The shape of Wales to­day – fol­low­ing two decades of de­vo­lu­tion

Cynon Valley - - TELEVISION -

ON SEPTEM­BER 19, 1997, Welsh Sec­re­tary Ron Davies ad­dressed the na­tion on a “very good morn­ing in Wales”. It was the morn­ing af­ter the biggest night in re­cent Welsh his­tory as Wales be­gan its jour­ney as a de­volved na­tion. Huw Ed­wards, pic­tured, was there to see events un­fold on ref­er­en­dum re­sults night. Ex­actly 20 years since Ron Davies’ vic­tory speech, the S4C pro­gramme Huw Ed­wards: Datganoli 20 fol­lows the jour­nal­ist and broad­caster as he vis­its in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses across Wales to find out how de­vo­lu­tion shapes our lives to­day.

To mark 20 years of de­vo­lu­tion, S4C will also broad­cast a spe­cial edi­tion of the panel dis­cus­sion show Pawb a’i Farn: Datganoli 20 live from the Senedd build­ing on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 21. First Min­is­ter, Car­wyn Jones will be on the panel along­side Pre­sid­ing Of­fi­cer of the Na­tional Assem­bly Elin Jones, Con­ser­va­tive MP David Davies and Pro­fes­sor Richard Wyn Jones from Cardiff Univer­sity, with Dewi Ll­wyd chair­ing the dis­cus­sion.

“Twenty years ago, Welsh his­tory was changed overnight,” says Huw Ed­wards, who was broad­cast­ing live on the night of the ref­er­en­dum re­sults in 1997.

“The at­mos­phere was elec­tric and the mem­ory of that night has not faded. But a lot has changed since then.

“I’ve spent the past 20 years de­bat­ing the is­sues with politi­cians in the TV stu­dio. But now, in this pro­gramme, there is an op­por­tu­nity to meet peo­ple who are try­ing to make a dif­fer­ence in their own com­mu­ni­ties. Th­ese are the voices I want to hear in or­der to mea­sure the state of Wales to­day.”

Has de­vo­lu­tion united or di­vided Wales? How have at­ti­tudes to de­vo­lu­tion changed in Wales over the past 20 years? And what role will the Assem­bly have to play in a post-Brexit Wales?

“In the pro­gramme we fo­cus on three main top­ics of dis­cus­sion – ed­u­ca­tion, health and the econ­omy,” ex­plains Huw.

“Brexit is a com­mon theme through­out the jour­ney and many peo­ple share their con­cerns as they face an un­cer­tain fu­ture.”

The de­ci­sion to leave the Euro­pean Union has al­ready cost the Gorslas suit hire com­pany Dyfed Menswear £20,000. Can busi­nesses like this sur­vive in Wales af­ter Brexit, and what can the Assem­bly do to help?

And what about agriculture? Huw learns about the Fam­ily Farms ven­ture started by eight fam­i­lies in North Wales with the aim of in­creas­ing lamb sales in Wales, but the big ques­tion is what ef­fect will Brexit have on Welsh pro­duce ex­port to the Con­ti­nent?

Huw meets traders in Cardi­gan and vis­its Halen Môn in Bryn­sien­cyn, An­gle­sey, to hear their thoughts on the econ­omy. Does the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Welsh Assem­bly and West­min­ster help or hin­der them?

In New­port, we visit the new­est Welsh-lan­guage sec­ondary school in Wales, Ys­gol Gwent Is Coed. The de­mand for Welsh ed­u­ca­tion is on the in­crease in the area and Huw is sent to the head’s of­fice to find out why.

And back in North Wales, Huw eval­u­ates the chal­lenges fac­ing the Na­tional Health Ser­vice and care homes such as Bryn Seiont Newydd in Caernar­fon. The de­mand for res­i­den­tial care is set to in­crease by more than 80% in the next 20 years – how will places like Bryn Seiont Newydd and GPs like Dr Dy­lan Parry in Old Col­wyn meet the de­mand?

Delv­ing deep into lives across Wales, what dif­fer­ence has the past 20 years made to the coun­try? And what is the fore­cast for the fu­ture, as de­vo­lu­tion in Bri­tain faces its biggest chal­lenge yet in the shadow of Brexit?

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