Carwyn and George: the odd couple
- 30 April 2013
- From the section Wales politics
You've heard of George and Mildred, and Gilbert and George perhaps. I give you another partnership - a short-term collaborative duo with a common purpose: George and Carwyn, or Carwyn and George, take your pick.
The common purpose? To help scupper the pro-independence campaign in Scotland.
The method? Well Carwyn has come up with this suggestion: implementing the Silk Commission's recommendations on limited tax raising and borrowing powers for the Welsh Government - sooner rather than later. Bringing them into force, in full, would show Scottish voters that 'separatism is not the UK's only alternative to the status quo.'
Devolved funding can be reformed within the UK - that'll be the message seen and heard in Scotland, oh and Wales and its government would get what they want too.
The implied warning? That if the Chancellor drags his heels, doesn't play ball, despite the clear consensus among all four political parties in Wales that this is the way to go, then he'll hand ammunition to pro-independence campaigners in Scotland, and make a Yes vote in next Autumn's referendum more likely.
To those who didn't read this entry last week, there is, perhaps, another element worth considering here. By sending a letter to the Chancellor calling on him to press ahead in full with the Silk Commission recommendations, any ambiguity - if there was any - about how far the Welsh government wants to go with devolving tax and borrowing powers is removed.
As Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams put it this morning, it is now quite clear to the Chancellor where all four leaders stand in Wales: we want to see those recommendations implemented - in full.
From Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies came the suggestion that the First Minister had missed a trick. Surely all four leaders ought to have signed the letter before sending it to George?
Plaid's Jonathan Edwards MP tweeted his response: It would help if Labour weren't cherry picking the Silk recommendations and calling for full implementation of the package.
That's exactly what he's done, we're told.
Back comes Mr Edwards: In that case he needs to tell his MPs who are vehemently opposed to income tax powers.
The letter points to one other area of collaboration, by the way. It seems Carwyn and George are on the same side in the political battle over the currency of a future independent Scotland. Any suggestion of a euro-style common currency would, warns the First Minister, raise "very real risks".
On Saturday I asked David Cameron whether - given his dismissal of the Welsh Government as the Muppet Show - he would trust them with any tax varying powers? His test, said Mr Cameron, remained the same as ever: would devolving any powers over tax be good for Wales and those who live and work there.
All four party leaders in Wales are now entirely clear that the answer is yes, and that implementing the Silk recommendations is the way to achieve it.
Over to David and George.