Mark Drakeford has challenged Keir Starmer to create a union of equals.
In his words at the Welsh Labour Conference this week, he said: “By building a new partnership of equals based on mutual respect, a partnership that has the confidence to redistribute power and opportunity, radically, to every community, every nation, in every part of our country.”
I have no doubt that Mark Drakeford ardently believes his own words. Nor do I doubt that he would like to see radical policy initiatives targeted to eradicate poverty and increase equality within our society.
He wishes to: “Guarantee that nobody has to find themselves unable to eat and relying on a food bank.”
This is a laudable aspiration that everyone should unite behind. It is disgraceful that, right now, there are tens of thousands of children in Wales who are mired in food poverty. Through no fault of their own, they go hungry, month after month, week after week, day after day. This simply isn’t good enough. These are our children and they deserve better.
But according to the First Minister, the ultimate answer to the manifold injustices that afflict our country does not lie here.
He says: “It falls to…the next Labour government to make the case for Britain”.
He is talking about a Labour government in Westminster led by Keir Starmer of course. Given Westminster’s miserable track record in Wales, we can reasonably assume he will be sorely disappointed. At the Welsh Labour conference Keir Starmer’s promise of thin gruel was met with rapturous applause. The restoration of funding control taken away by a Conservative government is hardly a radical plan for the devolution of power. Neither is there any sign that a Labour government in Westminster will depart from the economic orthodoxy of the Conservative Party..
Rather than a deviation from the Conservative Party’s cruel indifferences towards the people of Wales, a Labour Party at the helm in Westminster will be more of the same.
There may be a few warmer words here and there, but they will be no less empty nor any less treacherous.
They will give Wales a different coloured London based government with the same outcome. The structural deficiencies and lack of investment which hamper the advancement of Wales and its people will continue.
Warm and empty words on Wales’ future from the Labour Party and from a Starmer led government are as derogatory towards our country as is the current Conservative government. The Labour Party do little to hide their disinterest and patronising attitude to Wales.
It is England which will deliver the Labour Party the Members of Parliament needed for it to form the next Westminster government. The few MPs which Labour receive from Wales will have little influence. Wales will have no more of a strong voice in Westminster under a Keir Starmer led Labour government than it does now under the Conservative Party rule.
Mark Drakeford will be sorely disappointed in Keir Starmer as a new Labour messiah for the interests of Wales.
After all, why, when his route to power lies in his English votes, would Keir Starmer, hold to his promises of restoring, renewing and strengthening devolution.
Why would he commit to the repatriation of the Welsh people’s stolen £5bn from the funding of that whitest of white elephants HS2? Keir Starmer will not bring about the fundamental changes needed for our children to be fed or enable the people of Wales to prosper from their own talent and energy. Only Independence has the power to resolve Welsh poverty. Only Independence will let Wales act in solidarity with Labour movements across the globe. Only Independence will let us express our values, based on our moral compass, with freedom and integrity.
So, First Minister, I challenge you today to commit to Independence when Keir Starmer lets you down, as he surely will.
I challenge you to embrace freedom through campaigning with us, with me, in favour of Independence, when that happens.
In return, and on behalf of a future Independent Welsh nation, I will presume to accept the challenge, one that a Labour government in Westminster will never rise to resolve, any more than their Conservative reflections will do so, a challenge to lift Wales out of poverty and to build a fair and just society, based on shared values, openness, integrity and creating lives full of hwyl. Our Wales, where wellbeing and social cohesion provide the engine for success.