‘Oh, he’s a character.’ How many times have we heard this? In an individual it’s relatively easy to describe the character been discussed.
He’s a warm and open or a cold boring person. He’s shy, or an introverted or an extraverted person.
We’ve all got our own personality for good or ill. And its to this unique personality that others react. If this is true about an individual, what about nations?
According to Rhodri Morgan’s evidence to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, Wales’s attempts to create its own policies is treated quite differently to that of Scotland.
In this context, according to our former First Minister, Scotland is treated not as a foreign country but certainly as a different country. The problem with Wales is, that it is not viewed as a country at all, its viewed as the last colony of the Empire.
There was a little of the ‘psychology’ of the Empire in Sir Jon Shortridge’s, former head of Wales’s civil servant, evidence to the same committee.
He alleged that Ministers in London kept their counterparts in Wales in the dark when launching an important policy ‘they weren’t trusted with sensitive information.’
Why is Wales treated so differently to Scotland? What aspect of our national characteristic leads others to ignore and undervalue us?
Perhaps, there is a clue in something else Rhodri Morgan said to the committee. Whilst he was a civil servant it was made clear to him that if you were ambitious and wanted promotion, the best and most effective way for a Welsh civil servant to succeed was to agree with Whitehall.
But no so in Scotland. There, the best way to be promoted was to oppose England. Interesting.
In a nutshell, if you stood up for yourself you were respected.But ‘yes’ men, were held in low esteem.
Politically is that not were Wales has been for sometime now? Not insisting on our rights as a small nation, but just making do with the constitutional crumbs offered by New Labour’s devolution project.
In all honesty, would Wales have had the small measure of devolution it has if Scotland had not insisted on its settlement.
There is plenty of evidence that Wales is settlement is simply a fig leaf to cover the major changes occurring elsewhere on these islands. Something in the shadow of what was happening in Scotland.
According to the former Secretary of State for Wales, Ron Davies, originally Tony Blair did not think a referendum was necessary for Wales. Why? Because he thought the proposals for Wales were more administrative change than a major constitutional one.
No, as a nation we need to change ourselves if we are to win the respect of others. We had better seek the psychiatrist’s couch and change our national characteristict.