Plaid Cymru and the Tories have lashed out, insisting that this is a snub to Wales and will delay the progress of LCO's through Parliament. Labour MP Paul Flynn went on to the airwaves saying that such a move made perfect sense while Plaid's Parliamentary Leader Elfyn Llwyd disagreed, saying that
I believe it would be foolish to take this step at this moment in timeCheryl Gillian, Tory Shadow Welsh Minister agreed with Plaid, saying that:
Quite frankly, if Labour does make that move it will say everything about what Wales means to LabourNow wait a second! We've got (apparently) Labour for the closure and Plaid and the Tories slating them for it? Here's a historical pop quiz for you:
1. Between 2003 and 2005, who was the Tory Shadow Welsh Minister?
Answer: They didn't have one!
2. Only 10 months ago, who argued for the close of the Welsh Office, stating that:
Today the Wales Office is acting as a brake on the Assembly Government’s ambitions, doing the bidding of Whitehall departments in seeking to restrict the legislative powers passed to Cardiff BayAnswer: Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price
3. Which party responded to Adam Price's call to close the Welsh Office with the words:
This is typically ill thought through hyperbole from Adam Price, which may make a good headline but demonstrates a total ignoranceAnswer: Yep, that would be Labour (through ex-Welsh Minister Peter Hain)
How times change! Personally I agree with Paul Flynn, we don't need a Welsh Office any more. When Peter Hain was the Governor of Wales the Welsh Office was not Wales' voice in the Cabinet, it was the Cabinet's voice in Wales. Since Paul Murphy took charge it's not even the Cabinet's voice in Wales, it's just trundling along, apparently doing nothing. Ask yourself this, when was the last time you saw Paul Murphy on the news?
As a final note on this topic, the Western Mail has always had a rigid formula to writing political stories, it goes like this:
1. Party A says this (10 paragraphs)
2. Party B is angry that Party A said that (3 paragraphs)
3. Party C disagrees with Party A (1 paragraph)
4. The Lib Dems said something or other (1 sentence)
While it's a pretty boring formula, it makes writing articles very easy for the "journalists" at the paper, as long as they make sure they write down the quotes right. It now seems that they can't even do that right! I'm pretty sure that Tory Cheryl Gillian was saying she'd be disappointed if Labour closed GWYDYR House (Welsh Office's London HQ) not, as the Western Mail says, GWYNFOR House (Plaid's Cardiff HQ, about to be vacated for plush new offices down the Bay (also called Tŷ Gwynfor!)) (Hat tip: Miss Wagstaff Presents)