With the formation of another new UK political party (‘The Independent Group’) having received extensive coverage in the media over the last ten days, it’s worth pausing for a moment to ask why and how new parties form, and how to gauge their prospects. Will the Independent Group succeed where the SDP failed? Do they have any relevance for Wales?
I can’t see how having Welsh road signs in Essex and Welsh documents circulating in the civil service corridors of Whitehall and Walthamstow would help to raise living standards in Ynyshir, Eglwys Fach or anywhere else in Wales.
Wales has a considerable deficit in medical education and does not train the number of medical practitioners or nurses needed for our country. Why were Swansea Academics and a Carmarthenshire Local Government Civil servant planning to sell medical science degrees to middle east students? Its a kick in the teeth for our own youngsters who cannot even get into a medical or nursing school due to shortage of places. Were the “proceeds” ever likely to be used to expand our own medical and nursing schools or just to line the pockets of others? The police are now involved.
It’s sometimes a good exercise to play ‘devil’s advocate’ and try to find compelling arguments against the position that you hold. From time to time over the last few months, I’ve been trying to think of what the best arguments are for Wales remaining part of the UK.
For over two years I have campaigned for reform of occupational licensing and worker certification schemes. I have lobbied my MP, my local Welsh Assembly Ministers and I even presented a petition to the Welsh Assembly. My efforts have so far fallen on very deaf ears.
It is a myth that Wales has always been a poor country needing subsidies from the rest of the UK. As recently as the 1960s, Wales was subsidising the rest of the UK by paying more in taxes than it received, and the ‘fiscal deficit’ we hear about nowadays is the direct result of UK and Welsh government policies which have impoverished the country.