Monday, August 27, 2012

How to say 'Danny Boyle Test' in Welsh

Been trying to grasp what Damian Green meant when he wrote in today's Telegraph "Tories have to pass the Danny Boyle test". Seems its something to do with us being 'modern', and liking modern Britain, and not wanting to return to policies that defined the Conservative Party in the past. In general I agree with Damian about this (I think), but cannot see what its got to do with Danny Boyle. Don't much like the word 'modern' either. Sounds too much like Blair's meaningless language. But on refection, Blair was rather successful, so can't dismiss it out of hand.

Anyway I was looking for a Welsh perspective. What can the Danny Boyle test (modernism) mean for a Welsh MP. Seems to me it can only apply to 'devolution' - our attitude towards it, how we see the process developing, and how we cope with the challenges it throws up. And I really do think there's an issue here.

When I was asked before the General Election what role I thought I could play as an MP, I invariably said I wanted to "contribute to an effective working relationship between the UK Gov't and the Welsh Gov't".  Its not worked out like that - mainly because I was appointed a PPS almost as soon as I was elected. Convention dictates that PPSs do not adopt or publicly express firm opinions on issues which their bosses have responsibility for. So I'll confine myself to two innocent observations (which you might find obvious and uncontroversial anyway). Firstly the UK and Welsh Gov'ts should share objectives and information as far as is realistically possible in the interests of Wales (and I accept the word 'realistically' is elastic). And secondly, my own party will prosper only if those who represent it in Cardiff and Westminster work solidly for and with each other, in our separate parliaments and together. We are almost half way through this Parliament, and if boundary changes go through I may well be half way through my time as an MP. Makes me think. Of course, none of this has anything to do with Danny Boyle. I'm no further forward on that one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting post Glyn. Appreciate you can't spell out your full views but maybe you'll let me comment as an outside observer. I'm categorically not a Tory but I know some common sense steps that would contribute towards a 'Danny Boyle test for Wales'.

Firstly, the idea that the Secretary of State for Wales should be from a Welsh constituency is more important than where he or she was born or schooled. Getting a constituency mandate from Welsh voters, like your own mandate, would be a sign of authority and comparable standing to the First Minister in Wales. The Tories need to see having a Welsh Secretary from Wales (in constituency terms) as normal, rather than being an amazing achievement.

Secondly, the Welsh economy. You probably can't fix this by going into government in Wales. You would have to do it from the UK Government end of things. The vibe I get is that the Tories don't have a regional policy for the UK. What if you had an economic plan for Wales, based on incentivising investment here. You would need to grant appropriate tax and research credits from the UK Government end of things, possibly a development fund for Wales overseen by the Tory Secretary of State. This would be a huge deal and the Tories would be able to say this is something we're doing for Wales that Labour never did. Electrification is good but people think Labour also had a hand in that. Until you have something you did for Wales that Labour would never have done, you will never sway enough people in Wales. Labour will simply never worry at all until you can pull things out of the bag that will surprise them and put them on the back foot.