Devolution has sucked all power into Cardiff ‘mothership’, Tory AM claims

Shadow Education and Welsh Language Minister Suzy Davies AM. Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

Devolution to Wales has sucked all power into a Cardiff Bay “mothership” and needs to be spread out across the rest of Wales, the Welsh Conservative conference heard today.

Suzy Davies, AM for the South Wales West region, told the conference that a Conservative government would give the people of Wales “real agency” over their own lives.

The latest polls show the Conservatives neck and neck with Labour, a year before the next Senedd elections in 2021.

Speaking today Suzy Davies said that years of “empire building” by Labour had “achieved the very opposite of what we were looking for from devolution”.

“Communities in north, mid and west Wales – and even in my own region – feeling as far away from influence over decisions affecting their lives as they ever did,” she said.

“Devolution was about sharing power and wealth across Wales, exactly what it would do under a Welsh Conservative Government: In the hands of socialists, it’s all been sucked back into the mothership control centre run by Labour in Cardiff Bay.

“As a party of smaller government, our values are quite different – they speak to creating opportunities for people, for them to have real agency in their own lives and their communities wherever they can.

“To see government as an enabler, with some needing its help more than others, recognising that we don’t all start in the same place.  Kicking our emotional, fatalistic dependency on Labour’s vision of equality which has, in truth, led to little more than a shared mediocrity.”

Suzy Davies also said that 20 years of Labour government had left Wales behind. She said that they could not explain why post-industrial parts of England were faring better than Wales.

“Welsh Gov is a ‘Not Us Guv’ and people in Wales are finally starting to see through it,” she said.

“Twenty years of talk about poverty, about equality, but what we have seen is the failure of Communities First, the absence of a poverty strategy, an overwhelmed and understaffed health service which has led to serious inequality with the rest of Britain.”

 

‘Populist’

Yesterday Welsh Conservative party leader Paul Davies claimed that a Tory government in Wales would tackle profligacy and waste within government.

“We will not be abolishing the assembly, but we need to listen more” to those who wanted the Senedd scrapped, he said.

“A Welsh Conservative Government will cut the cost of politics,” he said. “We will seek to freeze the Assembly Commission’s budget for the full five-year term, and there will be no increase in the number of politicians in Wales under my leadership.”

“I will reshape the government too.  I will reduce the size of the Welsh Government from 14 ministers to a magnificent 7. A 50 percent saving on day one, and I will implement an immediate freeze on hiring more and more civil servants.”

His comments were however criticised by other political parties who said that his comments were disingenuous and “completely hypocritical”.

Plaid Cymru AM Delyth Jewell said his speech was a “pathetic attempt at a populist play for power”.

“Under the Tories in Westminster, the civil service has increased substantially and in the Senedd the Tories employ more family members than any other party. They don’t want to end the gravy train,” she said. “They are the gravy train.

“Endless polling has shown that people in Wales want more powers, not less. The Tories will soon find out come May 2021 that they are on the wrong side of history and on the wrong side of the argument.

“Paul Davies has shown today that he is nothing but a weak leader of a weak branch of a London based party. We can be rid of both his party and this useless Labour government in 2021 by voting Plaid Cymru.”

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RhosdduJohn Ellisconvention.cymruj humphrysK. K Recent comment authors
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Macsen
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Macsen

Tories claim concern for rural regions but really give money to their mates in City of London and to transport, arts, infrastructure in London. Oh, and how is Wales, losing £5bn to HS2 helping transport in rural Wales? How is £5bn to renovate Westminster helping people in Llanbrynmair? Tories reverting to the anti Welsh nation party. They really do hate anything Welsh which isn’t mountains, cheap housing and 80 minute patriotism at rugby matches. https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/mar/06/tory-governments-spend-more-on-london-than-rest-of-england-thinktank?CMP=share_btn_tw

Joe
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Joe

We would be in a far worse state if Labour hadn’t mitigated against her Tory chums austerity .So before u bang on about the Senedd , why not challenge Westminster to explain why we have 11% of the railway track ,5% of the population and yet only get 2% of funding …sorry forgot you are self serving divisive populist .

j humphrys
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j humphrys

No attacks on the House Of Lords? Inherited lands……………………

Kerry Davies
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Kerry Davies

AM claims that she no longer wants to be an AM but wants to be a parish councillor.
Is that the headline?

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Glad to see that Suzy Davies is attacking the Welsh Government and not the institution of devolution. But whoever is in power after 2021 is going to inherit a weak and ultimately ineffectual governance for as long as devolution remains so limited in what it is allowed to achieve. More devolution, not less, is what is needed to make the system work and to make the position of Hamilton and Reckless untenable. Meanwhile, if Paul Davies is looking for things to pare down if he gets into power, he could start with Welsh Labour’s ancilliary organisation, the Third Sector, which… Read more »

K. K
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K. K

I don’t particularly have much time for Labour especially given their track record on health and education and their capabilities of creating jobs for the boys. However, I have even less time for the Tories who destroyed countless communities across Wales and beyond with ideological dogma and who now present themselves as saviours. Saviours don’t leave people die on the streets, promote greed and create Dickensian social environments. I truly dislike them and I dislike people like Suzy Davies even more because they are part of the problem not the solution. How can one truly claim to represent Wales when… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
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Ernie The Smallholder

Right all the way.
A failure of Labour certainly does not mean the Tories would be any better, because they are one of the same.
ÚK imperialism is the cause of failure in Wales, not enough devolution, not too much.

UK Tories in power in the imperial centre has caused the Welsh labour government to fail through taking our tax and underfunding our development.
Labour has failed – Failed to give lead for a free, independent Wales, free from imperialism.

Only Plaid Cymru and the independence movement can lead us to true national liberation.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

All true K.K., but we can’t dismiss them out of hand. Paul Davies is trying to present the 2021 Senedd election as a two-horse race between Welsh Labour and the Conservatives, which he hopes to win, whereas of course Wales has three horses. It would suit him nicely if Plaid were to flounder before election day, because Labour are now a weak target, and, without Plaid Cymru in the equation, he could make mincemeat of Labour if he succeeds in scooping up the Brexit Party and UKIP votes and any Plaid deserters fed up with the wokery. For the first… Read more »

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

Great use of the standard Labour slogans: ‘democratic deficiency ‘continual underfunding’ ‘social armageddon’ ‘destroyed countless communities’ ‘create Dickensian social enviroments’ etc etc. No evidence of any of this when public spending on health, pensions etc has shot up every year as have taxes, especially on the top 1, 10 and 25% of taxpayers who now pay a much greater proportion of total tax. If Welsh Labour is so good why is it that the performance in Wales of Health authorities is so poor especially as the money available to spend on health in Wales per capita is higher than that… Read more »

K. K
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K. K

I’m not a Labour voter nor do I use Labour slogans. My own opinion is based on what I see around me and walking through almost any town or city in Wales I am met with social degradation and decline. If you had read the opening sentence then you would see that I am indeed critical of how money has been spent in both health and education primarily because it has resulted in the closure of small community schools and hospitals with more jobs for the boys. With regards to health expenditure then the amount spent in Wales is reflected… Read more »

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

Ostracise?
You make some good points although I would not agree with all if them. I think the biggest problem in Wales (and possibly the whole UK) is the high cost of housing which takes up so much disposable income for those renting or with high loan to value mortgages. It is the root of poverty, homelessness and lack of social mobility. UK and local Gov’t over regulation strangle small builders and make the cost of development excessive. Only deregulation of planning can really assist.

Jonathan Gammond
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Jonathan Gammond

Wales would do better letting and enabling individuals and local communities to build more houses rather than allowing a cabal of housing developers build the shoddiest and most overpriced housing in Europe. Better regulation not de-regulation is what Wales needs. Not much has happened in 20 years but may be politivians are finally waking up to the failure of housing policy abd the housing market.

j humphrys
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j humphrys

Dead right!

K. K
Guest
K. K

Deregulation of planning? I don’t think that would help anyone and given the fact that most councillors are in the pockets of developers would it really make a difference? Look at the crap that passes for housing these days – cheap materials, shoddy workmanship all built on unsuitable land or in areas where congestion is a real problem. The LDP for Cardiff is dreadful not only because of the impending fast food housing developments that will spring up everywhere but also because of the detrimental health impact it will have. Increased air pollution from two care households, sedentary lifestyles and… Read more »

John Ellis
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John Ellis

My own close experience of the workings of local government was gathered while I was living in England rather than in Wales, but there the problem which I encountered wasn’t ‘the fact that most councillors are in the pockets of developers’, because I saw no sign that they were. The problem in the areas where I lived was the power disparity between local authorities exercising their planning responsibilities and the large corporations, household names with deep pockets, who dominate much of the housing construction market. Council officers would routinely advise councillors to approve development applications from major house-builders which, on… Read more »

Rhosddu
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Rhosddu

Cymru used to have the same problem with the big builders before devolution. Whenever a planning application was refused, the builder would appeal to the Welsh Office, citing ‘jobs’. It always worked. Result: lots of greenfield housing that was far in excess of the housing needs of a small country like this. Now, as in England, they use the Planning Inspectorate. The issue of planning needs devolving. Personally, I think that if the local authority says ‘No’, then that should be the end of the matter. The mega-builders are a plague on Wales.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Paul Davies’s pledge to curtail ‘waste’ in the Senedd may well be code for further austerity measures. He needs pressing on the point.

Jonathan Gammond
Guest
Jonathan Gammond

Perhaps he should ask Boris Johnson and Chris Grayling about ‘waste’ in government as they are the experts, at least in creating it.

K. K
Guest
K. K

When he says ‘waste’ what he is saying that anything that doesn’t have a monetary value like research and governance. But what he will do in reality is almost bankrupt Wales by agreeing to the construction of the M4 which would not only financially tie us to England but also result in an increase of traffic and commuters but not necessarily business. The guy is a tool who like others before him plays the Welsh card but really cares more about himself. A bit like Alun Cairns if you will.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

He also wants to upgrade the A55, which will extend the commuter belt for Cheshire and Merseyside. So his big contribution to Wales will involve further integration of both the north and south into the English economy and facilitate demographic change. Yes, he’s picking up where Cairns left off. He’s now saying that he doesn’t intend to Abolish the Senedd, but he’s never, ever going to push for greater devolution.

ROBERT MATTHIAS
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ROBERT MATTHIAS

as i have been aware for some time Wales is as England that nothing much happens outside London LIKEWISE Cardiff is the same and Mid Wales does not exist at all . But where as England is divided North South Wales is divided North / South East / West which is reflected in the cultural difference between English Wales and Welsh Wales

Johnny Gamble
Guest
Johnny Gamble

You do have a valid point Bob with Cardiff being Devocentric in Corruption Bay. As has been mentioned several times before Swansea voted Yes for Devolution but lost the bidding War to host the Senedd to Cardiff who voted No. Very annoying especially as Swansea Council at the time offered use of the Senedd in The Guildhall Free of charge. On the Cultural divide not so sure I agree with you on that. As Pembrokeshire, Most of Powys and North East Wales are overwhelmingly English speaking.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

The ‘cultural divide’: Only half of Pemrokeshire, parts of eastern Powys, and most of North East Wales is monoglot (the last is seeing a substantial increase in the number of adult learners). Easy to overstate the ‘divide’, if we’re not careful.

Jonathan Gammond
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Jonathan Gammond

The divides are far more than about language and really a matter of geography. A welshman from a thousand years ago would recognize them.

Mair
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Mair

“Suzy Davies, AM for the South Wales West region, told the conference that a Conservative government would give the people of Wales “real agency” over their own lives. “ Since when have Tories ever given Wales or many areas of England for that matter, real agency over their own lives (unless they are rich)? I am very much a proud North Walian but I think she is wrong and is just using this argument to divide and rule. Stay with devolution peeps and a belief in CymruWales, ALL of it, and beware nasty politics for its own benefit and not… Read more »

K. K
Guest
K. K

Completely agree Mair. Nothing is perfect and it’s up to us to learn from our own mistakes and hold people accountable. How on earth does anyone think that with minor representation at Westminster we would ever be able to hold anyone accountable? I’m glad you mentioned divide and rule too as that is EXACTLY what would happen should Plaid Cymru ever make a Faustian pact.

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

I dare to state, that the more people join Plaid right now, the more power will be behind Adam Price to put Cymru on the path to Independence. So join and Total The Tories!

Steve Duggan
Guest
Steve Duggan

I agree with the comments but not that the Tories would do better. The Tories care little for devolution and for Wales full stop. They’ve become more vocal as they now think they are onto a winner after doing well in the GE. However, once Brexit is felt – they’ll die here. Power does, however, need to be spread around Wales more. We should follow the way Germany devolves power and put as much decision making locally as we can. Here is an old but good article from the Guardian stating just this – https://www.theguardian.com/society/2004/nov/04/regionalgovernment.politics4 . When Brexit brings independence… Read more »

convention.cymru
Guest

What law will Suzy Davies AM pass to give “people, for them to have real agency in their own lives”?
Take Community Councils – they are leading calls for independence. Change the law to give them more power, take over functions from Counties/Boroughs? To where it used to be in Wales until 2013? Or more still?