Sunday, October 17, 2010

The 'Davies' Doctine.

Over the last few weeks the UK Coalition Government has announced several measures to reduce the debts and deficit left by the last Labour Government. On Wednesday, this coming week, we are expecting to hear several more announcements of even greater reductions. This creates difficulties for all of us who are representatives of the Liberal Democrat-Conservative Government. Its likely that many of our constituents will disagree with some of the proposals. We may even disagree with some ourselves. So how should we react? I've read that the leader of the Conservative Group in the National Assembly for Wales, has developed his own 'Bourne Doctrine' to guide the group's approach to proposed spending cuts - supporting some and criticising others.

Lets consider a few examples, which seem to be attracting publicity. Firstly, there's a proposal not to proceed with the Severn Barrage. Must admit that I've never been convinced this was a sensible idea. It carried a high environmental cost, and would tie up too much WAG investment in the SE corner. Always thought it was a diversionary tactic by the last Government anyway - giving the impression it was doing something, to avoid facing up to the inevitable nuclear power decision that was needed. Rather than weep about this, we should be celebrating the decision to go ahead with Wylfa B, which will provide a massive economic boost to the poorest part of Wales. No problems with reaction here.

But what about S4C, where there seems to be an expectation of some reduction in Government support. First aim was to ensure it remained as a free standing independent Welsh Language Channel. Secondly, I hope that there is recognition of S4C's special place in Wales by restricting any reduction in spending to less than other reductions across the DCMS budget. Anything else will leave me disappointed.

And so on we go. I hope for electrification of the rail service into Wales. I hope that the promised investment at St Athan is confirmed. I hope there is some financial support for private sector expansion in areas where benefit dependency is reduced, which may well be greater in Wales than most other areas. All of these things I would like - as every other MP would like different spending commitments in their areas. But all of our likes cannot be met - not if we are to bring order to the financial chaos left by Labour.

People who have played team sports know that the team only succeeds if every member plays their part, even when the going turns rough. No going walkabout if losing by thirty points at half-time. No opting out of catching a poor 'hospital pass'. You have to take one for the team. And no claiming joy in every victory, while dumping blame for every defeat on others. I've had my say on what I think George Osborne should do. I hope he delivers what I want. But if he can't deliver all of it, I'll still stand by the team. What's most important is that the Chancellor stands firm, putting the UK economy back on its feet, and clearing up the mess that the last lot left behind. As a member of the coalition team, I reckon I owe it my loyalty. Its an approach you might even call a doctrine.


ex-CHL said...

Imho, there's a lot of scope of converting the tidal flow to electricity without having to build a super barrage. Underwater turbines etc. The Hudson between NYC and NJ is being fitted with underwater turbines - I think the first test turbine is already in-situ generating electricity and there is no barrage issue. (Water is a lot more dense than air allowing for greater torque on the turbines and tidal flows are known years in advance whereas wind can be unpredictable so much so that stand-by generator sets need to be, you guessed it, on stand-by hence making surface turbines somewhat unreliable and hence very expensive producers of useable electricity).

Simon Brooks said...

If the Welsh Tories are shrewd, they need to combine both the Davies and the Bourne doctrine on

Clearly as a member of the Government, Glyn, you have to accept collective responsibility.

But I hope that Tory AMs and backbench MPs are given free reign to express their own opinion on
S4C. There is little point spending 10 years building up a narrative of "Welsh Conservatism" just to throw it all away in a moment of madness during the first 6 months of a Tory Government.

xWCHL said...

Is it just the newspapers or is it true that David Cameron is going to turn the UK into a laughing stock by taking delivery of two aircraft carriers with no fixed-wing aircraft to fly off them?

According to the newspapers the UK government says that is OK because the UK has over flight privileges over most countries or some such nonsense.