The creation of 200 reserved powers ‘mere trivia matters that are clearly domestic in their nature …is to my mind an insult to the people of Wales’
‘How did this come about? ……. It came from a long history of prejudice that has formed what you might describe as a permafrost of attitude towards Welsh devolution.’
‘I believe that it has a lot to do with the fact that Wales was England’s first colony …We have not broken through that mould’
Said to Elystan at one time - ‘You could be a very nice chap if you did not tilt at the English so often’
Elystan’s response - ‘I conceive nationalism in the context of Wales as being a patriotism that knows not hatred of any other nation. That is what Welsh nationhood and Welsh nationalism at their very best should be and are.’
Elystan Morgan’s second amendment was in relation of a reserved powers constitution for Wales. Where he asked the Secretary of State to establish a working party to report to Parliament within three years on the question of how the reserved powers are operating in each case.
Here are extracts from his speech:
‘Normally I would jump with joy at this development because it places Wales upon the same constitutional basis as Scotland and Northern Ireland. It also tidies up a great deal of what is now in a state of confusion and, if I may describe it, confetti.
When you deal with a long period of transferring small powers, day in day out, coming from hundreds of different sources, you create a situation that almost guarantees some constitutional neurosis on the part of many generations of Welsh lawyers.
Avoiding that would be utterly worthwhile.
However I am far from happy with the situation I believe the (Wales Bill) is deeply flawed and a blue print for failure and disaster. The fact that there are about 200 reservations and the very nature of the reservations themselves makes the matter a nonesense.
Many of them are trivia and their inclusion is to my mind an insult to the people of Wales.
When you have a settlement, such as the one we are now seeking in relation to Wales, there has to be some mutual trust and some sense of balance. ….. If the current Parliament refuses to accept that, the whole moral geometry of the situation is affected.
How did this come about? ……. It came from a long history of prejudice that has formed what you might describe as a permafrost of attitude towards Welsh devolution.
I do not believe that the situation was anything different from this:
The Secretary of State for Wales, perhaps deferentially, went to various colleagues and said
‘What would you like reserved, my dear chap, from your department?’
Each one said, in his mind and his heart if not in actual words
‘Practically everything. It does not matter how meagre, niggardly, small or utterly local it might be, we will reserve it if we possibly can’
I believe that it has a lot to do with the fact that Wales was England’s first colony …. We have not yet broken the mould.
When you think that some of these reservations – there are dozens which, to my mind, are utterly ludicrous – can you imagine the Colonial Office of the United Kingdom 60 years ago, particularly when Jim Griffiths was head of that department, going to a British Caribbean of African colony and saying
‘These are the reservations I demand of you?’
It simply could not happen'.
Lord Dafydd Wigley, Lord Murphy of Torfaen and Lord Howarth of Newport spoke in favour of the amendment.
We’ll have to wait how the Government responds in the coming weeks.
Will be interesting.
However read Elystan’s contribution at the end of the debate on Dominion Status and Reserved Powers
‘On the question of of dominion status, I was tempted to make the mischievous point that for many centuries Wales was a dominion in law. The actual wording of the Act of Union 1536 refers to the
‘dominion, principality and country of Wales’
Some years ago, a good friend said to me
‘You could be a very nice chap if you did not tilt at the English so often’
I am not sure what ‘a nice chap‘ was intended to mean in that context, or whether I would ever qualify within the definition. However as far as the second part of his proposition was concerned I have never tilted at the English.
I conceive nationalism in the context of Wales as being a patriotism that knows not hatred of any other nation. That is what Welsh nationhood and Welsh nationalism at their very best should be and are’.