1. ITV Report

Think tank aims to widen Welsh Tories' horizons

The new think tank's name is Welsh for horizon Photo: Gorwel

Wales is a maturing democracy that needs more think tanks. That's the claim of the man behind Gorwel, an organisation that aims to broaden Welsh political horizons. David Melding, the Conservative AM who's the Assembly's Deputy Presiding Officer, is no stranger to blue skies thinking. His publications include a challenge to the Welsh Tories called 'Have we been anti-Welsh?' and a case for a turning the UK into a federal state entitled 'Will Britain Survive Beyond 2020?. He also wants a federal Conservative party -and argues that Labour should do the same.

The Conservative and Labour parties remain in essentials unitary. This is now organisationally and culturally dysfunctional. The Scottish Conservative Party is an autonomous body with considerable operational independence. However, its culture has remained unitary, even ultra-unionist. Alternatively, the Welsh Conservative Party has largely retained an outmoded unitary structure but become more culturally adapted to the demands of national politics. This cultural sensitivity bore fruit in the 2011 National Assembly elections which saw the Welsh Conservatives replace Plaid Cymru as Labour’s main opponent.

– David Melding AM

He says the new think tank will be a 'nursery for big ideas'. It will emphasise the role of the individual in enterprise and community but not be a Tory fan club. It will challenge all parties.

Mr Melding gives as an example what he calls the cultural shift in Wales to widespread suport for making the country bilingual in Welsh and English. Gorwel will ask how that goal can be achieved.