Stephen Crabb, Conservative MP for Presceli Pembs. is an outstanding politician. I agree with him about most things. Yesterday he caused a bit of excitement by writing a 'platform' article for ConservativeHome. I have just read the article - and I have seldom read anything that has instigated so much comment which completely misses the point. I'm sure my regular readers will be surprised when I say that, if anything, Stephen has been rather more 'devolutionary' than I think is realistic at present. Don't laugh or snort derisively. Just read on instead.
Stephen Crabb wrote that "the current arrangements are a confused and unstable settlement for the composite parts of the United Kingdom". I agree.
He also wrote that "abolition of the devolved institutions is not currently saleable". I agree.
He then wrote that "we should now be looking at a re balancing of the devolution experiment." I agree.
Followed by "the case for some form of law making body for just England is becoming irresistible". I cautiously agree with the principle.
Then he wrote that "reform of the relevant Whitehall machinery is also necessary". I cautiously agree in principle.
He then assumes "a reduction of the number of MPs from Wales". I agree.
He then writes that "a future Conservative Government could even look at some form of limited fiscal devolution to create the impression of a fairer and more responsible devolved system". This goes further than I think is realistic at present.
Now, I would not have written the article in the same style as Stephen. The tone is about as opposite from that which I would have used as it is possible to be. But I take almost exactly the same approach to this issue as he does. It seems to me that there is a real basis for agreement. As far as I can see, the problem is that Stephen Crabb and David Davies are not being sufficiently involved in what is being said on behalf of the Party. They are both good, rational men who should be seen as key to our devolutionary policy. They are also men who will not be ignored or silenced - and I'm with them both on that. They must not be left out. At the very least, I hope this post will lead to some re-reading of yesterday's ConservativeHome article.