week is an indication, Scotland's referendum will dominate the news agenda for the next two years. Will any Welsh issue make it on the agenda in this time? Unlikely.
But Carwyn Jones was right to point out that if Scotland left the union the relationship of those that remained would have to change fundamentally.
The rump of the UK Parliament after the Scottish MPs were taken out of the equation would consist of 550 MPs. 510 of these would come from England, 30 from Wales and 10 from Northern Ireland.
Then Westminster would cease to be a Parliament of three remaining countries but simply a Parliament for England. And Carwyn Jones's response to such a situation, a demand for more MPs and peers from Wales and Northern Ireland. More politicians?
Nice try Carwyn, but why would the Tory government want to give in to your demands. To negotiate you have to have something to give and you’ve ruled out independence, so the negotiating cupboard is bare.
Prime Ministers always think of their place in history so if Cameron was to see Scotland break away on his watch that would be a serious blow to his esteem. But once that had happened would he really be worried about Wales. Doubtful.
As Carwyn Jones has already publicly declared “it would not be a good thing for Wales to become independent. Financially it is not in our interest.”
If this is true, and there are some that would dispute the case, surely it’s an admission that Wales is a basket case that is wholly dependent on England.
If that’s the case why, oh why, would Cameron grant Carwyn Jones more MPs and Lords. What would they do? Whinge for more resources? The Prime Minister may be many things but a masochist he is not.
No, Carwyn Jones had better hope that Salmond looses his touch and that those Scots that want independence remain a minority.
Opinion polls show that if the referndum was held today only 33% would be in favour with 53% against with another 14% not yet made up their minds.
But if a week is a long time in politics, two years is, well, long enough for the polls to change dramatically.
So rather than whinge to Cameron for more seats Carwyn Jones would be better employed leaning on Darling and Brown to start campaigning hard, in their homeland for the Union.
If they fail, the English might start questioning whether they would want Wales in their smaller Kingdom.
Surely, now is the time for the Welsh Government to address the question of what it should do, if it had to go it alone.