That's the headline above the article that Martin Shipton wrote for today's Western Mail following our interview in the Sennedd yesterday. Its a fair reflection of my opinion - (though we should note that the only person who has ever tipped me for the Lords is the soon to be ennobled Lord Wigley). And that's only revenge for the sort of line I've just written! I'm speaking to a Conservative audience in Presceli Pembs. tomorrow night where I will develop this argument further. I'll report on how I get on.
Because I was a supporter of the 'No' campaign in the 1990s, I'm often accused of 'changing my mind' about devolution. I simply refuse to accept this. At about 4.30 in th maoning of the 19th September, 1997 the reality changed. Wales had taken the momentous decision to establish a National Assembly. The ball-game was dramatically changed. Seemed to me that any pragmatic politician had to change as well. The toothless creature which began life in 1999, in my opinion was defective - and worse, was going to be hugely expensive and destroy political 'accountability' in Wales. Very few people now understand where responsibility lies. This new creature either had to be abolished, or given full responsibility over the areas of policy that had already been devolved - and since I do not believe that it will ever be abolished (unless there is some real catastrophe) the only logical way forward is a law making Assembly. Call me Mr Spock if you like, but the logic is unanswerable. Opponents just do not want to engage in the debate. The logic is too overwhelming.
Inevitably, a second Government of Wales Act had to be passed, and took effect last May. Unfortunately, Labour MPs were so keen to 'stuff the Tories' through fiddling the electoral system, that they never trook the trouble to properly understood what the Act actually meant. They still don't realise what it means. In effect, it will deliver law making powers to the National Assembly, without recourse to any referendum (which is totally contrary to Conservative policy). I been posting about the almighty row that is coming up as MPs find out what they've signed up to. No wonder, there's a ermine clad smiling tiger called DEL boy licking his lips in the hills of Meirionydd.
I do not want to see this row between MPs and AMs over the constitutional arrangements for Welsh government. I suggested to Martin, two steps which could be taken to avoid it. Firstly, there will have to be a Committee established at the House of Commons, to deal specifically with the individual power transfers (LCOs). The Assembly have already proposed 9 LCOs, while only one has received any discussion by MPs. At present, this responsibility for 'scrutiny' rests with the Welsh Affairs Committee - and could continue to do so, as long as this Committee didn't do anything else, and all its members turned up to every meeting. Or it could be a new Committee - which could work jointly with the House of Lords Committee which is dealing with LCOs.
And the second step should assume that Assembly Ministers, when presenting the LCOs to the House of Commons should give as much general detail about what the power would be used for as possible. I accept that there isn't any logic in this, because the power is transferred for ever - but it would help reassure MPs, who are understandably concerned about what is going on. When you are taking something from MPs, which they do not want you to have, there is no point in rubbing their noses in it!
I want the Conservative Party to accept the logic and the inevitability of where we are (its might not be where we'd like it to be) and adopt a law making Assembly as soon as possible. I know its a personal risk to argue so openly and strongly for this, but I really believe it. I want us to form part of the Government of Wales after the 2011 election - and lead it. this policy would deliver that. What on earth is the point of being involved in politics unless you want to form part of the Government and make a difference.