Thursday, May 14, 2009

The 'Yes Team' changes up a gear.

Had a 'personal invitation' from the Archbishop of Wales today. He's the Chair of Cymru Yfory - Tomorrow's Wales. This organisation was established in 2004 to press for the National Assembly for Wales to be given law making powers, which would transform it into a proper parliament. The idea is that the new constitutional arrangement should be stable, effective and efficient, comprehensive and transparent, likely to ensure maximum participation, and respects the autonomy of the National Assembly. The view of Cymru Yfory - Tomorrow's Wales is that the current constitution is seriously unsatisfactory.

The invitation was for me to be one of the signatories of a Declaration based on the above principles which will then be open to all to sign up to in the first week in June. Must admit I'm a touch ambivalent about this, even though I agree with the content of the Declaration. My view is that the lead should be taken by Assembly Members. The Labour/Plaid Coalition Government is supposedly committed to holding a referendum on moving from Part 3 to Part 4 of the Government of Wales Act (granting law making powers in all devolved policy areas) but has dithered and dallied and procrastinated. I'm not sure I want to be part of the advance guard of chicken politicians.

Must admit I'm not sure what response to make to this invitation. I have never been keen on joining lobby groups of any sort. Reason is that the publicly expressed opinions of all members of the group are inevitably attributed to each. I have a well developed and clearly thought through opinion on the way forward for how we govern Wales. I do not want the public perception of my opinions blurred. Its most kind that I should have received this invitation, but I'm not at all sure that I can accept it.

14 comments:

MH said...

Glyn, I don't know the exact wording of the declaration, but you've said that you want to see the Assembly gain primary lawmaking powers, and you've said that you'll campaign for a "Yes" vote when the referendum is called. Is it really so very different to also call for the referendum to happen?

Politicians are meant to speak out on what they think is important. Does it matter if others procrastinate about declaring their position?

Politicians are meant to provide leadership. Does the fact that others are failing to take the lead mean that you have to hold back?

Lead. You know I'm not a Tory, but I hope you also know that I think Wales needs decent Tories (as much as it needs decent politicians of all other political persuasions) in order for our developing democracy to work.

This week, all of us who care about politics and democracy weep at the way it has been battered. Rightly battered. Clarity and unambivalence are the qualities that we need now more than anything. I would ask you to sign for the sake of clearly and unambiguously declaring what you obviously believe in.

Anonymous said...

Hope you've read the Iain Dale blog on O'Pickled. Do listen to the interview. Defies belief.
But STILL no comment from you re LO's exes? Charging us for his £40 fine is unforgiveable. He STILL doesn't get it. Take Iain Dale's tip and publish the transcript in your election literature!

Penddu said...

Glyn, I dont know who among the Conservative AMs have been asked to sign, and what they will do, but it is important (for both sides of the debate) that this is seen to be a cross party debate and not polarised along party lines.

Like MH I urge you to sign, but make a point of standing with some of your party colleagues from Cardiff Bay.

Glyn Davies said...

MH - I'm probably one of the most forthright advocates of the development that you and Cymru - Yfory want to see. I will continue to be. I do not accept that I have to be part of a (inevitable disparate) group to do that. I have long said that I would not join any organised Yes campaign, which will become engaged in a wrestling match with the No campaign - leading to a referendum being decided on who knows what, rather than the principle at stake. If a referendum were to be held before a General Election, I would run a personal campaign here in Montgomeryshire, as I did in 1997. Perhaps I do have a contrary nature, but I do not believe that I need to sign anything to make my position clear. I've not decided whether to sign this declaration, though I must admit all my instincts tell me not to - mainly because it will greatly reduce my ability to influence the outcome.

Anon - I do not think I need to add anything. People can make their own judgements on all this without any guidance from me.

Anonymous said...

what approach will you take glyn if you ae elected as an MP. just do what the whips tell you.

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - I believe that Conserative MPs will have a free vote on this issue. If I were to be elected as an MP, I would expect to take a more 'national' role in the debate. My opinion would not change, but it may be that my involvemnt would be wider than just Montgomeryshire.

Doris said...

"The Labour/Plaid Coalition Government . . . . . . . has dithered and dallied and procrastinated."

Just like you Glyn. get on with it man, sign up with the Archbish! You sound just like the man who won't go to the party because he may not like the colour of the jelly.

There are times when we need to stand up and more importantly stand together. Now is that time.

Draig said...

Come on Glyn, we all know that Cameron is going to block a referendum - are you not just hedging your bets?

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn> you would make a good Secretary of State for Wales. Your Conservative credentials in combination with not shirking from taking a 'national' role in this debate is a good harbinger that you will make for a VERY GOOD Secretary of State for Wales.

Apolgies for any typos - I'm at the coal face with a deadline to boot.

Anonymous said...

Glyn, what is the CPRW if not a lobby group and you are the President of that!! Although not a potential voter for you, I am very disappointed by your reluctance to take a more unequivocal stance on your oft stated views about additional powers for Wales. Dont worry about upsetting the English Conservative party with your views!

Glyn Davies said...

Doris - I don't think you are right about this. My aim is to influence the debate as much as possible. I've been more clear about what I want to happen that most politicians have been. I see my most useful contribution as being making the case for law making powers within the Conservative Party, which may well form the next UK Government. I fear that signing the Declaration may well reduce my ability to do this. Perhaps I attribute too much influence to myself, but I think I can make a difference to Conservative's attitude. Just being one insignificant name on a list will make no difference at all.

Draig - Not sure what you mean about hedging bets. Don't think its possible to be more clear about my opinion, which I do and will argue within the Conservative Party. I accept that I would not break a three line whip, but I hope the stance I've taken will make such a whip less likely. And I think you should be more careful about what you wish for. I can see a situation where its only the No side who are calling for a referendum. I like to keep my eye on the ball, rather than performing for the spectators. Its results that count.

Christopher - You are too kind. My aim would be to be a good constituency MP for Montgomeryshire. I would also hope to play a part in developing an effective working relationship between Westminster and the National Assembly. That is enough of a challenge for any new MP.

Anon - My stance is unequivocal - rather more so than than many on the Labour and Plaid benches, who have been surprisingly quiet. I have expressed it even though advised by others to be less strident. You mention the CPRW, a voluntary organisation of which I am President. Wearing that hat, I have refused to become an activist, expressing my opinions about onshore wind farms, but not willing to join public demonstrations - because in my opinion such actions would win headlines but reduce influence. Its just the way I work.

Stonemason. said...

You wrote .....

".... the Conservative Party, which may well form the next UK Government."

I would have preferred a more positive .....

".... the Conservative Party, as it forms the next UK Government."

Doris said...

"Just being one insignificant name on a list will make no difference at all."

Come on Glyn, don't fool us with false modesty, yours is no longer an "insignificant name," in Welsh politics. That's why you should sign up with the Archbish.

Glyn Davies said...

Stonemason - Its never sensible to take the voters for granted. I never do.

Doris - Look at it from my position. I remember discussing this issue with David Melding (with whom I agreed) when we were both AMs. I thought he was the man to engage at an academic level, and to become involved with groups like Cymru Yfory/Tomorrow's Wales. I saw myself as engaging with the 'less convinced' in the Conservative Party. I've spoken on this issue to well attended meetings in Monmouth and Presceli Pembs. Do you thing my 'credibility' to talk about this issue, and make my case is strengthened or weakened if I become a formal part of the Yes campaign? I want to make a difference, and while I will say that I support the aims of Cymru Yfory/Tomorrow's Wales, I think my influence will diminish if I sign a formal declaration. The Conservative Party would never put me up to speak on the subject again.