With just two weeks to go to the EU Referendum Bethan Rhys Roberts hears from two senior members of the Welsh Conservative Party from opposite sides of the debate.
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With just under two weeks to go until we go to the polls to decide
the future of Britain's membership of the European Union,
we hear from two senior members of the Welsh Conservative Party.
And protecting the past for future generations,
should more be done to safeguard historic buildings in Wales?
Good evening, and welcome to The Wales Report.
Remember, you can join in the debate on social media.
Much of the focus of the referendum battle so far has been blue on blue,
with Conservatives who want to remain taking on those
Before we hear from two prominent members of the party in Wales
with very different views, political commentator
Professor Laura McAllister gives her verdict on the campaign so far.
If we listen to the opinion polls, it looks as if voting patterns in
Wales are similar to those in England. I don't think there has
been a Welsh campaign. The whole campaign and the two voices for
Remain and Leave have been dominated by a small group of men in the
Conservative Party or on the fringes. We have not seen as much of
Nigel Farage as we might have expected, it has been about Boris
Johnson, Michael Gove, David Cameron and George Osborne. It has been very
limited and elitist. We have come out of this with the public
dissatisfied about the referendum as a device. It has to be divisive get
people to from being not sure into yes or no. What is interesting,
hardly anybody, with a cute exceptions, are rigidly guest or no,
most of the population could see the arguments on both sides. If you talk
to people on the ground, they may be 70% Remain and 30% Leave, or the
other way around, but we have not had good quality, trustworthy
information that has persuaded people in the group in the middle,
sometimes as big as a quarter of the population, to feel clear they are
making the choice will be right reasons.
I'm joined now by the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns.
Picking up on the point there, she is right that there has not been a
Welsh campaign. This has been about the UK Conservative Party in the
main. It is much bigger than any one political party. It is bigger than
any one general election, it will set the scene for the next 20, 30,
40 years. That is why it is so important, when it comes. I have
stood on the same platform as Labour assembly members and Liberal
Democrat politicians. I have stored on a cross-party basis. It is
natural the UK media seem to dominate these issues. Looking at
the campaign and the issues in Wales, Europe means something
different in Wales, because you could argue we are beneficiaries,
whereas the UK are net contributors. You could say it is an indictment of
the state of the Welsh economy that we qualify for the EU money. This is
much bigger than any EU aid that comes to Wales, although it is
important, and it is the only way of reassuring that we will get that
support if there is an invoked when the referendum comes. The reason it
is bigger, it is about the economy. So much of our economy depends on
the single European market. Tata is one example, we are looking to find
a purchaser, new investment, not only at Port Talbot but across the
UK. It is fundamental to the economic interest and productivity
of Wales. 69% of the steel output from the UK goes to Europe. You try
finding an investor if you tell them that 69% of your customers will be
withdrawn at a certain date. It is far more likely that we will find an
investor. That is why it demonstrates why it is so important
that people think long and hard about this referendum and about how
they vote. It would devastate the Port Talbot community and the whole
Manufacturing base of the UK, as the Leave campaign have said. Your
opponents would disagree. Note... EU exports, they are down in the past
12 months, down 13%. Welsh exports to the EU. You can pick any one
year, they naturally fluctuate and move. Let's go back to what the
Leave campaign have said. Let's go to you on EU exports. We know how
important manufacturing exports are. But the Leave campaign's chief
economist has confessed and accepted that leaving the single European
market would devastate our manufacturing base. I think
manufacturing is too important to write it off so we can depend purely
on some service sector jobs, many of which will be focused in London and
the south-east. This is important to the economy in Wales, as is
manufacturing being important to the communities in Wales. We will hear
from the other side later. Lots of the concerns of people are about the
fact that perhaps the money that we would lose if we were to leave
Europe would then not come from the UK Government. You can guarantee you
would not set Welsh farmers adrift or companies who depend on EU
grants? You would fill that gap? Before any money can be distributed
from the Treasury, from taxpayers, you have to have a successful
economy that pays for it. That is why the single market is so
important. I have highlighted manufacturing, it is so important to
our farming base. That is why the farming bodies are supporting the in
campaign and recommending that farmers vote in, simply on the basis
that Welsh lamb and beef and produce get free access to the single
European market. One of the most famous farmers, the leader of your
party in Wales, once out. We know that the French farmers and the
French Government would rightly act in their interests, we have had
history of that with the beef on the bone ban. I am talking about the
leader of your party in Wales, he wants out, he is a farmer. We used
the European mechanisms to force the French to back down on a standpoint
they took to protect their farmers. If we were outside the EU, they
would raise the drawbridge to our produce. Have you told Andrew RT
Davies he has got it wrong? It is bigger than any individual or party.
It is cross-party. If you take 90% of economists, so many of the
business people in Wales, so much of civic society, but more importantly,
it is about the jobs and communities, such as Tata, the small
companies that make components, the supply chains to tempt him's to
Tata. The automotive sector... You are not answering the question, so I
would like to move on. If Wales were to vote to remain and the UK were to
vote to leave, what would you do? We recognise that it is the UK at the
member state, we are all important parts of the family of the UK, but
the reality is if the UK chose to leave, we know that Scotland is
already perpetuating an argument they would want to look at the issue
of independence again, so it could lead to constitutional pressures.
And in Wales? It would lead to more economic uncertainty, that is what
worries me. If we are to improve the lives of people, with prosperity,
with drops, it comes down to the economy. You have made that point.
Just on Wales, if Wales wants to stay in but the UK says, let's go,
what power would you have, if any, to make your case at the Cabinet
table? I will always make the case in Wales' interest, that it would
lead to constitutional pressures, obviously, as we know that Scotland
have said they would be looking at a second referendum. That would lead
to further uncertainty, business and investment does not like
uncertainty. The economic interests of Wales would be undermined even
further, and those jobs that have been created, we had a hat-trick of
good news just last month, employment is rising, and implement
is falling, all of that could be undermined in one fell swoop. If it
is outcome should David Cameron go? Absolutely not. He has committed to
the referendum, people said he would never do so, he has lived up to his
promise. But this is bigger than him. It is such an important
decision, it is fundamental to our prosperity, to the public services
that live off the taxes that are raised on the back of successful
businesses and people going out and earning money, that is what pays for
the health service, education provision. It is such an important
issue. Anything that will undermine the economy is damaging. Can I just
ask about the Wales Bill published yesterday? You talk about clarity
and accountability. But there is a more conciliatory tone between you
and the First Minister on this version. Except on policing. I want
to explore why not make Welsh police accountable to the Welsh Government.
Clarity and accountability have been the guiding principles through the
whole of the drafting of this bill. It is about a constitutional issue.
I want to free the Welsh Government to legislate to matter to real
people. They can introduce laws that will help create prosperity, deliver
better public services, there has been too much confusion of who is
responsible. I believe we have already devolved the Police and
Crime Commissioner, we had the elections for that, they should set
the priority within their area. Centralising policing in Cardiff or
Cardiff Bay for the whole of the UK, I don't think that is the right way
forward. It is better to have Police and Crime Commissioner is in the
force area is, where they can reflect the priorities in those
communities. The priorities for Dyfed-Powys Police the front from
the priorities for South Wales Police. Real devolution, where it is
closer to communities, is more effective in delivering on that sort
of policy area. We've heard the case for Britain
to remain in the EU, so now let's hear from the opposite
side of the debate, and from the leader
of the Welsh Conservatives in Wales, Why did you think it is so important
for Wales to leave? The question on the ballot paper is simple, do we
continue with our relationship and go further into a political union of
the superstate of Europe, or do we pull ourselves out and become a
trading nation, which UK and Wales have historically always been? We
can be stronger out of a political union that is the inevitable journey
that has been taken by the bureaucrats in Brussels. I asked
about Wales, because Wales is a net beneficiary from being in the EU.
The UK is not, it is a contributor, it gets less out of it and it puts
him. It is not the picture for Wales. Wales is part of the UK, I am
a proud unionist, I believe that Wales and are fitted from being in
the union of the UK. The UK has not benefited from being in this
political project that is an ever closer union on the continent. I
want to remain good neighbours with our friends and allies on the
continent, but I believe Wales and the UK could be stronger by spending
its own many within its own borders and holding the politicians to
account by a them to the various parliaments and assemblies of the
UK. But UID leader of the party in Wales
and -- dear not recognise UID leader of the party in Wales, and steal not
recognise that Wales benefits? That is why we have a stand-alone
referendum. Everyone's boat is as important of the next man and woman.
That is why the Conservative Party deserve a huge amount of credit for
putting forward a referendum on this important issue. We have seen by the
surge in voter registration, and enthusiasm for registration. People
want to take part in this referendum. You talk about trade and
business and as a Leave campaigner, small businesses... ?
In support of the euro. You have a huge businessman in Wales
supporting Remain. You have people wanting to stay. You are willing to
jeopardise all that in order to leave the EU? At is not the case. We
can unshackle many businesses the length and breadth of Wales and the
United Kingdom. 100% of businesses have to be shackled by the red tape
of Europe. If you have more than 50 trade
agreements beyond the EU with the rest of the world and would have to
renegotiate that and how long would that take?
There is also a trade deficit that the European Union or the countries
of the European Union, with many billions more pounds of goods into
the UK bank goes out. We have traded for hundreds of years across the
globe as a trading nation and I believe we would be more successful
unshackle ourselves from the red tape and bureaucracy of Brussels,
holding our own politicians to account. There is no such thing as
European money, spending our money. The length and breadth of Wales and
the United Kingdom, quality jobs and decent take-home pay.
You are a businessman and benefit from EU subsidies.
Yes, we have a small fraction of money coming back from Brussels.
If you're willing to fork forfeit that in order to get the money
direct from London... What would you say to a farmer who does not have a
second salary and is not a politician? He wants to keep that
money, and once Wales to stay in the EU.
I offer two examples of the things that have held him back on his
business. The first is the loss of health farm support payments taken
out why Carwyn Jones, as he told us, because of EU regulations. And
on-farm burial, a proposal brought forward across the continent of the
Europe to deal with a specific issue in Holland which added a huge cost
to farmers they like and breadth of the UK but in Wales importantly. It
is an obligation on every national Government to have food security...
You can guarantee that a UK Conservative Government would give
all that money that comes to Wales by the EU, it would still come to
Wales? You can guarantee that? I would suggest that if any
Government turned its back on food security it would be neglecting its
duty of securing the nation 's future.
Can you guarantee... ? No politician can guarantee anything
in the future because it is democracy that counts and who gets
voted in... But that is what makes people
nervous. But if you look at the way the
common agricultural policy is developing and expansion in Europe,
with six or seven countries coming in, the common agricultural policy
is a shrieking part of the overall budget. Every seven years,
renegotiation and that gets smaller. We would be fighting to make sure
that the larger part of that money would be coming to Wales, not
Whitehall but Wales, to be spent on the priorities of the Welsh
Government. If you win, should David Cameron
resign? He has a five year mandate. This is
one part of our manifesto, the referendum. The Prime Minister led
us to a majority Government only 14 months ago and it is important and
imperative that the Government get on with the excellent job they have
been doing, securing the public finances...
So you do not want Boris Johnson in number ten?
We know there will be a leadership challenge. The Prime Minister has
said he will not fight the 2020 general election... He has a
five-year mandate, the Prime Minister. The then minister along
with colleagues at the top of Government have work to stabilise
the finances and create a Government with creating quality jobs...
Back to Boris Johnson, do you want him in number ten Downing St? You
have just said he will be stepping down if they can before the next
general election, is Boris Johnson the man?
The first hurdle... Who do you back?
That is not only to say. The parliamentary colleagues will
nominate two individuals to go to the wider party membership. Party
colleagues in Westminster will have that... I am clear who I want to
leave but it is not for me to interject at this time. The Prime
Minister has a five-year mandate and it is important he serves that...
Very briefly... You acknowledge you are a divided party. Can you kiss
and make up after this? We are a successful party which won
a general election 14 months ago and has a growing economy that is the
envy of the world. We have national defence back on a level playing
field. We have improved education, and are responsible for that. We are
a party that has delivered. Thank you very much.
The first one annoying pound deal in the world was struck there and after
years of uncertainty, the iconic coal exchange in Cardiff Bay is at
eight crucial junction. forward to give the building
a new lease of life as a hotel, The proposal is now awaiting
planning permission and costings Campaigners warn that the building
is still in danger, and the work needs to happen as
quickly as possible. So how can we ensure that our most
important historic buildings in Wales are protected and restored
in a way that's both Before we discuss that,
here's filmmaker Nick Broomfield's reaction on visiting
Butetown in Cardiff for the first time since 1969
for his documentary "Going Going Gone: Nick Broomfield's
Disappearing Britain". The BBC documentary reveals his
anger at the state of the building. Look at that. That is really screwed
up. The coal exchange was my favourite building when I lived in
Cardiff, and when I recently read it was faced with demolition, I came
back to visit my old friend. Hello. Come on in. I am Lisa. Here is the
main hall, which we are not allowed into any more. The council has put a
restrictive order on it because they believe it is dangerous.
So we cannot go in? Unfortunately, no. You cannot argue
with council health and safety, they are the bosses.
Why do you think they want to close it?
That is a long story. Let's go up to the office. This is the building in
occupation, and that is the floor of the exchange full of traders.
What you are doing must take a lot of time and energy.
It has been interesting and I have done a lot of campaigning over the
years but never came across something where there is so much
sentiment locally, support and emotional attachment to the idea
that this place should rise again. I'm joined now by Professor
Annette Pritchard and Madeline Gray is from the University
of South Wales and Annette Pritchard is from the Welsh Centre for tourism
research. Professor Pritchard, we saw on that old board at the
beginning of the piece, seeking a future. It is so difficult to secure
that future. It is difficult to arrange funding.
These future icons are so important to the visitor economy of Wales, but
it wills itself, the places and people we are. One of the stories we
tell of each other, and what are the stories we tell to the world?
Without those stories and buildings, it would become a place without a
place. No history or heritage. We need to work to manage and bring
these buildings to life again. Has it got into this with the coal
exchange specifically? The problem is we need to see it in
a bigger picture. Bigger than this one iconic building. In Cardiff dock
area we have a number of beautiful buildings, a lot of which need care
and attention. We have to think about how we find a proper use for
them. It is not going to work if we just conserve the building as an
icon. It has got to have an end use. And proposals for a Hotel, for
example? Private money coming in, is that the way forward?
An excellent idea. There is no use trying to preserve it as a heritage
centre, which just does not work. I don't think there is any point just
trying to conserve one building standing on its own.
But how do you then preserve the integrity of the building? A hotel
could move in and make it more or less and minimalist, and is that the
future? You must respect the integrity of the building, don't
you? You do, and I think most developers
interested in bringing life back to an old building and developing it
would respect that. It is the unique selling point for the building to
talk about its history and role in the wider community and world. To be
able to say, within this hotel, the first million pound cheque was
signed. This building dictated coal prices around the world. Those are
important stories to tell, which developers would make use of enabled
way. Then it can... If you look at the marketability of
Saint pancreas hotel in London, it could be... It could be a St Pancras
of Cardiff. And this company have developed a
hotel in Liverpool and things like that. It is about bringing those
stories to life... Should it be moved brick by brick?
That is a huge tourist attraction. We do heritage extremely well in
some places. Is that the future of these buildings? But there is the
cost. I would think this could serve as
the catalyst for the regeneration of historic Butetown in general. There
are wonderful buildings and I think of this can be brought back to life
that is a template which could be used in other buildings. To tell the
stories of the people of Butetown and in Cardiff Bay we do not get
those stories just now. It is not just about Cardiff. We
have all hospitals and gorgeous buildings and their future is in
jeopardy. When you look at the budgets of heritage, it includes
media and so forth, 0.5% of the Welsh Government. It cannot only be
public money. It is our biggest growth industry,
heritage tourism. It needs more public funding, it ought to, but you
have got the problem of finding an end use body-building. Almost always
that involves the public cell sector. -- public sector.
Do we have too much emphasis on conservation?
Not too much emphasis on conservation. What you need is the
balance between conservation and an end use for the building. Otherwise
it will not work in 20 or 30 years, and we will have the problems again
down the line. To end on the coal exchange, it is
crisis time. You cannot go in the main hall because it is dangerous.
There is a fear it could completely fall down unless of thing is done
quickly. What needs to be done? This Hotel development is anyway its
best chance of survival. I think that kind of the element, harnessing
the private and public sector together is the only way forward.
And those who would argue against the hotel, saying it disturbs the
integrity of the iconic building? The danger is what happens to it at
that does not happen. They should, with a better idea.
Thank you, Professors. There won't be a programme next
Wednesday, but join Huw Edwards for a special debate
on the referendum If you'd like to get
in touch with us about that or anything else, email us
at [email protected], or follow us on social media -
the hashtag is #TheWalesReport. I've brought you all here
to lay out a vision - a team of radio presenters
On The Wales Report this week - with just two weeks to go to the EU Referendum we hear from two senior members of the Welsh Conservative Party from opposite sides of the debate. And should more be done to protect Wales's historic buildings for future generations? Presented by Bethan Rhys Roberts.