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Out with the old

David-Jones-Bio-pic4After only two years in the job David Jones has been given the boot from his job as Secretary of State for Wales. A move widely welcomed by the politicians in Cardiff Bay.

Now it might be expected that the Welsh Government would welcome his departure, after all they are opponents from two very different political parties.

But the majority of Conservative Assembly members are even more cock-a-hoop that Jones has been shown the exit door by Cameron.

The two Jones’s were at loggerheads on a range of issues, most tied to the well-known antipathy that Tory Jones had to the whole devolution project. Their disagreements were all based on policy.  Labour Jones felt that Tory Jones’s default position was to stop as many powers coming down to Wales as he could.

One of the ironies of politics is that it’s his name that will forever associated with the Wales bill that gives tax and borrowing powers to the Assembly. In truth it was his predecessor Cheryl Gillan that set up the Silk Commission. The Commission  reported back on Jones’s watch and he had little choice but to see it enacted.

The relationship between most of the Tories in the Bay and David Jones was a much more vitriolic affair, as most rows by members of the same family often are.

It was in many ways personal rather than political. Both Jones and Davies saw themselves as top Tory dogs in Wales.

Andrew RT Davies described himself as leader of the Welsh Conservatives with Jones putting it about that he was simply the Leader of the Conservative group in the Assembly. Trivial, yes, but never underestimate the ego of a politician.

But there was one major policy difference between the two, and that was on income tax powers.

The Welsh Conservatives under Andrew RT Davies wanted to reduce the rate of income tax to high earners. A policy he launched with much gusto in the Wales’s Millennium centre. Indeed it was the way to regenerate the Welsh economy, and also he hoped regenerate the Tory prospects in future elections.

Attracting high earning businessmen and women to Wales apparently would be a tonic to the economy. Ok not the panacea that many would go for, but it was a Tory Made in Wales policy.  The Conservative Assembly Members were deeply attached to the proposals.

But this keynote policy that was scuppered, stopped dead in its tracks, by none other than the Secretary of State.

Jones was  of the view that devolved income tax powers should be an all or nothing affair. The Assembly could lower, or increase, income tax as a whole, not play around with various bands. Knowing full well, that it was highly unlikely that any government in the Bay would do either.

Indeed so toxic was the issue that Andrew RT Davies lost five from his front-bench team for agreeing with David Jones and voting accordingly.  A real low point for the Conservatives in the bay and the finger firmly pointed at David Jones for mischief making

Gone but not missed will be the epitaph to David Jones’s by politicians in Cardiff Bay, if they’re honest. Of course, they’re not, so look out for kind but insincere words been said.

Messrs Crabb and Cairns may personally pleased with their elevation, but none more pleased than the leader of the Opposition of the National Assembly


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