Saturday, November 07, 2009

Very Big Week in Welsh Politics.

I do not believe that many commentators on Welsh politics have acknowledged the significance of David Cameron's statement last Friday that a Conservative Government led by him would not veto a formal request for a referendum on extra powers for the National Assembly for Wales. The 6th of November, 2009 was a very big day for Welsh politics. Since it delivered one of the main objectives behind my decision to seek selection as a Parliamentary candidate, please forgive me for seeming pleased. The churlishness of those who wish the Conservative Party ill only adds to my pleasure. The current Secretary of State, Peter Hain (and none come more churlish than he) has made himself look very silly indeed. The best that most of them can throw at us is the literally incredible suggestion Cameron will not keep this promise. Ah well. Bit like Warren Gatland moaning about the referee.

Regular visitors will know that this blog has been totally committed to campaigning for the transfer to the National Assembly for Wales of law making powers in all currently devolved policy areas since its birth. Its one of the reasons I started it. They will also know that this blog has been deeply frustrated by the prevarication and lack of purpose in the Assembly's governing parties. They will also know that I've thought the reason for this is that both Labour and Plaid Cymru have planned to call for the referendum when the decision to grant it would fall to Conservative Government. At least some of the individual elected representatives of the two parties did not want a referendum, and hoped they could 'blame' the Conservatives for not agreeing to it. Well all that nonsense has been buried. The ball is right back in the Labour and Plaid's court. The importance of Sir Emyr Jones Parry's statement on the 18th promises to make it a real red letter day for Wales. If he says "Go for it", there'll be more squirming on the top floor of the National Assembly than at a lap dancing club - as new delaying tactics are searched for. Nick Bourne can look forwards to a series of long hops and open goals.

Must admit I'm really pleased. I'm no 'nationalist' but across the political world, its the right-of-centre parties that have championed the cause of regionalism, and promoted minority languages. For some reason this is not the case in Wales - despite the brilliance (in a downplayed subtle sort of way) of Lord Roberts of Conwy. There is just one further point I want to make before ending this post. It relates to the assumption, by some who should know better, that if there is a referendum under a Conservative Government, it will be a case of Conservative AMs campaigning for a Yes, and MPs campaigning for a No. Dear readers, it depends who is elected, and how influential those individual MPs will be. Interesting times ahead!


Dylan Jones-Evans said...

Like yourself, I was delighted that David Cameron has made this decision and it reflects, as you say, the growing realisation that we need a strong centre-right alternative within the new devolved political system in Wales. It has certainly put Labour on the backfoot - just look at Carwyn’s flip-flopping over his approach towards devolution during the last 24 hours. I also wonder whether Plaid is now starting to wonder whether they may have backed the wrong horse two and a half years ago.

Anonymous said...

Denis Campbell of UK said...

I'm not sure that would be more than a ceremonial victory.

Unless and until Wales can develop and maintain a private sector industrial/economic tax base beyond the current roughly 30%, how would one pay for programmes and laws enacted by this body given "new powers?"

Wales would be bankrupt from day 1 if fully devolved. There are no Welsh banks, yes we have water to sell to England but coal is the new global warming devil so good luck there and we've botched retail, tourism and customer service badly (something the world will see September with The Ryder Cup)...

So what do we own that would be of interest/value to export and how would this devolved country sustain itself if unable to just 'print money' or paper investors would buy like in the US or UK?

No one has shown beyond full throated patriotism, how this country would survive economically or socially, if cut loose with more powers.

While nationalism is important, God help us if fully weaned from the Westminster teat. We do not have the legislative or Cabinet level talent to survive that eventuality.

Chemist from Wales said...

Wales needs a Welsh Assembly Government that is devoid of the crass stupidity that we see there today. Evidence for that is abundantly clear: 10+ years in and what does Wales have? Well, a rotten economy, a university system (despite all the platitudes) that is GROSSLY underperforming in terms of meaningful patent output and spin outs - there are universities in former third world countries outperforming Cardiff University (Wales' largest university) on patenting its inventions and discoveries. There's a university with fewer students than Cardiff University and lacks an engineering faculty yet has more issued patents than all of the universities in Wales COMBINED! Cardiff University has dropped over 30 places in the world rankings - it is now outside the world's top 100 universities. Scotland has more universities in the top 100 than Wales - actually, Wales no longer has any universities in the top 100.

It is unforgivable to fail after ten plus years to harness Wales' greatest asset: its intellectual property.

Wales remains at the bottom of the economic league tables - yet Wales boasts a huge investment in higher education - so 'what's up with that?' Why is Wales at the bottom?

Yet Welsh people almost to the last man look up at Rhodri Morgan who has overseen the abject and near total failure of WAG in developing the Welsh economy.

"Carry on Chaps" ... or vote for a party that believes in private sector employment, wants in its heart of hearts to see job creation supported by the private sector.

Rhodri Morgan (along with Plaid) has FAILED to deliver on the economy.

I say, why reward them with your vote?

Give the party with the heart felt will to boost the Welsh economy and jobs a chance, and that party is not the Welsh Liberal-Democrats, certainly not Labour or their cohort, Plaid.


And I write that having been a card carrying member of the Labour Party. Inter alia, gone to the trouble to listen to the previous Labour Party Leader's speech in Chicago at the Economic Club of Chicago's annual dinner/meeting - and joined a group "Labour International" to attend meetings with Labour politicians visiting Chicago. So I was a LABOUR MAN.

But gradually I saw Labour's desire to keep the Welsh economy and its people 'in their place'.

The party that said it wanted to build Wales was a BIG FAT LIE.

Labour want to keep Wales under their thumb - but more and more people are seeing through their scheme and are turning away from them in droves.