Thursday 26 March 2009

Holes in heads

One of the Labour Party's more – how shall I put it – 'colourful' characters in Carmarthenshire, Cllr Kevin Madge, said this week that "At this moment in time, we want more devolution like we want a hole in the head".

His point, insofar as he has one, is that we are in a recession, and the only thing that matters is jobs. I don't doubt, however, that if we weren't in a recession, there would be some other equally pressing reason why it was also the wrong time to debate the future status of Wales. For some people, it will always be the wrong time – because they're really against there being any discussion at all, and merely using specific issues to avoid having any meaningful debate.

The idea that at any time there's only one issue that we can discuss, and that discussion of any other issue is therefore an irrelevance, is a device which far too many politicians employ. But by concentrating all discussion and debate only on the immediate pressing problem, there's a danger that we fail to lay the longer term foundations - and invite only more of the same as a consequence.

For me, being in a recession doesn't make the question of Wales' future less relevant – quite the opposite; a debate about the causes of, and the long term solution to, Wales' chronic underperformance is exactly what we do need.

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