It was refreshing to see Prof Richard Wyn Jones publish a direct, unequivocal and “excoriating” criticism of the Wales Bill in the Western Mail yesterday. To date, too many Welsh politicians, lawyers, academics, journalists, commentators and representatives of civil society have couched their criticism of the Bill in measured, polite and even deferential terms, not wanting, it seems, to fall out of favour with the all-powerful Brexit junta which now masquerades as a UK Government. It’s as if they have almost fallen over themselves to apologise for having the temerity to disagree with such a brazen attempt to steel Welsh democracy; fallen over themselves to apologise for the feelings of disgust and offence that they have experienced as a result the Government’s contemptuous insult of Welsh intelligence. And it’s as if they so desperately wanted to believe that Crabb, Cairns and Bebb had innocent, albeit utterly misguided, intentions, that they convinced themselves that all that was needed was a well-penned submission of politely delivered analysis, fact and reason, and all would be well in this harmonious Union of equals.
This blog called it as it saw it nearly 18 months ago. This was a pre-mediated, calculated and intentional attempt to roll-back Welsh devolution in the guise of constitutional re-framing. It had no democratic mandate or legitimacy whatsoever, and has been presented to the people of Wales in a cynical, deceitful and dishonourable way. It was rotten from the beginning and it is rotten now.
If Prof Jones’s article does nothing more than to encourage a few others in positions of authority or influence to find their voice (and their teeth) it will be no bad thing. If, on the other hand, those very same people stand aside and allow what Lord Elystan Morgan described as Whitehall’s “colonial” attitude to prevail, it certainly will be our fate “to be governed on the basis of this nonsense”, as Prof Jones fears, for many years to come; and so might we deserve it.