As the above graphic shows, votes in Wales have only changed the outcome of the UK General election once since 1945. Ever feel like your vote doesn’t count for anything?
In case you’ve any semblance of doubt left that Theresa May has anyone’s best interests at heart other than her own, at least now we know.
Now she has made it perfectly clear that she is only out to look after Number One. Well blow me over with a feather, I never saw that coming. Although of course I did, unlike Carwyn Jones who spent today tweeting jovially about what a surprise it all was, and that if, unlike him, you saw it coming, he’d just love some tip-offs from you for the bookies.
Well that’s about the long and the short of it isn’t it Carwyn, for a lot of people in Wales. But I’m surprised to find you so frank on social media about your personal financial prospects, and the likelihood that a trip down Bet Fred, or a tenner’s worth of scratch cards might be looking like your best bet before long.
Although we are in Wales, so, you know, we are pretty much just shafted and can’t do a thing about it.
Well how about we grow a pair (of tits, in case you are wondering), and sort this mess out?
Because we are going to have a General Election, like, soon. In the life of an Electoral Returns Officer we may as well be having the election in about 5 minutes for all the time we have to plan it (trust me, I know because my brother is one, and if I didn’t have five hundred other good reasons to be angry with you Cruella, then shafting my brother’s life for the next two months would be reason enough).
Whilst I’m on this topic, the timing of this election one month after Local Authority elections in Wales and Scotland, as well as non-metropolitan areas and Mayoral seats in England, is just galling.
The message is loud and clear:
‘You can take your poxy local politics and go stuff it up your… This is about ME. Me, me me.’
Actually, given that Theresa May’s constituency in Maidenhead is not involved in a local authority election, save for a lone by-election because two people requested it, it’s entirely possible it has escaped her notice that some of us are involved in an important local democratic process here.
After all, it’s not like we’re deciding who will make decisions and control spending on education, social care, planning and other important local issues. It’s not as if quite a lot of the things effecting our daily lives are in the mix here. We’ll just put that all to one side, and make way for the Theresa show, so that we can spend all of the next month ignoring the local elections and focusing on whether or not our PM feels like she has a mandate or not.
Or maybe she hasn’t noticed, or doesn’t care, because they aren’t having local elections in London boroughs. We’d be excused for taking this as proof of what we have long suspected, that The City is all that matters to the political elite in Westminster.
More probably it’s neither of these things. She does know and she does care, of sorts, and she is trying to rig the whole process and overshadow the local democratic process by souring it with the poisonous Westminster political narrative. So that our decisions about our children’s educational future, and whether or not greenbelt land will be built on, will be based on internal spats within the England parties, rather than scrutinising local candidates on their manifestos.
It’s just another imperial show of force.
Well guess what, Theresa May.
We’ve had enough of your strutting and your disregard for what is going on in our lives.
You are here to serve us, not the other way around.
So I take offence. And like many others, I doubt your motives. Because anyone with an ounce of sense can see that this isn’t about uniting the UK Government around Brexit. You’ve already got the official non-oppositional opposition party backing your every move. This is about shoring up your precarious position within your own party, and locking us all in for five years.
Because the next five years are going to be unrelentingly, horrifically bad, and you know it.
They are going to be bad for the majority of people in the UK.
They are going to be bad for Wales.
They are going to be bad for the UK itself, which is going to implode.
They are going to be pretty shitty for you, I imagine, because you will be presiding over this appalling descent into further poverty and divisiveness and that’s going to be pretty awful (unless you just abandon yourself to the delerium of blind faith, which it seems like you are already more than half way to doing).
So I guess there is only one real option open to you now. To take this opportunity to cash in on the fact that there is at least one other politician in the UK who is less popular than you are (do you still owe Rupert that pint?) and seal in our fates for the duration of another term in Government. And then I imagine that you are going to just go underground, and ride out the next five years from a secure location.
Meanwhile, the Theresa droid is programmed with a dozen of your best trite soundbites, and will repeat them ad infinitum until we all stop listening (we nearly have).
You might make the odd appearance in real life for EU negotiations, but not many. The droid will do less lasting damage to international relations.
We’ve got a few choices here Wales.
Choice Number One: Re-tune our radar
There will be tidal waves of coverage of this snap election. Most of it will be pumped out of London. We can choose to switch that off. Mute. Don’t buy that paper.
Instead, lets amplify the small voices that have been starting to reflect more of a Wales perspective on things. Listen to Desolation Radio if you aren’t already.
Fund Nation.Cymru if you can (they are launching earlier than planned due to the election).
Follow Bella Gwalia and read the articles by bloggers from across Wales that are shared there.
Watch this film on YouTube produced by Wales in the Media, from the recent Yes Caerdydd Indymedia Fringe event.
Share links to decent commentary about Wales, by people in Wales, where it exists, and if you get drawn into arguments that feel borrowed, that aren’t about what is best for the people where you live, challenge that.
If you don’t feel that there is any decent commentary, start some. Talk with your friends and colleagues about Welsh politics, and if what they think is Welsh politics turns out to be English politics, then gently re-tune their radar.
Choice Number Two: Kick the right establishment in the you-know-whats this time
There are as many reasons people voted for Brexit in Wales as there are flavours of Jelly Bean, and you are pretty sure that at least one of them is unsavoury.
But some of the strong and valid themes that did emerge were a desire to send a clear message that people had had enough. That they were sick of the status quo, that it wasn’t working for them.
People saw the only opportunity they had really had in a long time to give the establishment a massive kick up the proverbial, and they took it.
The truth is in Wales, there’s a different establishment, closer to home, that is more deserving of this treatment.
So we have a choice to send this message to Westminster now, in both the local elections and the general.
Personally, I am going to do this by voting for Plaid Cymru.
Almost regardless of their manifesto pledges, it’s the clearest way to show that Wales is a distinct political entity. They are the only party that is genuinely focusing on Wales, its people and our future. They aren’t perfect, there’s a lot I would change, but they are our best hope and it’s only by voting for them in large numbers that we can send a lightning bolt up the political establishment in Wales and the UK and show that we are actually awake here.
If we want to have any leverage, and any differentiation from England in the future, we need Plaid to become a genuine political force to be reckoned with. For that to happen we need to elect them.
Do you genuinely think any of the other parties care about Wales?
Choice Number Three: Show them what we are made of
There’s going to be a topic on the agenda that hasn’t really been there in recent elections.
Can you guess what it is?
Are you curious?
Since the last major election of any kind in Wales, YesCymru has joined the political landscape. Even as recently as the last Assembly Elections, the indywales movement was still only stirring. Now it is thriving, growing, recruiting newly indyconfident activists, gaining media attention and making a name for itself amongst civic movements.
We are part of the discussion now.
We aren’t going away.
And we can shape the debate.
So bring it on.
I’ll give you a tip for free here too Carwyn. If you are wondering what to do with that fiver your auntie gave you for your birthday, pop down the bookies (there’s lots in town, they’re where all the real shops used to be) and put it on an independent Wales. My feeling is that it’s going to go sometime between now, and 2033 (that’s just sixeen years, not long but long enough).
Be a nice nest egg for your retirement when that bet comes home. Keep you in Jelly Beans at least.
You can join yescymru here
The next meeting of Yes Caerdydd is at 8pm on the 27th of April, upstairs in the Tiny Rebel, Westgate Street. Other local groups are springing up in places near you, check them out on FaceBook and Twitter, and if there isn’t one yet.. You know what to do.