Thursday, September 04, 2008

Let David Davies Speak Out.

So my good friend, David Davies MP is organising a No campaign. 'No to what' was my first thought. When I played for Shrewsbury, we used to have a prop forward who worked himself up into such a lather during the warm-up that when the match actually started, he was too knackered to push in the scrum. I've never been one for expending too much energy before the contest starts - particularly without knowing kick-off time, or the rules of the game. I don't think this will do much harm at all. Perhaps they should form their own rugby team.

I've never hidden the fact that since the people of Wales declined to accept my advice in 1997 to reject the establishment of a National Assembly, (and voted in favour of it), I've supported full law making powers for the new body in already devolved subject areas. Seemed to me to be simple recognition of the new reality. Anyway the predictable happened. Confusion about responsibility reigned and accountability flew out through the window. So they had another go at making some sense of it last year. Law making powers are now being transferred to the Assembly by this bizarre arrangement involving Legislative Competence Orders. This system has built into it the potential for constitutional conflict between Cardiff Bay and Westminster on an ongoing basis. In my opinion this system is ridiculously complex, beyond the understanding of most people, and the biggest waste of politician's time since the European Parliament decided to shift the whole shebang to Strasbourg for the odd week.

So what's to be done now? 15 months ago, I believed that Labour and Plaid Cymru had resolved to hold a referendum on whether this LCO system should be scrapped and law making powers in all devolved subject areas transferred to Cardiff Bay. Personally, I would have supported such a transfer of powers. But so lacking in intent has the Assembly Government been that I believe there to be no longer any intention to hold such a referendum before 2011 after all. In my opinion, the reason that the Government is not informing the people of this is because it would be very embarrassing for Ieuan Wyn Jones to admit to his party members that they were sold a pup when they agreed to enter into a coalition government with Labour.

So I really cannot understand why anyone should want to organise either a No campaign or a Yes campaign at the moment. Its like putting together a football team which has no matches to play. I discussed this matter with Martin Shipton this morning. Don't know whether he'll run anything though. Quite properly he asked me what I would do at present. Its not an easy question to answer. I suppose its back to recognition of reality. I'm just not sure its possible for an Assembly Government to ride two headstrong horses at the same time - transferring power to the Assembly bit by bit, or transferring it all in one go. Until I believe there is a genuine prospect of a referendum, my commitment is to seeing the current system work effectively. Its the main reason that I want to be a Member of Parliament.

So I'm entirely happy to see my good friend David Davies arrange his cross-party No campaign. As a matter of hypothetical interest, I probably wouldn't join any cross-party Yes campaign. I might agree with its objectives, and would share my opinion to anyone who wanted to hear it, (as I do) but I've never believed these cross party efforts deliver anything that wouldn't be delivered better without them.


Anonymous said...

its a bit of a shame that after all the lip service the Tories have done on this subject when it has come down to it both you and nick Bourne on his blog have jumped ship on supporting further powers. I don’t mean it to sound aggressive Glyn but everyone has maintained there will be a referendum. I suspect that you saying you don’t think there will be one is actually just a convenient way of being able to back track on your support.

Glyn Davies said...

anon - suggesting that I have jumped ship suggests to me that you can't read. If there was a referendum, I would be doing my utmost to deliver a Yes vote, even if I probably wouldn't want to join a cross party campaign. I try to blog what I think, and what I think is that the Assembly Government does not intend to deliver a referendum before 2011. I don't do back tracking unless I genuinely change my opinion - and I've not changed it on this subject.

Anonymous said...

"If there was a referendum, I would be doing my utmost to deliver a Yes vote"

then why do you blog saying

"I probably wouldn't join any cross-party Yes campaign"

It can hardly been said you would be doing your best to deliver a YES vote if you refused to help the YES campaign?

DaiTwp said...

Much as you say I can,t see there being a referendum before 2011. It's highly unlikely as it stands and gets less likely with each passing day.
Everything seems to get blamed on the "credit crunch" these days and I wouldn't be at all suprised if it'll also be blamed for not holding the referendum - something along the lines of "in the present economic climate, we don't believe the time would be right to...blah blah"
David Davies knows this as much as anyone, so you have to ask why all of a sudden is he organising a No campaign. You post yourself how this would be pointless at this moment in time. (Why doesn't he start a No campaign on joining the Euro as I'm sure he's against that and there'll probably be a referendum on that at some point in the future).
The only reason I can think of which would make sense of this would be if he has some idea of what is in Lord Roberts report and is trying to influence any policy decisions that are to be based on it, by being proactive.
One scenario could be the report comes to the conclusion that law making power should be transfered and before any thing is done he's trying to raly support and show the leadership that the grass roots are aginst it.
That is only one theoretical scenario, it could be that the report is against further powers and he's felt emboldened by it etc etc.
My point is that his latest actions are in responsed to whatever he's seen or heard that is in the report.
Anyway that's my "conspiracy theory for the day" - maybe it's just all this rain is driving me mad!

Glyn Davies said...

anon - I just don't agree with you. I don't rule out the possibility that I would accept an invite to speak at Yes events, but the reasons why different people support law making powers are so different that I believe a cross-party campaign is not for me. I would be happy to join a grouping of 'Conservatives for a Yes vote' though.

daitwp - Its as good a reason as any - but I'd have thought Cheryl Gillan's press statement in response would suggest a degree of backfiring if you were to be correct.

Draig said...

"I would be happy to join a grouping of "Conservatives for a Yes Vote" though".

LOL. Have you ever thought of a career in comedy, Glyn?

Bob Grant said...

David Davies is doing enough damage to the party without you blarting too, Glyn. Can't you button your beak?

Glyn Davies said...

Draig - Not sure why you say that. I think there would be a lot of Conservatives who are concerned about the constitutional instability that is inherent in the current settlement, and will want to sort it out.

Bob - what is the point of maintining a blog if I don't comment on issues of the day. Would you really prefer it if the Conservative Party ignored the way Wales in governed. David is fully entitled to his opinion, as is everyone else.

Bob Grant said...

No, I'd prefer it if you thought about the damage you may be doing to the Conservative party.

Rhetoric Innes said...

Glyn, a big man says small is better..
read Rousseau....
you should be behind the modernisation and devolution of powers to the Senedd.. powers that will be more relevant and flexible to the Welsh people

alanindyfed said...

David Davis has disappointed me profoundly. "No" is closing the door on freedom for Wales. What about Welsh civil liberty?

Anonymous said...

Your quite right Glyn on the need not to get all hot over a YES/NO reff campaign.....with Gordon Brown saying more tax raising powers for Scotland at their CBI meeting - - why do we need one?

The time, money and effort on both sides could be given to everyone fighting for Wales and not against each other.

We need to twll David that he should put his efforts into getting LABOUR out not splitting us all

Ben Garland said...

I have to say that, as a Conservative living near Wrexham, the "Senedd" doesn't look that relevant to me. In fact, it seems to do nothing but make my life more difficult.

If we had similar bodies for north and south wales, I might regard it as part of a process of localism. But Cardiff means nothing to me; I've lived in Wales nearly all my life and have never been there.

The "Senedd" is dominated by south wales vested interests. It always will be, because of demographics. I have no affinity to south wales, I know nothing about it and, to be honest, don't want to, but south Wales is now running my life.

I think the Welsh assembly has been a disaster for north Wales. I have got to the stage that I feel a stranger in my own land. If it gets any worse, I'll move a few miles across the border into Cheshire. I realise that that is what the nationalists want - they don't want people like me here - but sometimes it's more sensible to admit defeat.

Sad, eh?

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Well, this is such a wonderful distraction vehicle for the WElsh Assembly Government (WAG).

Plaid Cymru (PC) probably feel agrieved by the 'pup' they were sold, but hey, 'jobs for the boys' or as Miss Wagstaff put's it, "a convenient way for Labour to stay in power and for Plaid Cymru to gain ministerial experience".

Meanwhile real issues like the fact that the Welsh economy in terms of GVA per head of population is is is is - where exactly?

Oh, at the very bottom of the British economic league tables Europe (see, e.g., ‘An Overview of the Welsh economy” by Professor Brian Morgan of UWIC, in ‘Who’s Who in Wales 2008’ published by the Western Mail, see especially page 9 thereof).

On the registered patent front (ya knows WAG yaps on about how imporant the "knowledge economy" should be for Wales) ... oh, how's WAG doing on this front? "On a mission to no-where"? Yes siree.

At least the Labour/PC love-in is delivering 'more of the same' with the Welsh Lib-Dems providing the back-stop as evidenced by their previous love-in with Rhodri Morgan's 'party'.

WAG - the party of 'love-ins'.

Glyn Davies said...

rhetoric - I thought I was behind devolution, as a fact of Welsh political life that must function successfully.

Alan - David is entitled to his opinion. A lot of people agree with him. As it happens I don't agree with him, but in the end it will come down to majorities deciding1.

anon - I'm beginning to think that there may never be a referendum. Theoretically, law making powers in devolved areas can be devolved by the current LCO system. I might post on this theory tomorrow.

Ben - As a Conservative living in Montgomeryshire I know how you feel. I think that Mid Wales is even more ignored than North Wales. And it won't change until the Labour Party is removed from office in the Assembly. This is fundamental, and why I've long been willing to explore whether we can work with Plaid Cymru and the Lib Dems, who have both shown that they would rather prop Labour up than work with us - so far.

Christopher. - Labour under Rhodri Morgan's leadership has been obsessed with centralising all power unto itself, and bribing the electorate with freebies. So far, this agenda seems to have appealed to Plaid and the Lib Dems. And the Welsh economy heads downwards. Its time for change in Wales.

Ben Garland said...

Sorry, Glyn, I'm afraid you don't get it. As far as I'm concerned, Plaid Cymru is the enemy. They stand for everything I hate. I'd rather do a deal with Satan himself than with them. They want to break up our country. Doing deals with them is completely out of the question in my book, and I'm surprised any Tory should want to consider one. You disappoint me greatly.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn> I agree.

I wonder when, if ever, Welsh Labour, Plaid and/or the Welsh Lib Dems ever 'get it', "It's the Welsh Economy Stupid".

... and where's the Welsh Economy after 10 years of Labour-LibDem-Plaid love-ins? Oh, right at the very bottom of the pile.

... and don't get me going on about the simply shocking performance in terms of protecting Welsh intellectual property. Under WAG's control, Wales has no chance of cashing in on is undoubted major talents - WAG has crushed Wales's future, it's future tax base has been severely undermined, prospective Welsh 'knowledge economy' wiped out for lack of emphasis on filing for patent protection on Welsh discoveries. Previous third-world countries/economies are out-stripping the University of Wales in terms of registered patents.

This disastrous (for Wales) situation is so VERY BAD that it was noted in the 2008 Western Mail's overview of the Welsh economy, specifically the low number of 'registered patents' and the low level of R&D and innovation. So low that Prof. Morgan thinks “the innovation processes may be taking place away from the production base”. I mean to say, this is DEADLY – the DEATH KNELL for Wales and its applied scientists and engineers will continue to LEAVE WALES to search for meaningful work.

Meanwhile Welsh Labour (and now Plaid, formerly Welsh Lib-Dems) are happy to be in power while the Welsh economy is FAILING to protect its intellectual property.

How in all MERCY can Welsh Labour/Plaid carry on with its do nothing, give nothing, love-in culture? But it does.

Alfie Says: said...

"David Davies is doing enough damage to the party without you blarting too, Glyn. Can't you button your beak?"

"No, I'd prefer it if you thought about the damage you may be doing to the Conservative party."

Glyn for God's sake take a hint will you.
You do realise with some of the views you have expressed, should you get in, and I hate to say it, but the way you are acting, it is looking unlikely, you have deserted many traditional Tories and their values and beliefs.
You are blowing it Glyn, BIG style, it is as if you have lost the plot.

Ben Dover. said...

Ben G

So SO So right!!

Glyn Davies said...

Ben - interesting comment. I too disagree with some of Plaid Cymru's fundamental aims. I support a strong united Britain. But I believed that the Conservatives could have tried to do a deal with Plaid Cymru while the Assembly does not have the power to implement its seperatist socialist agenda. Ironically, If the Assembly had the power to carry out these objectives, I realise that it would not be possible for the two parties to work together. I would never pretend the choices are easy, but the altnative to at least considering a deal with Plaid is a permanent Labour Government in Wales, and permanent opposition for the Conservatives. This does not seem a very attractive choice to me.

Alfie - I consider myself to be a fairly traditional Conservative with traditional Conservative beliefs and values. I also adopt positions on the basis of where we are, rather than where I would like is to be. I do sometimes receive comments such as yours, but usually they are not specific about where they disagree with me. This site is a forum for debate. Perhaps you will be different and point out which tradition values and beliefs you have in mind.

Anonymous said...

Ben, we Conservatives must realise that we are either in or out of the Wales scene. Plaid is outside the Valleys a Conservative Party at heart who just over do the Welsh thing from time to time. We can hate policies but not a party.
Don't play the anti Welsh game that left us with no MPs.

ben garland said...

I'm not anti Welsh and am offended you should say that. I'm Welsh through and through. Was born here and have lived here nearly all my life. I am just anti Plaid, and for Tories to get into coalition with them is to give them the oxygen that we should be denying them.

Glyn Davies said...

Ben - Anbd to whom are you addressing your comment - because I've not suggested you are anti Welsh. And Neither do I have any objection to your being anti Plaid either. After all they are my political oponents.

Ben Garland said...

I was referring to anon, Sun Sep 07, 08:00:00 PM