Politics, is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best. As stated on the greetings post for this page, I am sceptical of devolution yet this observation by Otto von Bismarck guides my approach towards the subject.
Despite scepticism, there is also the acceptance of reality. There is according to opinion polling presently no public appetite in Wales to overturn or do away with devolution. On this basis, the current settlement must be made to work for the people of Wales.
So what is possible? Paul Davies MS as leader of the Welsh Conservative group in the Welsh Parliament has in recent months outlined an approach to governance in Wales that could allay some of the concerns of those sceptical of devolution. From a commitment to no further devolution to a stated desire to tackle the largesse in Cardiff Bay. There has certainly been a marked change in emphasis from that of acceptance of the status quo. Paul Davies MS and Darren Millar MS have intimated a desire for a less emollient approach to the cosy Cardiff Bay consensus and a break from the previous policy approach to devolved governance.
While such commitments to date may not go far enough for some devosceptics both deserve some credit for their willingness to change course. From rejecting devocrat proposals like increasing the number of representatives in Cardiff Bay to breaking the consensus in terms of approach to governance. There has been a concerted effort to break from the accepted form of opposition in Cardiff Bay . As a general rule if the approach you are advocating manages to irk the devocrat David Melding MS then you must be doing something right.
The attainable – the art of the next best is to change the ethos of Welsh Devolution to arrest the project of nation building. This approach coupled with the reform agenda advocated by the likes of Michael Gove could fundamentally change the dynamics in a manner that could go some way to reduce the concerns of devosceptics.
The changes should be welcomed by devosceptics as progress in the right direction rather than lambasted for not going far enough.