Thursday, 19 November 2009

Understand Wales says Carwyn

In an article published on The Guardian's Comment is Free website today, Welsh Labour Leadership contender, Carwyn Jones, says it is time the rest of Britain understood Wales, and devolution.

Carwyn says:

"The point of devolution is not to do things differently for the sake of difference, but to do things differently where it makes sense and where we can deliver better and more appropriate services."

Commenting just following the publication of the All-Wales Convention’s report, he adds:

"Wales is not Scotland-lite, some kind of diluted diet version of an authentically-devolved nation. The Welsh relationship to the British state is far more complex than that. Welshness and Britishness are closely interwoven. British Labour movement heroes like Aneurin Bevan took the co-operative traditions of Welsh community socialism and used their models to build the British National Health Service."

Carwyn also points out that he is the product of a modern
Wales, and a modern Britain, someone comfortable with the different identities of being Welsh, British and European, saying:

"My experience is the experience of a modern diverse Britain. Born in South Wales, the first language I learned was Welsh. I am married to a Catholic from Belfast. Before I left infant school the UK had joined the European Union as we now call it. I am happy to embrace the multiple identities of being Welsh, British, and European."

In the article, Carwyn reaffirms his commitment to campaigning for a yes vote on law-making powers for Wales, in the referendum promised in the One Wales coalition agreement with Plaid Cymru. He also says that victory in that referendum is more likely to be secured after the General Election if Welsh Labour has fully considered and digested the report collectively.

Carwyn says he came into politics when he saw what the Thatcher government was doing to mining communities. He warns:

"I burn still with an anger about those times and if elected Leader in two weeks time I will fight to stop a Tory government. I reject the defeatist talk now abroad in parts of our movement. It is right to recognize our own challenge in Wales, where the Tories narrowly exceeded Labour’s vote in the European elections. But the Glasgow by-election result showed Labour across the UK that we can fight back to win.

"Let all in our party say they are proud to be Labour – and commit themselves to stopping a Tory government that would slash and burn in Wales as well as elsewhere."


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