was originally published on this site
Whilst I was on Wales Online‘s Facebook Page and reading the comments on the article The Likely Contenders to the Wales’s Next First Minister, the first thing that I noticed flying in my face was the sheer number of people calling for the Welsh Assembly to be scrapped.
For example, out of the first ten that appeared, some four were calling for the devolved legislature to be scrapped, including the top two screenshot on the right.
In March 2014, some 23% of respondents in a BBC Wales poll called for the institution to be scrapped, while in the Assembly elections of 2014, 4.4% of voters chose to cast their ballots for the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party.
So the obvious question is why – why do so many people in Wales want to abolish Wales’s own government?
Trying to Explain the Unexplainable
Let’s be clear, these people are not anarchists – they’re not calling for the Welsh Assembly to be abolished because they want all government to be abolished, on the contrary, none of them seems to want to abolish Westminster – it seems to be only the Welsh Assembly that they have it in for.
Which is odd isn’t it? Because one of their main arguments every time, is that the Welsh Assembly is a waste of money. But is it?
In August last year, there was controversy over the fact that the Welsh Assembly needed a £1.8 million refurbishment programme. Yet, in January this year, it was announced that in Westminster, the British Houses of Parliament needed £3.5bn for restoration! Which is more… do the maths.
The Welsh Assembly is also very cheap to run in terms of staffing costs for the simple reason that it only has 60 members. Yes, 60. Compare that to Westminster, which as 1435 members, of whom nearly 800 are unelected.
Yes, not only is the Welsh Assembly so much cheaper than Westminster, it is also much more democratic, with it’s proportional representation and lack of hereditary and appointed peers. Yet still, it’s the Welsh Assembly, not Westminster, that those people want to be scrapped.
And then they will argue that the Welsh Assembly has run Wales badly ever since it’s creation in 1999. And yes, that may be true, but nobody in England has ever said that Westminster should be abolished whenever it cocks up.
Likewise, you don’t have Germans calling for the abolition of the Bundestag whenever they don’t like Merkel, do you? Wanting to actually abolish your country’s system of government is just not the normal thing to do when you merely disagree with the party that happens to be in power.
The Real Reason
Now, I don’t claim the know every single one of those people who want to abolish the Welsh Assembly, most of them, of course, I have not met personally.
But for those who I have met, or have come across either on line or on Television, I can say this. They all seemed to have several things in common:
- They were against promoting the Welsh Language and believed that the Welsh Language, along with Devolution were the two reasons behind all of Wales ills
- They hated anything that made Wales too culturally different from England and seemed to have a naturally condescending view of the country and its potential.
- They had the tendency to think that Welsh Nationalism was uniquely evil.
Make no mistake – those people were against the Welsh Assembly not because they were anti-government, but rather because they were anti-Welshness.
This is despite the fact that many of them are people who have chosen to live in Wales.
That all pretty much sums up Jacques Protiques, and his Glasnost UK, pretty well, and it certainly sums up pretty much every other Assembly-Abolitionist that I’ve ever met.
Now I don’t know to what extent this is also true of the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party, but they certainly seem to be only keen on abolishing the Welsh Assembly and not the British Parliament, for example.