Welsh Labour isn’t working, by Ioan Phillips.
The same party in power for two decades. Life expectancy in some areas barely scrapes past 60. A subsidy-addicted society haemorrhaging its best and brightest.
This is not some impoverished post-Communist banana republic. It is the reality of Labour Wales — lauded by Jeremy Corbyn as an example for a future UK Labour government to follow — but oft-overlooked by British free-market commentators and politicians.
When proselytising about the perils of socialism, they prefer to cite a Cuba or a Venezuela. These names do not resonate with voters because they are either too historical, or too geographically removed to have any significance. The Labour administration in Cardiff Bay offers a far more relevant and equally damning indictment of socialism precisely because it is a real-time example unfolding over the Severn Bridge. …
[The Welsh] fusion of soft nationalism with Left-wing policy prescriptions has — by every conventional indicator — been a failure.
Wales, so renowned for its emphasis on the upwardly mobile vigour of “gwerin”, is now is the UK’s educational basket-case. Welsh students perform worse in PISA tests than their English, Scottish, and Northern Irish counterparts. …
It is not just Welsh young people being failed. Despite vaunted welfarist policies such as free prescriptions, free bus passes, and free school meals, little has changed for the poorest. Wales still has the highest proportion of low-income households in the UK and highest rates of childhood poverty, while in some areas the average life expectancy is lower than in Haiti or Laos.
Meeting deprivation with subsidised entitlements shores up the party’s core vote by allowing them to claim a monopoly over “guarding” their interests. …
Such endemic deprivation, coupled with the lowest average UK take-home pay, makes Wales’s graduate “brain drain” unsurprising. From 2013 to 2016, more than 44,000 left Wales.
Poor old Wales.