Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Doctor Devolution

Here's a quiz question for you: what has Dr Who got to do with Conservative policy on devolution?

The answer is to your left. No, David Tennant did not, as far as I'm aware, have a say in a report on the subject commissioned by David Cameron.

But the man next to him did. Michael McManus co-wrote the report with Lord Roberts of Conwy (who apparently insisted on recognising the contribution of his 'ghost writer' with a credit.

The report, commissioned in March, is now known semi-officially as "the long-awaited Roberts Review". The Tories have risked increasing expectations by formalising the policy review and talking about settling the issue within a party where conflicting views run deep.

The more time that goes by without publication, the more opponents will question the lack of a coherent party policiy on the subject - especially when MPs have already been offered a free vote in any referendum on greater powers.

We may not know for sure what's in the bumper report, which the Tory leader has promised to publish "soon", but we can assume it's been well-written.

Michael's other published works include Sir Edward Heath's autobiography The Course of My Life, a critically-acclaimed biography of Jo Grimond and the life story of Nicholas Courtney, Still Getting Away With It.

Nick Courtney is best known as Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart in Dr Who.
which sort of explains the photo above and various others here.

A passion for Dr Who may not in itself be a great help in writing a tome on Welsh devolution, so I presume Michael is relying on the expertise he gained as a special adviser to David Hunt during his time at the Welsh Office in the early 1990s.

His report is likely to disappoint those Tories who want to "exterminate" the Welsh Assembly.
You may be surprised that it (an interim report) apparently runs to 20,000 words.

Don't be: the Heath autobiography ran to 360,000 words. David Cameron got off lightly.

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