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Monday, March 22, 2010

Pots and kettles

There is a truly astonishing two page spread in this morning's Western Mail which reports on a dossier compiled by the Welsh Labour party accusing the Conservatives of major splits over devolution.

Labour have provided quotes from the three Welsh Tory MPs that show them calling for the abolition of the Assembly or stating that the body has not yet proved its worth. Two of those three MPs are former Assembly Members themselves.

The Welsh Conservative Assembly leader Nick Bourne has hit back at the claims:

“We’ll take no lessons from Labour on devolution when one of their own candidates describes AMs as part-timers, their First Minister dithers over calling for a referendum, and their Welsh Secretary is lukewarm on holding a referendum in the first place.”

Both sides have a point. The fact is that it is not just the Tory MPs who have been lukewarm on devolution, Labour have been too. Labour MPs have publicly expressed doubts about the Assembly and proved to be unnecessarily obstructive in implementing Legislative Competence Orders, a process that itself was designed by Peter Hain and Rhodri Morgan and has had the impact of undermining and frustrating devolution.

One cannot help but feel that this whole argument is the pot calling the kettle black, whilst the Welsh electorate looks on with studied indifference.
There are varying degrees of enthusiasm inside all parties regarding devolution, that is true.

But the reason it represents a much bigger problem for the Tories is because there's a huge gulf between the party leadership and their core vote. A fairly obvious place to drive a wedge for any of the other parties in Wales.
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