The Welsh independence movement can no longer be classed as a fringe movement. Recent polling suggests that as many as a quarter of Welsh voters would consider backing Independence if a referendum was held tomorrow. With a Labour First Minister who seemingly relishes in grandstanding against the ‘English’ Government, there can be no room for complacency for Unionists in Wales. Mirroring Ruth Davidson and our Scottish conservative cousins, Welsh Conservatives should offer a full throttled defence of the Union and proudly champion Wales’ place within the United Kingdom.
The same political establishment which so spectacularly mistook the mood of the Welsh electorate in the 2016 Brexit referendum are at risk of doing the same again with further calls for devolution of powers, including our police, courts and welfare system. This never ending debate about more powers must come to an end. I have previously written of my optimism that we may soon focus on outcomes, not process. Wishful thinking perhaps!
The party leadership seemingly understands both the political frustrations of Welsh voters and the electoral imperative, as evidenced by Paul Davies’ more sceptical tone towards devolution with his opposition to increasing the number of Assembly Members and calls to freeze the Welsh Government’s pay and perks.
It is time we went further to restore the bonds of trust between Welsh voters and their politicians.
The next Conservative Manifesto should proclaim a moratorium on any further devolution of powers.
That means no more committees, no more conversations and no more commissions but a relentless focus on reforming our public services and growing the Welsh economy.