I have just e-mailed this letter to the Western Mail newspaper.
I am disgusted by the recent actions of the Conservatives’ Assembly leader Nicholas Bourne to prevent Newport Councillor Peter Davies from standing for election to the Assembly next May because he called for the abolition of the Assembly itself. I could understand such a course of action if Mr. Davies had advocated something immoral or illegal, but for Prof. Bourne to take disciplinary action over a legitimate argument against the existence of Assembly smacks of an authoritarianism that has more in common with Tony Blair than of the Conservatives.
I myself do not believe it would democratic or practical to turn the clock back to 1997, but I do believe there is a middle ground between abolition of the Assembly and continuing the status quo. The devolution settlement must be reformed by introducing a system of what I would term ‘dual representation’ whereby Welsh MPs would also serve as AMs. General Elections and Westminster By-elections would double-up as Assembly Elections. It is ridiculous that thanks to devolution, there are now two elected positions for the same tasks, especially since some AMs also sit in Westminster such as Mr. Davies’ son, David Davies in Monmouthshire. It would also be wise to merge the Cabinet positions of Scottish and Welsh Secretaries along with their departments with the portfolio of the Leader of the House of Commons, who would then act as a liaison official between Westminster and the Hollyrood and Cardiff Bay legislatures.
Such reforms would make the devolution settlement work more efficiently for the Celtic peoples, strengthen the legitimacy of the devolved bodies without undermining the political supremacy of the Commons (due to General Elections enjoying higher voter turnouts than the devolved equivalents) and help to solve the West Lothian Question. These reforms would also go a long way to reducing administrative costs that can then be used to improve state services such as health and education, which Mr. Davies Snr. is keen to see.
When I proposed this reform to the Shadow Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan over the summer, she was not keen on the idea because it might upset the Conservatives’ political rivals and their gravy train of vested and entrenched interests. Since when did the Conservatives’ leadership give a higher priority to propping up the desires and prejudices of a morally and intellectually bankrupt Labour party, their Liberal Democrat lackeys and the bipolar separatists than the best interests of the British and Welsh people and the Tories’ own membership? The policy I am proposing is an opportunity to prove to the people of Wales that we are not anti-Welsh while remaining true to Conservative principles.
Instead fawning over pollsters, special interest groups, Punch & Judy and Anglophobic European Union officials and instead of persecuting the father of one of his potential successors over a non-issue, Prof. Bourne should concentrate on devising practical reforms that provide real benefits for the people of Wales.
C4' BA (Hons.)