Colofn Journal – Chewfror 8fed
Wed. February 8, 2012
I was pleased to last week present a Ten Minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons which called for the full devolution of energy policy to the National Assembly for Wales. This would give the Welsh Government powers over energy generation in Wales – something supported by Labour, Conservative and the Lib Dems in last year’s Assembly election, where they argued that there should be an increase from the current 50megawatt limit.
Wales is a net exporter of energy. The Welsh government says we have the potential to generate twice our energy needs. It is therefore scandalous that almost a quarter of our households suffer from fuel poverty, paying the highest energy prices in the UK when we are such an energy rich nation.
Followers of my column will therefore appreciate my surprise to see Labour MPs from Wales team up with Conservative members to vote against my proposal last week.
My Bill was simply titled ‘Energy Generation Wales’ and called for the full transfer of powers to Wales. The proposal would lead to equality with Scotland and Northern Ireland and that it would allow Wales to better fight fuel poverty if we had responsibility for our own resources.
It was open for other MPs to amend and put forward their own suggestions if they didn’t agree fully with my proposal – an opportunity for Labour to introduce proposals from the manifesto on which their Welsh Government were elected last years. But their MPs in London seem strangely keen that Wales should not have these powers and would obviously rather have the Conservatives in charge of energy in Wales than take responsibility for it themselves.
In 2012 alone, Labour MPs from Wales have voted in favour of NHS privatisation, a reduction in farming subsidies for Wales and now against Wales having the same energy powers as Scotland and Northern Ireland. If Carwyn Jones can’t persuade Welsh MPs to support his policies, then it makes you wonder if he has any influence on his own party – never mind his complete failure to influence the Tories in charge at Westminster.
As D. J. Williams from Rhydcymerau once said, “if it may be said that there is a divine right to anything on earth, the right over the land of Wales belongs to the Welsh nation, and not any alien, whoever he be.”
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