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Fantastic policy there - as someone who was brought up on Anglesey, and works across the North Wales counties as a business support officer, everything under the enterprise heading MUST be adopted by any Welsh Government.

Similarly, the free prescriptions for all is scandalous, and must end now.

A lot of the problems that beset Wales today are the direct result of devolution.

Top of the list is the tension that exists between local authorities and Cardiff. This results in endless hours of wasted time creating strategy documents when what Cardiff really means is do what we tell you.

The tragedy of business support in Wales was the destruction of the Welsh Development Agency which, for all its failings (very low ratio of business facing staff as compared with admin) was vastly superior to what exists today. Currently the business facing staff are reduced in number and much of their time is spent finding good news stories for "ministers" in Cardiff.

The One Wales document - the Labour/Plaid deal - created the single investment fund which is still in course of implementation but in the interregnum very little investment is taking place.

Business here flows east - west not north - south so the Assembly creates an arbitrary unreal border that fails to recognise centuries of interaction.

It is probable that Dylan Jones-Evans lost his directorship of Finance Wales because he admitted he is a Conservative and stood for the Assembly.

Health is apalling. Any Welsh patient needing treatment in an English hospital has to suffer the longer waiting times that we suffer from.

The Assembly is full of second and third rate ministers and their judgements demonstrate their failings on a regular basis.

The Conservative group are undoubtedly of a higher calibre than their opponents.

The Assembly expects to take/will take some additional powers through an arcane parliamentary procedure which have not been subject to a further referendum. It should be remembered that the first referendum only had a smidgeon over 25% of the electorate voting in favour and there was and remain some question of gerrymandering in the counting of votes.

The Assembly has led to increased Welsh nationalism.

What worries most of us is that the majority of our AMs appear to believe in greater powers for the Assembly which is not in keeping with the views of our activists and supporters.

"A lot of the problems that beset Wales today are the direct result of devolution"

I beg to differ- they are the direct result of a Labour/Plaid Assembly Government, not the devolved settlement itself

"With discussion going on elsewhere on the site today about what the Scottish Conservatives should be saying..."

Rather unfortunate to raise head over parapet, given the sorts of reaction on the Scottish thread! When there is either an English Parliament plus English Conservative Party or else abolition of nation-based devolution, I might give a 4x.

Never mind; you just continue adding to the sense of alienation and be surprised in due course as England increasingly rejects its irritating neighbours.

A particular point: what is meant by
"Any Welsh patient needing treatment in an English hospital has to suffer the longer waiting times that we suffer from."

Does that mean a Welsh patient has to endure a longer waiting time at an English hospital than an English patient would have to in equivalent circumstances (but the same length of time that he/she would have had to wait at a Welsh hospital)?
In which case, what's unfair about that, within a Welsh context?

Or does it suggest that Welsh patients should be seen seen sooner at an English hospital than its English patients?
In which case, why the hell should the Welsh patient queue-jump?

If you don't like the situation, build your own hospital.


In mentioning hospital waiting times I was trying to illustrate what is wrong with Wales. I believe teh Lab/Lib administration was the one that achieved a UK first of more NHS managers than beds.

I was equally seeking to demonstrate that devolution was unwanted and imposed by possibly unfair means. If memory serves the last constituency to count polled sufficient "yes" votes to tip the overall balance. Subsequently no recount was allowed and the ballot papers were unavailable.

Make of it what you will but there is no whingeing here!

I appreciate your response and now feel positively churlish for being so grumpy

I agree with much of what drives your pro-English parliament views, Ken, even if we disagree about the prescription for improvement. If you think that you're a grumpy old man (I disagree) you should try being a born-and-raised Scot in love with his adopted London whose pro-Union, pro-devolved power sentiment is strained to breaking point every time the Labour administrations in Cardiff and Edinburgh come out with some more foolishnesss. I get to be both grumpy and frumpy. And old. Beat that.

I think the trick is not to allow our feelings about the inherent anti-England bias in the current Labour settlement to pollute our support for Tories in Wales and Scotland who are trying to maximise the good done in the Assembly and Parliament. The two issues are separate.

Something which I find helpful is to think of matters in terms of "members elected in Scotland", or "voters who live in England", rather than in terms of "the Scots" or "the English" and so on (I know you don't do this Ken, I'm thinking of the sort of language I was reading on the Scottish thread earlier). Find me someone who claims to be 100% Scottish, English or Welsh: and I'll nominate them for the Jacqui Smith Veracity (not) award :-)

Don't talk to me about 'born-and-raised Scots'
- I had the great fortune to marry one!

Both of us are staunch unionists, except that I despair of the possibility of regaining proper union and am therefore looking to resolve the imbalance by English parliamentary means.

As for the specifics of current devolution, I just find it rather sad- well, a bit pathetic really- that this small land of ours can still define differences on basis of internal nationhood, whereas problems are not thus differentiated. Is there a radically exclusive national character shared between a Kirkcudbrightian and a Shetlander that cannot possibly display any similarity between the former and a Carlisler? (Having lived for a while in Shetland, I have a viewpoint on this!)
Is a Welsh-born person in Newport, Mon entirely at one with a compatriot in Rhyl, yet totally different from someone in Hereford?

I am all for nurturing and cherishing the rich variety of cultural traditions of the British Isles. I just reject the idea that these should lead to administrative distinctions.

If Scottish and Welsh Conservatives feel similarly, then I certainly support that -- though it still begs the question of why there are UK , Scottish and Welsh Tory parties but not a corresponding English one. Why not simply the UK Conservative Party, if you are truly unionist?

I echo your sentiments about unfortunate nomenclature. Though, in a way, to use more accurate descriptions only serves to accentuate the nonsense of nation-based devolution.

For example, them bleedin' Scots scroungers includes about 10% English immigrants, I believe. Conversely, I seem to recall an estimate of almost a million Scots-born folk wisely living in England. Ergo the Scots English are 'subsidising' the English Scots.

I don't have corresponding figures in respect of Wales but similar principles apply, in that an English resident of Wales is treated differently to a Welsh resident of England.

Ken, I agree with so much of what you write. I wrote this massive response but then deleted it because I was just talking about my childhood. Would you either care to email me at [email protected], or join Facebook, so that your other fans (hello Sally!) can talk?

Nice ideas and I for one would rather see Plaid and the Conservatives working together then Plaid and Labour. One thing I am really looking forward to with a Conservative Government is their ideas on education and the creation of new schools, something that would work very well at least in the area of Wales in which I live.
Though one thing I would like to point out concerning education. We moved from Wales to England 10 years ago. My eldest son was accepted to a Grammar school there and a few years ago my middle son also was accepted at the same school. The school itself was very strict and very much driven by numbers and results and the preasure was huge on the students. It really did feel as though the children were just numbers on a paper. As a parent I found this worrying while at the same time I of course want my children to do well. We moved this school year to a state school here in Wales with better results then the Grammar we had moved from though we didn't realise that at the time nor was it a reason why we decided on this school. It was just a happy coincidence. Strangely the school does not focus on numbers or results but on nurishing, engaging and encouraging the kids. There are very few arguements between the kids, very few get detention, and the teacher student relationship is really great. I only wish I had realised sooner that good state schools are available and I wish more were like the school my son is lucky enough to attend. (Yes I am one of those softies who actually agreed with David Cameron on the "hug a hoody" thing).
The down sides to where we live have to be the lack of medical care as we must go to England for hospital, specialists etc. So what you say? This is not the richest of areas as another downside is there are few jobs. However, this county was also voted the Happiest place to live in the UK. Maybe that is because you get your rubbish picked up once a week and don't get taken to the local pollice station for putting it out on the wrong day. Nor are you limited to how much rubbish or recycling you can put out and this county also has something like a 45% recycling rate. Strange how people cooperate when not scared into doing the right thing? Choice is always nice!
I for one, regardless of how much I love Wales would not like to see the UK broken up. I am thankful that Wales, like Scotland have voted not to implement the I.D. cards. I want England to be treated better and to have these choices too. I think those who can afford to pay for prescriptions should do so, same for their children's University education. I agree also that there should be an English Parliament but I do feel that as much as possible on important issues, all parliaments English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland should work together on certain issues so as to help people feel equal to each other. We really should not be or feel divided though at the same time it is nice to feel proud of where you come from.
Ken I agree, it should be a UK Conservative party, not seperate parties.

P.S. Sorry for the novel!

Start up coal-mining again.

Meli, you are a Good Man.

ah thanks Graeme but I'm a lady actually :D

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