Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Crabb described his job as "emptied and meaningless".

In his covering of the new Appointment of A Secretary State of Wales Gareth Hughes  points of the sacking of David Jones  and his replacement  by Stephen Crabb may find its biggest support from some Tories in the Bay.

The relation between Andrew RT Davies leader of the Tories in the Assembly and David Jones  was almost toxic and there was a clear dispute just who was in charge of that Party in Wales.

It came to a head  when the Welsh Conservatives under Andrew RT Davies wanted to reduce the rate of income tax to high earners. using the new Tax powers which may have come from to Wales 
It was a typical Tory policy reduce the Tax of the rich and the  benefits will trickle down to the rest of us

Despite this  it wast was scuppered, stopped dead in its tracks, by none other than the Secretary of State.
David Jones  supported the so called lock o and the idea that devolved income tax powers t devolved income tax powers  would only  mean that the Assembly could lower, or increase, income tax as a whole, not play around with various bands. Knowing full well, as has happened in Scotland where this lock down policy has  been in place since devolution  that it was highly unlikely that any government in the Bay would do either.
Indeed so serious was the dispute it tsplit the Tories in the Bay  Andrew RT Davies lost five from his front-bench team for agreeing with David Jones and voting accordingly.  
It has been announced that the 5 will be reinstated after David Jones's sacking clearly show in Andrew RT Davies blamed the former for the split.
But will the new Secretary be any different?
Declaring himself an outright “devo-sceptic”, in 2007 Crabb wrote for the grassroots Conservative website,
Over the last ten years my opposition to devolution in Scotland and Wales has been driven by a belief that, far from satisfying the nationalist tendencies in these countries, devolution would foster and feed an increasingly separatist and socialist discourse in which sensible Conservative policies that could promote national cohesion, economic liberalism and smaller government would find little oxygen for survival.
“Although other colleagues in the party have reversed their previous opposition to devolution, I maintain that the devolution experience so far has proved rather than disproved my original concerns. By giving institutional expression to the forces of separatism, devolution has given these a new lease of life.”
He was even sceptical about the existence of the  Office ha had just entered
  “Reform of the relevant Whitehall machinery is also necessary."The roles of Secretary of State for Scotland, Wales and (to a lesser extent) Northern Ireland have become emptied and somewhat meaningless under devolution. Peter Hain did two of the jobs for almost three years.
"Throw in Scotland as well and we can have one streamlined Department of Celtic Affairs. A reduction in the number of MPs in Wales and Scotland would go hand-in-hand with this.”
So one can only speculate that David Cameron  in sacking David Jones wanted to defuse the toxic time  time bomb  in the bay which looked like a personalty clash between Jones and Davies.
It seems unlikely however the power struggle between the Secretary of State  and Leader in the bay will go away  a situation which also exists within Labour's  hierarchy in Wales.
So maybe Crabb had a point in abolishing the post. Though  a   "Department of Celtic Affairs". has the ring of colonialism where a Minister led a department  that oversaw the running of the of the poor natives who they believed could not  govern themselves probably.

But with Scotland, likely to get more powers if they can be convinced to reject Independence  the Position of Scottish Secretary, will look  as an anachronism.

So maybe Stephen Crabb will make History. If only as the last person to hold the post he himself sees as "emptied and somewhat meaningless".

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