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The Labour Party could see its near 100-year run in Wales come to an end as the country will no longer wait for England to vote Red, Express.co.uk was told. It comes as those west of the border are readying to cast their ballot in Wales’ May elections. Welsh Labour is currently in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats and an independent member in the Senedd, and has been since 2016, although it holds a majority stake in the split.
Labour’s affair with the country goes back to the early 20th century, and is deeply entwined with the country’s majority working class population, especially in South Wales.
Under former leader Jeremy Corbyn, loyalties to the party began to change.
Warning signs came in the 2015 general election, when the Conservative share of the vote increased considerably, but Labour managed to hold on to power.
Then, in 2019, the party faced an even worse election outcome, with the Tories making further gains, as well as the Green Party.
Yet Welsh Labour once again held on to the Senedd, with First Minister Mark Drakeford promising to revamp the party’s image.
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However, Mr Drakeford relies on Westminster for crucial resources, like funding.
It is a point which many claim pits Welsh voters at the mercy of their English counterparts, as whoever England decides to vote in in Westminster either helps or hinders the Senedd.
Sïon Jobbins, chair of the independence campaign group YesCymru, said Wales will no longer wait for England to vote for a Labour Government.
Instead, he said it will follow an alternative path to independence within the decade.
He noted that the coronavirus pandemic had given an element of legitimacy to the Welsh government, proving to voters that the country is able to work autonomously.
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Mr Jobbins said: “For people in Wales who like the idea of more powers for the Senedd, the problem is that for it to happen Labour has to win in England.
“There’s zero appetite for federalism in England right now, unless Labour creates an English Parliament and recognises English identity, which we’re in favour of.
“Yet People in Wales who want more devolution are hamstrung by having to hope that people in England vote for Labour, and that’s not happened for the last ten years.
“For most of the time Wales has been in the UK the majority of Prime Ministers and MPs have gone to private schools, have been privately educated, whereas in Wales our First Ministers have mostly been state-school educated or attended local grammar schools and are more representative of our population.
“People are beginning to ask, ‘Why are we waiting for people in Surrey to change their minds?’ It’s not going to happen.
“Why go on waiting for the middle man when we could be doing things ourselves, for ourselves.”
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Welsh independence is not currently on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s radar.
He and his team are focused on stopping Scotland breaking away, which could happen should the Scottish National Party (SNP) win a majority in Holyrood’s May elections.
Welsh Labour, meanwhile, has repeatedly spoken against an independent nation.
Much of the party is pro-Union, with only a handful of the opposition favouring a referendum.
Of these, Adam Price’s Plaid Cymru is the most serious challenger, with ten seats in the Senedd and three in Westminster.
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Yet, while Welsh Labour has dismissed independence, Carwyn Jones, the former First Minister, previously admitted that the country, as it is currently set up, could become an independent state “by default”.
In 2019, he told DW News: “We could stand alone, but the question is whether we should.
“I believe not. We are a partnership of four nations.”
Wales currently spends more than it raises, and has no track record of borrowing.
Mr Jones said that Wales exported 60 percent of its products to the EU’s single market, “but most of that is to England”, a point which he said meant Wales could be independent “by default”.
YesCymru: Around 30 percent of voters would choose independence in a referendum tomorrow
The Labour Party’s leader Sir Keir appears to be more concerned with the discontent bubbling among devolved nations.
Last year, he announced his plans to open a “constitutional commission” that would spread further decentralised powers across all corners of the UK.
However, Steven Fielding, Professor Professor of Political History at the University of Nottingham, told Express.co.uk that Sir Keir’s plans were not intended for Wales.
He said: “His plans are about Scotland, not Wales, and I don’t think Wales right now wants any more devolution,” before adding, “and there’s no serious call for independence in Wales at the moment.”
Currently, polling in Wales suggest around 30 percent of people would vote for independence if a referendum were held tomorrow.