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Two horse race

Betsan Powys | 11:29 UK time, Monday, 16 May 2011

A colleague has just typed "Tory group" into a search engine.

The response came back: "The submitted search criteria was too complex for the system to handle in a timely manner."

Given the briefings emanating from the Assembly group over the past week or so - let alone the weekend's texting, horse-trading, tweeting and in one instance, self-imposed phone purdah - I'm not sure that search engine is so far off the mark.

What is the upshot of all the activity?

That the race for the leadership of the Conservative group in the Assembly will be a two horse race - between Monmouth's Nick Ramsay and South Wales Central's Andrew RT Davies. Nominations don't close until 5 o'clock and their names won't be known officially until Wednesday but that is where this race seems to be headed.

What of the other names that were doing the rounds as possible contenders?

Clwyd West's Darren Millar - the man who, along with Jonathan Morgan, seemed to share the title leader-in-waiting - won't be standing but is expected by colleagues to nominate Andrew RT Davies.

Angela Burns, who scored a heck of a victory in Carmathen West and South Pembrokeshire, won't be going for it either. She won't be nominating anyone but will decide who gets her vote after watching both contenders perform in hustings up and down the country.

Things to consider:

After Andrew RT Davies resigned from the shadow cabinet, he used his time to work "the rubber chicken circuit" as it's sometimes unkindly known, very hard indeed. He made himself known to local associations, offered his help to election candidates and produced a "this is me" video that was more polished than some official party political broadcasts.

When the race breaks out of the confines of the Assembly group and goes to local party members, bear in mind that Nick Ramsay will get the Monmouth Tory vote. That's a lot of crosses on a lot of leadership race ballot papers. Where are the largest associations? Cardiff North? Vale of Glamorgan? Where else and where will those votes go?

Some strong words have been shared with commentators about both men and the sort of leaders their colleagues believe they would make. One or two were starting to calculate that should the blunt and straight-talking Mr Davies win, there was a chance he would "crash and burn", leaving the job open and to be decided, mid-term, solely by members of the Assembly group. It's the sort of talk that has died down very quickly now that two names have become two serious leadership candidates.

No-one, Assembly member, party member or party watcher, seems to discuss this leadership race without sharing the view that the Welsh Conservatives are "on a real cusp" as one AM put it. The question is whether that's a case of sounding a warning, or spotting what could be an opportunity.

UPDATE Tuesday pm

A Labour source questions whether Nick Ramsay can indeed rely on the Monmouth vote. Fair point. Yes, the local candidate will no doubt pick up a lot of support from those pleased that 'their boy' has a stab at leading the Assembly group and who'd feel they had, perhaps, a bit more of a stake in an Assembly they're still learning to live with. But that's not an automatic, in the bag, vote.

In London today, I happen to bump into a Welsh Conservative who is of the same view. An awful lot of members will want to listen to both candidates' pitches before they make up their minds, he says. It won't be an automatic cross in the box for their man.

Most interesting though? His take on the leadership race itself. He made three points:

1. "I bet you're all bowled over by the quality of the field ..."
2. It's a great shame that Jonathan Morgan is no longer in the Assembly and "Alun Cairns must be kicking himself ... £90,000 odd as leader of the opposition ..."
3. Bear one thing in mind: whoever wins will only be the leader of the Assembly group and not the leader of the Welsh Conservatives.

I reckon it was the third point that was made most forcefully of all.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Interesting, but there's an important dimension missing here. What about their policies? What do they stand for? Since they're both experienced politicians, they must have left some public trace of their thinking on strategy, principles and priorities. We surely don't need to wait for the hustings to be told.

  • Comment number 2.

    #1

    The policies at the moment appear to be veiled in code words that matter to some of those who matter. I guess this is the base building stage before the hustings, so cards are being held close to their chests. It would be good to get a real idea of where they want Welsh Conservatism to go and what they believe it ought to stand for.

  • Comment number 3.

    Secretly the other parties will be hoping for Andrew RT Davies to get the leadership.
    Under Nick Ramsey the Welsh Tories will be more electable.

  • Comment number 4.

    I suspect you are right rhetoric-politico
    The question is where do the Tories want to go. Do they want to be a Welsh party or a branch of a London based party? There are plenty of people posting here who think they have gone to far down the Welsh route.

  • Comment number 5.

    3 & 4

    I tend to agree with 3.

    There's plenty of room for the conservative viewpoint in Wales (note the small 'c') although my own political instincts are not in that direction.

    The historic problem with the Tory party is its anglo-centricity and its strong attendant unionist stance - an union in which Wales has been the loser. Hitherto I've viewed it as an alien political force. I welcome the move to build a Welsh basis for the party and hopefully a leader will be elected who will continue in the direction taken by Nick Bourne.

    Diverse political philosophies are required in a healthy democratic society, and Wales is no exception.

  • Comment number 6.

    What the Welsh Tories need for leader is a Rod Richards clone to knock the pale blue (tinged with pink and green) not-the-Conservative Party back into something its core supporters can relate to again.

  • Comment number 7.

    It is a classic duality. To thrive at the WAG they have to be a Wales-centred party even if some of their core membership continues to look across the Offa's Dyke. Their Westminster performance is closely tied to the UK party. As Assembly leader needs to engage with Welsh politics as Nick Bourne did.

  • Comment number 8.

    #7 WelshKnot
    "Their Westminster performance is closely tied to the UK party"

    What does that mean exactly? I didn't think our assembly politicians performed at Westminster.

    However
    Given that the Tories are the 2nd party in Welsh politics and seem to be attracting more support all the time.
    Why is there not more media exposure, so we can judge the party, its politics, and measure what these potential leaders have to offer.
    (Plaid seems to get plenty! we all know who is who and what is what in that party)

    BBC Wales political interviews of the Tories, and some other politicians, seems to consist of the Interviewer haranguing some individual, lots of aggressive questions, and accusations, but not allowing answers, or if they do interrupt and insult!
    Not the way to find out what makes the politician tick, but at least we get a good idea of the political views of the Interviewer.

    For me I just turn off, and get answers else where!.

  • Comment number 9.

    #7
    I agree, but it's not just their Westminster performance that is tied to the UK party. Their vote in this NAW election followed the UK wide trend for Conservative votes to hold up reasonably well and in some places increase. We can't tell if Nick Bourne's 'strategy of attention' helped significantly or not. Certainly, Welsh conservative voters have not reacted against the UK coalition and punished the Welsh conservative party accordingly. It's the Liberal democrats who've taken the punishment.

  • Comment number 10.

    6. dispozest

    What the Welsh Tories need for leader is a Rod Richards clone to knock the pale blue (tinged with pink and green) not-the-Conservative Party back into something its core supporters can relate to again.

    I would have thought that was the last thing the Tories in Wales want, now that they are so high in peoples estimation.

    It isn't the core voters that have put them in that position mind.

    But there again, yes, please, find someone like that.

    Knock them back down again.

  • Comment number 11.

    I had to post to agree with the last part of post 8. It is not just BBC Wales - virtually all political interviewing seems to consist of preventing the interviewee from completing any sentence. I cannot see why any serious politician would bother when new media bypasses self-important broadcasters. They could leave it to Lembit Opik who still pops up everywhere - cannot get to the off button quick enough!

  • Comment number 12.

    Re 8

    Plaid get plenty of TV exposure, This might be true posy 5th of May. But during April, when I was off work, for the whole month, the only politics I heared was conservatives and no to AV.

    Is this why they did so well on the 5th. AV turned a Welsh Election inti a British AV election.

  • Comment number 13.

    12 DEWMACH

    There is an institutional bias in favour of the three unionist parties in the media, especially the BBC, as compared to the two nationalist parties. It was evident in the last UK GE where the leaders' debates were broadcast UK-wide, omitting any coverage on the SNP and Plaid. The three unionist parties also had their fair share of the separate debates in Wales and Scotland.

    Plaid's position is further weakened by the lack of national newspapers in Wales, which is dominated by the London-based press.

    The SNP's success is that much greater considering the disadvantages it has to contend with.

  • Comment number 14.

    #13

    You’re having a laugh.

    You can’t really believe that can you?

  • Comment number 15.

    I am sure the Conservatives are thankful of the advice, but advice from Plaid, the disarray party, and its supporters, is unlikely to be of value.

    Interestingly, the more radical and vociferous of Plaid supporters, "Miserable Old .... " to the initiated, is advocating a return to the type of direct action of "Cymdeithas yr Iaith" (Language Society) of the 1960's/70's. Interesting times ahead with Plaid support haemorrhaging to the more extreme forms of nationalism.

  • Comment number 16.

    12.

    Either you do not listen to, or watch the BBC.

    The BBC have effectively spent millions of pounds promoting Plaid and have acted as Plaids unpaid "marketing agency".

    The self proclaimed "National News Paper of Wales" aka the Western Mail has given Plaid huge support. That perhaps explains its declining sales

    Plaids problems centre on its policies and on its ability to aileanate the majority of the electorate in Wales despite a pro Plaid media

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Re 15, 16 et al

    If the Brit nats think that they're on the up, and that a national future for Wales is now more unlikely because Plaid had a disappointing general election, then why are they so defensive? One thing has not changed however, they still enjoy using this platform just to hurl abuse.

  • Comment number 19.

    As surely as night follows day Mr Fo, Wales has a future, but it is not your nationalist future, particularly when the supporters of your politics become as vociferous as your "un"friend of the union Mr Miserable .......... he makes very interesting reading.

  • Comment number 20.

    16. Decentjohn

    I have never read or heard anything so ridiculous in my life as this statement.

    Can you imagine the uproar especially from Westminster Politicians if that was true about the BBC.

    As for the Western Mail giving Plaid huge support.

    Well I shall leave that up to the judgement of you all on here.

    I had the Western Mail delivered for over 30 years and because of it's lack in coverage regarding Plaid Cymru and its overpowering addiction to sport and celebrity, I stopped having it a few years ago.

    The predominant Media information North of the middle of Wales is English regional transmitting of the BBC and the Liverpool Daily Post.

    Actually it is very difficult to get the Western Mail up there.

    So I am afraid you laughable comment doesn't hold water.

    Even if there was any truth in that statement, it is only giving to Wales a fare share of the coverage Plaid Cymru doesn't get from the London based Media.

  • Comment number 21.

    Re 16
    Well, yes, I did watch a lot of the BBC in April, more than I have ever done. Every politcal story started with the AV, Wales got mentioned towards the end. usually after the English local elections.

    We know in Plaid that we will get sidelined in the British G E, we did not expect to be sidelined as much during the Welsh GE.

    With the benefit of hindsight, yes there were mistakes, with the Plaid campaign, and lessons to be learnt. Perhaps we should have been far more positive, highlighting our succes in Goverment, backing strongly the no side on AV, instead of attacking Labour.

    We knew in Plaid that the Yes for Wales would boost Labour. But what I did not anticipate was that the AV referundum would save the LD from wipe out, and increase the Tory vote. The final You Gov poll did.

    Plaid suffered a set back, But it has suffered bigger set backs, and it will return, stronger than ever.

  • Comment number 22.

    19

    Please read comments 15 and 16 again. Then please explain
    1 What is "defensive" in either comment
    2 What "abuse" has been "hurled".

    The truth might be inconvienent for PC but none the less you cannot escape the truth nor can you ignore the results of the WAG election

  • Comment number 23.

    20 and 21

    I am sorry for the confusion - I should have said BBC Radio Wales and BBC Wales. As we are discussing Welsh politics I had thought thats the media we were referring to.

    As for the Western Mail - I had no difficulty in getting a copy (on the day it was published) when I lived in North Wales! I do agree with you that the WM is very addicted to rugby and celebrity. I think that you will find - if you start reading it again (not recommended) that it is hugely pro Plaid)

    Surely if you are watching an English Region BBC news programme then you expect an English slant - just as when you watch BBC Wales you expect a Welsh take on matters. Or are you seriously suggesting that BBC Wales gives us the North Yorkshire take on the news and Yorkshire BBC a Welsh slant!!!!

    Freesat (I the interests of fairness I have to say other sat providers exist) gives me all of the BBC regions - and great reception.

  • Comment number 24.

    The policy of BBC CYMRU to give so much air-time to PC is dictated by their need for "balance",however I do believe that it is institutionally "nationalist",and opposed to the current settlementof wales within the UK family. I understand that there is a correlation between welsh speaking and the increasing emphasis on welshifying wales,and current level of welsh speakers in BBC Wales (English channels) seems to be totally disproportionate,however it is very difficult to get exact numbers,particularly at higher management levels,and presenters on purely english speaking channels. I dont not subscribe to the "conspiracy" theory in this,however peoples perception of the world is greatly affected by their "mothers milk" and hence current position. All organizations like to employ "their own",and we know where power rests in Wales,and it aint with the english speaking majority,and thats a fact,no matter how talented they might be!!. The whole raison detre of PC is a "joke",and virtually everybody knows that,except for the dreamers who think we have ben,and still are subject to english rule,rather than small entity playing its part in greater whole. In past 100 years we have had one welsh PM,one welsh MP who became PM,two welshmen who became Chancellors of Exchequor (from different parties),two of the above who became Home Secretaries,a welsh man elected tobe Speaker of Commons,and became world famous. And they the NATS think we are going to give up all that power for a seperate wales that currently could'nt feed its own people.

  • Comment number 25.

    Re maen_tramgwydd's original post at 13 and various replies since:

    it's strange that while the BBC is accused of having a Plaid bias in Wales, the same organisation is accused of an anti-SNP bias in Scotland. Could the Corporation be pulling in both directions at one and the same time?

    Re the dominance of London-based media, the BBC last year quoted a senior lecture at the University of Glamorgan who said:

    "In evidence given to the assembly's culture committee recently, which was looking into public service broadcasting, it emerged 90% of people in Wales read a paper that doesn't contain Welsh news.
    That's very worrying if you want an electorate who knows what's going on and is engaged in the democratic process."

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-11111396

  • Comment number 26.

    8

    Sorry, I ought to have been clearer - the electoral prospects of their MPs are a lot more closely tied with UK politics than that of their AMs. So it works out that they have two different sets of priorities and two messages at election time, one for Cardiff and one for Westminster.

  • Comment number 27.

    15:

    "Interesting times ahead with Plaid support haemorrhaging to the more extreme forms of nationalism" - is that Labour, Lim Dems or Conservatives? A flippant remark perhaps, but the quotation above does appear to be out of line with what happened this month.

  • Comment number 28.

    @27. WelshKnot

    I think you can treat John Tyler's comment as a flippant remark.

    His judgement of Plaid policy solely from the "personal musings" of a certain Miserable Old F--- is about as accurate as trying to gauge mainstream Conservative thought from the sentiments contained in the blogspot of a certain John Tyler.

  • Comment number 29.

    25. As I understand it currently the welsh people have a RIGHT to buy what ever paper they wish,however perhaps the NATS and fellow travellers dont like this and could could reading Western Mail,or Daily Post compulsory. Why is there this difficulty amongs the welshifyers to understand that the vast majority of welsh people aint particularly interested in this small and pretty irrelevant part of the world. Look at the WORLD its a lot more interesting than parish pump politics.

  • Comment number 30.

    25

    Surely the somewhat dubious findings that - "90% of people in Wales read a paper that doesn't contain Welsh news" - is a reflection of the content of the Welsh Regional news titles rather than an endorsement of UK National Tiles

    Democracy dictates - (if you will pardon the contadiction) that the people get what they want - hence the falling circulation of -for example of the Western Mail

  • Comment number 31.

    Re 23

    I watched, BBC news, BBC news24, Breakfast Time and BBC Wales. Are the first 3 now to be regarded as English media, and not British media?

  • Comment number 32.

    Re:31

    No they are London media, very much focused on the south east of England. A man breaking wind in Surrey will get on the news afore a hurricane in Hull.

  • Comment number 33.

    31

    BBC News 24 & BBC News are heavily anglo- or London-centric in their output. That probably reflects the proportion of people who live in England, as opposed to the rest of us in the UK, who don't. It's part of the problem which the UK poses for members of the other nations. It's a lop-sided 'union', where one nation dominates.

    That tension is reflected in the history of these islands. Wales was conquered, occupied, subjugated and almost assimilated by its powerful neighbour. Scotland's union took place before the advent of democracy and there was an element of coercion in the process. Ireland was conquered many centuries earlier and, like Wales, treated as a colony. Its formal union again taking place before the birth of democracy, followed by the withdrawal of most of it a little over a century later in the democratic age, and after an armed struggle.

    Those tensions remain, whether unionists like it or not - in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Unionists in government have responded by turning to devolution for a solution. Unfortunately it’s probably been too little and too late as the UK remains largely a unitary state retaining most of the inequalities and perceived injustices.

    I wouldn’t put any money on the UK remaining in being in the medium term. There’s more than a fair chance that Scotland will opt out, or at least gain ‘devolution max’ – a degree of autonomy just short of independence. If that happens, I doubt if it will satisfy the Scots in the long term, as they won’t swallow Westminster-style foreign policy for long, with its tendency to look for military solutions to problems, and an emphasis on defence expenditure on such things as Trident.

    Northern Ireland will, imo, become a part of the republic in the not too distant future because of demographics, if nothing else. What effect these developments will have on the political situation in Wales remains to be seen. Plaid’s setback in the elections doesn’t remove the underlying tensions, or deal with Wales’ serious economic and structural problems.

    Can we believe that the ConDem coalition, cutting hard and fast centrally, or the Labour minority administration in Cardiff is going to turn Wales around after centuries of neglect and twelve years of poor government? My prediction is that Wales will be in a worse state in five years time. To which party might the electorate turn to then?

  • Comment number 34.

    #15

    "advocating a return to the type of direct action "

    Actually I don't think it has ever gone away and it has most frequently been Conservative administrations which have caved in to the actions of Welsh activists who have campaigned using methods outside the Law. One thing which has been noticeable by its absence since devolution has been any meaningful condemnation by the Welsh Conservatives, which is hardly surprising when the London Tories repeatedly bottled out!

    If the next Welsh Tory leader wants to have any credibility with the core Tory voters that is one omission which needs to be corrected forthwith, together with a determination to try and ensure that the law of criminal conspiracy is properly and conspicuously used.

  • Comment number 35.

    @29. TellingmewhatIknowalready

    I agree with you 100% that all people, not just the Welsh, have the RIGHT to buy whatever newspaper they want. Where is there evidence that Plaid or its supporters want to stop this? Oh, I see. You haven't any, because it isn't true.

    As to the rest of your statement, that people in Wales aren't interested in what happens in Wales, I couldn't disagree with you more. It's just that the London-based media, as the article referred to in 25 points out, does not give people the opportunity to do so. The London bubble overshadows everything. English members of my family in Manchester say pretty much the same thing. It's not a "Welsh" problem.

    Re your final remark: not everyone in Wales seems to regard the place with the same contempt you seem to. Where does all your self-disparagement come from? Where does it get you?

    Just out of interest, which team did you support in the 6 Nations? Italy, France, or Britain?

  • Comment number 36.

    maen_tramgwydd #33

    "To which party might the electorate turn to then?"

    The evidence of past polling would suggest it won't be Plaid;

    In all elections since 1999 (Assembly, Westminster, and European) Plaid consistently get between 180K and 200K votes - out of 10 ballots there were two outriders; in the 2009 European election they got 126K votes, and in the 1999 Assembly elections they achieved 290K their best ever result.

    It seems Plaid has core support of around 180K in Wales who turn out whatever, giving them some 20% of the ballot with a typical 30-40% turnout.
    However they can attract up-to another 20K on a good day and 100K in exceptional circumstances but these aren't Plaid supporters, just tactical voters and a few floating votes.

    It can be argued Plaid have the support of only about 7% to 10% of the total Welsh electorate of some 3 million.

    Similarly Welsh people have little interest in the Assembly or Welsh politics - note the turn out at Assembly elections and Referenda, generally less than 40% or there about.
    That means 60% simply don't vote, but at about half of them can be relied to turn out for a UK General Election.

    These numbers explain why attempts to sell Welsh Newspapers with a strong political basis are doomed to failure.

    Its interesting that since 1997 the Tory vote has increased at every election - it seems the Voters of Wales increasingly see them as the best hope for the future.

    So my question still hasn't been answered - why do we know so little about the personalities in Welsh politics, except for those representing Plaid.


    WelshKnot #26
    Thanks I suspected that was what you meant but better to be sure.

  • Comment number 37.

    36 West-Wales

    Where your analysis falls down is that it is all based on past performance. Much of what you say about Plaid could have been said about the SNP at certain points in its development.

    People aren't galvanised by the Assembly and its politics because, let's be frank, it's been a p*** poor institution, a pathetic toothless Labour device. It's not much better, even now with its legislative powers in the devolved areas, which are subject to endless potential squabbles over demarcation issues, because Wales wasn't initially given a more clear-cut settlement, as in Scotland.

    It's true that the Tories' support has been rising in Wales, but their potential for growth is far more limited than Plaid's. The latter has the same potential as the SNP, as it is the only party that can offer our people any hope of bettering ourselves. The other parties have failed abysmally. One could say that they haven't even tried. I believe that one day enough of the people of Wales will wake up to that fact.

  • Comment number 38.

    @36. West-Wales

    So could it just possibly be that such a high percentage of people don't take part in Welsh-only elections because the papers they choose to read (for whatever reason, the sports coverage, the telly section, the lightweight style, the easy-going trivia, or just page 3) never mention them?

    Whereas these same papers tend to come down heavily for one side or another during UK-wide elections?

  • Comment number 39.

    35. I thought the concern was that welsh people do not seem to be confirming to welshification by buying welsh papers,rather deciding voluntary to purchase the english papers from "over the border" so beloved by BBC CYMRU.Their lack of interest in welsh "affairs" clearly mystifies the NATS and fellow travellers,but not myself. I have lived in wales virtually all my life,but in all honesty there is little here that excites the imagination,and welsh news does seem to be about a collection of cows in carmarthen having a parc,and little else. Just been watching SKY NEWS and visit of HM the Queen to Republic of Ireland/USA possible sanctions against Syria/Kenneth Clarke etc etc,so giving BBC Wales a miss as its bound to be about totally unknown AM's who seem to have broken rules,that in reality concern nobody,including me. As far as rugby is concerned I could care less about 6 Nations,as its basically the second clasd,i.e England/France playing the third class,i.e Irelandand then the fourth class,i.e wales/scotland and Italy.Until you all take a reality check on the reality of little wales,and in reality how little notice people take of us then its no hope. A friend who went to Cambridge in 60's,recently met up with his college contempories and he was surprised and slightly dismayed as how little these very succesful people knew about current wales,except for short breaks and a pretty deplorable bunch of over paid and undereducated welsh rugby players.

  • Comment number 40.

    maen_tramgwydd #37

    Past performance!

    Surely that was what most of your post #33 was about - frankly that sort of historical nonsense is turning off more people than it attracts.

    The SNP is driven by Salmond, without his charisma the SNP would not be in power.
    Plaid has no one at present. - just the hope that "Price over the water" can at some future point save the day.

    We are all aware of Plaids extreme left wing political views, one only has to read or listen to Leanne Woods or Bethan Jenkins to get a flavour,
    At least one Plaid poster has advocated Cuba as a model for how Wales should be run!!!

    Those are yesterdays ideas, Marx and Lenin ideologies and economics have been tried and found wanting - we need to build the wealth of the Nation, Educate our Children, sort out our infrastructure, dismantle the bureaucratic institutions crippling our health service and other public bodies, and get kids out of poverty by making sure their parents have jobs.
    Get rid of all the unnecessary legislation, costs and red tape that is destroying our businesses, and getting in the way of how people want to live their lives.

    The last 12 years has seen Wales decline faster and further, for the last 5 Plaid was in Government and must take a portion of the blame.
    The UK is financially crippled, we are all facing cuts because of the incompetence of the last Labour administration - but the Welsh cut has been the smallest of all the UK regions.

    Carwyn has a fantastic opportunity to start sorting things out - he has all the power he needs, whether he has the team is a question - but if he doesn't fix things he will have no excuses at all.

    Its the future thats important - not some biased politically manipulated view of the past.

  • Comment number 41.

    39 TellingmewhatIknowalready

    Your comments consistently make an excellent case for Wales’ problems to be addressed, and the extent to which many people here in Wales have been persuaded like you, by decades, nay centuries, of propaganda heaped upon us, that we are too small, insignificant and untalented to take care of our own affairs.

    In the same breath as you debase Wales and its people, you raise the Queen’s visit to Ireland – a country impoverished by centuries of colonial exploitation, to the extent that the majority of its inhabitants lived in abject poverty, hundreds of thousands starved to death, or were forced into economic exile.

    The Irish too, like us in Wales, were told by the same people that they were too small and poor to rule themselves. The Queen won’t be telling them that today.

    As a people they now have dignity, although sovereignty hasn’t solved all their problems – it never will. Yet, not one of the Irish citizens listening to her this evening will desire a return to rule from London, whatever difficulties Ireland’s economy is suffering at present.

  • Comment number 42.

    41.The problems that need to be addressed are not likely to be cured by internal navel gazing,and pretending that we are over important.By and large the people with real talent have flown the nest,mainly to england,but also USA,and that is likely to continue,due to the lack of opportunities in little wales. Why do you think ALL our great football plyers left,mainly for england,
    and the same is going to happen to rugby players in future years because that where the money/real challenges are to be found.The question of Ireland is yet to be fully played out,but we the UK,have funded them direct loan of £7 Billion to help their economy,and basically it was partially our taxes,together with germans that helped fund their infrastructure invests in past 20 years.They were to poor to fund themselves,and still are,hence the huge economic migration still going on to england,and restof world. My daughter in Law is from there,along with many of her family and friends,because there aint the work there!!. The Queen was absolutely magnificent in her speech and general approach to this thorny history,and hopefully relations between Ireland and UK (of which wales will allways be a part) will only improve. You must get out of the NATS obsession with victimhood,as no body in my family have ever felt like that,but have just got on with life with the cards they were dealt with.

  • Comment number 43.

    Re 42

    You really are hilarious. Life sounds quite wonderful on planet perfect-Britain!

    I notice that Elizabeth Windsor/UK did not have the courage, humility or decency to apologise for the barbarity which occured in Ireland.

    So let me get this right, in your opinon the Irish are genetically incapable of governing themselves. And of course, it goes without saying that you would have stood in their way as a nation just as you are doing with the Welsh nation now. You would have been wrong then, and you would have lost. You may very well be disappointed again some day...

  • Comment number 44.

    Back to the subject. The Tory choice of leader in Wales (or of the Assembly group)... Clearly the opposition want one person to win, someone who is seen as being a person who sometimes speaks before thinking and someone who might take the Tory party backwards in the direction that it was taken in the days of Rod Richards. On the other hand if the Tory party wants to continue to brand its self as a forward looking Welsh party then it will chose the other candidate. I will leave the good readers here to make up their minds which one that is.

  • Comment number 45.

    @39. TellingmewhatIknowalready

    I truly am very sorry that you seem to have such a dismal view of your home. It appears, to me at least, that you are the real victim of such negative thinking.

    I hope that one day this will change.

  • Comment number 46.

    43. FoDafydd

    I notice that Elizabeth Windsor/UK did not have the courage, humility or decency to apologise for the barbarity which occurred in Ireland.

    I have never been a great lover of the Royals but to be fair what she has done in going to Ireland I do admire her for.

    No matter how much security is protecting them it has taken courage and she has gone a very long way in building the bridges between the two countries.

    To be fair she couldn't fully apologise for what has happened in the past it wasn’t down to her, but she got as close as she could without actually saying the words.

    Mainly because of how it would have reflected on the UK army today.

    Perhaps it may seem nothing to us but the way she used a few Gaelic words I believe meant a great deal to the people of Ireland because Gaelic was a banned language within the UK at one time.

    So I believe she should be applauded, not condemned.

    Let us not forget barbarity was not caused just by one side in the conflict no matter how it can be justified. How many innocent people were killed by the Irish themselves.

    I am not being an apologist for the UK Governments stand in Ireland because it has been deplorable to put it mildly.

    I am simply trying to put things into perspective in today’s climate. Because there are many Irish people working and living in the UK today, surely that says something in itself.

    Therefore I believe the queen has gone a very long way in rectifying things between the two countries.

    Also more importantly it will have pushed to the periphery the more violent factions within Ireland.

  • Comment number 47.

    40

    I cannot disagree. I support Plaid, but I am in the centre politically (bits left and bobs right, so to speak) and it is a worry that by trying to outflank Labour, they can get stuck down increasingly narrow paths. That is why a 'quick-fix' review will not work - there needs to be a fundamental review of Plaid's place in Welsh politics.

    I do appreciate that there are a few on this blog who cannot endure the thought that Plaid exists. But it does and has been of great service to Wales in recent decades, not least for keeping the debate here at the constitutional level. It is ironic to see the anti-devolutionists in Wales declining to condemn the NI peace process and their devolution process. Personally, I think our relatively peaceable changes are infinitely preferable.

    Thanks for keeping the debate civilised Westy. Many more from join your example.

  • Comment number 48.

    #47

    "Many more from join your example"...how about 'may many more follow your example'

  • Comment number 49.

    WelshKnot #47/48

    Thank you :)

 

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