No sooner has the new Prime Minister been in post and implemented changes with the woodchip in the passage barely papered over than the devolved governments are up in arms blaming the Conservatives for all their woes. Nothing wrong with that I hear you say. Woodchip was always a favorite with my dear old Mum.
Many would offer that we have always been the poor relation here in Wales. There is an historic large chip, which has been sitting on the shoulder of the nation in relation to our English neighbours, which is not really to be spoken about openly and honestly unless there is an international rugby match. Then all hell can break loose.
Over the last two decades Wales has been given the freedom to govern in a number of devolved areas such as health and education. You could say it is like a parent giving their children part of the farm and saying, there you go, make a go of it now and do your best but you can only have X amount of cash and don’t you be coming back asking for more if it all goes wrong.
Inevitably it does go wrong and within a short space of time the child returns to ask for more making excuses that they just could not survive on what they had been given along with any other excuse in the politician’s book of excuses (a vast publication).
Perhaps this is an over simplification of the relationship between Westminster and Wales and a talented cartoonist might do the complex picture more justice.
One has to look at the track record of the institution (The Welsh Assembly/The Senedd), which came into being following a referendum which was held in Wales on 18 September 1997 in which voters approved the creation of the National Assembly for Wales.
25 years later and our track record on health and education is not great. On Pisa results we have been consistently a the bottom of the table for the home nations and as for the rest of the World, we won’t go there.
Almost a third of children in Wales still live in poverty. Now that is not a great record for any government and certainly would be the top priority of any nation seeking independence and aiming for a fair and equal society. Latest figures show that 34% of children in Wales are living in poverty. It will be of no surprise even to the least active politician in Wales (poll coming soon) that poverty can have a devastating effect on a child’s life chances, having a negative impact on their education, health and overall wellbeing. Their future housing and employment prospects can also be negatively impacted upon. In essence, we the people and they the politicians are concocting a vicious cycle of socially unacceptable soup that smells like the outlets at the local tip on a good day and a soup that we should be able to remedy into something more satisfactory on the olfactory sense.
Something smells fishy when we champion the rights of so many and set emergencies and throw cash at policies, strategies and complete follies akin to waving a flag in the Albert Hall when others just do as they please as follows:
- China, with more than 10,065 million tons of CO2 released.
- United States, with 5,416 million tons of CO2.
- India, with 2,654 million tons of CO2.
- Russia, with 1,711 million tons of CO2.
- Japan, 1,162 million tons of CO2.
- Germany, 759 million tons of CO2.
- Iran, 720 million tons of CO2.
The children, our future, our most precious resources as a nation remain in poverty. We have seen the waste of money and those who zone in on Wales as a place to get rich quick on the back of funding and partnerships with due diligence often being a cursory glance at the smart suit and posh car or else the family tree. Ask a question about it to a minister and you get made fun of. I am feeling quite queasy at the thought of the abundant posh nosh and grog on that top table so much so I need to make an appointment with the local surgery.
Have you tried to see a doctor or a dentist lately? If you have you will know that you have to have the patience of Job. If we look at the time spent in A & E or the waiting lists for procedures or cancer treatment you can see that things are not as they should or could be. This is of course related to the Covid-19 pandemic in part and the reality is that the situation is here to stay for at least the term of this government and possibly longer.
Now those sensitive politicians won’t like anyone pointing the finger anywhere near their direction. The mantra is and always will be, ‘we are doing our best but those pesky people across the Severn Bridge or is it the Prince of Wales Bridge or Owain Glyndwr Bridge (one for another time) are just not playing fair’.
We are to believe that if the Cons give us more loot our problems will be solved. As with any finances one has to look at the priorities and I am guessing, merely guessing that anyone who reads this vague but marginally interesting editorial would agree that eliminating child poverty and having a first class education system for our children would be the highest and the one where most resources would be channelled.
The brutal truth is that those we pay so much money too and those we entrust by virtue of an electoral system, which gives us very little choice would blame anyone including those socialist/communist Russians (see Labour sing song at conferences) if it diverts that microscopic lens from the shenanigans here at home. Be good to yourself, but most of all, be good to the children.