HRH the Prince of Wales turns 70 this November. It also happens to be the 60th anniversary of his assuming the title of Prince of Wales. HM the Queen and the UK government had planned to rename the Second Severn Crossing as The Prince of Wales Bridge in honour of the occasion. That’s quite an honour, as the Second Severn Crossing is the main bridge between Wales and England. A ceremony is being planned, to be attended by the HRH the Prince of Wales, on the occasion of the renaming. But the strong objection to renaming the bridge has taken everyone by surprise. No less than thirty thousand people so far have signed a petition objecting to the renaming plan.
No Consultation with the People
According to the petition, there are two objections to renaming the Second Severn Crossing after HRH the Prince of Wales. It seems that there’s a strong feeling that the bridge should be renamed in honour of someone who has done something significant for Welsh interests. The other objection is to the manner in which the decision was taken. There’s a lot of anger because the decision to rename the bridge was taken without consultation with the Welsh public.
No Initial Objections
According to the UK government, it’s been in regular consultation with the Welsh government regarding the plan. Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns and Welsh First Minister and Labour Leader Carwyn Jones have, it’s alleged, being corresponding regularly regarding this. Carwyn Jones, it appears, has never raised an objection. According to Alun Cairns, while there may be some opposition, there’s a silent majority out there who fully support the plan. A Labour Assembly Member, Jenny Rathbone, suggests that if this encourages HRH the Prince of Wales to promote matters in the Welsh interest, then the renaming won’t do any harm at all.
Plaid Cymru Objections
The Plaid Cymru party, however, is furious. It has been extremely vocal in its opposition to the renaming plan. Plaid Cymru has even gone as far as accusing the Welsh Labour government of laxity regarding the protection of Welsh interests. In their eyes, Carwyn Jones failure to voice objections to the plan from the very beginning is nothing short of neglect. Leanne Wood, the Plaid Cymru leader, has even asked if the renaming plan is a ‘late April fool joke?’ These are strong objections indeed.
Not Everyone’s Opposed
Despite strong objections, not everyone’s opposed to the plan. Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns says it’s a fitting tribute to the Prince of Wales on the 60th anniversary of his assuming the title of Prince of Wales, as well as on his 70th birthday. However, Welsh politician Adam Price says that the Welsh government should pressurise the UK government to consult the public involved. However, one thing is clear. Because of the Internet and social media, the public’s voice must be heard. And the government should never take the public’s compliance for granted. Perhaps in future, when such decisions are made, the public may indeed get a chance to have a say.