"In reality" is a favourite opener of Wales' spanking new Deputy First Minister. And its a good opener, because life is all about bl***y 'reality'. In reality, is the only place to be when contemplating future plans. This post is a riposte to comments on my blog from others, notably Cleckanndra and Christopher Glamorgan about my having turned my gaze towards Westminster - and away from the 'relevance' of Cardiff Bay.
First thing to say is that I didn't want to lose my position on the National Assembly on May 3rd. I would have liked to be part of the complex process of bedding down its new constitutional settlement. I've already posted that I would probably have spent my entire salary of the last few weeks buying cappuccinos for Plaid Cymru AMs, in a desperate attempt to get the 'Rainbow Coalition' to fly. Its the nearest I've ever been to being politically desperate for something. And before anyone comments, there would have been nothing in it for me. I'd made clear two years ago that I would not take a front bench position - even if one were to be offered. But I would have hoped for a key cross party role - something like Chair of the Finance Committee, if in opposition. But I lost my seat. I'm out on my a*** for 4 years at least, and perhaps permanently. That's reality. An absolute 'bummer' - but the reality that I've had to face.
So what to do. Rebuild my life. Not happy to be only a farmer and gardener. The Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales is a valuable voice for the countryside - and I've taken on the challenging job of President. I have today become a Director of the Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, another potentially challenging position. And I have agreed to set up and chair a Welsh Advisory Board for a private sector business in the field of mental health and care of vulnerable people - details of which will not be public for a month or so. But I don't want to end my interest in Welsh politics.
Which is why I hope that Montgomeryshire people, at an Open Primary next Wednesday, will select me as their Conservative Candidate for the next General Election. If they choose someone else, I will look for some other role in the Party (but won't seek selection for any other seat). If I were to be selected, and then elected, I would see my main interest as working within the Houses of Parliament to ensure devolution is a success. This aspect of devolution does not receive anything like enough attention. In reality, this seems to me the best way I can make the contribution that I want to make. I hope that clears things up.