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What happened next?

Betsan Powys | 15:23 UK time, Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Last week Labour Finance Committee member Alun Davies issued a call to arms to his fellow members and threatened to subpoena the Deputy First Minister, Plaid's Ieuan Wyn Jones.

What happened next?

Apparently, Mr Davies has lost his place on the Finance Committee. Another Labour member will be appointed in his place.

Proof that doing your homework can sometimes get you kicked out of class.

UPDATE 16:55: The man himself says the story is not true. Which means a senior source who was pretty clear that it was true, has some explaining to do.

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  • 1. At 3:56pm on 16 Jun 2009, BLUESNIK wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 4:42pm on 16 Jun 2009, mapexx wrote:

    Betsan,

    I have mentioned before what happens to 'whistleblowers' in this country.

    They get thanked, by a shift towards the door, assisted by a boot in the rump to speed them on their way..

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  • 3. At 07:23am on 17 Jun 2009, -Drachenfyre- wrote:

    Transparency in government is fundamental for every democracy, and all AMs and MPs should be scrutinized. However, private advice should be just that, private. Otherwise, AMs can not inquire and investigate the pros and cons of an issue. Politicians should be scrutinized on their voting history and their character, not on private advice they receive while investigating an issue.
    Its the same concept as journalists protecting sources.
    However, there is a danger in taking this too far if a politician is seeking advice on how to deceive or hide evidence of impropriety then clearly that needs to be exposed and entered into the public record. If this is the nature of advice IWJ received then it needs to be outed.

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  • 4. At 09:06am on 17 Jun 2009, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    I would agree, transparency and openness are key to democracy, which is why we need strong committees in the Assembly and why we need effective scrutiny. The Richard Commission was critical of the level of scrutiny and its solution was an increase in size of the Assembly to enable committees to have the right political balance and to enable them to meet more frequently (more members more committees more meetings, more in depth scrutiny). Ministers should be held to account.

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  • 5. At 09:37am on 17 Jun 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    I am delighted that we seem to have some agreement on the need for transparency, openness, scrutiny and that Ministers should be held to account.

    Unfortunately all whistle blowers seem to suffer the same fate and in that respect I am not surprised that Alun Davies is no longer on the finance committee.

    However, I am some what disappointed as I had just written to him as my area representative asking him to raise the issue of the report of consultants Haines Watts into the finances of the University of Wales Lampeter.

    The taxpaying public have a right to know what went wrong and what was done about it.

    That he should be removed from the Committee before he had the chance is the stuff of conspiracy theories!

    Would they do such a thing - Oh Yes

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  • 6. At 10:14am on 17 Jun 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    The issue of openness, and transparency.

    I do not wish to stray off topic but QUANGOs spend huge amounts of our money with no scrutiny what so ever.

    The rules on Public Appointments to the chair of these organisations are a bigger insult to the tax paying public than MPs and AMs expenses and needs to change so our public services can be seen to be above reproach.

    With regard to the advice given to the Deputy First Minister I understand that only Legal Advice is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

    Otherwise, we have ever right to know what the advice and just as importantly what vested interest did it come from.

    Betsan,

    Please update us on the facts of this matter, is Alun Davies staying or is he going or is he being undermined?

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  • 7. At 10:51am on 17 Jun 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    The more I look into the situation the more confused I become, Deputy First Minister, Plaid's Ieuan Wyn Jones refused to hand over advice given by an expert panel stating the refusal was in keeping with the Policy on Open Government.

    Whereas the Freedom of Information Act says he must specify an exemption, simply to say it complies with Policy which is unenforcible does not comply with the Freedom of Information Act and therefore,

    ITS A POLITICAL FOB OFF

    However, there is nothing to stop a member of the public formally serving the Welsh Assembly Governemnt for a copy of that advice and then send it on to Alun Davies. If he is still on the Finance Committee.

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  • 8. At 11:31am on 17 Jun 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    The Welsh Assembly Government has just been served under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for a copy of the report in question commissioned by the Deputy First Minister, Plaid's Ieuan Wyn Jones which he has refused to make public.

    We should all know why it has been withheld and in that respect they must give reasons for its exemption under the Act. We should also know why Alun Davies is being undermined or briefed against concerning his continued memebership of the Finance Committee.

    It would appear that as the Report is not Legal Advice it does not carry absolute exemption and so he must state his reasons why it overrides the public interest test as stated by the Information Commissioner as follows.

    The Public Interest Test

    Depending on the circumstances, the public interest in disclosure may involve helping to ensure that:

    There is informed public debate about significant decisions.

    The public are able to participate effectively in decisions affecting them.

    There is adequate scrutiny of the decision-making process.

    Authorities are accountable for the spending of public money.

    Authorities do their job properly.

    I was under the impression that all the above were the job of the Finance Committee, so its only a matter of time and an Information Tribunal before he hands it over!

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  • 9. At 11:52am on 17 Jun 2009, BLUESNIK wrote:

    "the moderators found it broke the House Rules."

    My comment (1) above was er..."ironic" Don't BBC Wales "do" irony? Surely BBC Wales is itself totally "ironic"?

    I was NOT really suggesting that counter-revolutionary dissenters from our SPLENDIDLY "transparent" devolutionist project should be taken out and publicly shot in the street. That would be truly anti-democratic. And messy at a time of major public sector economies when our kids can't afford free (Plaid) laptops.

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  • 10. At 8:12pm on 17 Jun 2009, FiDafydd wrote:

    So much for the conspiracy theories and ever willing theorists.

    Interesting news today. Unemployment goes up in the UK, but stays put in Wales. One swallow does not make a summer, but I trust that even the staunchest enemies of devolution and the idea that Wales could ever do anything for herself will wish, with the rest of us, that this can continue.

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  • 11. At 10:28am on 18 Jun 2009, Cilmyn wrote:

    #10 FiDafydd - Remarkable that as unemployment goes up for the whole of the UK - Wales has stabilised. The truth is that in Wales we have two schemes not adopted by the rest of the UK - ReAct & ProAct which has had an immense influence on the employment figures in Wales.
    It seems that Wales is showing they way - will the rest of the UK be brave enough to follow this example?

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  • 12. At 7:04pm on 18 Jun 2009, Snoutsintrough wrote:

    No.11. The two schemes by WAG are the use of public money to help fund PRIVATE Companies in a recession and good luck to people who benefit,but this cannot explain the whole unemployment figures. We currently have the highest level of people on INCAPACITY in the UK,and also the highest level of public sector employment,either direct or subsidised like S4C in UK which is currently protecting our employment levels. Watch this space when the real cuts that are needed to balance our debt situation come in from which ever government is in power after 2011. Read proper journalism (not welsh which is tied in to current policy in wales) and the future aint the public sector waste that we see all around us.

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  • 13. At 8:30pm on 18 Jun 2009, West-Wales wrote:

    The reason Wales has relatively stable employment is because the great majority (over 70%) of jobs in Wales are in the Public Sector.

    ReAct and ProAct are small beer and have had minimal impact.
    Though a great idea its all political posturing.
    The Assembly budget has no adequate emergency funds to pay for more than a cosmetic operation to give support in this area.

    Private employment and our wealth creating industries are being hit by the policies of WAG and have been in decline since 2000.

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  • 14. At 09:30am on 19 Jun 2009, Cilmyn wrote:

    Re 12 : and yet these two schemes are the only real difference between Wales and England in this respect. Maybe you should read the original reports and research instead of 'proper journalism'.

    Re 13: small beer maybe - but a massive effect. Remeber between 1979 and 1997 the average unemp;oyment in Wales was around 122,000. Compare this to the present. Different world - how different could it be with more means to develop our own policies?

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  • 15. At 11:54am on 19 Jun 2009, West-Wales wrote:

    Cilmyn #14

    Not sure you understand what is happening.

    Private sector jobs have been decimated since 1997, but the growth in Public Sector jobs exponential.

    This is unsustainable - others have quoted the strength of Pembrokeshires Oil Industry to demonstrate how rich we could be.
    But the total profits from that operation would not pay even the running costs of the Assembly, not enough to just cover only WLB admin costs.
    Just how high do you think you can you raise tax's?

    There is simply insufficient wealth generation in Wales to pay for current WAG policies or cover the Budget, even with a draconian tax regime .
    Our quality of life is dependant on vast streams of revenue from the EU, and the precept from Westminster.

    The policies of WAG have not been targeted at making Wales wealthier, but at building an empire of public services, central control, and social engineering.
    Even so the NHS and Education. are buried in red tape, tangled in politics, short of funds, and failing.

    ReAct and ProAct are good ideas, but strangled by bureaucracy, and limited in available funds.

    This failure to make Wales Wealthier is not due to lack of power - but waste of resources and the implementation of unsustainable unworkable political and social policies.

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  • 16. At 12:48pm on 19 Jun 2009, Cilmyn wrote:

    #West-Wales - With what industries we have paying taxes directly to London, then London giving it back to us piecmeal with enough red tape to suffocate anything what you describe will happen. How can more powers for the Assembly be worse! What you describe fairly accuratley is how things are when the Assembly has to jump through unecessary hoops - legal and financial to satisfy London. The funding from Europe is there and will be there - especially for areas like large tracts of Wales which have been made poor, and poorer by suceeding decades of one party's misrule followed by another.
    The NHS in Wales has in fact less red-tape attached to it than in England - it can respond to and be proactive to its own problems on a smaller more manageable level that the whole of the UK would be able to.
    How more powers to develop schemes which are already working on a small scale succesfully - and demonstrably so - is a bad thing I do not understand. But I do agree with the treasury spokesman speaking on 5live last night who commended ProAct and ReAct and said that maybe there was a place for something similar in England based on the model in Wales - watch this space.

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  • 17. At 6:19pm on 19 Jun 2009, John wrote:


    Reading #16 .....

    ..... a Nationalist with a very clear agenda, the Welsh Nationalist agenda to lead the unwary towards a separation of the component parts of the United Kingdom. The people of Wales are not for turning from the Union, we have a collective memory of Nationalism in Europe, it feeds on the fears of the disenfranchised and unwary, we have very good memories. I used the Royal we.


    When he/she writes "With what industries we have paying taxes directly to London, then London giving it back to us piecmeal" (spelling error retained); it is as if we were not part of the United Kingdom, you need a reality check, we all live in the same country, we all share the tax revenues raised, we share with our neighbours. In fact our neighbours take a smaller share because they see Wales needs a top up, but never enough for our erstwhile parochial politicians. again I used the Royal we.


    Continuing, he/she wrote "How can more powers for the Assembly be worse!", the answer is particularly noxious .....

    "25 years ago, when, at last, Wales became fully comprehensive, that we could expect over 50% of the age group to attain 5 or more higher grades at GCSE. In those days, the national Welsh norm was closer to 20%." LC, Former General Secretary of the Welsh Secondary Schools Association.

    Failure, the Assembly Government bumbling along in a Plaid / Labour coalition, a rudderless ship afloat in a sea of mediocrity.There is no Royal we, only an unmitigated disaster for the next generation.

    When the Assembly can demonstrate ability it might be an appropriate to ask the electorate for more .....

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  • 18. At 7:27pm on 19 Jun 2009, John wrote:

    Appologies, post instead of preview,

    The paragraph at #17 that starts "25 years ago" should be replaced with .....

    David Reynolds, Professor of Education, University of Plymouth, said investment per pupil by Welsh education authorities was now, on average, 9.5% less than in England. He said England had an 8% lead over Wales in the percentage of pupils gaining five or more GCSEs and Wales was also out-performed in tests by Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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  • 19. At 3:54pm on 22 Jun 2009, Cilmyn wrote:

    Re 19, 18 - I apologise Stonemason, you have lost me, can't follow it....but I beg forgiveness for typos and spelling errors - I don't have spellcheck (not even an internet translator!) and have to rely on my own less than adequate memory. Smiles...

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