David Davies, the Conservative MP for Monmouth and I do not agree about the future governance of Wales. We have never agreed about it. And quite a few of my other Conservative friends in SE Wales do not agree with my view that the National Assembly for Wales should have law making powers in devolved areas of responsibility. There are probably other things we don't agree about as well. But we have never fallen out about it - because we have respect for each other's point of view. I think that David Davies is a very effective Member of Parliament and represents a strong strand of opinion in the Conservative Party. I might disagree with him about some things but I know perfectly well that if I want the Conservative Party to adopt my opinions as official party policy, I have to argue my case, persuade and win a majority over to my way of thinking. That is how we do things in a democracy.
Now, I won't pretend that the major article by Martin Shipton in Friday's Western Mail was anything but a source of despair for me. Several people have asked me about it, knowing that I would be unhappy. It appeared to me to be an eruption of frustration from a man who has not been involved in policy development in an area where he is known to have strong opinion. We all know that David Davies is not a man willing to be ignored. He will have his say - one way or another. And he had his say last Friday in what Martin Shipton described as an "astonishing attack on Nick Bourne".
Because I like David Davies, I hope he won't make any astonishing attacks on me. He hasn't done so far. I like to think its because we acknowledge our disagreement - and more importantly respect each other's viewpoint. I also think the voters respect us as politicians more if we are honest about our opinions and don't just say exactly what we are told to. They certainly do not like reading articles like last Friday's. The governance of Wales is a developing situation - and it is entirely reasonable that there should be ongoing debate within political parties. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from what happened last week.