Thursday 4 June 2009

Could they? Would they?

David Davies is an outspoken MP, who says what he thinks regardless of whether it's what he's supposed to be saying. In that context, it can be a mistake to vest too much credence in his utterances.

Having said that, his views on Wales and the National Assembly are very much a reflection of the views of the ordinary members of the Conservatives in Wales - much more so than the statements that issue from some of the Tory AMs.

So when he says that he supports the idea that London should take back the Assembly's powers over higher education and over 'aspects' of the NHS, there are probably many members of his party all across Wales cheering him on. Coupled with the willingness of the Tories' spokesperson on Wales to raise the issue in the first place, it's an indicator as to which way the wind is blowing inside that party.

Whilst I find it entirely credible that Gillan would not have considered it necessary to consult, or even inform, her party's leader in the Assembly, I am much less sure that she would start to float that idea without discussing with at least some of her shadow cabinet colleagues – and possibly even the boss.

It seems almost inevitable now that there will be a Tory government in the UK after the next election. That government is likely to have a massive mandate from England, whilst being resoundingly rejected in Wales. For all their talking up of their chances, they're unlikely to win more than around half a dozen seats in Wales, out of the 40 available.

In terms of the UK constitution, unwritten as it is, there is no problem if a government with a clear mandate at UK level seeks to impose its will on a Wales where it has no mandate. However, the establishment of the Assembly in 1999 changed the context, if not the rules. It would be a foolish government that tried it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How might this be resisted if they did actually try to go ahead with this?