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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tories continue to resist devolution

As I was not at the Health Wellbeing and Local Government Committee on 12 December I have had to await the publication of the transcript of proceedings before posting this. It was well worth it, if only for the hitherto unreported comments by Deputy Social Services Minister, Gwenda Thomas, regarding the further antics of the Tories in Westminster and their continuing attempts to undermine the devolution process.

What Gwenda had to say seemed to come as news to the Conservative Chair, Jonathan Morgan. He did not appear too pleased at the behaviour of his MP colleagues:

The Deputy Minister for Social Services (Gwenda Thomas): It is interesting to see that, during the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill, amendments have been tabled by the Conservatives in Westminster to delete any reference to Ministers in Wales, and to retain responsibility exclusively, in regard to clause 136, with the Secretary of State for Health in England. There might be an issue there for you, Nick, because this deals specifically with residency, and the aim of the amendments is to retain responsibility in England, even for issues that arise in Wales. Therefore, you might want to look at that and you may have an opinion on those amendments, which I hope will be rejected during the passage of that important Bill.

Jonathan Morgan: Thank you for that helpful suggestion, Deputy Minister. While I will not give you my view from the Chair, I will certainly be expressing a view at a later date. Thank you—that is kind of you.

The Tories continue to be the most schizophrenic party when it comes to devolution.
It can't be a great position to be in really. Should further devolution go ahead the Welsh Tories are further segregated from their heartland and main areas of support.

Yet devolution is favoured by a large percentage of the Welsh popluation and so to openly oppose runs the risk of alienating welsh voters from the tories further.

A Swansea Blog
Nick Bourne should be demarcating the clear blue water between himself and London, heh heh.

It is rather worrying but of course not at all surprising. The Tories have traditionally favoured business-oriented values, such as smaller government and less intervention. Cameron's recent speech to the Cardiff Business Club reputedly made no references to the Assembly and none to Nick Bourne. This must have been deliberate.

And, Peter, while we're talking 'schizophrenic' parties isn't there quite a divide within the Lib Dems between those who advocate a small and big state?
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