Monday, March 17, 2008

Asking for trouble!

Tomorrow, I am scheduled for office work, and I intend to prepare my submission to Lord Roberts about the approach the Conservative Party should take towards devolution. Regular readers of this blog will know that there are one or two 'givens' - but I do not think it is a straightforward issue. The 'givens' are that I cannot see any point in proposing any 'rowing back' on devolution. I know that several of my readers would prefer this, but I just think its unrealistic.
The second 'given' is that I see no point in arguing for a referendum on law making powers before the next Assembly election. The slow pace which the Labour/Plaid Coalition Government have adopted thus far, makes it impractical - and I no longer think such a referendum could be won anyway. So the only commitment which is deliverable, in my opinion, is a referendum by 2015. I can hear Alwyn and Alun spluttering. But I do think the way the AM salary increase was handled was a disaster with long term consequences. And the Assembly Government's poor delivery on healthcare services also makes too many people nervous of granting any more power to Cardiff Bay. An important unknown is just how much of the power that would be the subject of a referendum will already have been transferred via Legislative Competence Orders.

Anyway, any advice that readers want to offer me to help me with my submission would be appreciated.


Anonymous said...

A referendum on more powers for the assembly hasnt got a prayer of being passed for many years - if ever. youve got that right glyn

Anonymous said...

Can't help you directly with your submission, but thought this bit of perspective on how quickly we are accruing powers might help.

"An important unknown is just how much of the power that would be the subject of a referendum will already have been transferred via Legislative Competence Orders."

About 40 Matters are already through via framework legislation (clauses in Westminster Acts) with more to come in this Parliamentary session. LCO powers on way too (the first LCO has now been laid in Parliament) though more gradually. Nevertheless, by 2011 or 2015 (take your pick) we will have huge swathes of legislative freedom. Two Measures have also now been published, including one from Jenny Randerson on Nutrition in Schools.

Who says the Government of Wales Act isn’t working? Yes, the process needs time and goodwill, but I agree that by the time we get a referendum much of the meat it might confer will already have been provided.

Daran (having trouble logging in...)

Anonymous said...

I read with interest your blog when I have the time.
I find this one a bit strange though.
Who asked you for your submission?
Should it not be a general opinion of your association rather than your point of view?

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

OK, my post for today:

Please DO NOT adjust your sets ... you are entering the twilight zone ... maybe, not sure, probably not, I work in a different area... so "not responsible for it”...

A couple of things that will "cook the goose" so to speak. New law making powers, hopefully law making powers that enable Wales to really act in its own interests make sense only, imho, if Wales gains powers full tax powers over companies and its people, and adopts an aggressive approach to turning Welsh research into protected IP. For example, the power to alter corporation tax rates allowing Wales to compete with Zurich's tax rates (around 20%) would mean Wales becoming a "Dublin" (see, e.g., (Danny Fortson’s comments in the Independent Newspaper, March 15, 2008 – hereinafter “the DFA”).

As noted in the DFA, Yahoo HQ is moving out of London to Zurich. Apparently, several major companies are planning such moves or thinking about moving their European operations out of the UK; the DFA notes that Google is planning to set up its European research headquarters in Zurich. Google announced some time ago that a major investment in its European R&D will be based close to Zurich, and Kraft moved its main office to Dublin.

What if?

What if Wales offered similar corporation tax rates as Zurich?

Is anyone listening "out there"?

I don't know if anyone is listening to the dire prediction that I have often referred to, that major banks will fail despite what ever steps governments take causing massive economic impact, that the CoL would loose its footing/credibility - the economic JUGGERNAUT that the prediction spoke of, well its clearly happening - I suggested that Wales has a slim opportunity to be in the eye of the oncoming JUGGERNAUT, but I stressed I did not know how this was possible.

Well, while London is increasingly distracted with pending bank failures and really strapped for cash; the CoL is reeling, now almost in a state of bewilderment and shock (as predicted, and the prediction was made against then prevailing consensus). CoL ‘experts’ are now saying they have seen nothing like what is happening in their life time; some are now thinking the unthinkable, that the Great Depression is nearly upon us.

Either way, Wales could take advantage (in its own interests) – London is in the process now of taking a MAJOR (as predicted: a non-violent hit).

There's nearly always a silver lining/leverage opportunity for a power game play somewhere. Wales just has to find it and take advantage of it. Big question of course is: is WAG up to it? Does the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister even able to compute this?

Recall: prediction speaks of massive financial hit, massive job losses in the UK financial sector, that the UK government will be hamstrung, the prediction warned that the juggernaut punch could be pulled somewhat if London took certain steps, I don’t know if London has done that, but for sure GB (Gordon Brown’s government) has run out of excuses. The naked body of GB’s mismanagement of the economy will be laid bare for the world’s financial people to see. The prediction talked of America taking a huge hit, but hopefully it will not prove fatal and America will recover in fairly short order. America has cards up its sleeve that it hasn’t played yet. Despite all their direct or indirect complaints, Mexico and Canada depend on America; expect major economic developments/announcements in this arena that will lead to a massive economic boom for north-south Canada-America-Mexico intra-regional trade and military cooperation.

I see the economic juggernaut as a 3D dynamic shape – meaning it has scalar and vector properties, i.e., it’s huge and it’s moving – was seemingly hovering … but as predicted its descending, I honestly believe it has inter-dimensional properties and it has certain elements of deep malevolence of the kind that as yet humans can’t fathom or directly control; so logic dictates that another force was holding it back. Honestly, there are no mountains or hills that can provide cover for its targets – this Economic juggernaut is bigger than them all. God Help Wales and America. This economic Juggernaut can knock London over like a rolling ball against a sole skittle. Logic then dictates that since it can held back to select/target individual markets, that opportunities will arise for Wales to seek safe harbor/harbour and America can be spared somewhat. Time (the 4th dimension) will tell. I do believe though, that America will come out somewhat on top, I have reasons for this belief, but I am not going to relay them all here.

I realize that the prediction sounds daft, but hear this: IT’S NOT MY PREDICTION, which is why I try to refer to it as “the prediction”; sorry if I’ve slipped up on this matter. I am merely the messenger boy, I did wonder if I was somehow computing it (working it out in my own head), but I don’t have any formal training in economics, so how can I make such accurate predictions? It really doesn’t make any sense, and the prediction was no way predicted by the experts as they pointed to a reduction of a percentage point or so in UK GDP, that people would have to tighten their belts a bit but that the UK economy was sound kind of thing. Also the Juggernaut has shape, magnitude and can move (“settle” as I see it) – and very malevolently so (it has no mercy), but its ability to descend and spread out seems to be somewhat under the control of another force, but the restrictions started to move off. Be so advised.

I warned and warned about this economic JUGGERNAUT that was just a wee bit off above our heads and waiting so to speak.

Then again, I could be pulling your leg/chain "is all". The 4th dimension will reveal all ... whirling cranking sounds of chains and grapples and things that go "beep" in the night ... 'is all'.

But I think Wales would be in boom time if it could somehow get power over setting corporation taxes - if the Googles of the world want to ditch London, why not let them settle in Cardiff over Zurich? Cardiff has a LOT going for it, and English people can move there and so keep their jobs - think about that, some HQs could set up in Newport - and be within 'stock broker' commute distance of Bristol. Zurich is a VERY expensive place to live - anyone been to Switzerland? I have, a Mars bar there cost an arm and a leg. Well, metaphorically speaking.

Anonymous said...

Hail Glyn MP for Montgomeryshire!
Goodbye Lembit Opik Master Plonker!!
Your soon to be predecessor is huffing and puffing and making a fool of himself. Again. Why don't the Libido Dems shut him up????
I think a fair few of us would LOVE to see Lembit Grope-it Opik in open court. Can you IMAGINE the sort of stories that would come out about him?!
And yet he threatens to sue......

Glyn Davies said...

anons - general agreement here. The reason I'm making a submission to Lord Roberts is because all of us who have an interest in the future of the Conservative Party in Wales has been invited to do so. I'm in no different a position from anyone else. Two comments (which I have refused to publish because they were offensive), seemed to think that I had no right to respond. Well, anyone can respond if they want to. I will discuss my submission with my local Association. They may even decide to put forward a seperate submission as well.

christopher - These is no prospect or tax varying powers for the National Assembly. Before the last Assembly election, Plaid Cymru were making much of their proposals to reduce business taxes, when they had absolutely no prospect of being able to do so. At the time, I thought they were being very deceitful. I do think reducing business taxes is a hugely sensible strategy though.

Anonymous said...

I am a paid up member of the Welsh Conservatives, have been for years, no body has asked me for my opinion.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - If you had been at our Llandudno Conference two weeks ago, you will have heard David Cameron announce the Lord Roberts Commission, and that he wanted as many submissions as possible. It a case of the more the merrier, I think. As it happens I've been asked in addition to that, perhaps because I'm a candidate - I don't really know. Why is this causing a problem. Just make your submission to 4 Penlline Rd, Whitchurch, Cardiff - and it will be passed on to Lord Roberts. That's all I'm going to do.

Dylan Jones-Evans said...


It is crucial that every member has the opportunity to respond to Lord Roberts' convention. Do not hesitate to do so and to give your opinion on what could be a massive opportunity for the party in Wales.

The Conservative Party needs to evolve in response to the changing political climate in Wales, as it is doing at a UK level under David Cameron's leadership.

However, the situation is different in Wales and we need solutions that are specific to our nation, and not diluted versions of UK policy. This is why we have set up specific commissions on areas such as helath and economic development.

Through relentless propaganda over the last twenty years, there is still an impression, quite wrongly, that the Conservative Party, despite the best efforts of Wyn and others, does not have Wales’ best interests at heart and that the other parties have the monopoly on this.

Let me give you a simple example of the work ahead.

I was recently interviewed on Taro Naw where I made the case for supporting young welsh language speakers to start up their own businesses within their communities.

The next day, people were stopping my mother on the streets of Pwllheli to ask if I had left the Conservatives and joined Plaid Cymru because I was supporting the welsh language on S4C!!!

I am sure many would have found that funny if it wasn’t for the fact that when Plaid Cymru have been given the opportunity to support the Welsh language at a local level – through supporting small schools in Gwynedd - and at national level – in providing finance for a Welsh language newspaper – they have lost the courage of their convictions.

Wales, more than ever, needs a strong centre-right Welsh conservative party with its policies made in Wales for the people of Wales. Under Wyn’s guidance, this convention will ensure that happens.

Anonymous said...

God I'm fed up with the pompous nonsense in this blog.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me,I was like 2 of our Welsh Members of Parliament, absent from the Welsh Conference.

Anonymous said...

Glyn after readng the good Dr's latest diatribe, I am off to new pastures.
forgive me, but the Dr should have buggered off elsewhere.
No need to publish this.
All the best mate.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that you are putting your views down on paper and sending them to Lord Roberts. I will be doing the same next week.

I agree with you and many Conservatives in Wales that there is no point in offering an option to row back on Devolution in Wales. It is also clear thaty a referendum is not at the forefront of people's minds in Wales.

However, its essential that the Welsh Conservatives articulate a coherent policy on further devolution. As far as I'm concerned the current settlement is inherently flawed as it will naturally pit the Assembly against Parliament in the quest for further powers. You can see the tensions between Labour AM's and MP's already.

The developments that the Party have made to show that we have a real commitment to Wales. However, there is more work to be done. We need to build on the achievements of Lord Roberts et al.

I am confident that Wyn Roberts will come up with a coherent policy that will enhance our position as in thewords of DJE:

a strong centre-right Welsh conservative party with its policies made in Wales for the people of Wales.

Glyn Davies said...

Dylan - I too think the Conservative Party has a historic opportunity in Wales. Plaid very clearly position themselves as a 'socialist' party these days. Both you and I love Wales and its cultural distinctiveness, but we are both of the centre/right. There must be huge numbers of people who have been voting Plaid Cymru who are potential supporters of ours. Lord Roberts is hugely respected by all of these people, and his Report will carry real weight within and beyond our party. Can't understand why some commenters seem so irritated by my willingness to chip in my two penny worth into the deliberations.

anons - Well, it looks as if my visitor numbers are going to nosedive. Good job that I blog for my own enjoyment. Not often I'm called pompous though.

I've never understood why people who don't like what I write bother to visit - and neither can I understand why the scroll down facility isn't used by those who do not wish to read Christopher's essays.

Steffan said...

Blimey, some of your anon visitors seem very rude for the sake of it. They certainly don't offer any useful contribution.
Personally, I find yours, Dr. Jones-Evans and Mr. Jones efforts thoughtful and encouraging. Trying not to sound as if I'm brown-nosing here! I would never have thought of voting Conservative ten years ago - I thought of them as English nationalists!

I think it is clear that the people of Wales want a more coherent devolution settlement and the opinion polls continue to show stronger support for extending what we have to achieve this. However, I tend to agree with your conclusions. Referendums do become a judgement on the government of the day as much as anything. I can't see people's opinion on this government doing anything except head downhill but, even if they can turn it around, the world financial situation is unlikely to help over the next couple of years and there's not much Gordon Brown can do about that. So just like a general election - a referundum becomes a big opinion poll on more than just the question asked.
That and the likely efforts of much of the Labour party to sabotage a campaign mean that more than logic and reason need to be applied to this business.
As some of your contributors prove, emotion is at least as powerful as rationality.

Glyn Davies said...

Trefor and Steffan - Thanks. Trefor's point about inherent conflict is fundamental to my contempt for the current seetlement. And Steffan notes some of the negativity in the comments - and I don't publish the most offensive now! I welcome constuctive disagreement. The reason I put so much personal 'opinion' in my posts is in the hope of stimulating debate. But as visitor numbers have gone up, the tone of at least some comments seems to have become gratuitously offensive. That's life.

Anonymous said...

Would you accept suggestions from a plaid supporter?

Mike Bevan said...

Sorry, Glyn, I'm not up to speed on this blogging thing (although I'm starting to enjoy it!).

Who are Alwyn and Alun, please?

Mike Bevan said...

Glyn, I think I really would like to contribute to this debate, which seems a very sensible process. Who sent you your invitation to contribute please?

Glyn Davies said...

anon - If a Plaid supporter (or any other party for that matter) made constuctive suggestions about the best way forward, of course I'd listen to them. But i suspect that Plaid are very committed to a referendum 'before or in 2011', which I now see as having slipped away. What I want to see is the best way forward for Wales - and for that to be Conservative policy.

mike - Alwyn and Alun are fellow bloggers of a strong nationalist tendency, though not socialist. They can be accessed on my side bar under Independence Cymru and Alwyn ap Huw.

The invitation to contribute to Lord Roberts Commission is an open one. No reason why you can't write directly to him via our area office at 4 Penlline Road, Whitchurch, Cardiff. What I believe would be particularly important (and you may think this perverse) is that those who are most opposed to devolution make their argument. What we find is that people who accept the inevitable consequences of the current Government of Wales Act are willing to publicly argue why, those who are most anti devolution tend to be less willing to engage in debate - in my experience anyway. We need a good spread of opinion if Lord Roberts is going to be able to bring the various strands if opinion together in a policy which we can all support.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

An> well, at least one person should have been reading about “the prediction” giving advance notice of bank failures in 2008. Take Joe Lewis, he has just lost £500 million – yes, half a billion pounds of personal wealth because of a bank failure. Joe Lewis has been working hard these past few days to reassure Spurs chairman Daniel Levy that the £500 million loss on his investment in the recently collapsed American bank Bear Stearns will not force him to sell Spurs.

The prediction spoke of great job losses and fallout from “non-violent” acts working against the UK’s financial institutions. As yet, I see no reason to doubt the prediction, which spoke of an ECONOMIC JUGGERNAUT of the negative kind.

For a while I thought it was me putting 2 and 2 together, “Dr. Christopher Wood’s 2+2 logic”. But rationally I don’t see how it could be me even though I seem to have a knack of predicting news stories before they really happen, I just think that is a natural outcome of being a news junkie. But I did spot way back in 2006 (and had a letter published in the Western Mail) that house and property prices in the UK were vulnerable to winds of change in the USA which were only just appearing in the USA, so the published letter suggested that property speculators should give careful consideration to insulating themselves from a serious downturn.

But the prediction is so awful, it speaks of very bad time in the UK financial sector, of terrible very destructive time In re jobs, people’s careers, homes, businesses in the financial sector. The prediction became clear to me when consensus among the “experts” were not predicting such an awful outcome. Maybe on a personal level I am reacting against the prediction (the “awfulness of it”), I literally visualized/saw, as a 3rd party, this MEGA malevolent dark cloud in what seemed like hovering mode – holding off or being held off from moving down on us, but later I felt it was free to move, which makes me a messenger boy. Is this a Fuzzy Logic problem? No clear/hard boundaries? I can’t say.

I gave warning after warning that the dark cloud would move incline downwards into and onto our domain. It’s not a scientific rational thing, it is beyond my ability to analyze/rationalize it and I have a PhD in a hard analytical science subject. I realize that talking about this dark cloud is not a big career winner for me, but my heart tells me that people should have as much notice as possible to prepare. The prediction stated that there were mitigating steps that people could take.

But to be fair, I wonder if I’m biased in at least some respect because I am very concerned about GB’s government in promoting inhuman genomic research proposals in some areas of biotechnology, and I can hardly be accused of being anti-biotechnology (for example, I see no problem with genetically modified food crops, that the scare stories about such crops are just that, non-scientific scare stories), but creating human-animal chimeras was a barrier that we should simply not break, and the strange thing about this is that GB doesn’t seem to understand, doesn’t comprehend, what a grave step this would be, both from a man/civilization/religious perspective and the downside risks such experimentation would entail for the human population. These really are big issues – even bigger than the issue of large bank failures (and oh, given that the prediction spoke of a MASSIVE nonviolent hit on the London financial market it necessarily follows that if the prediction is true that there will be more bank/financial collapses.

The downside risks for Man/Womankind is/are MEGA HUGE, as is this dark malevolent cloud. So with the almost coincidental timing, I wonder if there is linkage on some kind on the supernatural/spiritual level, and so I wonder about GB (Gordon Brown).

For the first time in time itself, there will be a “human cell” with a genome that is part animal. Eating genetically modified crops doesn’t’ involve changing a person’s genome (nucleases break DNA down to its constituent parts). We eat carrot DNA, potato DNA, fish DNA (well some of us do), and so on, the animal DNA we eat is broken down, the animal nucleotide sequences we eat don’t become part of our genetic makeup. But putting a human cell nucleus into an animal cell nucleus means the “human cell” now has foreign DNA as part of its genome (i.e., the human cell nucleus does not contain 100% of a human genome, a smaller part of it is in the cell mitochondria, a fraction of the human genome is found in the cell’s mitochondria, this sub-cellular organelle has to divide separately from the human cell nuclease, and the mitochondria are too large to be accommodated in the human sperm, so our mitochondria is inherited from our mother, then her mother, then her mother, back through the ages; I often wondered if this is why the Jews rate their mother so highly to ensure continuity of their line not knowing that mitochondria is the link between successive generations. Is there a non-coding element in the mitochondria that will be lost if the human mitochondria are replaced with animal mitochondria in an organism’s (in our case: human) genome? Imho, the Jewish faith will not take to human-animal chimeras, especially as non-science educated Jews are told what it means to substitute non-human mitochondria for human mitochondria.

Here’s that letter that I felt compelled to write to give Welsh people (and anyone else for that matter) a forewarning of what was coming down the line in terms of property values:

“Friday, 1 September 2006
Sep 1 2006 Western Mail
The chill wind of US property prices
SIR - According to Sam Burson's article, "Boom time for seaside properties" (Western Mail, August 28), the property market along parts of the Welsh coast can make as much money as dealings on the stock exchange with presumably less concomitant risk.
Ahhh "risk", that ugly word again. Well, the risk-takers had better take notice of a recent trend in US property prices. A chill is blowing in them USA hills and it is likely to spread across the wee pond to the EU, which includes the UK. Like a bad weather forecast, expect high winds with heavy rain, and hail the size of rugby balls.
As the captain of the USS Stark might exclaim, "Don't be caught with your pants (trousers) down".
To my Welsh brothers in arms, give serious thought to getting out of speculative investments in the property market while you are still ahead!
Let the London boyos take the drop!

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Just a typo fix, please substitute "putting a human cell nucleus into an animal cell LACKING A nucleus means the “human cell”, PREVIOUSLY AN ANIMAL CELL now has foreign DNA as part of its genome" for "putting a human cell nucleus into an animal cell nucleus means the “human cell” now has foreign DNA as part of its genome". (Inserted words shown in CAPITALS.)

Anonymous said...

glyn, that man is ruining this blog. please please ditch him.

penlan said...

Rather than discuss further changes,I wonder whether the correct response is to let the present system bed in.As has been mentioned,we do not know the extent that powers will have been transferred by LCO.I don't think seemingly continuous change is to anyone's benefit.

Incidentally,whilst I personally fully support devolution,one aspect now causes me unease.A substantial minority still do not like it( which may or may not be disillusionment with politicians generally) .If all the main parties support it,then these voters have no voice.They do not then vote.The turnout is even more pitiful and it impacts on the Assembly's standing.I do not begin to see a solution but something must be done to engage with this section of the electorate.

Anonymous said...

"I do not begin to see a solution but something must be done to engage with this section of the electorate."

There is no solution. I and a lot of people like me think the assembly is pitifully poor. I therefore intend to ignore it. Call it cutting my nose off to spite my face, but I will still ignore it. It is narrow and inward-looking. I hate it.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - scroll down is the bet thing to do if you feel like that.

penlan - Not that much difference between you and the opinion that there should be a referendum by 2015.
One point that I've commented on before is that by then so much will have been devolved under the current arrangements that a referendum will not be worthwhile. I do think that voters will have been cheated if law making powers are, in effect , transferred without referendum.

anon - that was the attitude that delivered an Assembly in the first place. If another 5% had voted in 1997, the No vote would have won, but only 50.3% turned out.

Anonymous said...

If another 5% had voted in 1997, the No vote would have won, but only 50.3% turned out.

Just underlines how illegitimate the assembly is. It was established on the vote of only just over a quarter of the electorate. A minimum level of support should have been prescribed, as it was in 1979.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - I agree that a threshold % of voters should have backed the decision to create an Assembly in 1997 - but the UK Government of the day decided otherwise. So I don't agree with your point about legitimacy. If you accept democracy as our form of Government, you have to accept decisions that do not meet with your favour. I think it was Churchill who rightly said that 1 is a majority. So, in theory, just one person voting in favour of an Assembly would have won the day, as long as no-one voted against.