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Friday, October 10, 2003

Tory splits

Following on from John Redwood's outburst calling for a referendum on the continuing existence of the Welsh Assembly, Carol Hyde, the Chair of the Tories in Wales, pitches in. She pronounces that the Welsh Assembly Government is making such a mess of Health and Education that responsibility for these services should be taken off them and given back to Westminster. It could be that she is trying to make a rather clumsy political point or that her centralising instincts got the better of her, but she has given no reason why the fundamental structural problems with the NHS in Wales, which the Assembly inherited from the Tories, can be better fixed from 150 miles further away than at present. This is especially so, when some of her colleagues are discovering localism for the first time in their lives and the virtue of taking services out of the hands of politicians and putting them under the tutelage of the local communities who make use of them. If the Conservative party is a coalition of views then it is beginning to come apart at the seams. The knee-jerk popularists are caught up in a pitched battle with the thinkers and modernisers whilst the leadership looks on helplessly. Is this really the beginning of the end of the Tory Party?

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