Political history is often made in the most unlikely of places - Newbridge Rugby Club in the valleys of South Wales is one of them. On Wednesday 19th January, 2011 at 5:30 pm sharp, the True Wales organisation, a cross-party and no-party group of principled ordinary working people, launched their first salvo at the weight of the entire Welsh political establishment and Welsh media, in order to halt the power grab of the politicians in Cardiff Bay, the Welsh Assembly, and its unnecessary government.
On 3rd March 2011, a referendum will be held in Wales on whether to give the Welsh Assembly more law-making powers. The political elite in Wales, with their business associates and the sycophantic media, are unanimously on the side of a ‘Yes’ vote for more unscrutinised legislative power to the Welsh Assembly. In other words, the Welsh Assembly want the power to do what they like without a second house to review and challenge their proposed legislation, which is currently done by Westminster.
Anyone who has had any encounter with the Welsh Assembly and its government can’t but notice that it has the style and substance of a Welsh Apartheid movement, where the ability to speak the Welsh language is used as the unspoken acceptance criteria to political power, jobs and influence. Strong terms, you might say, but let’s remember that 80% of the population of Wales cannot speak Welsh - so why are so many of the political elite Welsh speakers?
The True Wales organisation is refreshingly different. All the communications were in English, which everyone understands. There were no sharp suits and fawning aids clucking around ultra-confident politicians ready to deliver their next stage managed dose of spin to the sick and tired electorate. Three ordinary people went to the table, two men and one woman, and laid out in a simple unambiguous fashion why they thought the proposed increase in legislative powers would not benefit the people of Wales. Even though the television cameras were capturing the event, for the first time I saw integrity in politics. A kind of rustic, earthy, grass-roots politics of the electorate expressing their voice and dissent, and then, with a master-stroke tactic, delivered a direct right- hook in the eye of the Welsh political elite.
The Electoral Commission will support each of the official ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaign organisations of the referendum with £70,000 of funding and Royal Mail will deliver a political leaflet for each official campaign organisation to all the household in Wales, about 1.5million. To access this funding and the leaflet drop, each organisation must have £10,000 deposit and the rest available upfront to be refunded. The ‘Yes’ campaign is backed by all four major political parties and chaired by Welsh Rugby Union Chief Executive, Roger Lewis. Funding is not a problem.
The True Wales organisation has no such financial and political backing as it is a grass roots campaign expressing the commonsense views of the electorate. However, this weakness has indeed proved to be its strength.
Rachel Banner, Director of True Wales, and in normal life a primary school teacher and Vice Chair of the Torfaen Labour Party, said True Wales would NOT apply to be designated as a campaign lead for the ‘No’ vote for the referendum, and would decline the £70,000 on offer to lead campaigns from the Electoral Commission.
She said: "Enough of the hard-earned money of the hard-working people of Wales has been spent on giving more power to politicians." (BBC, 19 January 2011)
This might seem an odd thing to do, to turn down money. But, what it has also done, is stop the ‘YES’ campaign from getting the funding and the free leaflet drop to all the households in Wales, which they can afford, but it also limits them by law to a maximum spend of £100,000. The Welsh political elite will be fuming.
True Wales have applied to become a second category of campaign group and the designated and registered 'NO' campaign. It is the intention of True Wales to spend over £10,000 during the campaign, but they urgently needed donations as at the moment they are surviving on just what their working members can contribute.
So what are the main arguments of the True Wales and the ‘No’ Campaign:
1 The Welsh Assembly should not be rewarded with more powers when they have failed to deliver on the Economy, Education, Health Service, etc., for the people of Wales, and have wasted so much money on Civil Servants and failed programmes e.g. Technium. Almost every day the BBC broadcast another set of statistics showing how badly Wales is performing compared to the rest of the UK and other nations.
2 The Welsh Assembly should not be given more legislative powers without the democratic scrutiny of a second house, which is a crucial safeguard for sensible legislation, as it curbs the megalomania traits of almost all politicians and the infused agendas of minority groups.
3 The call for more legislative powers by the Welsh Assembly is the slippery slope to complete devolution and separation from the rest of the United Kingdom and, as Wales is economically so weak, the loss of £9billion per annum in funding from the UK Treasury would have to be made up by increased taxes in Wales.
More information is available on the True Wales website, but the main take-away is that on 3rd March 2011, if you are resident in Wales, vote ‘NO’ to more legislative powers, and make the politicians realise they are servants of the people and accountable to them for their performance and behaviour.
Christians must open their eyes and awake from the slumber of apathy, and the attitude that politics is something that somebody else does not me. Grass-roots politics with passion, intelligence, and boxing clever can take on the political elite and they know it. Getting involved in politics will enable you to obtain a pulse of what people really think and learn the truth behind all the shenanigans of our elected politicians. It will also give you the opportunity to stand up for biblically based Christian views and freedoms which have benefitted the whole of society in the UK. This is not an opening for Bible bashing, but to use your regenerated mind to be salt in a society infected with gangrenous ideologies that are destroying the freedoms of everybody.
Last night at the launch event, I was speaking to a man and the gist of his comments was this: 'I don’t like religion and I am not religious, but when I was at a public meeting I was the only person defending the rights of religious people to express their beliefs. Where are all the Christians?'
I have to agree with him.
© 20 Janaury 2011
Updated 22 January 2011