Monday, 7 July 2008

Inconsistent Tories

Alot can be made of the Welsh Conservatives and the transition they have made over the past few years. The party has moved from an anti-devolution position towards apparent support for further powers for the Assembly. Under Nick Bourne's leadership the Tories in Wales took on a new pro-Welsh branding and have also voiced support for the Welsh language. These changes would certainly be welcome if they could stand up to scrutiny, but there is an inconsistency across the Conservative Party at the UK level.

The Tories recently examined devolution and the West Lothian Question in a report published by the Conservative Democracy Task Force. It might have been expected that Wales would have played a key role in the report, because the Tories claim that their attitude shift in Wales shows how the party has come to terms with devolution. But this expectation has not materialised. The report barely mentions Wales and instead deals with the contentious West Lothian Question from an English perspective.

There is clearly a confused and inconsistent outlook on devolution across the Conservative party. The Westminster end of the party still wields the influence and the Welsh Conservatives cannot even commit to a party line that would campaign for a 'yes' vote in our next referendum. An English Parliament could well be a step towards resolving the inequalities of devolution, but the early signs are that the Tories would not afford the same justice to Wales.

4 comments:

The Secret Person said...

Leanne, you seem to be under the impression that the Tories support an English parliament ("An English Parliament could well be a step towards resolving the inequalities of devolution, but the early signs are that the Tories would not afford the same justice to Wales.")

The Democracy Task Force recommended some fudge less even that English Votes for English Laws.

I support a full Parliament for Wales, or even full independence. But don't think we English are getting any favours from the Tories at your expense.

Leanne Wood said...

The Tory proposals would create a kind of English Parliament within the Westminster Parliament. At least, that is Kenneth Clarke’s vision. I am in agreement with you, England needs its own distinct Parliament- and eventually independence- just as Wales does. I do not believe “the English” would have this at our expense; both of our nations could have their own Parliaments on an equal basis. The Conservative Party’s current vision falls far short of this.

Stonemason said...

I have asked the following questions of your fellow AM Bethan Jenkins without reply, do you have an answer ....

Must "devolution progress", this is the question uppermost in my mind. It is as if there is a great wrong to be righted, such a great wrong that only separation can repair the wound. What is this great wrong?

Leanne Wood said...

Opinion polls seem to indicate that most people in Wales think that yes, devolution does need to progress. The current system is clearly inadequate because there are many areas in which we can make a difference but are unable to do so because we do not have the powers. I would not view nations standing side-by-side on a more equal basis as 'separation'.