Wednesday, August 19, 2015

UKIP and Welsh Assembly

If UKIP did not publish a single leaflet, or issue a single press release, I'd expect the party to do quite well in next year's Welsh Assembly elections. They won't win any 'constituency seats', but the additional member PR system is likely to deliver a few 'regional member' seats. As watching the party's election guru in Wales, Mark Reckless, on TV today, I conclude that the biggest threat to a decent UKIP result is the party itself. I just cannot see how a man of Kent, about as unWelsh as you can imagine, crossing Offa's Dyke to tell us how we should vote will help at all.

But two aspects of the Reckless comments this morning caught my ear, both about devolution of income tax powers. Firstly, he spoke about an emerging consensus that a significant part of income tax will be devolved without a referendum. Well, I didn't know there was an emerging consensus. I've been in favour of this step for years, and have seen my position on this as being a lonely place. But the right place. Such a step would be transformative, making the Welsh Govt financially accountable, and would end the democracy destroying 'one party state' we suffer so much from in Wales. I realise that UKIP want there to be a consensus to 'legitimise' the anti establishment vote they desperately need. It just that I do not think there is one - yet.

The second aspect of the UKIP approach is to interpret the granting of income tax powers as the same  thing as raising income tax. It is not. Very definitely not. I would argue the only change to benefit Wales would be to reduce the top rate, bringing higher earning people into Wales (to pay more tax!). But the reality doesn't matter. It's perception that counts. Only reason there's support for a referendum (yet another) is that it can be interpreted as 'the Welsh Govt putting up your taxes'. Cobblers of course.  This morning we saw how it will be used. It's no more than a 'blocking mechanism' by those who are still fighting the 1997 referendum. I think it was rather helpful to see the strategy exposed so early in the run up to the Wales Bill. Feeling confident I could be on the winning side on this come the debate next year.


Anonymous said...

You forget two things Glyn - one is that Reckless is like about 20% of Welsh voters in coming from England. Many are lovely people who wish to integrate into the local community, others however treat the place like West Anglia. They HATE everything and anything Welsh, which is why they vote UKIP.
The other thing is the incredible media profile Farage and his rag-tag band has. Why bother advertising when you can get on Question Time every other week?

Jonny said...

I am sorry but they do NOT hate anything about Wales any more than they hate anything about Cornwall or Northumbria. What they do detest is the stupid waste of money spent running the shambles in Cardiff Bay. In that I agree with them 100%. One only has to look at a map of Wales to see that in the north we deal with northern English areas like Liverpool and Manchester.
Central Wales deals with areas like Shropshire and Herefordshire.
South Wales deals with English areas uo the M4 corridor.

Trying to manage Wales as an entity is like herding cats; very wasteful of resources and extremely unproductive!

Anonymous said...

Wasn't Cameron proposing an 'English rate of income tax' along with 'English votes for English laws laws', yet no referendum in England is required for that? So why is a referendum required in Wales?
As for UKIP I thought they have become advocates of a federal United Kingdom
Surely if the UK was to eveolve into a federal state then that would mean Wales having parity with not just Scotland but everyone else??
I wonder how Mark Reckless & others in UKIP would react if a Welsh or Scottish politican claimed that there was no demand for EVEL??

Glyn Davies said...

Had some rather intemperate comments on this pits, which I declined to publish. Then had complaints I was not allowing an open discussion on my posts. Both from 'Anon'. You have to laugh.