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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Contradictory messages

I am fully aware that irony does not work well on blogs so please bear with me here. Today's Western Mail reports that Conservative Shadow Justice Minister Eleanor Laing told the House of Commons during a debate about who should sit on the Electoral Commission, that all politicians should be elected under the traditional first-past-the-post system.

This immediately caused a flurry activity in Wales with the realisation amongst journalists and politicians that such a change in policy would devastate the Welsh Conservative Group, many of whom including their leader were elected under a system of proportional representation. The Welsh Tory press machine cranked into action:

A Welsh Conservative spokesman said: “Eleanor Laing was very clearly speaking in the context of the nomination of Electoral Commissioners. There is, as the Liberal Democrats know full well, no proposal from the Conservative Party to alter the list system for the National Assembly. We believe strongly in devolution and have been active in ensuring devolution works for the people of Wales.

Well yes, except that Electoral Commissioners are not elected, Assembly Members are and clearly there is now a proposal from a senior Conservative to change our voting system. Realising the weakness of his argument the spokesman went onto the offensive:

“It is not difficult to see why the Lib Dems are the fourth party in Wales. Instead of this childish sniping it is time they focussed on issues that really matter such as the recession Labour has led us into.”

In a week in which the Welsh Conservative Leader has been universally mocked for getting into childish sniping with the First Minister over who did and did not attend a meeting and in which the Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader has been praised for the way she focussed on the issues and in particular the impact of the recession, this line is extremely rich indeed.

Time for the Welsh Tories to stop digging perhaps.
So the Shadow Cabinet member under whose portfolio responsibility for the matter lies making a statement in the House doesn't constitute a plan? Strikes me that this is the boldest statement of any poicy Cameron's yet made...
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