Saturday, December 30, 2006

Message from Catalonia.

Thanks go to Dylan Jones-Evans, our seriously talented Assembly candidate in Aberconwy, for directing me to an interesting piece by Matthew Parris in today's Times. The article outlined how the Catalonian centre-right party, Partido Popular has lost its status as a leading political force in Catalonia over recent years as a result of 'turning its back' on the reality of regional nationhood. Matthew's point is that the same can be said about the Conservative Party in Scotland. I see no reason why the same analysis shouldn't apply to Wales as well.

There can no longer be any doubt that Welsh 'nationhood' is going to develop further and Wales' capacity to take responsibility for herself through her own National Assembly is going to develop further as well. Before the referendum held on Sept. 18th, 1997, I could see logic in opposing devolution. There was so much uncertainty about how the proposed constitutional change would work out that there was bound to be nervousness amongst Conservatives. But the sky hasn't fallen in. And every statistically sound poll tells us that the Assembly is here to stay. Since the referendum 'Yes' vote, I have favoured moving forwards to the Scottish model of devolution in Wales. It remains the only policy that makes any sense to me. Anything else is a 'self-imposed exile to the political wilderness'.

What really frustrates me is the assumption held by some in my party that there is something 'unconservative' about backing further devolution. There isn't. Across the world, centre-right parties are the 'champions' of regional 'nationhood', the great promoters of threatened 'minority' cultures and the defenders of individual's rights to live through the language of their choice. At times in the past, the Conservative Party has actually been pro-devolution. Somehow, we've managed to manoeuvre ourselves onto the wrong side of this debate. Matthew Parris is telling us that it would be a politically smart idea to manoeuvre ourselves back onto the right side. Over the last year or so we've made a good start. There is still a bit to go.


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Anonymous said...

the more power Wales gets the less left-wing her politics will become.

Tax-raising powers will lead to more financial responsibility and less bribes and freebies.

Independence would mean Wales and her politicians would have to learn to creat policies which actually work and aren't just tomorrow's headlines. It would be the necessary boost which Wales needs. Leaving aside the need for a Welsh state to defend Welsh natural recourses, there's not much future in a state-subsides idle work-force in a globalised economy.


Glyn Davies AM said...

I agree with you about more power breeding more responsibility - and accountability. However I do not believe that 'independence' would benefit Wales at all - and I will be sorry if Scotland votes to secede from the UK.
There is logic in tax raising powers - but not without popular endorsement, something that the Welsh people would not be willing to support at present - so there is no point in having a divisive row about it.
I share your concern about bribes and freebies. Personally, I do not think voters are that easily conned anyway. Thete is still a lot of very immature politics in Wales