Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.As a person who moved in 1997 I’ve never experienced any issues coming from the fact that I’m an Englishman I’ve met and know of a few people who do (they would tend to be the sort of person who would moan about the Welsh actually having the temerity to put their own language on signage across the country).
Similarly on a general level I’ve not really heard that many people within Wales complain about English immigration (aside from the issue of elderly English immigration which I’ve chatted about in a previous post). Where there has been resentment it’s been towards those who bought property as a second holiday home rather than those who moved permanently.
But soon there might be two issues which added together might change all that.
The tolls for the Severn Bridge (aka the Prince of Wales Bridge or as I will call it for this post The Geraint Thomas Bridge) will soon be abolished. House prices in Bristol are very expensive so people are looking very seriously about moving across The Geraint Thomas Bridge to buy cheaper homes/new builds in areas such as Newport and then commuting across The Geraint Thomas to and from work in Bristol and the surrounding area.
Now let’s pause on the above and look at the other fact.
There is a shortage of affordable housing in Wales. In fact in the lifetime of the current Welsh Assembly the Labour administration plan to build twenty thousand houses….for the whole country.
Now let’s put those two facts together.
English families moving to South East Wales buying houses whilst Welsh families are priced out of the market.
That is a scenario for possible social unrest.
Who is to blame for this? Well some fingers point to blog villain Secretary of State for Wales and microdot of humanity Alun “Chucky” Cairns. The feeling basically is that it’s part of a maniacal plan to merge Wales with England so that independence becomes harder.
Well perhaps. But the problem with that argument is that tolls on the Geraint Thomas bridge were always resented within Wales. The lifting of the tolls is a popular move. Even if some of the consequences might not be.
So could it be that a lot of the blame for this possible social scenario falls on soon to be ex First Minister and blog slug Carwyn Jones and Welsh Labour? After all twenty thousand affordable houses for the whole of Wales seems like an astonishingly small figure. Also I would bet that Labour have done no/little/or just about the economic planning about the consequences of an influx of English families to South East Wales once the tolls are lifted. It would not be the first time that the Welsh Labour administration are reactive rather than being proactive to events.
Now like I’ve said the above is a hypothetical situation, but I’d argue not an impossible one. Cairns and Jones need to discuss this. For potentially the consequences of inaction could be very bad indeed.
Until the next time.