Wales politics

Brexit: Remain camp insufferably smug, ex-Labour advisor says

Wales Stronger In Europe Image copyright Getty Images

Wales voted for Brexit due to complacency in the Welsh Government and a Remain campaign dominated by "self-serving" establishment figures, a former Labour special advisor has said.

In an essay, David Taylor warned Welsh devolution could face "a very real existential threat" if politicians do not grasp the referendum result.

He called the Wales Stronger In Europe campaign "insufferably smug".

Former campaign chairman Geraint Talfan Davies declined to comment.

The Welsh Government has also been approached for comment.

Writing on the Heat Street news website, Mr Taylor, a former advisor to ex-Cabinet minister Lord Hain and police commissioner candidate, said two factors guaranteed the failure of Remain at the EU referendum.

"The first was complacent, narrow political thinking within Welsh Government; the second was a campaign dominated by a self-serving, ineffective 'Taffia' of old Welsh establishment figures," he said.

Mr Taylor said the Welsh Government "consistently failed to spend valuable pre-purdah time developing a strong, positive, comprehensive case for remaining in the EU."

"The Welsh Government appeared to be in denial as polls continued to show that the Welsh were just as Eurosceptic as the English," he said.

A bid to rebrand the assembly as the Welsh Parliament - tabled during the week of the referendum but later dropped - showed a sense of "complacency" and "warped priorities", Mr Taylor added.

He accused Wales Stronger In Europe - an offshoot of the official Remain campaign Britain Stronger In Europe - of being "insufferably smug".

Mr Taylor said the campaign's "leading spokesmen (and they were all men), were creatures of the old Welsh establishment, the worst possible faces for such a campaign, with all the baggage of career politicians, but none of the their skill".

He added that politicians needed to recognise that voters in Wales supported Brexit.

"It is blindingly clear that a new attitude is required: if political leaders in Wales fail to grasp this fact, Welsh devolution will face a very real existential threat," he said.

Vote Leave Cymru spokesman, Vincent Bailey, said Remain campaigners suffered from "a failure to grasp just how angry ordinary people were with being told what to do by a distant, unelected Brussels elite".

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