There is always a problem with global intervention in the sovereign affairs of a nation. It is of even more concern if that nation actively encourages it.
The Welsh Government when it launched its White Paper in respect of the Sustainable Development Bill, sought to ensure that sustainable development is at the heart of everything they do. They saw a Sustainable Development Bill as the next stage in their devolution journey, setting out in legislation the delivery of a governance framework for a sustainable Wales and the strategic direction for sustainable development ensuring decisions taken demonstrate real outcomes.
Looking behind this rhetoric and deeper into the details the truth is quite bizarre. When the Welsh Government mentions Sustainable Development (SD) it is from their definition of it, skewed in favour of social justice and the environment. I refer to the earlier Welsh definition which leads to erroneous thinking that the economy is outside SD. The first part of the original Welsh definition is acceptable:
‘sustainable development’ is the enhancement of the economic, social and environmental well being of people and communities, achieving a better quality of life for our own and future generations.
But the second part which qualified it was not:
in ways which:
promote social justice and equality of opportunity, and;
enhance the natural and cultural environment and respect its limits using only our fair share of the earth’s resources and sustaining our cultural legacy
The bias in Wales came from stakeholder groups promoting the environmental signing up to the United Nations Agenda 21 and the associated Summits. Agenda 21 is in effect the vehicle for social justice and the global redistribution of wealth based upon migration and cap-in-trade i.e. using climate change and the environment as a means of taxing wealth, either directly or indirectly. Wales sought to be legally fettered by environmental policy under the banner of Sustainable Development.
Change in Direction
Actually, at the Bill stage they realised that what they were proposing did not align with a balanced view of the sustainable development at all. So they changed the name of the Bill from Sustainable Development and changed the operating Welsh Government Department – away from Planning. It is still considered as part of planning reform but by the back door.
A Framework for Pro-Environmental Behaviours
The Welsh Government have the principles of global Sustainable Development as policy in the document ‘Planning Policy Wales – One Wales, One Planet’ aligning, not with national or local sustainable issues, but with Agenda 21.
National and local policies of social, economic and environmental well-being are well catered for in our democratic system and do not need the excesses of global Agenda 21. In having its own law-making powers, Wales proposed to enforce an environmental bias making it legally binding in respect of all facets of public life.
The EU signed up to Agenda 21 and it has an arm, ‘Inspire’, to promote changes in behaviour and attitudes positively in favour of the environment; England falls within the EU embrace in this area. This Bill sought a Welsh body with legislated powers to advise on and monitor the promotion of the principles within Agenda 21, particularly the environment.
The main thrust of the proposal for the SD Bill was set out in its White Paper with an approach openly based upon Defra’s 4Es in “A framework for pro environmental behaviours” and the proposal for an environmentally orientated ‘independent’ body to drive forward that framework using social marketing, a form of propaganda, to achieve it.
Welsh Government have said that they want Sustainable Development to be the central organising principle, placing a stronger sustainable development duty on not just itself, but also the wider devolved public service.
The Consultation in respect of this bill was carefully sheltered from the general public. The promotional events getting to the bill stage have contained very little economic, commercial input and the events in respect of the White Paper were not intended for the general public but rather for ‘sustainability’ stakeholders and representatives of the public service that would be directly subject to the duty.
Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015
So the Welsh Government have its Sustainable Development Act under the title of Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 with the above lack of consultation provenance. With it, comes a shed load of seemingly wonderful goals all overseen by a commissar. The act established a statutory Future Generations Commissioner for Wales whose role is to act as a guardian for the interests of future generations in Wales, and to support the public bodies listed in the Act to work towards achieving the well-being goals.
The act also establishes Public Services Boards (PSBs) for each local authority area in Wales, with these Boards answerable to the Commissioner. Each PSB must improve the economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being of its area by working to achieve these well-being goals.
The commissar can put her finger in and fetter every reasonable economic pie including the M4 but the question is: where is the dead hand of EU environmentalism in the back ground pulling the strings?
The fact is that the general public have an interest in the cost impact on services such as health, education and to the economy. The usual academic/political paternalism still prevails and wider public awareness was too dangerous to the success of the bill for the consultation to be extended into the hands of good old Joe Public. If you turn over all three of the Welsh Sustainable Development walnut shells of social, environmental and economic well-being, you will find no pea. The environmental behavioural pea is up the sleeve of the Welsh Government all neatly embedded deep in the state.
The cost impact is that the NHS in Wales has to find funds for this propaganda and so does education and every other public service. This is a massive albatross.
The Bright Side
Every cloud has a silver lining and on this one the nationalists, Greens and Labour have shot themselves in the foot. Every nation has a right to be proud of its origins by which its culture is defined and refined, and Wales is no different. Wales has a culture and heritage which it is right to seek to preserve. The erosion of culture through acculturation is a by-product of multculturalism. One of the goals of the Future Generations Act is:
A society that promotes and protects culture, heritage and the Welsh language.
The Welsh will say that they only meant it against the English, but there are far worse cultures than the English that are being established in our land.
Let’s hope at least that creeps into legislation throughout the rest of Britain as well.
Stan Edwards 2018
Chairman UKIP Newport