Oh no, oh please no, it’s that time again: the 6th Senedd election takes place this Thursday. I’m dreading it. Why? Because, through the events and experiences of a pretty routine life, I have gradually learnt that when it comes to human affairs the worst conceivable outcome is guaranteed to happen.
It’s like this. Only about 50%, at best, of the Welsh electorate will bother to vote (assuming the weather isn’t too bad – ha ha, don’t make me laugh). Since fully 25% of the electorate are English retirees, downsizers, second-home owners, white settlers and economic migrants – an immense, unplanned influx enabled by the ‘market forces’ unleashed on Wales over the last 40 years – and nearly all of them are instinctively anti-Welsh, irretrievably rightwing and highly motivated to vote, these contemporary invaders will pervert the election outcome just as they did in the 2016 Brexit referendum, tipping Wales humiliatingly into the vile Brexit camp (52%-48%) when a Welsh-only vote that excluded foreign nationals, as is the norm in independent countries (eg: the UK) around the world, would have been comfortably in favour of Remain. On top of this handicap is the fact that those Welsh people who do vote have been subject to the same cradle-to-grave Great British Propaganda Blitzkrieg as their English neighbours, Wales having next to no indigenous media of its own, with the result that many have been moulded into compromised apologists, self-serving collaborators, abject grovelers or just pugnaciously ignorant Brit bigots who will also vote for one of the many British Nationalist parties on the ballot-paper.
Openly hostile to the very idea that Wales has the temerity to exist are:
Welsh Conservatives – an inconsequential sub-branch of the criminal UK government that is hell-bent on reversing what little devolution there is, illegally grabbing devolved powers via the ‘internal market’, never consulting or even informing the Senedd about measures that directly affect Wales, using the so-called ‘levelling-up fund’ to bypass devolution, ignore the devolved governments and dictate policy in devolved matters, swamping us with the grotty, menacing and offensive symbols of BritShit hegemony, and making it abundantly clear that Wales, one of their pet hates, is on the hit-list. It’s about, what else, power. As Brexit illustrated, Tories don’t like to cede even the tiniest morsel and are repelled by things like co-operation and friendship – unless, of course, it’s with other bullying, war-mongering imperialists or oil-rich one-party dictatorships. To a Tory, power=money, money=power, and neither must ever be shared, the reason why the UK is the most centralised state in the world. In the selection process for the Senedd elections, potential Tory candidates were asked if they wanted to abolish Wales’ infant democracy – and an affirmative answer clinched a place on the Conservative slate. Why do they object to the existence of Wales? They would not be able to answer that question, since Tories don’t do self-awareness, but I can. Wales is living proof that the English are the usurpers, the robbers and the bad guys, that the accepted narrative of British/English ‘history’ is a pack of lies and that British ‘exceptionalism’ is a twisted delusion cooked up for the plebs to swallow. No wonder Cymru makes them so threatened and angry! They’ve never quite managed to eradicate us and that makes their rage even more incoherent, toxic and violent. We are unfinished business.
UKIP – Having achieved their targets – giant lorry parks and open toilets in the Kent countryside, an Irish Sea border, countless bankrupt businesses, empty shelves, shifting the Tory party further to the right and, most importantly, blue passports – UKIP in the Senedd fractured into various odious far-right splinter groups, leaving Neil Hamilton MS (Mid & West Wales region) as the leader of a party consisting of, er, him. The repeatedly disgraced Tory reject (who now remembers the ‘cash for questions’ scandal?) is the only MS who doesn’t live in Wales and has functioned in the Senedd as UKIP MEPs did in the European parliament: a destructive, malignant presence contributing nothing while pocketing the £67,000 per annum salary. For this election he has shifted his candidacy to the South Wales East region, perhaps calculating that there might be a few more illiterate cretins in Blaenau Gwent than Brecon & Radnorshire.
Reform UK – The foul rump of ‘independents’ that cohered in the Senedd following the UKIP schisms (they all loathe each other) now operates under the banner of Nigel Farage’s latest duplicitous wheeze, previously the Brexit Party and recently renamed Reform UK. Led by practising Mormon Nathan Gill (who now remembers the ‘Polish workers’ scandal?), a candidate in the North Wales region, this lot want to replace the Senedd with a colonial-style governor answerable only to Westminster.
Abolish the Welsh Assembly – If the Tories want to take Wales back to the 1980s, UKIP to the 1930s and Reform UK to the 19th century, Abolish the Welsh Assembly want a Wales of circa 1530 – annexed, eradicated and expunged. The rag-bag of seriously unpleasant creepy weirdos, more ex-UKIP detritus, are so Cymruphobic they incorrectly use the redundant name for the institution rather than the word ‘Senedd’ (the double ‘d’ is that foreign it makes them seethe). Here’s an idea: if it’s an unfit-for-purpose, rotten to the core, failed parliament that needs abolishing, how about the House of Commons? Westminster supplies 800 years of damning evidence of breathtaking misgovernance on an epic scale to support this moderate proposal.
The only frail, tenuous hope is that this plethora of brazenly anti-Welsh far-right parties will spread their vote thinly – but I daren’t allow myself to clutch that slender straw. And not so much a straw, more a gossamer thread, is the welcome expansion of the franchise in 2020 which means 16 and 17 year-olds can now vote for the first time, as has been the case in Scotland since 2015. This victory for democracy is one of many examples of Welsh governance being superior in every regard to that of the UK (Westminster, of course, obdurately continues to deny young people the vote), but to make a difference it depends on the 70,000 16/17 year-olds of Wales actually registering to vote – and it seems under 10,000 have done so. Most were probably completely unaware they should or could, given the total absence of Welsh news and information in the rightwing British media that has an overwhelming monopoly here. The impact, therefore, of these new voters is likely to be negligible.
I will vote Plaid Cymru, it goes without saying, and strongly urge my
millions thousands hundreds dozens of readers to do likewise. Every vote really counts when 33% of the Senedd is elected proportionately – another democratic feature the London government would never countenance (accurate distribution of representatives according to their vote?Marxism!). In certain seats where they have a significant presence I would recommend a tactical vote in the regional ballot for other pro-independence parties (Propel and Gwlad), and if the first-past-the-post contest is a straight Tory v Labour or Tory v LibDem affair I would even recommend a tactical vote for British parties Labour or the Lib-Dems in seats where Plaid has no chance. The sole priority, as ever, must be to stop the megalomaniac bastards. As I’m in the Cardiff South & Penarth constituency, a Labour fiefdom for Vaughan Gething, I am personally unencumbered by such calculations, and thus can vote with my conscience and my brain for the Party of Wales.
But, returning to the opening paragraph in this screed, I hold out zero expectation that Wales will vote as I wish. Quite the opposite, I am braced for another terrible day in the story of Wales. That way it will come as no surprise, but merely yet another shattering shock.
Oi! I resemble that remark! I’m English and no way will I vote gammon. Labour then Green in the list.
Well, there’s management of expectations for you!
Here in Cardiff North it’s a straightforward choice – Labour for local (that Julie Morgan is a tidy candidate is a bonus) and Plaid for regional.
And don’t forget (easy enough to do) the PCCs. What could turn out to be important is their attitude to the ill-advised Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The “open britain” people have asked “… all prospective Police and Crime Commissioners to … pledge to do everything they can do as a public figure to oppose any plans to place further limits on the right to peaceful protest and dissent.” For SWP to date only Gail John and Nadine Marshall have signed up.
Sympathy for davehodg: some analyses (eg Danny Dorling) do suggest it was English immigrants that swung the Brexit vote in Wales but I’m not entirely convinced we didn’t have more than enough home-grown, er, brexiteers, of our own.
Glad to see the complete elimination of the ‘fringe’ parties, and that the main Progressive parties have won the majority of the seats. I, for one, sighed with relief that Mark Reckless, Neil Hamilton etc have gone. The Welsh Labour Government has been elected fairly because, despite adverse circumstances, Mark Drakeford and his Government delivered, and were seen to deliver well to the people of Wales. People now appreciate more than ever the difference between, on one hand, Johnson’s Conservatives and their ‘couldn’t care less’ attitude towards the ordinary people and, on the other, a truly caring Welsh Government which has displayed utmost caution in this Covid crisis, and given priority to the welfare and health of the Welsh people. I do believe that ‘Abolish’ and the rest of the extremist and populist parties have had their chips, and that Wales has, to a great extent, ‘corrected’ herself, following the change in voting patterns which was apparent in the General Election of 2019. We should always be vigilant but, for the time being, the threat from the so-called ‘populists’ has subsided. Now, the Senedd can get down to serious politics.