Friday, 20 August 2021

It's almost certainly not the zeal of the converted.


Wales’s ‘go-to’ politician, when the media want a silly quote delivered by a man whose only moving part seems to be his mouth, is the man who manages to be both the ex-leader and the future ex-leader of the Conservative group in the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies. And as a bonus, sometimes he doesn’t even wait to be asked; his incoherence can also be entirely spontaneous and unprompted, as in today’s demand for an independent Welsh inquiry into the handling of Covid.

There are some good reasons for having a separate Welsh inquiry, just as there are some good reasons for not holding one, although Davies seems to be having some difficulty articulating the former. That’s probably because his only real reason is his belief that a separate inquiry will do more to damage the Labour government than a UK-wide inquiry. It may or may not be true; there is surely at least an equal chance that separate inquiries will do more to expose the comparison between approaches in Wales and England, to say nothing of revealing what else could have been different if Wales had more devolved power. He should remember who will appoint the inquiry's leader (spoiler: it won't be Andrew RT Davies). In lieu of saying what he really means, and absent any ability to come up with anything better, he’s resorted to saying that Wales will be consigned “to a solitary, overlooked chapter” in any UK-wide investigation. That sounds like the story of Welsh life in general to me, but for the leader of the so-called ‘Welsh’ Conservatives to declare in such an open and forthright manner that the problem with UK-wide processes set up by the Conservative government in Westminster is that they are guaranteed to largely ignore the different circumstances of Wales is either a Damascene conversion or else shows an almost incredible lack of self-awareness. There aren’t many who’d put their money on the former.


dafis said...

Poor old ARTD. He's now so wedded to the notion that contrarianism is a good bet for success that he can't set it aside for a moment. He has misunderstood the purpose of Opposition happily adopting "Yes" when Drakeford says "No" and vice versa.

I'm just waiting for that day when Drakeford says something like "We must remain in this Union" and ARTD knee-jerks with "No, no, no ! "

Anonymous said...

And just what are those 'different circumstances'? Education via the medium of Welsh, yes. Anything else?

John Dixon said...


On this occasion, it seems to have escaped your notice that the person saying that Wales is so different that it needs its own inquiry rather than simply being part of one at UK level is not me, but Andrew RT Davies. Only he (and maybe not even he) knows exactly to what he was referring, but I'd guess that it was the fact that the Welsh Government took some different decisions in relation to managing the Covid pandemic, even if the differences were often minor. Shoehorning a reference to Welsh medium education - one of your favourite bêtes noirs - into a comment about an inquiry into the handling of a pandemic isn't exactly keeping on topic.

Spirit of BME said...

I think Mr Davies may be on to something here, but as you say he falls short of explain why.
The Golden Rule of any inquiry is – You should draw up, or have input into the scope and terms of reference, if you do not – be afraid, very afraid.
These are more important than most outcomes, but if the English government has a free hand, any area of disquiet they have about aspects of the devolved administration’s activity, the terms will be stretched to cover the issues.
The Covid inquiry must investigate the expenditure of money and value for money, we know there are questions to ask regarding HMG in Cardiff (and Edinburgh) attitude to spending money and the results might well be new regulations or primary legislation which suppress their current powers, with the report giving legitimacy for the changes.

Democritus said...

ARTD probably hasn't considered that a Judicial Public Enquiry established under the Enuiries Act with a broad mandate would undoubtedly subpeona the PM, Dominic Cummings, Hancock etc. to give evidence in chief under oath in addition to the Prof, Humphrey Gething & all their WG officials.