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Friday, July 29, 2016

The silly season kicks in as Plaid Cymru call for separate Welsh foreign policy

Let me be clear at the start, the thought of the UK being represented abroad by Boris Johnson and Liam Fox is both unpalatable and embarrassing. However, Plaid Cymru calling for Wales to have its own foreign policy and ‘ministry for international affairs’is not the answer.

In a sign that we are now fully into the silly season the Western Mail takes the proposal seriously and gives it undeserved coverage without once asking the key questions of 'how will this nonsense work?' and 'Isn't this a call for independence by another name?'.

At which point the story should have been 'Plaid Cymru out-of-touch with Welsh public opinion again as they ride their hobby horse without mentioning the 'I' word for fear of alienating people'.

Steffan Lewis AM, who wallows in the glorious title of Plaid Cymru's External Affairs Spokesperson, believes that rather than allowing Boris Johnson to speak for Wales we should create a team of diplomats who answer to the Welsh Government.

He has also proposed creating a “ministry for international affairs” for the Welsh Government in an attempt to prevent Westminster from having the greatest influence over Wales’ global dealings.

Such delusions of grandeur. Nowhere does he say how this would be paid for, where we would get these diplomats from and, more importantly, how we would get other countries to recognise and work with these diplomats.

We can barely get an audience for Welsh Ministers in the EU on Brexit, never mind setting up a network of civil servants and diplomats to rival Westminster's.

Of course this proposed infrastructure only works if we are an independent country and that is where Plaid Cymru's fantasy falls down. There is no support for independence in Wales.

Further, the European referendum outcome shows that Wales is far more closely tied to England in its political attitude and outlook than any Welsh politician dares to admit.

Seventeen of the 22 local authority areas voted for Brexit. The vast majority of voters elect unionist politicians to both the Welsh Assembly and to Westminster.

Plaid Cymru's summer fantasy is just that. But they could at least have the honesty in their press releases to say what they really mean, and actually mention independence next time.
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