WALES MUST NOT GET LEFT BEHIND AFTER SCOTLAND'S POLITICAL EARTHQUAKE

23/10/2014

Several constituents have approached me in recent weeks to express concerns about cuts in the bus service between Bangor and the Llanberis area. Since the demise of the Padarn bus company, the last bus to Llanberis leaves Bangor at 5.45pm. For many people without cars, who cannot afford taxi fares, this makes it impossible for them to work in Bangor.

People understandably expect the local council to step in and help to finance a new service. But Gwynedd, like local authorities everywhere, is already struggling with savage cuts imposed by the Treasury, which will cripple our public services for a generation.

This is a local example of the wider clash of values between our communities and the people who control the purse strings. George Osborne and his cronies have no difficulty finding money to bail out the banks and financial institutions that caused the financial crisis in the first place.

This was one reason for the political earthquake caused by the recent referendum on Scottish independence. The No side may have won, but cannot ignore the 1.6 million people who voted Yes despite the combined might of David Cameron, Gordon Brown, most newspapers, banks, supermarkets, Barrack Obama and, allegedly, the Queen.

Any thoughts of reneging on the panicky promises of home rule for Scotland in the final frantic days before the vote should be dispelled by the groundswell of support for the SNP, whose membership has trebled to more than 75,000 since the referendum.

In the scramble to reconcile Scottish ambitions with confused mutterings about English “home rule”, our priority must be to ensure that Wales is not left behind.  There are already moves to bring all parties together in the Assembly to try and reach a consensus on a meaningful and lasting system to replace the piecemeal devolution that we have been lumbered with for the last 15 years. We are obviously way behind Scotland on our national journey but the principles are the same. We share the objective of having a government with the powers to form policies that reflect our own values rather than those of the City of London.