Monday, 16 February 2009

Cameron and Bourne out of step on devolution

Dewi Un and I went off to see David Cameron in Barry tonight. In amongst a few iffy jokes and a light-hearted ‘grilling’ one interesting nugget stood out. Mr Cameron was asked if a full law-making Parliament would be a benefit to Wales and bring more prosperity to Wales.

He said no.

He said that he didn’t support a full law-making Parliament for Wales and that we have to “make the current settlement work”.

Interestingly, in the wake of the Robert’s Report last year (in which the Conservatives outlined their position on devolution) Nick Bourne said that there was still a very real prospect of a referendum under a Conservative government and that he was confident that the “next stage” of devolution would be delivered under a Conservative government.

It seems Mr Bourne and Mr Cameron aren’t quite singing from the same hymn sheet on the subject of devolution…

Hear David Cameron in Barry tonight (apologies for extremely poor audio):

And hear Nick Bourne speaking to me back in November last year:

Dewi Tri



Al Iguana said...

this is the same man who's manifesto is to contain "only English MPs may vote on English matters". So, devolution for the English, but not for the rest of us. Hmmmmm....

Draig said...

We're faced with the prospect of the Tories blocking any move towards further lawmaking powers.

My understanding is that Cameron is going to give his party a free vote when it comes to Parliament, and the likelihood is that it will be a Parliament with a sizeable Tory majority.

There are those who think we will have enough time to push through a referendum before the Tories get in. This, of course, assumes that we don't have a General Election BEFORE June 2010...

Oh, and by the way, seeing as True Wales have had a plug on your blog, can Wales First have one too? :-)

MH said...

Well done for getting the audio, Dewiau! (Note, that is spelt with an e ... don't get too full of yuorselves!)

Let's not misrepresent what Cameron said. He was asked whether a full parliament with tax raising powers would be the answer to the shortage of money available to local councils.

His reply was no, and he went on to talk about a bigger parliament with more people, probably higher salaries and bigger pensions.

None of this is on the table. Not tax raising powers, not increasing the size of the Assembly, not paying anyone any more money. That might well be what we'd have got if the Richard Commission recommendations had been implemented, but it's most emphatically NOT what the upcoming referendum will be about.

Now of course that doesn't mean that Cameron or the Tory party would campaign for a Yes or No vote in the referendum. But quite honestly, it probably won't make any difference to the "Yes" vote anyway ... because we'll still win it even if most Tory supporters vote no.

However I would say that if Cameron really does want to "try and make the current arrangements work" it means moving away from the LCO system. Because gaining primary lawmaking powers on a case-by-case basis is actually a perfect description of "endlessly tinkering with constitutional arrangements" that he is so much against. The referendum will give us a single definitive list (Schedule 7) of what the Assembly can and can't legislate on.

Whatever the Tories are bad at (... and that's an awful lot) they claim to be big on cutting out needless duplication and waste. The sheer inefficiency and wastefulness of the LCO system is what will do most to persuade people that saying "Yes" in the referendum is the only way of making the current devolution settlement work. It's not about devolving more things to the Assembly, it's about giving the Assembly the right to make some legislation within the areas ALREADY devolved to it.

Anonymous said...

How many were actually at the meeting last night?

Draig said...

I'm sorry but I've said this before and said this again - anyone who thinks we can work with Cameron in Wales is naive. Cameron will be elected with a huge Tory majority in the middle of an economic crisis.

His priority will be England and he will not give a damn what we in Wales think.

Politics Cymru said...

Roughly 120 people attended the Meeting last night

Anonymous said...

143 people

Politics Cymru said...

Thank you for your precision, Anonymous. Diolch.

Anonymous said...

Not many for the next Prime Minister, is it? Especially considering the number of press and protesters that are included in that figure.

The Tories must be disappointed.