The views of David Davies on the National Assembly can surely have come as a surprise to precisely no-one. To be fair to him, he’s never expressed any support for it, and has been fairly consistent in his criticism.
What is more surprising is the way in which an official spokesperson for the Conservatives has been so quick to isolate the party’s Welsh leader, Nick Bourne, by describing his support for law-making powers as no more than a ‘personal’ view. It’s only a few short weeks ago that the entire Conservative group in the Assembly signed up to that ‘personal’ view when they backed the All-Wales Accord. Will they now speak up in support of their leader in the face of such ferocious internal criticism, or will they effectively tell us, by their silence, that they've changed their minds? Or perhaps, as some of us suspected at the time, they were never really serious, but were prepared to do and say anything for a taste of power.
Plaid's leaders don't come out of this particularly well either, of course. It's all very well for Elfyn Llwyd to say that this reveals “the London-centric, Middle England heart of the Conservative and Unionist Party”, or that “Whatever the spin, they are still the party who imposed John Redwood on Wales, and they are still the party that ran the No campaign in 1997”. But isn’t this is the same Elfyn Llwyd who was trying, just a few short weeks ago, to persuade people that the Welsh Tories had changed – and were fit people to be given a hand in the government of Wales?
Make no mistake about it, there are many in Plaid (probably including the party leader) who still think that the party should have formed a coalition with the very same ‘London-centric’ Tories, and who regret that they did not. Davies is doing his very best to help them see the folly of their ways, so at least he performs some sort of service to Wales.