Saturday, August 12, 2006

Government of Wales Act makes us "4th class citizens"

Discontent over the Government of Wales Act continues to rumble in and outside the Welsh Assembly. This letter below by David Thomas, Plaid Assembly Candidate for Montgomeryshire, spells out the absurdity of an Act which leaves all the major decisions in Wales at the mercy of Westminster (from Daily Post, 11 August, 2006).
The Government of Wales Act, passed on 25 July, far from settling the democratic process in Wales “for generations at least if not for ever” (as Peter Hain hopes) should be repealed as soon as possible as it makes us 4th class citizens in our own land.

Both the Northern Ireland Assembly (when it meets) and the Scottish Parliament have far more control over their own affairs than the Welsh Assembly and, given that Westminster, with an in-built majority of 529 English MPs out of a total of 646, virtually functions as an English Parliament that means we in Wales have less responsibility than any legislature in the UK over even the handful of matters which have been devolved to any degree at all.

Take, for example, the building of new nuclear power stations. Both the NI and Scotland Assemblies could refuse planning permission but not we in Wales. In fact the UK government could force one on us and the minister who would currently take the decision on our behalf could be a Scottish MP!

Even laws proposed unanimously by the Welsh Assembly can be blocked in five different ways by Westminster. What sort of democracy is that!

As a matter of natural justice and human rights we in Wales should have the same legislative powers as NI and Scotland.

We deserve to be treated as 1st class not 4th class citizens.


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