Bella Caledonia, in partnership with Wales Arts Review, publishes an open letter in defence of the devolved democracies of Wales and Scotland. Jointly composed by writers Ben Gwalchmai and Patrick McGuinness, the non-partisan #DefendDevolution letter calls on Prime Minister Theresa May, David Lidington MP, and Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns MP and Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell to change the course of plans to take back devolved powers from Cardiff Bay and Holyrood. This is an open, live letter, and we are accepting new signatures from artists throughout the week. To add your name, leave a comment or email us.

Dear Theresa May, David Lidington, and Alun Cairns, David Mundell

We, the artists and artistic platforms of Wales and Scotland, write today to address your actions and urge you to change course.

In your negotiations with the Welsh and Scottish governments, instead of reaching agreement by consensus you have chosen to ignore them. We can see from the leaked memo of Chloe Smith MP to David Lindington as revealed by BBC Scotland, that your government’s intention has been made clear. You will claim for yourselves 24 areas of governmental control that are currently the remit of the Welsh & Scottish Governments. You will do so without agreement or legal basis. You will steal from Wales & Scotland. This was never part of ‘taking back control’ – this is you taking control over us in ways that directly contravene the principles of devolution, and go against your own promises.

Our First Ministers and opposition leaders have called this a ‘power grab’. They’re right, but that doesn’t go far enough: this is a betrayal. A betrayal of the democratic votes taken for devolution and of the peoples of the devolved nations. It is a betrayal of democracy.

This action by your government is not an isolated incident. Since the last election, you have broken many promises to Wales. When you said the railways would be electrified West of Cardiff, Theresa May personally cancelled it. When you promised a decision on the Swansea Tidal Lagoon, you have not made a decision. When the Welsh Government worked to get rid of the tolls on the Severn Crossing bridges, you claimed it as your own success. The current Conservatives have broken many vows to Scotland – where you have apparently forgotten, we remember The Vow.

These are a just a few examples of a process of connected depredations that stem from an unbalanced system in which Wales and Scotland come last, and where both countries are sacrificed to the unity of a Conservative party that we didn’t vote for and which rules the UK by the skin of its teeth. You think you are papering over the crisis of democratic legitimacy, but you are making that crisis all the more evident.

We urge you to change direction and to respect the devolution settlements of Scotland and Wales.

Gary Raymond, Editor, Wales Arts Review
Mike Small, Editor, Bella Caledonia

Sophie McKeand
Menna Elfyn
Jane Oriel
Niall Griffiths
Professor Owen Sheers
Sara Beer
Mike Jenkins
Richard Davies
Jafar Iqbal
Glyn Edwards
Alys Conran
Rufus Mufasa
Jamey Pearce
Sion Tomos Owen
Angharad Price
Gary Owen
Peter Stead
Nicky Arscott
Emma Schofield
Kate North
Peter Lord
Lucy Rivers
Nia Edwards-Behi
Carolyn Hitt
Jasper Rees
Clare E. Potter
Gary Raymond
Ben Gwalchmai
Patrick McGuinness
Alan Bissett
Peter Arnott
Mairi McFadyen
Jim Sutherland
Alec Finlay
George Gunn
Stewart Bremner
Alan Summers
Ted Clarke
John Harrison
Laura Wainwright
Mari Ellis Dunning
Carys Eleri Evans
John Lavin
Tom Bevan
Geoff Cripps
Matt Williams
Steph Power
Laura Drane
Mair Craig
Dachlan Cartwright
Fflur Arwel
Guy O’Donell
Rachel Trezise
Morag Williams
Mary McMaster
Stuart A. Paterson
Michael Matheson
Lisa Parry
Lisa Sheppard
Edward Ashton
Gwylon Phillips
Rhian Rhys
David Hedley Williams
Bridget Keehan
Rosie Johns
Catrin Davies
Bob Gelsthorpe
Lorna Withey
Elena Schmitz
Jeremy Turner
Richard Evans
Dai Barnaby
Gavin Porter
Adam Sutherland
Michael Matthew
Alan Price
Richard Baker
Dylan Wyn
Simon Jenkins
Gerallt Hughes
Lisa Lewis
Sharon Morgan
Joao Morais
Helen Burns
Tomos Owen
Arfon Jones
Huw Webber
Jessica George
Elin Morse
Eurig Salisbury
Fedor Tot
Ellis Hughes
Ronald Thain
Tanya Dower
Meirion Rees
Robert Hudson
Patrick Jones
Siriol McAvoy
Daniel Williams
Lizzie Fincham
Alan Jones
Anna Morafon
AL Kennedy
Carol Gilmour
Greag Mac a’ tSaoir
Simon Donald
Catherine Czerkawska