Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Making Devolution Work.

When I lost my treasured position as an Assembly Member, it took me a while to decide whether to continue in politics at all. Several people were encouraging me to have a crack at the Montgomeryshire Westminster seat. But there had to be a reason. I had to feel that I could bring something distinctive to the job - beyond being a committed constituency MP. I decided that my experience in several different public life roles would enable me to help England and Wales sleep together more comfortable in their new devolved bed.

This ambition raised a few eyebrows. Several comments on my blog at the time accused me as hankering after the lost National Assembly role - not letting go. They were completely wrong of course, but I can see why they thought it. Others thought it odd that I'd not changed my opinion about the need for the National assembly to be granted law making powers (key to creating constitutional stability) - not being able to understand any politician who seeks to give 'power' away. Anyway, since counseling the disagreeing partners each side of Offa's Dyke is my objective, its important that I build up contacts and knowledge - just in case I win!

This morning, I spent some time at the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital at Gobowen, meeting the new Chief Executive. About 40% of this Hospital's business has traditionally come from Wales. Its an Anglo-Welsh hospital. It would be completely mad for the Assembly Government not to look on this Hospital as part of the NHS that provides a service to Wales. Even though she has no direct responsibility for it, I believe the Assembly Health Minister should visit the Orthopaedic to register her support. Where I live, its our Hospital.

I then visited Hope House, the Children's Hospice which serves North Wales. The Hospice is in Oswestry (and linked to Ty Gobaith in Conwy). Again, it is located in England, but serves Wales. At present about 20% of the cost of providing services to England are met by the NHS, while only 10% of the cost of services to Wales are met by the Assembly. The Hospice costs about £4 million a year to run and employs around 120 full-time-equivalents. Its a big operation and is another cross border issue that must matter to any MP for Montgomeryshire.

This post could go on and on and on...


Anonymous said...

You will make a fine MP .Read the biographies of great people they all have ups and downs.

alanindyfed said...

You're working hard for your Westminster seat though naturally I would hope that someday it will be a Plaid-held constituency!
Perhaps you could be induced to stand for a Shropshire seat instead? It's a beautiful county and was once a part of Wales!

Anonymous said...

Free at the point of use.
Universal health care.
Cardiff must listen.
Know what people want.
Why don't they listen?
It's what people want!
The Orthopaedic is great!

Unixman said...

I was over in Bangor recently and I was discussing this very point (this was just after the lunatic idea of shipping oncology patients to Cardiff was dropped) and they made the same point.They said that if they had a serious injury then it would be initially Bangor and then - depending upon the injury - it would either be Liverpool or Bob & Aggies Boneyard. The idea of shipping down to Cardiff is barking!

Glyn Davies said...

anon and alan - very kind of you. Though I like Shropshire, and played both rugby and squash for the county, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Montgomeryshire man.

Unixman - Too right. Forcing North Wales patients to Cardiff for treatment is enough to turn even the most devoted Welshman off the idea of devolution.

Ifor Hael said...

Straight question please straight answer . I believe that the Welsh economy can only be saved by the Assembly Government being given the right to set our own tax rates . Ireland in lowering its corporation tax to 12.5% has attracted billions in foreign investment . Think what Wales could do seening that we are so close to London - one of the worlds financial capitals? Are you in favour of allowing the Welsh Government the right to set tax ? Please do not elude the question by saying that the Labour Party in Wales would probably raise the levels of tax making Wales even less attractive to inward investment . We are heading -100% for a Tory Government - the ability to 'compensate ' for our poor infrastructure - lack of effective transport links through allowing UK regions to set their own levels of tax is the way forward . Glyn even the DUP the hardcore Unionist party in Northern Ireland, is demanding the right set its own tax rates to compete with the Republic . I have seen during my adult life Ireland turned round from a basket case economy to being one of the richest in the world through low corporation tax and I am determined to see Wales follow its example. What it means is more young people staying here and not leaving for other places to find work . More families more schools more shops etc. etc.

Ifor Hael said...


Scandal Welsh people pay more for their gas and the English we should charge them more for our water !!