The End of Progressive Politics in Wales?

Last month’s general election was a major step backwards for progressive politics in Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom. The parties of reaction, the parties which set one individual against another, substantially increased their vote.

If we wish to promote political values which balance cooperation, fairness and mutual support with those of enterprise, endeavour and innovation then it is not enough to list the words; people must experience community and shared responsibility in their daily lives.

Wales had been considered a haven for progressive political values. This was because we retained communities which came together to support each other and work place trades unions which shared responsibility for successful enterprises.

Sadly Welsh Government seems intent on separating people from power – creating ever larger units of public administration and political control. We will then increasingly espouse political values that reflect our daily experiences – voting for parties which promote inequality, passivity and resentment.

If the Welsh Government confirms its intention to create the largest local authorities in Europe, it will be proclaiming the death knell of progressive politics in Wales.

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1 Comment

  1. You have hit the nail on the head. I spent a career as an Officer in “local” government where the emphasis was upon the citizen when they came in through the front door or you went through their front door. I am certain the same pressures do not apply when working in Cathays Park. My mantra is that we must not lose the local and what I see now is a move toward the bureaucratic and technocratic which as with the Health Boards has the potentIal to divorce those who use services from those who manage the delivery. There are many extant examples but the closure of libraries in communities of need at a time when with a little thought they could be used for a range of services is enough to make any case for local government.

    I am concerned that we retain the number of local Councillors and enhance local politics but the proposals on the table may have the unintended effect of discouraging engagement and promote the professional politician in Wales. This then will have the direct effect of widening the gap between communities and their political representatives.

    The Scottish referendum showed how to engage people in politics and we need to be thinking radically in Wales about issues such as widening the franchise to 16-17 year olds, reform of the electoral registration process and civic education on our school curriculum.

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