It has long been held that Wales remains a bastion of progressive politics. As other parts of the world marketise each and every social relationship, Wales, it is said, hangs on to values of community and solidarity – a belief that through a diversity of associations including democratic government we can achieve more together than we can apart.
One important reason that Wales has retained trust in ‘government’ is that our forms of government have retained a basis in community. If the Williams recommendation of just 10 local authorities is implemented, our most local unit of government will have an average population of over 300,000 people. The distance between community and government will be bigger in Wales than in any other part of Europe.
Our government will become more hierarchical, more top-down, more statist – less attached to community interaction, less engaged with and empowering of citizens. Trust in government will diminish, resentment of the state will increase. Our attachment to progressive politics will decrease. We will become more attracted to individualism and markets. The stakes are high.