Been to Guilsfield Show this afternoon. Very nice day, beginning with the 'President's Lunch'. I've known Bill Roberts, boy and man for over 50 years. He was genuinely thrilled by the honour bestowed upon him by his own local community. Bill was positively glowing with pride.
Though I was there with some political intent, having leafleted the village last night, the only political party campaigning seriously was Ukip. It was manned by my very old friend David Rowlands and John Bufton, both of them former and current parliamentary candidates. I was fascinated to hear them inform me of my opinions on several matters - opinions that I had no previous inkling that I held.
Firstly I was told that I'm so committed to devolution that, in effect, I am in support of Welsh Independence. When I informed them that this was not in fact the case, I discovered an absence of any listening gene. Apparently, anyone who is not in favour of abolishing the National Assembly, must be in favour of 'Independence'. I was also told that the Assembly had been established on the instructions of the European Union. I did point out that a referendum was held, but again failed to locate the listening gene. There was plenty more. It seems that I'm in favour of reducing the number of Welsh MPs to 20. No indication whatsoever where this figure came from. We do know that if the same ratio of MPs to electorate applied in Wales as currently does across England, the number of Welsh MPs would fall to 26 - and that this was Conservative policy at the last General Election. If law making powers were to be vested in the National Assembly, a reduction to 26 Welsh MPs would have followed if the Conservatives had won. At least that was what the Manifesto said.
Now I have a general sympathy with Ukip's basic objectives. I too want to retain the United Kingdom as the independent state to which I owe allegiance, and I am an opponent of Wales becoming an independent state. This does not mean that I want the UK to withdraw from the European Union - and it does not mean that I want to persist with the unstable devolutionary settlement that currently exists between my nation (Wales) and my state (the UK). Where a matter is devolved, it should not be half devolved, with the current residual ongoing potential for constitutional conflict. I am in favour of law making powers being granted to the National assembly in all devolved matters. But what I did find extraordinary is that I was listening to two men telling me that my opinions were fundamentally different from what I know them to be. And I suppose that's what they were telling everyone else as well. There's a word for that.