Welsh WikiLeaks

Discussion about what\'s going on outside of Cornwall
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Welsh WikiLeaks

Post by Fulub-le-Breton » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:21 pm


Ref ID: 09LONDON1779
Date: 8/3/2009 16:14
Origin: Embassy London
Destination: 09LONDON1363
C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 001779 NOFORN SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/03/2019 TAGS: PGOV, UK SUBJECT: WELSH DEVOLUTION REPORT LIKELY TO RECOMMEND PATIENCE, BUT POTENTIAL FOR TENSION LOOMS REF: LONDON 1363 Classified By: Political Minister Counselor Greg Berry for reasons 1.4(b) and (d).
1. (C/NF) Summary: In June the All Wales Convention, which will report on whether the Welsh should hold a referendum to transfer significant powers from London to the Welsh legislature, concluded six months of town-hall meetings and is preparing its recommendations. Indications are that it sees the current partially devolved government as untenable in the long run, but is unlikely to press for rapid further devolution. Most experts see a continued slow, steady march toward Wales gaining the same degree of independence enjoyed by Scotland over the long run. However, the economic crisis and the increasingly likely possibility of a swing from Labour to Conservative rule in London could complicate the process. The Welsh economy is especially vulnerable to cuts in government spending that could prompt Welsh voters to demand a referendum on devolution sooner. End Summary.

Why is Welsh Devolution Important? ---------------------------------- Welsh devolution poses a particular challenge. If the Welsh vote for their own parliament, the Welsh, Northern Irish, and Scots will continue to send MPs to Westminster to vote on legislation affecting all of the UK. However, the English, who represent approximately 84 percent of the UK,s population, will not have any voting rights on devolved issues in the other three home nations.

All Wales Convention to Deliver Report on Devolution --------------------------------------------- -------
3. (U) This November, the All Wales Convention will deliver its final report on devolution. The Convention was set up by the current governing coalition in Wales, the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru (the Welsh Nationalist Party). In 2007, Plaid conditioned their participation in the coalition on holding a referendum on further devolution that would lead to a fully-fledged Welsh Parliament with law-making powers similar to those of the Scottish Parliament. Labour, divided over the issue, agreed to a compromise: the neutral All Wales Convention would inform the public about devolved government and report back.

Mixed Signals from Convention -----------------------------
4. (SBU) In late June, the Convention concluded six months of town-hall meetings throughout Wales. Sir Emyr Jones Parry, the head of the Convention, gave an interview stating that the Welsh do not understand the current semi-devolved system and that it was "not good for democracy" that the people did not understand the system. Some observers saw Parry's comment as a hint that the Convention might issue a recommendation for a referendum sooner rather than later.
5. (C/NF) However, Aled Edwards, one of the All Wales Convention Commissioners, gave a different interpretation to Poloff on July 30. He agreed with Parry's assessment that the Welsh do not understand the relationship between powers devolved to Cardiff and those that remain in Westminster. But while he agreed the current system was untenable, he said the Convention was leaning towards the view that it would not be worthwhile to hold a referendum on an issue that people do not truly understand.

The View from London --------------------
6. (C/NF) Peter Hain, who served as Secretary of State for Wales from 2002 - 2008 and was reinstated in June 2009, told Poloff on July 16 that a referendum now is not advisable. Hain was instrumental in devising the current arrangement, passed in 2006, in which the Welsh Assembly must specifically request powers from Westminster. These powers are then devolved to Cardiff, where the Assembly can then make laws. Hain noted that dozens of powers have been devolved and this has allowed Cardiff to legislate on matters of interest while relieving the young Assembly of the responsibility to legislate all areas of government (something which might be difficult for a legislature with only 60 members, many of whom have limited experience as lawmakers). Ultimately, Hain said, it is virtually inevitable that Wales will get a more complete devolution, but he advocates waiting 5-10 years.

The Welsh Political Parties' Views ----------------------------------
7. (C/NF) Labour, Plaid Cymru, and the Liberal Democrats appear ready to accept the view of the All Wales Convention and the Westminster Cabinet -- that devolution is worthwhile, but should come slowly when the Welsh people are ready for it. Gwenllian Landsdown, Plaid's Chief Executive, and Plaid Assembly Member (AM) Nerys Evans have both told Poloff that further devolution is their goal, but only when the Welsh people vote for it on the basis of their firm convictions. Labour appears divided; while some Westminster MPs are rather reluctant to let go of their traditional powers, there is little ideological objection to further devolution within Welsh Labour. Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister's key strategist, told Poloff that the party's concern is winning back its support in Wales and not waging ideological battles.

Monkey Wrench in the Works? A Conservative Parliamentary --------------------------------------------- ----------- Victory -------
8. (C/NF) The real wildcard is the Conservatives. The Conservatives uniformly opposed devolution when it was narrowly approved in a 1997 referendum and some cling to this position. Despite the fact that the Welsh now almost uniformly support current or greater levels of devolution, some observers suspect the Conservatives may still harbor a desire to pull back. Richard Wyn Jones, the director of the Welsh Governance Center at Cardiff University and one of the foremost experts on Welsh politics, laid out a potential scenario: should the Conservatives win in Westminster in the next general election, historical Welsh suspicion of Westminster Tories could be exacerbated by significant Tory spending cuts (the Welsh economy is heavily dependent on government expenditure). With Labour and Plaid still in power in Cardiff through 2011, popular opposition to Westminster could lead to support for a devolution referendum. A "yes" vote in a referendum would have to be approved by Parliament in Westminster, however. The Conservatives, wanting to assert their opposition to the "breakup" of the union and perhaps wanting to guard their right flank from the recently strengthened British Nationalist Party and UK Independence Party (reftel), might block the move. In Jones' view, this scenario could lead to a significant crisis in the UK's fundamental political structure.

9. (C/NF) Nevertheless, the current leadership of the Conservatives in Wales, especially AM Nick Bourne, has no desire to push a confrontation. Bourne told Poloff that he and his fellow Welsh Conservatives have long since gotten over their devolution defeat and now are focusing on making devolution work. A recent book by one of the Welsh Conservatives' key thinkers, AM David Melding, argues that greater devolution along the Scottish model is actually the best way to solidify the British state. Melding argues that the UK has already moved a long way towards federalism, and the union would best be served by making it official. Bourne told Poloff he enjoys good relations with UK Conservative leader David Cameron and talks with him weekly. But a Conservative victory in the UK in 2010 would be the first time since devolution started in 1997 that there will be different parties in power at opposite ends of the M4 motorway (which connects Cardiff to London) and no one is sure how this will play out. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX MELVILLE

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Re: Welsh WikiLeaks

Post by Cormorant » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:07 pm

This is old stuff.

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Re: Welsh WikiLeaks

Post by Marhak » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:21 pm

Oh, you're back, are you? So what if it is old stuff? It needs to be seen, read and inwardly digested, because the English agenda remains intact.

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Re: Welsh WikiLeaks

Post by Anselm » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:26 pm

The most hilarious part was where Hywel Francis - allegedly - says that London don't like Carwyn Jones, and have been toying with the idea of parachuting some suitable toady into the First Minister job. One possible candidate was Peter Hain, long past his sell-by date and having completed a notably undistinguished term in the non-job of Secretary of State. The other one was Eluned Morgan, a particularly outstanding exponent of the Not Frightfully Good, of whom the best that can be said is ... yes ... quite ... it'll come back to me ... oh well, some other time, perhaps ...

'Against a promontory my ship' Rump L. Stiltz-Kinn

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Rod Coward
Cornish Pirates

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