Friday, April 6, 2018


Perhaps we could name it the Bridge of Sighs, after all those if us who have crossed it and left out a sigh every time we got fleeced at the tolls when we crossed it. While the VAT has been removed (which was nice) - we are still getting fleeced (for an as yet indeterminate period) until the tolls are further reduced or entirely removed. 

Ironically pressure appears to be mounting on the Westminster Government to abandon plans to rename the Severn Bridge the ‘Prince of Wales Bridge’ after 15,000 people signed a petition opposing the move in just over 24 hours.

A petition set up by Jamie Matthews after the announcement by the Westminster Government's Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns and had surged to 19,214 signatures by 19.00 today. Opponents of the move remain angry that name change had been imposed on Wales with no prior consultation or even a suggestion that the bridge was being renamed.


A series of protests were being planned, the first of these outside Cardiff’s Hen Lyfrgell / Old Library at 2pm on Saturday. Yet another protest on the Severn Bridge has also been mooted by others - it's understandable and fine - but the question might be asked where were you - when the commuters and business people were getting fleeced year in and year out by the unjust and unfair (but regular) toll increases that were imposed on Severn users over the years.


The renaming of the bridge was intended to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen giving Prince Charles the title of the Prince of Wales when he was nine years old.

A number of Labour MPs and AMs have spoken out against the name change. Former Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, MP Paul Flynn, called it a “rather pathetic and desperate stunt”. Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan suggested calling it ‘Pont Beca’ to remember the toll-gate destroying Rebecca Riots. 

The Labour in Wales First Minister (branch manger), Carwyn Jones, had been told about the change but had “raised no objections,” the Westminster Government said. No change there then - as the Labour in Wales government (and Labour MPs in Westminster) were pretty mute about the tolls especially when they were in government at Westminster.


While most people are probably fairly indifferent to the suggested new name, the issue as stated by Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood is not the royal name it's the fact that it had been imposed on Wales by the Westminster Government with no public consultation at all. This contrasts very poorly with the Queensferry Crossing in Scotland where a consultation (and a vote) was held with more than 35,000 votes being cast. 

The problem with this is that people in Wales have not been asked, and it never crossed the minds of those who made the decision to even consider for a moment consulting the people of Wales  – as people in Scotland were asked when the Queensferry crossing was named. The bottom line is that decisions about Wales should be made in Wales, rather than imposed on us without our consent, but, from a Westminster perspective that dangerous thought may have a whiff of sovereignty lying with the people.

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