Saturday 26 June 2021

Book review of Whose Wales? on The Constitution Society’s website

The following are extracts from an article which appeared on the website of The Constitution Society on 16th June 2021.

‘Jones and Gibbard investigate the extensive history of calls for self-government, from the Cymru Fydd initiative of 1880/90s through to the Parliament for Wales movement of the 1950s, in order to provide a context for the intricate devolution campaigns of the 1970s.’

‘Jones’s experience in preparing Labour’s evidence to the Crowther/Kilbrandon Commission on the UK constitution, quite apart from his long engagement with Welsh and European politics, provides a unique insight into the intriguing twists and turns of the era and the fractious relationships between many key protagonists, including himself and Plaid Cymru’s then President, the notable Gwynfor Evans. Indeed, Whose Wales? is compelling for its original analysis of the subject matter.’

‘The authors suggest that devolution as introduced by the Tony Blair government of the late-1990s, a generation after the failed 1979 referendum for a Welsh Assembly, marked a return to concepts and trends which were largely put on hold by the demands of fighting two world wars in the first half of the 20th century and the economic challenges faced in their aftermath.’

Martin Shipton, in his preface to the book, affirms.’

‘Gwynoro Jones and Alun Gibbard provide irrefutable evidence that people from all four political parties in Wales played a role in promoting the cause of Home Rule… However, after nearly a quarter of a century of devolution, the future of the UK is uncertain. Within a few years, both Scotland and Northern Ireland may have left the UK. At that point, the people of Wales would have to decide on their future. Would they be content to face permanent domination by their much bigger neighbour to the east? Or would they take the plunge and decide on independence?’

‘Appendices titled A Federal Model for the UK and A Sovereign Wales in an Isle-wide Confederation articulate alternative constitutional futures for the UK.’

‘The book comes endorsed by former First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, whose recommendation indicates the text’s historical breadth and the perhaps surprising nature of the story which it tells…


Whose Wales? The battle for Welsh devolution and nationhood is available here.