I haven't been able to get a copy of John Osmond's pamphlet Crossing the Rubicon in which he recounts the story behind the coalition discussion that occurred as a result of the last Assembly Elections. There is an excellent post about the pamphlet on the Our Kingdom blog.
Our Kingdom includes an interesting quote from the pamphlet by Conservative AM David Melding:
We can now see that the idea that Britishness must be conceived just within the confines of a unitary state, has been merely an historical episode, lasting perhaps from 1707 to the 1950s. There is a great release of energy when you recognise the reality of something as profound as this.
We need a new sense of what it means to be British. If we remain stuck in the 1950s view we will be in trouble. And if it turns out that we cannot re-invent a new form of Britishness to fit with the needs of the 21st century… then it won’t be much of a loss to see it go.
I agree with Mr Melding that Britishness is very much an outdated concept and that it has been outdated since at least the 1950's. What I don't understand is why he should want to reinvent something so passé, especially as we have something new and vibrant to replace it - a rediscovered Welsh identity. As the people of Wales, Scotland and England are all re-discovering their true national identities; the chances of inventing a new form of Britishness are pretty slim.
Mr Melding's acceptance that there wont be much of a loss if out-dated Britishness goes and Glyn Davies' recent acceptance that Wales could flourish as an independent nation, might suggest that the Conservative and Unionist Party in Wales is going through a dramatic change. However one must remember that the new Welsh Tories in the Assembly are not the only elected members of the Conservative party in Wales. There are also three Conservative MPs.
Much has been made of the split between Westminster and Cardiff Bay in the Labour Party; the tension between Welsh Welsh Labour and British Welsh Labour, but that is nothing compared to the split between the Conservative MP's and the Conservative AM's.
All three Welsh Conservative MP's David Davies, David Jones and Stephen Crabb are, apparently, members of the extreme right wing Cornerstone Group who believe that The devolution referenda excluded 85% of the population - (i.e. the English) - but the disgracefully wasteful talking shops in Edinburgh and Cardiff are supported by a preponderance of English-taxpayers' money.... There should be an all-UK referendum on the issue of abolishing the existing devolution settlement.
There is a clear split in the Conservative Party in Wales, they have been good at papering over the cracks so far, but they can't hide the rift forever.