Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Where would we be without England?!

Lord Falconer's "Where would you be without England?" speech displays the sort of brazen arrogance and nauseating patronage we have sadly come to expect from those who look down on us Welsh from their lofty Anglo-British pedestals.
Without a doubt it is England which has gained most from the institution of the United Kingdom. We can only guess at what Wales would have become had the billions of pounds (by today's standards) of corporate and income tax raised in Wales from the coal extraction industry alone been spent exclusively in Wales. At the very least we would have been like modern-day Norway, a small country with one of the highest standards of living in the world because the rest of the world wanted what we had in abundance. And one can only guess at the standards of education we would have reached had the majority of our pupils not been taught in what was effectively a foreign language after 1847.
Wales is in the state it is today - most of it muddling along at 75% of UK average wealth - not by some inexpicable quirk of fate but because of generations of exploitation and mismanagement by "absentee landlords" in the shape of Westminster governments who have used the wealth generated from Wales for a grand "British" experiment. I don't hear any of its former colonies from the USA through to Ireland, India or Hong Kong clamouring to be ruled again by the UK.
The concept that Wales is somehow permanently dependent on the UK derives from an outdated notion of what the UK is for. If it is to be a Union for the 21st century it should be a union of equals not, as now, where one country dominates and exploits the others politically and economically. Wales has nothing to prove. It was grown up as a political state when England was still running around in short trousers and would benefit from much looser rather than closer ties with the UK

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