The facts about the Tories and devolution

Conservative Mid & West Wales candidate Glyn Davies has had an epiphany. You can be a Tory and pro-devolution. Moreover, you can be a Tory and an advocate of even more devolution.

Glyn wants full law-making powers for the national assembly. But while considered something of a maverick, he is still standing on a Conservative Party ticket in the forthcoming elections. So where does the Tory party stand on devolution?

Well, they led the No campaign in 1997 and their 1999 assembly election manifesto was laced with bitterness and pessimism. Smack bang at the top of the document, then leader Rod Richards wrote this: "The transfer of further powers from Westminster to the Assembly would lead to the fragmentation of Britain making European federalism easier for the government to achieve."

Eight years on, the Tories still aren't sure. And it's difficult to find the hype surrounding the big Welsh strides they might make this time around reflected in the manifesto. True, the Tories call for more powers, but they call for more powers in order to:

• seek to establish St. David’s Day as a national holiday;
• introduce a Welsh symbol on car number plates;
• ensure that a separate Welsh option appears on census forms together with a question on the use of Welsh;
• petition the Queen to establish a Welsh order of chivalry.

Not quite a nationalist's wet dream:)

This debate must surely have come up during the manifesto negotiations. I can only presume that the other Tory AMs don't share Glyn's enthusiasm while there are still ultra-Unionists in the ranks.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 12:36 am,


At 2:48 am, Blogger Alwyn ap Huw said...

Blamerbell Said:
Not quite a nationalist's wet dream:)

You may be Wales' #2 Blogger, but how old are you?

Too young to remember 1979 I suspect

A Tory supporting the national cause isn't just a wet dream for those of us who have left Plaid because we can't stand Socialism - its tantamount to a no-hold-bared orgy.

At 3:32 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the way I like it, nice and juicy. By the way, I think that's the first time I've ever seen Alwyn using sexual imagery!

I was in Haverford West in 1979. I remember Maggy Thatcher. I even remember Callaghan. I mostly remember Tizwas. I don't remember a referendum though.

At 7:20 am, Blogger Dylan Jones-Evans said...

Glyn is certainly not alone in this.

As a welsh speaking Pwllheli native, I have been pro-devolutionalist all my life but could never bring myself to join a socialist party such as Plaid Cymru.

The reason I left the relative neutrality of academia and business to enter politics fifteen months ago was because I believed that the Welsh Conservatives could provide a non-socialist alternative within Wales for people like me.

Read this link for some idea of where I stand on this subject.

At 10:21 am, Anonymous dave rodwway said...

Dylan - your party leader was also a leader of the No campaign. Is his recent conversion anything to do with the fact that Devolution gives you some votes?
Tories and political principle go together about as well as Huw Lewis and clean campaigning.
Once you've won a few extra votes, are your London chiefs really going to let you go your own way? When the Home counties blimps are back in government, you'll be a sweaty colonial outpost again trying desperately to square the unsquarable.
Also, there's the small matter of your having been a crap government last time round, vicious, incompetent and anti-Welsh. I don;t know where you and Guto Bebb get your memory-reduction pills but I'd like some too. I've got terrifying images of Tebbitt and Thatcher and Redwood in my head....

At 10:22 am, Blogger Glyn Davies AM said...

Not sure how much you know about manifesto preparation blamerbell. Mostly its about what falls within a party's competence - and the matter of Assembly powers is not devolved. We've had some stick from Cornock about making any reference to St David's Day for example - which is also a Westminster issue. The tone of our manifesto is wholly positive about devolution.
But it would be right to say that there would be as many different wordings as there are members if we all wrote our own. Every manifesto is a compromise to every politician with half a brain. But we stand on the published document.
In fact, I have not said anything that I have not said before. All that is different is that I realise that I have talked about 'a pragmatic response' in the past, rather than 'this is absolutely the right thing to do'.

At 10:33 am, Anonymous drodway said...

Glyn, what's a nice guy like you doing with that lot? When I was a student in the 1980s, the young tories wore 'Hang Nelson Mandela' badges, and re-named the men's toilet the 'Steve Biko' room. They supported Apartheid with gusto. They held us Welsh in utter contempt. These were the young Tories! I say this as someone exactly the same age as Cameron, indeed they're the ones now running the show. Youthful naivety? I don't think so.

At 10:33 am, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"Mostly its about what falls within a party's competence - and the matter of Assembly powers is not devolved. We've had some stick from Cornock about making any reference to St David's Day for example - which is also a Westminster issue."

So you can include matters outside the assembly's competence.

At 9:08 pm, Blogger Amanwy said...

There's no doubt that the Welsh Tories have come a long way, a sign that they have re-discovered the pragmatism that has been the hallmark of the party (if you ignore Thatcherism). There is a constituency for a 'regional' right of centre party in the European model. Simon Brookes was arguing that 10 years ago and it has taken David Melding and latterly Glyn Davies and Nick Bourne some time to get comfortable with the idea. Polling has consistently shown they are perceived as an 'English party'. They know that, they've done they're own polling which confirms it. This manifesto is another step towards addressing it, but is asking a lot for this perception embedded over generations to be erased in just a few years. What this election will show though is that, unlike in Scotland, the Tories are a credible party in the post-devolution politics. And if you are interested in pluralism and a maturing Welsh politics then that's got to be a good thing. If nothing else it means just eight years after being approved by a majority of 0.6% we can be assured that the Assembly is here to stay.


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