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Posts Tagged ‘David Cameron’

You can watch my interview with David Cameron here.

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David Cameron effectively relaunched his Big Society idea yesterday (Monday) amid claims that it’s too vague and little more than a cover for spending cuts.

But Welsh Conservatives are convinced it’s a good idea.

When I asked their leader in the Assembly, Nick Bourne, what his views were he said,

I agree with the thrust of the policy David Cameron is developing. It’s not just about saving money: local solutions to problems are more familiar and people trust them more. You can’t just do away with large swathes of the public sector but (the Big Society) is a more effective way of delivering a lot of policy.

I wondered if the term itself – controversial as it seems – will appear in the Welsh Conservatives’ manifesto for May’s Assembly election.

‘Yes,’ according to Nick Bourne. ‘We will use the term. The Big Society is central to our thinking because it links into devolution and localism.’

But it seems it’ll be a different version of the Big Society, more suited to Wales’ needs.

The Big Society works wherever it is. We have roots (of volunteering) already here in Wales. The Government should be there to foster that with funding. But it may well be different in Wales.

 

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Remember back last May when, during the General Election campaign, David Cameron promised to make himself available at least once a year to be questioned by Assembly members?

After he became Prime Minister, he said the plan was part of a ‘respect agenda‘ that he wanted to develop between London and Cardiff Bay. He also told Welsh Conservatives that

I will be a Prime Minister who acts on the voice of the Welsh people and will maintain strong relationships with the Assembly Government.  That’s why I’m happy to come to the Assembly each year and make myself available to answer questions on any subject.

I’m only bringing this up now because Assembly sources have told me there are no current plans for Mr Cameron’s visit. One had been provisionally arranged last year, but had to be cancelled.

And by my calculation, if the Prime Minister wants to fulfil his ‘once a year’ promise, he has just eight working weeks in which to do so.

I’ve asked the government whether or not there are any plans that the Assembly commission doesn’t know about. I’ll update when I get an answer.

** UPDATE 1530 ***

A Downing Street spokesman has told me that the policy is not to comment on the Prime Minister’s diary commitments and travel plans.

After a couple of phone calls and other conversations I’ve been able to establish that the PM had arranged a date to visit the Assembly early last term but cancelled after the birth of his daughter.

I understand there are no other firm plans,in place and certainly no date that’s been pencilled in, but that ‘it’s being looked at’ and the PM expects to be back in Wales in the near future.

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