Last week was another extraordinary week in politics. As I watch the Westminster Brexit debacle unfold, my concern is for what it means to us here in Wales, and especially here on Anglesey – to our exporters, our farmers, our port, our University…. and our children.
It’s nearly a year-and-a-half since Wales and Ynys Môn voted to Leave the EU. In Anglesey’s case the result was almost exactly 50/50. Had it been a Remain vote from the same small margin, there’s no way that half the population could have been ignored. Yes, we’d have stayed in the EU, but genuine worries would have had to be addressed. No doubt the UK Government would have had to tighten its own rules on freedom of movement (not the EU’s rules, incidentally – they already allow great flexibility for members to control abuse of free inter-state movement), and there’d be an effort, perhaps, to increase general transparency about EU affairs.
As it stands, not only are the 50% who voted Remain being ignored, the Government is delivering something vastly different to what Leave voters were promised. It’s an almighty mess, and you’ll know that my opinion is that with clear evidence now before us, the people should be allowed a vote on whether they NOW think leaving as is being suggested is actually something they support.
I was with pupils at Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi last week. They were crystal clear in their views. They think leaving, either on the terms that have been ‘negotiated’, or as a hard ‘no deal’ exit, would be bonkers. And you know what? It’s they who are important. They are the future, and that future should not be a plaything for ideologues of the left or the right, or those harking for days of British Empire.
So, it’s been another Brexit-dominated few weeks, but there’s been plenty more to keep me busy. I’ve taken part in Budget scrutiny, and met the Finance Secretary to lobby for more funding for Local Government. I’ve met the FSB to talk about how we can do more to help small businesses, and travelled to the north east of England to learn about best practice in promoting the High Street. I’ve discussed marketing Wales and Welsh produce with farmers’ leaders and taken part in discussions on the future of Holyhead port. To represent Ynys Môn in such discussions is a great honour.