Friday, September 26, 2008

Sovereign Wealth Funds: The Politics

The idea of a Welsh Sovereign Wealth Fund was raised by Adam Price on Wednesday in the Western Mail, based on the possible windfall that Wales could receive from the discovery and licensing of gas in the South Wales coalfields.

Adam estimates that anything up to £15bn could be available underneath our feet.

However, instead of being joined in our call for a fund that would assist future generations in Welsh, support domestic industry, and, who knows, helping an independent Wales stand on its own two feet economically, opponents such as Lib Dem Peter Black have instead tried to use the situation to claim some kind of cleavage between Plaid members.

The Assembly response was, in my opinion, quite correct - the Assembly doesn't have the powers to currently create a fund of this nature. It also would have been overtly political to make such a claim for powers above and beyond those that will be included in the coming referendum.

But, and it's a claim that Peter himself makes when outsiders comment on Lib Dem politics, he fails to understand how Plaid work.

In our case, almost every Plaid initiative since the 1920s has been fought for, tooth and nail - we propose an idea, we are informed that said idea is 'unworkable', we continue to find supporting evidence for the proposal and, eventually, through weight of evidence and persuasion we find that, actually, the idea is very much achievable, and that all that was missing was political will.

Adam has already identified the necessary amendments that could be made to allow the Assembly to have these powers - the question is which of the unionist parties will tell us longest and loudest that we shouldn't have these powers to assist future generations of the part of the UK with the lowest GVA?

Perhaps they'll make the same arguments about Scotland as well?

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