Monday 23 May 2022

Playing to his strengths


According to Andrew RT Davies, who manages to be the previous ex-leader, current leader, and future ex-leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party in the Senedd, he and his party will be bold enough to break from the policy pursued by the UK party on issues where they think that the Welsh perspective is different. He seems to have struggled to find meaningful examples, though. It is, perhaps, convenient that, on the two issues he did manage to mention (a public holiday on St David’s Day and Barnett consequentials for HS2), the Senedd has no power to act, even in the unlikely event of a Tory Senedd victory. And both have already been dismissed out of hand by his Westminster masters. He won’t be called on to do anything more than get angry, shout a bit, and sloganize. At least he’ll be playing to his strengths, then.

He doesn’t seem to be asking for the transfer of more powers, for instance so that the Senedd could itself declare a Bank Holiday. On all the things where the Senedd actually can change policy, he remains fully aligned to doing whatever his masters in London tell him. It’s a bonus, for him, that he is only the leader of the Senedd group, not of the whole party in Wales. It means that no policy his group of ‘Welsh’ Conservatives in the Senedd adopts will apply to the people in his party who might possibly have some influence in London, namely Welsh Tory MPs. It’s easy to see how the UK party can tolerate this sort of low-level verbal difference of opinion without losing any sleep. It’s less easy to see why Davies would believe that anyone in Wales would be taken in by it.

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