Wednesday 17 January 2007

English domination

Excellent letter by Gwyn Hopkins in the Western Mail today:

SIR As well as being shockingly misleading, Peter Hain's article (Western Mail, January 15) reveals grave deficiencies in our part-time Secretary of State's understanding of quantitative issues.

After discussing the prospect of only English MPs voting on English issues, he states, "The reality is that England would come to dominate the Government of Britain as a whole", as if this was not already emphatically the case. There are 529 English MPs out of a total of 646, so that 82% of MPs represent English constituencies. The governing Parliamentary Labour Party has 356 English MPs from a total of 425, ie 84% of its MPs are English. With "controlling interest" in any organisation being 51%, it is crystal clear that these overwhelming majorities already equate to complete English domination of the UK Parliament.

Mr Hain describes Wales as a "tiny nation". Aside from the derogatory connotations of the word "tiny" - such as insignificant and negligible - to which he obviously subscribes in relation to Wales, in worldwide terms he is very wide of the mark. Six of the 27 member states of the EU are tinier than Wales (population 2.9 million) and 32 of the 53 members of the British Commonwealth (60%) are smaller. Sixty-three of the 192 UN member states are tinier than Wales (33%), including some of generally high esteem such as Jamaica (2.8m), Cyprus (0.75m), Singapore (2.7m) and Kuwait (1.6m).

The contrast and inconsistency between the UK Parliament's determination and enthusiasm in defending the independence of Kuwait - half the size of Wales - in the first Gulf War and its (and Mr Hain's) tendency to ridicule the possibility of independence for Wales could hardly be starker.

Cleviston Park, Llangennech, Llanelli

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