by Lewis Reynolds
The poor track record of Carwyn Jones’s Labour Party over issues such as healthcare, demonstrates why further Welsh devolution would be a bad idea. On average, patients in Wales must wait over 100 days longer than those in England for vital operations such as hip surgery. This position only worsened between 2011 and 2015, as average waiting times increased by a fifth. To grant a government that has continually failed to address this problem greater autonomy will see Wales fall even further behind the rest of the United Kingdom in healthcare and other policy areas.
The low turnouts in Wales for National Assembly Elections (normally between 38-46%), in comparison to the turnout in UK General Elections (average around 68%), also suggest further devolution is not required. This low turnout is in part a result of dissatisfaction with the fact that Labour has held a hegemonic grip on power since 1999, but also reflects a 49% vote against the Welsh Assembly in the 1997 referendum. To grant further powers to a Labour dominated National Assembly who few actually support tramples over a substantial minority who look to governance from Westminster or those who are not Labour voters.
Further devolution would inevitably increase the associated governing bureaucracy. This increases the likelihood of duplication and inefficiency as well as conflict between the Senedd and Westminster, and raises the costs of government during a period of reduced public spending.
I strongly believe political reform is needed in the United Kingdom, but devolution is not the correct way to go about it.