ONCE in a political lifetime, an opponent will deliver a speech that sums up your own political outlook.

The Prime Minister did exactly this in a speech last week on his ‘Levelling up agenda’ in which he set out clearly why the Union isn’t working for Wales.

My drive to build the case for an independent Wales is largely based on my belief that the British State has produced a failed economic and social model; one where geographical and individual wealth inequalities are amongst the worst in the developing world, and where people’s life chances are largely based on where they are born.

Our country is regrettably very much the poor relation in the Union.

My solution is to liberate Wales from the failing Union so that we can shape our own future.

I look across the Celtic Sea to the Republic of Ireland and see economic growth which Wales has no hope of matching under Westminster rule.

During his speech, the Prime Minister’s candour was a refreshing break from the usual tripe spouted in Westminster and by Welsh unionists that we should be grateful for the handouts we get from the imperial capital.

The highlights included:

“We need to say from the beginning that even before the pandemic began the UK had and has a more unbalanced economy than almost all our immediate biggest competitors in Europe and more unbalanced than pretty much every major developed country and when I say unbalanced I mean that for too many people geography turns out to be destiny.”

“…it is an outrage that a man in Glasgow or Blackpool has an average of ten years less on this planet than someone growing up in Hart in Hampshire or in Rutland…”

“…if you are a child on free school meals in London, you now have more than double the chance of going to university than a child on free school meals growing up outside London.”

“It is an astonishing fact that 31 years after German unification, the per capita GDP of the North East of our country, Yorkshire, the East Midlands, Wales and Northern Ireland is now lower than in what was formerly East Germany…”

I was glad to hear the Prime Minister reference East Germany, as it is an example that I often use.

The Disunited Kingdom has nine of the poorest regions in Northern Europe, including Wales, whilst also housing the richest by some margin – inner London.

Meanwhile, Germany, which was literally split in two for the best part of half a century, has made great strides in addressing geographical inequalities.

So far, so good.

Unfortunately, after the blazing opening, the speech tailed off when it came to setting out how the Prime Minister would address these issues.

The only solution presented was the promise of a white paper sometime in the not-too-distant future.

If he is lost for answers, the Prime Minister should look again to Germany where they have deliberately directed investment to less productive parts of the State and targeted foreign direct investment at underperforming regions.

He must also embrace substantial devolution of fiscal powers from Westminster.

The post-Brexit age offers opportunities to fully devolve vital job creation leavers, such as Corporation Tax and VAT, to Wales.

This would empower and incentivise the Welsh Government to prioritise wealth creation and economic development based on our strategic strengths as a country.

Although the speech lacked such substance, it was nevertheless an important moment.

A wise colleague once told me that the worst thing your opponents can do to you in politics is to give you what you want.

I have long called for the UK Government to address the issue of geographical inequalities within the British state, yet, in addressing the issue, the Prime Minister has also created a deadly trap for the Union.

In his recognition that the Union isn’t working for everyone, he has set the bar against which the so-called ‘Levelling Up’ agenda will be measured.

If he fails, where does that leave unionism in Wales?

The Prime Minister has effectively conceded that if the British State cannot reform, independence is the only answer for Wales.