The Bourne Doctrine – this is a newly unveiled doctrine that is now to enter the political lexicon. Not surprising it was unveiled by the Welsh Conservative leader Nick Bourne.
But what is it, you may ask? It is the yardstick that the Conservative group in the Assembly will use to decide whether or not they will oppose the policies of the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat government.
And by what criteria do they decides whether to give a policy the thumbs up or down. Well, its whether or not Wales is been treated unfairly in comparison to the other countries of the United Kingdom.
The Bourne doctrine in practice is seen by the stand the Welsh Tories are taking in relationship to the threatened closure of the passport office in Newport. They oppose the closure, because none of the other countries are losing their office.
Again the doctrine comes into play in defence of S4C because they too are been threatened with cuts that only apply to Wales. So accordingly, the doctrine declares this to be unfair and directs that the Tory Group to oppose Jeremy Hunt’s, the UK Culture Secretary, intended cuts.
Put simply, as long as all countries that form the United Kingdom are punished equally then the Tory group in Wales will not squawk. But oh, if only the world was that simple, but alas it is not.
All would be fine if the countries of the United Kingdom were the same, but they are not. England is a great deal richer and more prosperous than Wales.
Wales has a large number of jobs that are dependent on the public purse, England has a larger private sector than Wales. So a policy applied equally to all countries in these islands can have very unequal outcomes in the different countries.
The Bourne doctrine should be re-interpreted to read that the Welsh Conservative group will oppose all the unpopular decisions of the UK government this side of the Assembly elections. Its a bit like ’1066 and all that’, whatever we decide to do will be ‘a good thing’.