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Life goes on

Betsan Powys | 19:11 UK time, Tuesday, 9 February 2010

_42388469_senedd203.jpgTo those with long memories a reminder that this "historic day" comes on the eve of a decade since another "historic day" for the Assembly .

And for all the talk of hands of history and winning the hearts and minds of the people, the First Minister has found that life goes on.

He's won the referendum trigger vote and lost his Assembly pass.

Hand of history? Pah. Hand me my pass.

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  • 1. At 7:50pm on 09 Feb 2010, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Betsan:

    As always, another excellent blog...

    Hand of history? Pah. Hand me my pass. I hope that you can get the pass to another memorable date in Wales' history.


    -Dennis Junior-

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  • 2. At 9:01pm on 09 Feb 2010, Crossroads wrote:

    Whilst watching the 'pre-vote' speeches this afternoon on 'Democracy', did I hear Leanne Wood say that the vote wouldn't give the assembly any more powers, but merely make it easier for the assembly to carry out it's powers ?

    As someone who freely admits to not knowing the ins and outs of the assembly, (tell us something we don't know I hear you cry) could someone (maybe even Betsan) explain the reasoning behind Ms. Wood's statement.

    Will the 'powers referendum' (as I was led to believe) actually mean EXTRA powers (or not) for the assembly?

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  • 3. At 9:23pm on 09 Feb 2010, bed123 wrote:

    Hi N-sembly, this is the trouble. The media are doing us a diservice by saying this a vote about 'more powers', if the people vote Yes, the Assembly wont be getting more powers, but rather as Leanne Wood said they will be able to pass laws already devolved without going through the LCO process at Wesminster. So on balance it should be quicker, clearer for us all to understand and in the long run be more cost effective. At the moment as Jenny Randerson pointed out today, this current process means the Assembly have to do their job twice, before and after the LCO order has gone through the Welsh Affairs committe, then the House of Commons, then the House of Lords, then the Sec. of State. Hopefully this has helped.

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  • 4. At 10:08pm on 09 Feb 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Leanne is correct, no additional powers are proposed, just an alteration in the way that the Assembly can use them. At present if they want to pass a law in any of the 20 devolved areas where there exists executive powers it can ask Westminster to allow it to pass laws in a sub section of those 20 areas. Gradually over time Westminster would need to be asked less and less as gradually permission would have been given covering most, if not all of the possible areas within each devolved field. However under the current dispensation Westminster at no time scrutinises any Welsh Laws (Measures), just the request to activate primary law making powers. The can't tie future Welsh Governments on the way they will use the legislative power. This LCO route is actually not the main way that primary legislative powers are added to the Assembly, Acts of the Westminster Parliament do it all the time. What we have, is in effect, a lacy doily of competence, which is inefficient and confusing. The proposed referendum will clear a lot of this out of the way and clearly demarcate who is responsible for what. That can only be good for democracy.

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  • 5. At 10:58pm on 09 Feb 2010, John Henry wrote:

    Leanne Wood AM is guilty of obfuscation, the additional powers are the ability to frame laws with inadequate, possibly non-existent, scrutiny.

    If scrutiny by Westminster had not existed, as implied by LDT, the new Welsh Language powers would not include terms such as "reasonableness and proportionality", insisted upon by Westminster, to protect the majority from the minority.

    Power indeed, not to have the scrutiny of Westminster.

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  • 6. At 07:22am on 10 Feb 2010, penddu wrote:

    5 SM - I understand your point, but you are incorrect. Westminster only currently has the power to scrutinise the request for power (ie the LCO) - It does not have the power to scrutinise the actual laws which the Assembly would then enact as a result of the LCO.

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  • 7. At 07:46am on 10 Feb 2010, John Henry wrote:


    I only referred to the LCO, there is scrutiny of this legislation, the question of measures is a different issue again.

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  • 8. At 10:48am on 10 Feb 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Fist of all Stonemason - there is no scrutiny of legislation by Westminster at current, only of an LCO. So your argument falls down there. Reasonableness and proportionality were a redundant obligation put in the LCO as there would be reasonableness and proportionality as a given in any law interpreted by the courts.

    Its this type of confusion that some on the no side like to promote. Its dishonest and detracts from the true debate.

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  • 9. At 10:50am on 10 Feb 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 7

    Stonemason,


    "I only referred to the LCO, there is scrutiny of this legislation,"

    An LCO is not legislation!

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  • 10. At 11:01am on 10 Feb 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    A non-partisan point about the current system:

    If we consider decision making in large organisations there's a couple of key principles that ensure effectiveness.

    1) Alignment of strategy with decisions
    2) A speedy organisational structure to deliver strategy through decisions and actions.

    On 1) this alignment should both cover the nature of the decisions and the timeliness and order of implementation.

    The current process, despite the endevours of people of goodwill (got a lot of for time Hywel Francis) contravenes spectacularly these principles.

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  • 11. At 11:53am on 10 Feb 2010, Old_Miwl wrote:

    Re 9.
    I'm afraid an LCO IS legislation. However, it is legislation to transfer the authority to legislate on other matters. The drafting of the LCO can affect the content of any Assembly Measure by closely defining what can and cannot be legislated on by Cardiff Bay.
    It appears that when the 2006 Act was drafted, AM's were told that MPs would look at the broad principles - whether it was appropriate for the Assembly to legislate on that matter based on the policy fields devolved in the Act or whether an upcoming Act of Parliament would be a more appropriate way to legislate. MPs seem to have been told that they would have a role in drafting Assembly Measures by defining what they could do by drafting LCOs very tightly.

    Stonemason at 5 - Didn't parliament scrutinise which powers would be devolved when it passed the Government of Wales Act 2006? If it did, I can't see what need there is to re-scrutinise everything. If MPs didn't do it properly first time around how can we depend on them to scrutinise LCOs?

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  • 12. At 1:51pm on 10 Feb 2010, John Henry wrote:


    Old_Miwl, I have been following several LCOs as they pass through Westminster, it was when the Welsh Language LCO reached the House of Lords that I realised Wales and the people of Wales would be the looser if this institution were lost to the process of scrutiny, this in answer to your last sentence.

    I have wondered if the WAG would have included the expression "Reasonableness and proportionality", I somehow doubt it. Peter Hain is probably right when he said the present system is working well for the people of Wales.

    ... for the record, what is an Old_Miwl, just wondering.

    LDT at #8 I refer you to Old_Miwl where he replies to Fo, there is no deliberate dishonesty at this keyboard LDT, you imply at the other place of debate (Wales Home) you should have the right to turn off water supplies to Cities East of Offa's Dyke, the voice of moderation perhaps.

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  • 13. At 2:10pm on 10 Feb 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    "it was when the Welsh Language LCO reached the House of Lords that I realised Wales and the people of Wales would be the looser" (loser I presume)
    Interesting - what did the House of Lords add Stoney?

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  • 14. At 2:14pm on 10 Feb 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    I made no such comments. I think that water originating in Wales should be controlled by the National Assembly for Wales, not the Secretary of State, I said nothing about me or anyone else turning off supplies. Again you make a deliberate falsehood, is this what we can expect from the no side, I suspect so.

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  • 15. At 2:45pm on 10 Feb 2010, John Henry wrote:

    LDT ...

    ... you wrote in the other place he has veto powers over certain aspects of life in Wales (water springs to mind…)

    The veto that stops you turning the water off, there was no doubt in my mind what you implied.

    Search at the Westminster web site Dewi, you might read it for yourself, all of it, the grand committee report.

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  • 16. At 3:08pm on 10 Feb 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    What is in your mind is not my problem, I have never suggested turning the water off, and no Welsh government would contemplate it, set fair charges for it maybe but not stop it. This strawman is one of your invention. Please don't let your flights of fantasy get the better of you.

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  • 17. At 3:18pm on 10 Feb 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    "Search at the Westminster web site Dewi, you might read it for yourself, all of it, the grand committee report."

    Forgive me Stonemason I think I've read it all - what am I missing that the Lords added ?

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  • 18. At 3:36pm on 10 Feb 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 15

    That's just paranoia! But at least you do sound just a little embarrassed.

    As I said, we are in for a lot of this over the next few months from the No to Wales campaign. Shame.

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  • 19. At 3:51pm on 10 Feb 2010, Old_Miwl wrote:

    12 - Old Miwl is a phonetic spelling of "Old Mule". Something to do with me never giving in to something I think is wrong.
    Just popped over to Wales Home. I can't see anything wrong in what LDT said about water either.

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  • 20. At 4:36pm on 10 Feb 2010, Dewi_H wrote:

    http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/ld200910/ldhansrd/text/91209-gc0007.htm

    That's the House of Lords debate - plenty of words but no change to the motion from the Commons - so what did they add to the process Stonemason?

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  • 21. At 7:32pm on 10 Feb 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    What I was referring to on Wales Home was that the post of the Secretary of State for Wales (in a reply to an article arguing for the retention of the post) retains substantial veto powers, powers not possessed by the Secretary of State for Scotland and that these powers should be examined, I gave as an example the veto power he has over water. At no point did I ever suggest that there should be a turn off of the water. Its like arguing that having powers of the the NHS (without a veto) will lead to the selected execution of the ill to keep within targets, i.e. all fantasy.

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  • 22. At 8:32pm on 10 Feb 2010, sanddunesurfer wrote:

    #21 Lyn David Thomas: "At no point did I ever suggest that there should be a turn off of the water. Its like arguing that having powers of the the NHS (without a veto) will lead to the selected execution of the ill to keep within targets, i.e. all fantasy."

    Unfortunately Stonemason seems to write from a fantasy realm, and as a result, we can expect him to contribute mere fantasia, and little else.




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  • 23. At 9:27pm on 10 Feb 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 22

    And his silence, I think, is most eloquent...

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  • 24. At 9:56pm on 10 Feb 2010, John Henry wrote:


    Working Fo, only just got in...

    ... and unfortunately, I have to be away at first light so will have to leave you with ... my silence.

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  • 25. At 10:15pm on 10 Feb 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 24

    Stonemason,

    I'm sure Lyn is quite happy to wait. We, all of us, I'm sure look forward to reading your answer tomorrow...

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  • 26. At 06:44am on 11 Feb 2010, John Henry wrote:


    Before I go Fo, I concede the sunderer LDT might not have implied at Wales Home he would turn the taps to "off", but above he wrote ...

    ... I have never suggested turning the water off, and no Welsh government would contemplate it, set fair charges for it maybe but not stop it.

    Does the sunderer think for one moment the customers are paying too little, or is it he would prefer the revenue for his profligate spending friends at the ...

    "No Oversight and little Scrutiny Assembly", does he suggest nationalisation ........

    ........ it would fit his peculiar political philosophy.

    ........ must go Fo, we have collapsed drains, and an elderly couple in a hotel.

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  • 27. At 10:49am on 11 Feb 2010, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Might not is not good enough, did not is more accurate. And yes Severn Trent charges less than Dwr Cymru customers for the same services. There used to be a water equalisation levy that was used to equalise the costs of the old Water Rates in the old Nationalised Water industry. One of the first acts of the Thatcher government was to abolish that levy and equalisation scheme.

    Incidentally might it not be worth trying to avoid terms of insult like "sunderer" it adds nothing to the debate - and is just a personal insult. And indeed life does go on.

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  • 28. At 09:43am on 12 Feb 2010, Cilmyn wrote:

    It is very interesting that the Secretary of State for Wales should have a veto on water in the first place. Why? Does it not point to a certain lack of trust by Westminster in the democratic political process here in Wales?

    So - to clarify - Severn Trent Water get the major proportion of their supply of water from Wales, and sell it on at a lower rate to their customers in England.

    There is an inherent inequity here - the imperialists on this site constantly remind us that Wales is a poorer country compared to England - and yet here we have a company profiting from water that comes from Wales and costs more to the consumer in Wales than it does after being piped for miles over the border to the more affluent inhabitants of England.

    The poorer Welsh are subsidising the wealthier English.

    How so?

    How does Wales profit from this - in any way?

    More importantly - why should this situation be so?

    Did not this used to be called exploitation, or even imperialism if we consider that the commodity is sourced in one country and then siphoned off to another - where it's sold more cheaply to wealthier customers?

    The insult that’s then added is that the government in Westminster have a veto on what the people of Wales can do with one of their own main natural commodities.

    That I don’t understand

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  • 29. At 09:52am on 12 Feb 2010, John Henry wrote:

    Cilmyn ...

    ... your statement ... commodity is sourced in one country and then siphoned off to another ... is without merit, we live in the United Kingdom, there is no such thing as exporting between a countries regions or areas.

    You might like to ask Dwr Cymru why they are charging so much extra, therein lies the truth, I think you will find price also reflects investment in the infrastructure, so should we be happy paying a little extra for better service, I think yes.

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  • 30. At 11:50am on 12 Feb 2010, Cilmyn wrote:

    #29 - Been here before Stonemason - Wales is a country - do we need to re-run this again? Only sophistry and semantics are the real objections to regarding Wales as a country and the Welsh as a nation.

    There are different companies trading in the commodity of water within the UK.

    You trot out the old chestnut that the infrastructure is being invested in – but there was obviously a serious decades-long lack of maintenance in the infrastructure of the water industry in Wales way before this particular part of the family silver was sold off to the highest bidder by Thatcher.

    I don't think you've fully grasped what's happening with the water providing industry in the UK - the knowledge you need is in the public domain already; and Severn Trent have an agreement that was imposed on Dwr Cymru to supply water from Welsh reservoirs at a much lower rate than the free market would allow otherwise.

    So much for the lie of a free-market, and open competition.

    Then we have the Secretary of State for Wales with a veto - a political mandate - to enforce that this never changes to disadvantage England.

    So the poor of Wales – of Merthyr and Blaenau Ffestiniog - subsidise the wealthy yeomen farmers of Shropshire and Herefordshire.

    How is this fair Stonemason?

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  • 31. At 12:48pm on 12 Feb 2010, John Henry wrote:

    Cilmyn wrote...

    Then we have the Secretary of State for Wales with a veto - a political mandate - to enforce that this never changes to disadvantage England.
    So the poor of Wales – of Merthyr and Blaenau Ffestiniog - subsidise the wealthy yeomen farmers of Shropshire and Herefordshire.


    Four words sprang from your comment at #30...

    1. disadvantage, you imply an intention to disadvantage my family and friends because they might live East of Offa's Dyke, that you would only quench a thirst when it disadvantaged fellow citizens of the United Kingdom.

    2. "wealthy yeomen farmers", these would include the taxpayers that, collectively with all UK taxpayers, fund the experimental "Black Lagoon" in Cardiff.

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  • 32. At 2:31pm on 12 Feb 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 31

    Stonemason,

    I have said already many times that knowing you to be as a Tory apologist and an unflinching supporter of the elite, that I was rather dubious of your claims of sympathy for the poor of Wales. Well, here comes your first test, and very quickly the veneer disappears...

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  • 33. At 2:41pm on 12 Feb 2010, John Henry wrote:


    Very sorry Fo, but you do not know me at all.

    The thread of my comment is we are all UK citizens, Cilmyn on the other hand looks across Offa's Dyke with a pair of very rosy tinted glasses, rosy nationalist.

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  • 34. At 3:29pm on 12 Feb 2010, Cilmyn wrote:

    33 - Stonemason - yes of course we are all UK citizens (or subjects but I'll leave that one) - that's stating a fact.

    What of it?

    It might seem to some that we are all equal citizens of the UK as well - but it seems that some citizens of the UK are more equal than others.

    The UK citizens who live in Wales for instance subsidise the cost of cheaper water for the wealthier UK citizens who live over the border in England.

    How is this equitable Stonemason? I ask only because I cannot figure it out myself - I'm at a loss to explain it.

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  • 35. At 3:54pm on 12 Feb 2010, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 33

    And therein, Stonemason, lies your lack of logic and consistency. When you perceive a lack of fairness towards the poor of Wales emanating from within Wales - WAG or National Assembly - you are incandescent with rage (or you claim to be!). But if the poor of Wales are suffering because of the British political system, then that's fine, that's only fair, and we should all doff our caps to the wisdom and infallibility of the ruling elite at Westminster.

    It just doesn't wash, Stonemason.

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