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...