An article written by CWS Board Member Cllr Adrian Mason: Let me start off by saying that I like the idea of devolution. To have decisions made by local people for local people is a much more focused type of government and, in theory, very sensible.
Unfortunately, in Wales, devolution starts and stops in South East Wales. For us in North Wales, Cardiff Bay is geographically distant. It may as well be in Glasgow. In fact, it goes further than that, as culturally we are very different too. Without a great deal of industry, we in North Wales rely heavily on the tourist trade and agriculture. We are far removed in every way from the Cardiff ‘bubble’.
It is therefore very difficult for many people in North Wales to see the Welsh Government making pronouncements on Covid 19 for the whole of Wales.
The Prime Minister has set out the roadmap to end lockdown. Essentially, he wants people to use their common sense as we take the tentative steps towards freedom from the constraints imposed to keep the virus in check. It is the Conservative way to allow people to take control their own lives. Not so the Welsh Labour Government, whose basic socialist instincts are to curtail individual freedoms in exchange for state control. They do not trust the people and prefer to dragoon us into thinking they know best.
This brings me back to my initial point. The decisions take by Cardiff are not taken to benefit us in North Wales, they are decisions taken for an electorate much closer to home.
The decision of the Welsh Government prohibiting day trips into Wales is not based on the most up to date science. It has been shown that rates of transmission for those in the open air and observing social distancing rules is almost non-existent. We have countless square miles of some of the most beautiful countryside in the UK. Why close it off and deny the many local businesses the chance to recover some of their losses from the last few weeks? Tourism is a major part of North Wales’s income and it is not the first time the Welsh Government has failed to realise that; just think of the proposed tourism tax they wish to impose.
The recent prejudicial comments about English tourists, perpetuated by a left-wing regional newspaper has been shameful. We in North Wales rely upon our visiting neighbours to keep our local economy afloat. How short-sighted it is to bite the hand that feeds. And can you image the reaction if the English tried to bar the Welsh from their tourist spots?
The truth is that there are increasingly few votes in North Wales for Labour and so their motivation to protect our interests play second fiddle to what they perceive to be the needs of South East Wales. The Nationalists, of course, need little encouragement to engage in anti-English sentiment and yet, in a predominantly Conservative North Wales, we are forced to swallow the edicts of a remote socialist regime with little interest in our requirements.
Devolution in Wales is not devolution in its truest sense at all; it is the perpetuation of a set of interests and values that have been comprehensively rejected in the rest of our United Kingdom.