I lost my seat in the National Assembly for Wales at the last election (in 1997) because the Conservative Party did better than expected. The unexpected result which did for me was Angela Burns' magnificent victory in West Carmarthen and South Pembs (by 98 votes). But the person who can more accurately be said to have replaced me as representative for Mid and West Wales was Plaid Cymru AM, Nerys Evans. Please don't ask me to explain. Life's too short.
Anyway, Nerys has decided to forego the comfort (electoral desert more like) of the regional vote to stand against Angela next May. With the experienced Christine Gwyther standing for Labour, this is going to be the seat to watch on election night. The Western Mail has given Nerys a big leg-up today by running a prominent two page article about her, complete with photograph. Because I'm interested in young Welsh political talent, of whichever party, I read it. And I have to say there's a thread running through it that I question - and which has inspired this blog post.
Nerys is reported to have said "The Conservatives are now branding themselves as Welsh Conservatives.....down to Plaid Cymru's existence". This is most certainly not the case. I was very much part of the Conservative Party in Wales, which recognised in the late 1990's that we needed to rediscover what I'll refer to as the 'Wyn Roberts factor', and reconnect with the Welsh people. It was nothing whatsoever to do with Plaid Cymru. Personally, I very much approved of our new approach - which more accurately is a rediscovery of a previous approach. The credit for this lies with those who have shaped the Conservative Party then and since then - from within, with courage and vision. I hope this is how the Welsh Conservative presence at Westminster will also be regarded.