Saturday, August 18, 2018


Plaid Cymru responding to figures obtained by the Wales Governance Centre has called the historic pooling of taxpayers’ money in London ‘scandalous’. The figures, based on statistics issued by the Office of National Statistics, show that government capital spending on transport in the UK is heavily concentrated in the south east of England. Had capital spending per head on transport in Wales matched spending per head in the wider south east of England, an extra £5.6 billion would have been invested since 1999.

Jonathan Edwards MP, the Plaid Cymru Westminster Group spokesperson for the Treasury said:

“The historic pooling of transport infrastructure expenditure in London is ‘scandalous’. This is a classic case of underfunding by the London-centric British Government and a chronic case of negligence by a dormant Labour Welsh Government since they took the reins twenty years ago. Had capital spending per head on transport in Wales matched spending per head in the wider south east of England, an extra £5.6 billion would have been invested since 1999. Transport infrastructure in Wales has been short-changed to the tune of billions. 

“At the moment the taxes of Welsh people are flowing to London and we are being offered crumbs back. When Tory and Labour politicians talk about pooling and sharing what they must mean is that Wales and other parts of the British State do the sharing and London does the pooling.

“To put £5.6 billion into context, the whole of the Welsh transport project pipeline, which includes the recently cancelled electrification of the Great Western Mainline, the South Wales Metro, the third Menai crossing, the Caernarfon – Bontnewydd bypass and tens of other vital pan-Wales projects, is worth £7.3 billion.

“These figures should be of huge concern as Brexit will mean an end to structural funds from the EU. The British State is grossly unequal and the concentration of transport infrastructure investment in London and the South East of England is one reason for this. The British State model is bust and there is little point looking to the Westminster parties for salvation.

“Imagine what we could have done since devolution to improve transport infrastructure in Wales with £5.6 billion. The Westminster parties will always look after London. Labour and the Tories are both as bad as each other.  There is no point looking to the British Government to invest in Wales, we need to have the full portfolio of job creation leavers in Wales to enable is to do the job ourselves.”

Original statement from Guto Ifan, Research Fellow Wales Governance Centre found here:

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Tuesday 22nd August 2018 will be the 50th anniversary of the Soviet led invasion of Czechoslovakia, an anniversary which may largely pass unnoticed save perhaps in Prague. Now that the Soviet Union is history, even with Russia on the rise in the east, people have plenty of other things to be concerned about.  It has been 50 years since Soviet troops and most but not all of their Warsaw Pact allies invaded Czechoslovakia on August 21st 1968

The well-planned invasion crushed the political and economic reforms known as the Prague Spring, led by the country's then new First Secretary of the Communist party Alexander Dubcek. Leonid Brezhnev and other Soviet hard-liners in Moscow, probably correctly in the light of later events between 1989 and 1991, at least from their narrow perspective, saw the reform movement as a serious threat to the Soviet Union's hold on the Socialist satellite states, they decided to act. 

In the first hours on the 21st August 1968 Soviet planes began to land unexpectedly at Prague's Ruzyne airport, and shortly Soviet tanks would roll through Prague's narrow streets. The Soviet-led invasion helped establish the Brezhnev Doctrine, which Moscow said allowed the U.S.S.R. to intervene in any country where a Communist government was under threat. 

The Soviet backed occupation of Czechoslovakia lasted until the velvet revolution brought an end to the Communist dictatorship in November 1991 as the Cold War ended. Even relatively recently Russia’s attitude to the invasion can still touch raw emotions, especially in the Czech and Slovak republics.