The Welsh Conservatives have launched their manifesto which warns that Wales is falling behind in business enterprise. There are no Council elections in Wales this year but the progress we have made in the past will be important in terms of the General Election. In the 2007 elections for the Welsh Assembly the Conservatives won five constituencies - compared to just one in 2003.
Generally we can expect to do rather better in a General Election than in the Welsh Assembly. Conservatives are naturally hostile to the waste and bureaucracy of superfluous layers of Government. So some feel the way to show their contempt for the Welsh Assembly is not too take part in elections to it. Back in 1997 when the referendum was held on setting up the Assembly, the Conservatives were the only Party campaigning for a No vote and came within a whisker of success - the No Vote was 49.7%.
Some money could be saved by abolishing the Wales Office (which has a "administration costs" of 3.2 million and since the advent of the Assembly has diddly squat to do.)
But I would favour radical localism. The option of real devolution of abolishing the Welsh Assembly (as well as the Wales Office) and handing its powers down to the local councils. Not to mention its £14 billion budget which includes £361 million for "Central Services and Administration" plus £48 million for the Assembly Commission - "the corporate body for the Assembly" which all goes on ensuring the talking shop is suitably lavish. £13.6 million goes on Members Salaries and Allowances - it makes Westminster MPs sound cheap.
We could probably save one or two billion out of that £14 billion budget through localism - while also securing better services. That would be roughly the equivalent of the total Council Tax revenue in Wales. There is a Conservative proposal of having another referendum to the Assembly more power - let's also have the option of getting rid of it with real devolution and see if that proposition could get the extra 0.4% of the vote needed from the last referendum.