Monday, December 26, 2011


As one year draws to a close, our thoughts turn to the next. While its impossible to predict events, some we know are coming down the track. I'll list a few which are likely to feature in my life as a Welsh MP. I will update this as Dec 31st approaches. Any suggestions welcome.

1) We expect an announcement from the Boundary Commission in Jan. outlining the 30 new Welsh Parliamentary constituencies. (actually I know the exact date but am told not to make it public - despite hundreds knowing). That's when I'll know if there is anything remotely resembling Montgomeryshire left. There will inevitably follow a 'discussion' about what arrangements should be legislated for in respect of Assembly electoral boundaries and arrangements - which could produce a mighty row.

2)We also know there's going to be an ongoing 'discussion' about the UK's relationship with the EU. In 2011, we had a very silly debate in the House of Commons about a pointless EU 'preferendum' , and a UK veto that created a lot of (again pointless) angst, because in my opinion, the Prime Minister had no real choice. I predict next chapter will be in February - unless the Euro part-collapses in the meantime, and the EU row takes place elsewhere. David Cameron has made clear that no further power will be transferred to the EU. The EU will not like that.

3)I expect there to be an issue of personal importance to me in early January. Lord Faulkner is publishing a supposedly 'Independent' report calling for the legalisation of 'assisted suicide'. I believe this to be wrong and will want to do what I can to oppose any change in the law.

4)Perhaps the biggest issue will be the UK economy. Prediction is impossible. If the OBR cannot predict, how can anyone else. No point in pretending I feel anything other than gloomy. The only way to create the jobs we need is to set business free, and lower business taxation - but I just cannot see the Coalition agreeing on the sort of radicalism that would make a difference. If the Euro collapses, 2012 could well turn out to be a very bad place.

5)Inevitably, the issue of onshore wind will feature in my year. We are expecting National Grid to announce where it intends to inflict its monstrous scars on mid-Wales in Feb. Governments will continue to put pressure (in my opinion highly dubiously) on the Powys Planning Authority to approve planning applications, which should be refused. Any other applicant would be laughed out of court, but these are backed by huge energy companies which have some unfathomable grip on the gonads of Government.

6)I'll probably take more interest in the Powys County Council elections than I will in the Boris v Ken battle - which I expect Boris to win fairly comfortably. Will do what I can to increase the number of Conservatives on the Council - even if I will be limited by the whips at Westminster how much I can actually do. We had a phenomenal result in Montgomeryshire in 2008, and I hope we can advance further.

7)Expect to become quite engrossed in the Olympics. We have tickets for showjumping, which is of more interest to Mrs D, but will probably spend some time in London while they are on to feel the atmosphere.

8)Toward the end of 2012, the Silk Commission will tell us what form of 'financial accountability' should be granted to the National Assembly for Wales. We have reached the bizarre position where the party most favouring this seems to be the Conservatives, while Labour seem to be implacably opposed. This should be straightforward, but I find it difficult to predict how it will go.

9)There will probably be a reshuffle sometime during the year - unless a resignation or two force a lot of changes beforehand. "Events, dear boy. Events". Because we are in a Coalition, there will not be many opportunities for 2010 intake of MPs to move up the ladder - so there will be a lot of very hard working Conservative MPs in 2012. (Not that its anything unusual!) Several of us would like to get a feel of the despatch box.

10) Wales will win the Championship, but will just lose out on the Grand Slam. Elin Jones will win Plaid leadership contest. Man Utd will win premier league. Nadal will win Wimbledon. Luke Donald will win British Open. I will break 100 in a round somewhere in August.

Should list some of the things that won't happen. The Coalition will not fall apart. Vince Cable will not resign. There will not be a General Election. There will not be an EU referendum. There will not be a repetition of the summer riots. The UK will not become involved in another war. An unknown Ethiopian or Kenyan will push Mo Faragh into the silver medal position. Cardiff City will not be promoted.

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