Why we need to burst the Cardiff Bay bubble

Paul Davies. Picture by the National Assembly (CC. 2.0)

Paul Davies AM, Leader of the Welsh Conservatives

Last weekend at our Welsh Conservative conference in Llangollen, I told some hard truths to the members of the Cardiff Bay Bubble.

The Bubble is a fragile and delicate entity, and is fiercely protected by the elite within it – and by those who wish to be in it.

Its devotees took to social media to pillory the Welsh Conservative heretic – who dared throw scorn upon their holy idol – with cries of “Hypocrite!”

It is always the case that when politicians don’t hear what they want to: they go on the defensive by getting a bit personal.

And what is this hard truth that warranted such a response from all sections of the Welsh political elite?

Simple: after 20 years of devolution, for some people, their lives had not been improved by devolution, and that politics in Wales is bloated, and to borrow a line – which they won’t like – for a very select few, and certainly not for the many.

Remember, it is two decades of Labour that has failed Wales – not devolution – but I fully understand why Welsh Labour would get upset about this inconvenient truth.

It has spent the last few years in power trying to hide its awful management of our Welsh NHS from the people of Wales.

It is scared that as more and more people realise that Labour has been running the NHS for the last 20 years, they might start blaming it for the scandalous A&E waiting times across Wales or that Betsi Cadwaladr UHB has been in special measures for five years come June.

It’s this truth that has caused so much consternation.

 

Echo chamber

As I said last week, people feel that the Assembly is just like the European Union. People here feel remote, ignored, and disenfranchised. This is not what people voted for all those years ago.

In 1997, those in favour of devolution argued that a Welsh Assembly would improve how our local services were run compared to being run by an out-of-touch Westminster Government that ignored Wales.

All these years later, those in the “Yes” campaign must be horrified that the perceived injustices and everything else they battled against have now come true – but with their own side in charge.

It’s not just that services aren’t what was promised, but that politics itself is too expensive and bloated.

How is it possible, for example, that while some politicians were asking people to cut their cloth in the national interest, the Assembly itself was having an annual £1 million pay rise?

If we really are the Parliament of Wales, then we should be acting in the best interests of the people of Wales and not ourselves.

We need to listen to the ignored, not just our own Twitter feeds and echo chambers.

And to quote that well-used phrase we need to make sure that our priorities are the people’s priorities and finally we shouldn’t be afraid to discuss the big issues – and to burst that Bubble.

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RhosdduArwyn LloydJonathan EdwardsAnthony MitchellGeraint Jones ??????? Recent comment authors
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Leigh Richards
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Leigh Richards

I’ve yet to work out how ‘elites’ are democratically elected every 5 years, as our AMs are – perhaps paul davies doesnt understand the definition of ‘elites’? And he’ll also know its been agreed AMs wont be getting a pay rise for 5 years after 2021 – perhaps he can point me to a parliament anywhere else in the world where its elected members will be doing anything comparable?

Royston Jones
Guest

It goes well beyond politicians to ‘advisers’, lobbyists, and of course a vast third sector, all sustained by the Labour-Plaid consensus, all unnecessary, all costing a hell of a lot of money, and all contributing to the mess Wales is in.

Leigh Richards
Guest
Leigh Richards

Ok Royston but paul davies and the welsh conservatives could start by putting their own house in order first https://nation.cymru/news/tories-promising-to-end-assembly-gravy-train-cost-taxpayers-more-than-ams-from-other-parties/

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

Posted elsewhere recently by an old acquaintance Paul Davies delivered a speech last week which from a (considerable) distance would have sounded quite sensible. However on closer examination it was evident that he was just launching yet another attempt to : a) reconcile his party to the idea of Cynulliad/Senedd especially as the party’s A.M’s are now well attached to the level of salary + benefits and the “pwysigrwydd” that goes with their nice little numbers b) catch the vote of the milder wing of the Abolish the Assembly movement by appearing resolute on the matter of spending, waste and… Read more »

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

Pretty much how it seems to me too. Agree entirely.

Anthony Mitchell
Guest
Anthony Mitchell

It was pretty much my thoughts as soon as he used the cliche excuse of the assembly splashing the cash and being a waste of money. It’s too obvious and once again your classic snake waiting in ambush.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Any favourable reaction from me to his speech was cancelled out by his proposals for the M4 and A55 (which, incidentally, reiterate Bunter’s proposals). But at least he’s now attacking the Welsh Labour Government and not the Senedd — probably realised he was on a hiding to nothing with that one.

Jonathan Gammond
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Jonathan Gammond

There’s nothing wrong with ‘elites’ when they consist of the best; it’ s when they don’t , that it is problematic.

PJMartin
Guest

To me it is Conservative Government, Westminster and Brexit that are the problems, all to the detriment of Wales.

Simon Gruffydd
Guest
Simon Gruffydd

The thing about bubbles is that when you are in one you don’t know it. You can only recognize you were in a bubble after you escape it. … And it’s not just Cardiff Bay that is a self-reinforcing bubble. All political parties are in their bubbles by their very nature and design. Whether you belong to the Communist, Anarchist party, or anything in between, you are in an ideological bubble that maintains itself through plugging its ears and shutting down ideas and opinions that question or undermine their ideology. … Here’s a fact that no political party will want… Read more »

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

No such thing as an Anarchist party, nor is anarchism an ideology. And as for information technology making political parties obsolete, I don’t see how it makes any real changes from the old means of communication – it’s a tool, pure and simple, and will be used by whomever to further their aims and ends. However, especially considering your crass mistake, rather ironically there is a name for the post political party scenario you propose – it’s called anarchism. But sadly, it won’t work any time soon, because hardly anyone has the education or the understanding to make it work.… Read more »

Jason Evans
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Jason Evans

No doubt Davies won’t read any of the comments, cos like nigh on all politicians they want to speak at us, but as he mentions “gravytrains”, Senedd costs etc shouldn’t he address some of the points brought up in the below article by nation.cymru.

https://nation.cymru/news/tories-promising-to-end-assembly-gravy-train-cost-taxpayers-more-than-ams-from-other-parties/

David Roberts
Guest
David Roberts

Good to see Paul Davies posting on here, good to see all sides of the debate!

Paul
Guest
Paul

Hear hear!

Steve Duggan
Guest
Steve Duggan

Well sorry Paul I don’t believe it would have been any better or would be any better now under your party, in fact it would probably be worse. I agree power needs to be spread across the country but I doubt very much that your party would be the party to accomplish it. I don’t like this rhetoric about ‘elites’ – them and us – it’s caused division across the country and anyway is abit rich coming from the party that has stood for those who are considered ‘elites’ for years. We really need tax raising powers if we are… Read more »

HuwDavies
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HuwDavies

Proves that elites are divided into many cliques – like the “us”elite and “them” elite, all a waste of oxygen. The so- called metropolitan elites are full of grasping Tories as well as well to do pseudo socialist posturing “lefties” who all have one thing in common – they know best and we should be grateful that they are willing to talk down to us. Well, they can shove that where the sun don’t shine.

John Ellis
Guest
John Ellis

Quite!

Eos Pengwern
Guest

Full marks to Paul Davies for taking the trouble to write on this site, and to Ifan and Mark for publishing the piece. And Paul is perfectly right to say “it is two decades of Labour that has failed Wales – not devolution”. Spot on. But that being the case, why is it the institution that he attacked on Saturday, and not the Labour Party? Is his confidence in his own party’s ability to run it properly so slight, that he’d rather close half of it down than show how it can be used properly? Labour are a Socialist, Unionist… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Guest
Ernie The Smallholder

The only way you can break the so called elites is to bring power and the economy closer to the people. Shrinking the Welsh parliament will have the opposite effect in placing too much power in the London elite. The best way would be for Wales to become have a federal system of empowered regional assemblies electing a delegates to sit in the 2nd chamber of parliament (House of the Welsh regions) at Cardiff Bay to reviews all national motions from the current 1st house with veto. A similar idea was mentioned as a reform to the Westminster system as… Read more »

Geraint Jones ???????
Member

It’s very hard to take seriously the views of someone who wants to become part of “The Bubble”, but realises that he has no chance. It’s also fine to blame Labour for the woes of the Welsh NHS, but it’s a bit cheap not to admit that it’s his own Westminster government that isn’t giving Wales the funding it desperately needs.

Jonathan Edwards
Guest
Jonathan Edwards

Geraint, I don’t want Wales to beg to London for money to run the Wales NHS. And get stroppy if London doesn’t. That’s what desperate beggars on the streets are driven to. I get it that WGC say Wales can’t afford its own NHS – yet. But shouldn’t we be moving that way? Smartly?

Arwyn Lloyd
Guest
Arwyn Lloyd

It is very welcome to have seen articles from all hues of the political spectrum in Wales on Nation.Cymru of late. A sign perhaps of the growing maturity of the site and of the profile of the debate about Welsh Governance. I must take issue with Paul Davies here however. He has made a very one sided pitch for votes. He would obviously like to win over socially conservative and of course right wing voters but he is being disingenuous in the manner in which he is attacking Labour. Whilst I am certainly no champion of the Labour Welsh Government… Read more »