Making a point the size of Wales
- 4 July 2012
- From the section Wales politics
Not in my name.
Mark Drakeford, the Labour MP for Cardiff West and former adviser to Rhodri Morgan, spoke for five minutes in the Assembly chamber this afternoon but his point was made the moment he got to his feet: the First Minister's suggestion that Milford Haven would offer a home to Trident submarines from Faslane if Scotland voted for independence might have been "entirely academic" (Mick Antoniw AM) or "entirely hypothetical" (Julie Morgan AM) but whatever it was, it would not happen in his name.
As he put it: "For myself I would be utterly opposed to the notion that Wales might be a home to nuclear weapons".
Such weapons are designed to destroy areas the size of Wales, he said, to kill millions. He, like thousands of Labour activists and representatives up and down the country - like Mick Antoniw and Julie Morgan - absolutely oppose these "profoundly destructive" weapons. Their view is that the world would be a better place without them and guess what, implied Mr Drakeford, that world includes Wales and Milford Haven.
Carwyn Jones sat stony faced, unused to difficult moments like these in a chamber where he's rarely made to sweat. His response when it came - there'd been "no grand plan" behind his comment, it had been an attempt to illustrate one possible cost of independence to Scotland. His government will "concentrate on the issues that are relevant to the people of Wales."
This was a Plaid Cymru debate. If his suggestion was that debating Trident was not relevant, they would surely have been itching to point out that he raised it in the first place.
Mr Jones' Milford moment of madness hasn't gone down well with some Welsh Labour MPs. It's clear not all Labour AMs liked it either. But Mark Drakeford reminded Mr Jones of a bigger problem - that the people who'll have liked it least might well be ordinary Labour activists.