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Here's one we prepared earlier

Betsan Powys | 23:42 UK time, Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Doesn't time fly.

A fortnight ago I was in London watching Jane Hutt giving evidence to the Welsh Select Committee on the additional learning needs LCO. If I needed a crash course in "attitudes at both ends of the M4 to devolving more powers to the Assembly", that was it.

A week ago the Welsh Secretary came to the Senedd and chided BBC Wales for giving the impression that Labour MPs are obstacles in the process towards further devolution. Later that night on S4C's CF99 the Presiding Officer seemed to join him in a pincer movement, attacking us daft journalists for making out there were problems where there were none. If anything, we were the problem.

Today (though I see it's very nearly yesterday - I really have to control these late blogging urges) another LCO started on its long procedural journey. We, in line with others, reported on how the powers around affordable housing might be put to work, how using them to suspend the right to buy council houses might affect you and your family, or your area.

We didn't make anything of the fact that here, once again, an LCO has been published before Whitehall clearance has been given. If you remember Dr Hywel Francis, Chair of the Welsh Select Committee, wasn't keen on that idea at all. Joint scrutiny good; parallel scrutiny bad. The Assembly might be anxious not to waste time with its first few LCOs but Dr Francis wanted to work 'as closely as possible' with the Assembly in future. In other words, don't do it again.

I have a note saying "can't see it happening again" in my notebook which must be the impression I got from Jane Hutt.

So now it has happened again, what next? Will Welsh MPs, will the Welsh Secretary, choose to make anything of it? Or am I just foreseeing problems where they really don't exist?

By the way as far as comments go: strident is good, opinionated is great, libellous is very, very bad. I nearly approved one today that hid behind 'women's intuition' ... until someone pointed out that isn't, oddly enough, a defence in court.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 08:59 AM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Alistair Cook wrote:

Jane Hutt doesn't seem up to the job of education. Her comments seem quite dismissive of the pisa findings and I don't see her offering any review of current policy, which leads me to believe that someone else should take her place who can address this very serious issue. I don't have confidence in her, does anyone out there? All I can hear in my mind at the moment is that our education system in Wales compares to Azerbaijan...maybe that's where Jane Hutt should go.

  • 2.
  • At 11:10 AM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Gareth Thomas wrote:

Yes I too am very concerned about the Pisa report.When Prof David Reynolds expresses his concerns as trenchantly as he has I think we should take note. This should be one of the biggest political issues in Wales at present and there should be a great national debate/row about it. Incidentally I was amazed that Newyddion didn't carry the story at all last night.

  • 3.
  • At 08:24 PM on 05 Dec 2007,
  • Billy wrote:

I have to agree with Dr. Francis in Westminister (re joint vs. parallel scrutiny). Without coordination between Cardiff Bay and London, then the expectations for scrutiny (from either side of the border) will never fully meet in the middle, so to speak. This doesn't mean Cardiff AMs will have things dictated to them, but that time will be saved while comparatively less-trained AMs will get up to speed on the expectations of the larger parliamentary/legislative process. If Cardiff AMs want full independence to scrutinize, then Labour (and the rest, to be fair) should put everything behind a referendum for full parliamentary powers.

  • 4.
  • At 12:24 PM on 07 Dec 2007,
  • John R. Walker wrote:

The PISA report only confirms what I've been saying for years...

But what can you expect when education in Wales has been overseen for years by a 'Minister' who thinks Fidel Castro is a good idea?

And now the job has been handed to the 'Minister' who spent about the same amount of time crucifying the NHS in Wales...

There are two relatively simple ways to put education in Wales back on track:

1. hand control back to Westminster

2. scrap compulsory Welsh which is diverting so much time, effort, and money away from core 21st century subjects.

  • 5.
  • At 12:51 PM on 08 Dec 2007,
  • iain morrison wrote:

Betsan - the article after this one (the comment section on which appears no to work) appears to show more than a little Liebour bias (Typical EBC), it would be inteeresting to note how much funding Plaid raised in Wales as opposed to how much Liebour raised in Wales relative to their spending.

  • 6.
  • At 02:51 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

How disastrous this 'fantastic' new arrangement in the Assembly is beggining to look like.

Peter Hain proclaimed back in 2006 that this new way of governing 'hand in hand' and having the best of both worlds without needing full lawmaking powers would suit Wales for a generation! Oh dear, how wrong he was. Frankly when you look at the fact of the matter how many laws has the Assembly made since the election in May?

For goodness sakes sort yourselves out and get that referendum going. And all this in Wales while we have ALL the opposition parties in Scotland campaigning for FISCAL autonomy we can't even have a parliament!!!

  • 7.
  • At 10:18 PM on 10 Dec 2007,
  • Lyn David Thomas wrote:

Question to John, why the sneer quotes round the word minister? They are ministers of the crown.

I understand that you don't like devolution and think that Welsh has any place in Education in Wales - your solution seems to be to have everything run from England - Why?

  • 8.
  • At 04:13 PM on 11 Dec 2007,
  • Rhisiart wrote:

Lyn - to be pedantic, only the First Minister is a 'Minister of the Crown' because he is the only one appointed by HM. The rest are 'Welsh Ministers', a category created by GOWA06. Apparently, HMG balked at all Welsh Ministers being 'Ministers of the Crown' because it would have given them equal status with Secretaries of State, and that would never do!

  • 9.
  • At 09:10 PM on 13 Dec 2007,
  • Anonymous wrote:

I thought the others had to have her stamp too, certainly the Counsel General does

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