The Labour Party is in a strong position after this election but that must not be taken for granted. The party’s support is at its highest level for a number of years and this was in spite of an incredibly hostile print media response to senior Labour figures. Hopefully the influence of The Sun, The Mail and other papers of their ilk is one the decline but in the short-term they shall still be around. Let’s face facts, Labour lost the election because they didn’t win the most seats or get the most votes. But if Labour is to build on the successes that it did have at this election then it needs to understand what happened and think quickly about the future.
Theresa May claims that the Conservative Party are the party of working people. Obviously this is total horseshit and this is evidenced by, among many other things, the 2016 Trade Union Act. This Draconian piece of legislation was an unprovoked attack on the largest democratic movement in the country, a movement which works every single day to improve the rights of working people. It appears that the Welsh government also doesn’t believe Theresa May and Assembly Members (AMs) are working to undo the Tory restrictions on workers’ rights. This is an issue that is currently being overshadowed by the Tory attempts to use Brexit as a means to further erode the rights of working people, and they must not be allowed to succeed.
The government have announced that after Brexit the Scottish Parliament shall have more powers. David Mundell announced the move in the House of Commons after questioning from the Scottish National Party. Scotland has been given a lot of attention because of the large cohort of SNP MPs at Westminster, and as such almost all discussion of devolution has been concerning Scotland. But this piece shall look at what the impact of Brexit will be on the Welsh devolution settlement and how the government should respond. In other words, what about Wales?
When same-sex marriage was legalised in England and Wales in 2013, many people who cared about LGBT celebrated as if the fight for equality had taken a massive step forward. This was the right thing to do because it was an important day in the British LGBT rights movement. However there were some people who only took a passing interest in the cause of LGBT rights, and mistakenly believed that this was the final battle. This perception was false. There are a number of issues that affect LGBT people in British society, and one of these issues was the stain on the character of those men convicted of homosexual acts before the Sexual Offences Act of 1967 decriminalised such behaviour. After a long campaign, this injustice has been rectified.
Questions about the constitutional settlement of the UK have been circulating the corridors of power since the Scottish Independence referendum in 2014, but the Brexit vote has reinforced the urgency of the situation. As I have previously said, Wales is often ignored in these debates due to the loudness of the SNP and the ongoing situation in Northern Ireland. However one of the major areas of debate for Welsh devolution has been the Wales Bill, which had been written by Tories in Westminster to devolve selected powers to Cardiff. Although it now appears that the Wales Bill will receive the support of the Assembly, the fight for parity of powers remains.
Following on from an announcement made in June, Northern Ireland have lifted the lifetime ban on men-who-have-sex-with-men giving blood. As with all piecemeal change it’s welcome but doesn’t go far enough. Northern Ireland had a great opportunity to be trailblazers on this issue and finally get rid of this antiquated thinking around gay men giving blood. Instead the fight goes on for real equality.
The UK has made history by becoming the first country ever to vote to leave the European Union. With a turnout of approximately 72%, the British people narrowly voted to exit the trade bloc, a decision that has far reaching consequences in a number of different areas. At around 6am London time the Leave campaign crossed the necessary threshold of 16.8 million votes to claim victory and achieved around 52% of the vote, compared with the Remain campaign’s 48%. It was a hard night for the Remain campaign as polling had suggested the UK would stay in the EU, however as results continued to flood in throughout the evening the Leave vote appeared to be stronger that originally thought.