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Four weeks and counting

Betsan Powys | 10:02 UK time, Thursday, 3 February 2011

It was with a month to go that I started swotting for my GCSEs, or as they were known then, O levels. I knew I should have started sooner but wished I could have left it until later - a feeling some of you might be sharing with a month to go until the referendum on law-making powers.

I won't do this to you every day, don't worry but given it's day one of what will be a step-change in our coverage and lots to do, what follows is my bit-by-bit take on the first day of the last month.

The Western Mail's come out in favour of a Yes vote. Not knock-me-down-with-a-feather stuff, I know but it's a reminder that when I landed in Edinburgh airport last week, one of the first things I saw was a bank of papers, every single one of them with a Scottish story on the front page. I left first thing the next morning and saw Tommy Sheridan's face, in a prison van, staring out from most of them. If there were Welsh editions of national newspapers and thriving Welsh papers, how different a campaign would this be?
The People's Assembly is up and running - up very early in the case of four members who were in the Senedd by 6am. Rebcca Wasinski, Linda Bennett , Aled Morris and Gareth Protheroe are all undecided voters. The main issues that bothered them - how can you make up your mind when both sides spin so much, how can you weigh up the argument around scrutiny when both sides disagree so fundamentally about it, not enough information in the Electoral Commission's leaflet about the current situation, what would actually change, do No campaigners in all honesty hate the Assembly and things as they are, do Yes campaigners in all honesty want to appoint another 20 Assembly Members.
A change of tack by Roger Lewis of Yes for Wales, who went for it on Good Morning Wales and went for Rachel Banner of True Wales. It's as though he'd decided it was time to go for the no side, though he realised, I suspect, that he risked appearing over-bearing. Rachel Banner was taken aback by the change in tone since their last exchange. Our panel of four didn't seem to like the 'heat not light' element and left still undecided.
Neither will be on Wales Today this evening. Newbridge businessman and no campaigner Paul Matthews will be on, along with Cardiff City announcer and vice chair of Yes for Wales, Ali Yassine.
11.30

A quote from Steve Thomas, Chief Executive of the Welsh Local Government Association, who gave evidence to the Communities and Culture committee this morning: "I have appeared before this committee before on various initiatives which have stemmed from the Home Office, and the Home Office, in terms of its relationship to devolution is a bit like, sort of, Frank Spencer. Well meaning, but generally incompetent and bumbling ..."

Went down very well with AMs ...

which is ... more than can be said for the government's controversial amendments to the Local Government Measure, first revealed on this blog. The amendment, tabled very late in the process, would allow a Minister to merge or amalgamate two or three councils together by order. It's developing into a serious row, with three significant interventions today.

Firstly, the Liberal Democrats are to table no less than 82 amendments in a bid to delay its progress. This isn't Westminster of course, so there'll be no filibustering, no reading out of recipes to try and talk it out. The Assembly (maybe sadly) doesn't have a scriptwriter of Lord Fellowes' calibre to lecture them on the art of winning Oscars while waiting for a vote to take place.

But the time it will take to debate and vote on them is going to make the legislative timetable even trickier than before.

The second intervention came from the noted constitutional expert David Lambert. His view, expressed without the caveats normally favoured by lawyers of his ilk, is that in Westminster, an amendment of the scale being proposed by Carl Sargeant, so late in the process, would be turned down flat. Under Cabinet Office rules, the Government wouldn't propose it, and under Parliamentary procedure, it wouldn't be accepted.

His bottom line? If bodies such as councils are established by primary legislation, then they should only be dissolved by primary legislation. And that means another Measure, rather than ministerial decree. Very clear.

The third intervention, in the same Constitutional Affairs Committee meeting as David Lambert gave his views, was from the former First Minister Rhodri Morgan. One got the impression that he didn't entirely buy the create by primary, dissolve by primary argument, but at the same time, it doesn't appear that he's one hundred per cent comfortable with the government's last minute decision to include the powers in the Measure.

Here's what he had to say: "We all share this sort of unease about this late addition, obviously a late addition is naturally going to create suspicions of 'what's going on here' and is this really subsidiary to the overall purpose of the local government measure as we have previously understood it."

That sense of unease is felt across the political spectrum, to a greater or lesser extent - but, and to return to where we started the day - this is what law making looks like.

Comments

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  • 1. At 1:33pm on 03 Feb 2011, mr beige wrote:

    like a circle in a spiral.... issues, meetings,committees,directives - I would say we deserve more but clearly the people don't as we sit stupefied in front of our tv's. Still as we fail to solve the basic needs of education and health care in this country it is understandable if no one can explain what is going on.

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  • 2. At 2:19pm on 03 Feb 2011, comeoffit wrote:

    I listened to the debate on Good morning Wales this morning... Indeed it was very different to their last exchange! Roger "that's complete nonsense" Lewis appeared to have completely missed the point about why they were there. He didnt seem to grasp that the 4 onlookers wanted the cases presented with reason, not just constant attack of the other side. Yet he proceeded to scream 'absolute nonsense' at Rachel Banner every time she tried to speak.

    I think it was you Betsan who described Roger's style as sort of Urdd esque. Well he had certainly progressed to main stage of the eisteddfod as a fully fledged drama queen this morning. Unfortunately for him, this only accentuated Rachel's usual calm, cool and collected manner even more. No wonder he didnt persuade any of the 4 undecided... i should imagine being in a small studio with him at 7 in the morning was a pretty intense experience.

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  • 3. At 2:51pm on 03 Feb 2011, leighrichards wrote:

    "If there were Welsh editions of national newspapers and thriving Welsh papers, how different a campaign would this be?" you ask betsan...well betsan we do have a 'national' newspaper in wales.....its the very same national newspaper - the western mail - that has today come out in support of primary lawmaking powers for the welsh assembly.

    If by national you mean the british 'national' newspapers well when have they ever been interested in wales? as i don't recall the daily mail or the telegraph..or even the guardian for that matter devoting too much space over the years to wales and welsh issues. I suspect that much of the british press has the same outlook on wales and the welsh as barbara castle claimed former british prime minister Harold Wilson allegedly did..ie we are all 'poets and plebs'..oh and maybe a few rugby players too.....even if they do all now play in france

    Sadly if there is a no vote i fear you can expect the shrinking volume of print...and broadcast..media in wales to diminish even further and the coverage of wales and welsh issues to diminish in the british national newspapers even further! And we could hardly complain if that happened - as how could we expect to be taken seriously as a nation and as a people by anyone if we reject the opportunity to take even the relatively limited degree of control over our own affairs that this referendum offers us?

    I also suspect that this referendum will not be about the 'dont knows'...it will be about the committed.... it will be about the voters who do know! With turnout not likely to exceed 40 percent the reality is that many of those dont knows may in all probability not bother to vote at all. So the much hyped hope amongst some so called welsh 'political commentators' that those who register in all the opinion polls as 'dont knows' may prove to be significant in terms of the result of this referendum may well turn out to be not very significant at all......this is not 1997!

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  • 4. At 3:07pm on 03 Feb 2011, leighrichards wrote:

    it is also worth pointing out once again of course that if true wales had not taken the bizarre decision they did not to apply for 'lead' status as the no campaign then at least those people you speak of betsan who do not feel the electoral commission's leaflet tells them enough would have had at least one mailshot through their door from each side of the debate.

    The blame for the sad fact that some people in wales may not feel informed enough about the issues in this referendum to vote at all can be laid fairly and squarely at the door of true wales.

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  • 5. At 3:40pm on 03 Feb 2011, TellingmewhatIknowalready wrote:

    I listened partially to the "debate" on radio this morning and the performance of Roger Lewis (CEO-WRU)was very patronishing and over the top,however Rachel Banner is more than a match for the Cefn Cribbwr boy,now well into the "crachach".The screaming rant about the delay in implementing the smoking ban was a "gem",and the figures of saving 4,000 lives per year,and hence 16,000 over 4 years was sheer fantasy land. In a "proper" legislative body it has been accepted that "rushed" legislation tends to be bad legislation,and if there is any REAL problem we can rely on Westminster to sort it out.Lets be frank,other than giving "freebies" to garner popularity (paid for by english taxpayers)what EVIDENCE is there that the services provided by WAG,or their supplicants in local government have IMPROVED incrementally above expenditure thrown at issues. It would appear from education the reverse is the case. In any private concern where "investment" goes up,and "returns" go backwards there would be sackings. What have all the civil servants employed by WAG,and all the very highly paid Directors of Education and staff been doing over last 10 years.

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  • 6. At 4:30pm on 03 Feb 2011, penddu wrote:

    Can I be the first (and last) to say ...oooh Betty....

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  • 7. At 6:53pm on 03 Feb 2011, sionnyn wrote:

    Rachel Banner's ploy of talking about anything else but the referendum was not helpful. But it is the True Wales strategy it appears.

    Does anybody know where she teaches? At least, is it a comprehensive, or primary, and is is a private school or under government control? We know all about Roger Lewis, but we know very little of Rachel.

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  • 8. At 7:22pm on 03 Feb 2011, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    The whole True Wales campaign is one of missinformation and distortions, this isn't about the executive, its about the legislature. They talk about a yes vote removing scrutiny from Assembly made law, will no one stand up and say that Westminster has no say in the content of any Assembly measure... all Westminster does is say whether the National Assembly can make a law within a given area, at no point do they decide the content of any law. Once that power is given the National Assembly can make and unmake any law within that area. All that would happen if the Yes vote happens is that there would be greater certainty in what the National Assembly can make laws on.

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  • 9. At 7:59pm on 03 Feb 2011, Tony Evans wrote:

    Glad to hear that Steve Thomas WLGA was entertaining- a clown amusing other clowns!!

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  • 10. At 8:10pm on 03 Feb 2011, Tony Evans wrote:

    All that would happen if the Yes vote happens is that there would be greater certainty in what the National Assembly can make laws on.

    Err....no. All that would happen is that they would get into an even greater mess that at present. No skills or talent in the Assembly now and no plans by any party to remedy this.

    Wales will be beaten by England tomorrow once again and all sensible people will vote "NO".


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  • 11. At 8:41pm on 03 Feb 2011, Indy2010 wrote:

    The problem is that most people do not understand the law making powers the Assembly already has, an example was on Wales Today this evening, the guy from Brecon thinks voting YES will allow Assembly to solve his housing problem, well they have had those powers since last year and have done nothing, Shelter Cymru estimate 26,000 empty properties in Wales. Report today on homeless rising to 626 household with children, this has been rising since Dec 09, pre Coalition but WAG response it is all down to Westminster cuts, not facing up to the responsibility that they have for the law making powers they have and forcibly put 626 of these empty homes back in use for homeless.

    Whether YES or NO campaigners like it this will turn into a referendum on the Assembly not the actual measure which is improving speed of applying legislation.

    With the tactics of Roger Lewis this morning even further confusing the issue for a lot of undecided or don't knows. Not having an official No campaign does not stop the YES campaign from getting their message across in the locality or are they suffering from the same financial issues that True Wales apparently had and could not have funded a leaflet campaign?

    Interesting comment from Vaughan Roderick this evening on the party's there is the official all party's in the YES campaign and you have the Labour YES campaign whose message is away from Westminster, are they leading the charge for full separation under that banner then?

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  • 12. At 8:52pm on 03 Feb 2011, caradog_minchin wrote:

    All this confusion about the referendum quite put me off my cup of coffee today and it was such a lovely day in Aber. Ron Davies wanted devolution to make the Welsh Office accountable for the way it ran services and spent money. The Assembly was to be about delivery and better services - not law-making. Does anybody know whether devolution has made that difference? The giant gearbox of devolved government is paid for with money that could be going into essential services. The leaflet through my door said nothing about what a YES vote will cost in even more WAG lawyers and Committee Clerks. How much is at stake and is that figure being covered up?

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  • 13. At 9:05pm on 03 Feb 2011, 9755565 wrote:

    After watching the debate on tonight's news with Betsan Powys I have to say the No campaign deserve better. I will be voting Yes in the referendum but even I was dismayed by the standard or argument made by the No candidate.

    To Call those who vote yes 'communists' and to claim we want to break up the UK is appalling. No wonder the state of political knowledge is so bad here in the UK and especially in Wales. OK LCOs are not sexy but they are essentially what this campaign is about. Not smears, Not sound bites.

    I'm afraid that the level of argument by the No Campaign was no better than SARAH PALIN!. Whether you vote Yes or No - we deserve better!

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  • 14. At 9:29pm on 03 Feb 2011, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Re 8.
    You are wrong, at the moment LCOs are scrutinised by Westminster ( thankfully ) long may that scrutiny continue.

    There's are rather telling paragraph by Peter Hain, seems that Westminster scrutiny is making sure that the language duties are imposed in a reasonable and proportionate way!!!!!!!!!

    Imagine that scrutiny going? For gawds sake vote no.

    http://www.peterhain.org/default.asp?pageid=203&mpageid=89&groupid=2

    There is plenty of evidence that such scrutiny has improved the drafting of an LCO. For example, in the case of the Welsh Language LCO the scrutiny undertaken by the Welsh Affairs Committee has resulted in changes to the Order to ensure that Welsh language duties are imposed in a reasonable and proportionate way.



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  • 15. At 10:55pm on 03 Feb 2011, lionelair wrote:

    Lets be frank,other than giving "freebies" to garner popularity (paid for by english taxpayers)

    written by "TellingmewhatIknowalready"

    you clearly do need telling, as it is obvious you know very little. You are either living in England or are a tax dodger. Do you not pay tax? I do, and as a Welsh taxpayer soon to be hit by 'call me Dave's' continuation of Liebour's 40% whacking of us, I resent being told that England subsidises me. I pay my way every day of my life mate and no one subsidises me. Or does the huge amount of back and front door tax that I pay just not register? Therefore only tax paid in England counts?
    Get real will you.

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  • 16. At 11:23pm on 03 Feb 2011, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

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

  • 17. At 11:24pm on 03 Feb 2011, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 15

    Well said!

    And Jac - you're back! But you still don't understand LCOs.

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  • 18. At 11:25pm on 03 Feb 2011, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    An LCO is a legislative competence order, it is not an Assembly Measure. An Assembly Measure is a law, a law is very specific. An LCO gives the National Assembly powers to pass laws within an area, it doesn't specify the laws that will pass - a single LCO grants powers over a policy area it doesn't mandate the policies that might be created over the years. As for the language lco being "improved" by the addition of terms like reasonable and proportionate is a meaningless tautology - its an obligation inherent in all legislation. This is the sort of misunderstanding that the No side seem to perpetuate. Not a second of scrutiny has been exercised by Westminster over a single Assembly Measure. That isn't their job. Incidentally the LCO route is the lesser used route to pass responsibility for legislation, far more common has been the transfer by act of the Westminster parliament.

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  • 19. At 11:39pm on 03 Feb 2011, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    Peter Hain, said this, I didn't.

    There is plenty of evidence that such scrutiny has improved the drafting of an LCO. For example, in the case of the Welsh Language LCO the scrutiny undertaken by the Welsh Affairs Committee has resulted in changes to the Order to ensure that Welsh language duties are imposed in a reasonable and proportionate way.



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  • 20. At 01:29am on 04 Feb 2011, Glyndo wrote:

    19. At 11:39pm on 03 Feb 2011, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:
    “Peter Hain, said this, I didn't.”

    You might expect Peter Hain to gaze fondly on the LCO system, he was the one responsible for implementing it. Every body else and their dog are saying what a mess it is.

    By the way, neither Scotland nor Northern Island’s legislation is scrutinised by Westminster. Are the people of Wales so inferior that they alone need to be?

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  • 21. At 09:44am on 04 Feb 2011, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #20

    It’s the ‘too small, too weak, too poor...’ argument always used by the dominant, who sometimes truly believe that they really do know better.

    Hain is one of those people; it seems he actually believes some of his own propaganda. Most of us are only too aware of the mess he cobbled together in Part 3 of the GoWA 2006 in order to please a handful of Labour dinosaurs at Westminster who were afraid of becoming redundant.

    What amazes me is that there are Welsh people in 2011 who believe it - because they’ve heard it all their lives.

    It’s been used all over the world by the imperial powers of the last two centuries. It was used by the apartheid regime in South Africa, and is employed by the Zionists in Israel. It’s still alive and kicking in the Middle East where the US is pulling the imperial strings and maintaining brutal autocratic regimes.

    Here in Wales it’s what in reality underlies the message of TW.... ‘Wales can’t hack it. Only our betters are capable of managing our affairs’.

    What a sad vision for our country!

    No-one of substance is backing the No campaign, because they don’t want to be associated with a small bunch of people who think that we in Wales are losers.

    We are not. We have lost out in the past, and that has to change

    Rachel Banner can try to divert the argument away by raising spectres, but the core of her message is negativity.

    Its time to move on.

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  • 22. At 10:08am on 04 Feb 2011, John Henry wrote:

    It is not the "It’s the ‘too small, too weak, too poor...’ argument" that is in the mind of many ...

    ... but that we still do not have confidence in both the people and processes at the Welsh Assembly ..

    minimal consultation with ...
    next to no scrutiny ...
    next to no debate ...
    in the national assembly.

    AM German expresses my fears and concerns as I wrote elsewhere and as reported by the BBC at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-12307128 .

    ... we deserve better, much better; so why not give proper consideration to the strong, proud and intelligent people and give them not this insubstantial gruel, but a robust plate of democracy that when the Assembly and WAG steps up to the plate asking for more powers the peoples of Wales will be more than glad to agree.

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  • 23. At 10:47am on 04 Feb 2011, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 22

    There is a contradiction in your argument, Stonemason.

    Your first argument is that the people in the Assembly aren't up to it. (Which is basically Bryn's precis of the blind attitude of the No to Wales cabal). But you have said that if they had proved they were up to it, in your opinion, then perhaps we could proceed to Part 4.

    However, you also say that there is no way we can proceed, because, in your opinion (again), there is not enough scrutiny built into the system. You can't have it both ways!

    And by the way, I've been watching some of the Westminster committees at work recently, and if that's what you're portraying as what we in Wales desparately need, then god help us all! Lame, banal questions and uncomprehending faces would sum them up, I'm afraid.

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  • 24. At 11:03am on 04 Feb 2011, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #22

    As always you are selective in your quotation from a source:

    An assembly government spokeswoman:

    '..AMs will have an opportunity to scrutinise the measure in detail during a forthcoming committee stage’.

    The issue of ‘scrutiny’ is often raised. Its a red herring. The Scottish Parliament and NI Legislative Assembly scrutinise their own legislative proposals without recourse to Westminster.

    But of course, according to you, we in Wales ‘can’t hack it... we’re the perpetual losers’. Pure negativity.

    You give the impression that Westminster is a remarkable model as far as scrutiny of bills is concerned. In fact, it’s nothing of the sort.

    In recent decades Parliament has passed a deluge of legislation, most of it with minimal scrutiny. To handle it, the guillotine is employed and debate is limited to a tight timetable.

    Part of the scrutiny process takes place in a wholly unelected chamber, containing hereditary members, bishops of the Church of England and probably quite a few who made large donations to the party in power.

    Many are enabling bills, which give wide powers to ministers to enact secondary legislation which isn't usually debated in Parliament at all, simply left ‘on the table’ for a specified period of time.

    Before 2006, Parliament had virtually no time to consider legislation only affecting Wales – it MPs were too busy doing other things, including claiming expenses.

    In addition some contend that up to eighty percent of the UK’s laws come from the EU – not scrutinised by Parliament at all!

    If anything we need less Westminster and more Cardiff made laws.

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  • 25. At 11:13am on 04 Feb 2011, tredwyn wrote:

    #22 It does certainly appear to be true that lots of people are disatisfied with the Assembly and the capacity of some AMs. So let's agree it would be good if they were better and answer the following question: what concrete reforms would improve the levels of consultation, debate and scrutiny in the Assembly? True Wales want "better devolution" and it's hard to disagree with that. But what do they mean? The Richard Committee proposed two things that would definitely improve debate and scrutiny in the Assembly: a reformed voting system to loosen the Party stranglehold, namely STV, and 20 more members to provide more non-government AMs to man committees. But True Wales and the no-ers in general don't want more AMs. I, for one, will sign up for any sensible plan for improvement. Say what you want.

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  • 26. At 2:36pm on 04 Feb 2011, RWWCardiff wrote:

    I almost expected the debate to be about the number of 'yesses' and 'nos' on the front of the Electoral Commision's booklet. It wasn't but it was close. There is still a lack of why it is so important to support either side. Is the WAG so brilliant and effective? What is it proud of? What would it be able to do better than it has done? Or does it still need to prove itself worthy? Is it helping or hindering the sort after improvements? Above all, is it value for money or a competing drain on other resources? Now's the time.
    Regards, etc.

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  • 27. At 6:03pm on 04 Feb 2011, Fitzmark2 wrote:

    There's a huge and shameful elephant in the middle of this debate which is being ignored by the nationalists and the Yes campaign and its name is the Welsh economy.

    Its other names are: the poorest region in Britain; the least competitive economy of all the regions of Britain; and the most damning name,the region in which spending on education and essential health services are second class to the spending on education and essential services in the other regions of Britain.

    All assertions above are borne out by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's analysis of the economic well being of the regions of Britain, post devolution.

    That's all the information needed to make a value judgement on giving more powers to the organisation that is responsible for this sorry state of affairs. All sensible people must surely vote NO way.

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  • 28. At 7:48pm on 04 Feb 2011, Nospin wrote:

    On BBC radio this morning Roger Lewis told a big porkie.

    He said a yes vote would save money"

    The yes website under questions No2.

    WILL A YES VOTE COST MORE

    "No. An independent Commission headed by the UK’s former Ambassador to the UN, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, looked at the cost of a Yes vote and concluded it would cost no more than is currently being spent."

    It will cost no mnore is NOT the same as it will cost less, ie it will not save money.

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  • 29. At 8:56pm on 04 Feb 2011, merthyrmarkf wrote:

    In reply to M20; quote
    "By the way, neither Scotland nor Northern Island’s legislation is scrutinised by Westminster. Are the people of Wales so inferior that they alone need to be?"

    Well since Wales is the poorest, sickest and most ignorant part of Great Britain, you would tend to think yes, wouldn't you. The only thing wrong with the above quote it it's not the Welsh people in general who are inferior, it is their politcians !

    On another note "four weeks and counting", most people who I've spoken to think the polling card they have is for council elections/euro elections/assembly elections or some the PR referendum, no-one much (other than politicians) seem to know or care much about the referendum. I don't know which side such a potentially low turn out will favour.

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  • 30. At 10:06pm on 04 Feb 2011, Jack_Wilkinson wrote:

    I'm not happy with patriotic Welshmen making laws for me, I want the British Government making laws for this Wilkinson. If you don't mind? Ta.

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  • 31. At 08:49am on 05 Feb 2011, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #27 wrote:

    ‘All assertions above are borne out by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's analysis..’

    Try quoting from Rowntree instead of making loose assertions but remember that you can’t cherry pick the bits that suit your argument thus misrepresenting the findings of the research:

    ‘A major study on the impact of devolution on the most disadvantaged people and places has shown that despite falling poverty and improving employment levels in the devolved countries, most significant progress has been down to reserved (UK) powers.’

    http://www.jrf.org.uk/media-centre/story-of-devolution (January 2010)

    What this means is that differentials between nations and regions of the UK are largely down to reserved UK powers. Westminster is responsible for the good and the bad – success here, failure there.

    Wales has the lowest level of devolution in the UK. The Assembly Government has very little power to affect Wales’ economy. Wales is significantly underfunded. The Barnett Formula takes no account of the particular needs of Wales, especially its infrastructure, neglected since time immemorial.

    England effectively has its own parliament in Westminster, with the whole range of powers available to it; England’s representation overwhelms it and there is a massive civil service to implement policies in England. Watch the UK-wide BBC news and current affairs channel and programmes and coverage is of health and education etc in England.

    You blame devolution for all Wales’ ills. Wales was a poor country within the UK before 1998. Read Rowntree and you will see that some things have improved since then, others not. The UK government is responsible for much of it still.

    It’s worth reading several of the Rowntree papers in detail. There is a great deal of interesting material there.

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  • 32. At 10:00am on 05 Feb 2011, Cythraul wrote:

    "I'm not happy with patriotic Welshmen making laws for me, I want the British Government making laws for this Wilkinson. If you don't mind? Ta."

    Jack,

    In other words, "patriotic Englishmen"?

    Here's a suggestion. Start a campaign to ensure that the new constitutional arrangements in Wales only apply to Welsh people, the English residents of Wales to be subject to the rule of Westminster in all devolved areas, if, as you do, they so wish (Someone very brave and very smart will have to decide on how the multitudes with mixed heritages are classified!)

    But why stop there? While you're at it, why not petition for a return to the ancient order of things post-conquest when the English hegemony was being put in place i.e. Englishries and Welshries, the best towns exclusively reserved and inhabited by 'ethnic English' and others less salubrious exclusively inhabited by 'ethnic Welsh'.

    If you genuinely have the courage of your convictions, that is.

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  • 33. At 10:33am on 05 Feb 2011, Glyndo wrote:

    28. At 7:48pm on 04 Feb 2011, Nospin wrote:

    “"An independent Commission headed by the UK’s former Ambassador to the UN, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, looked at the cost of a Yes vote and concluded it would cost no more than is currently being spent."

    It will cost no mnore is NOT the same as it will cost less, ie it will not save money.”

    Not necessarily true, he said it wouldn’t cost more; so, unless it costs exactly the same, (a most unlikely scenario) it must therefore cost less. Perhaps he didn’t have the information, we now have, on the enormous amount of time and money that has been wasted on trying to process the LCO system?

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  • 34. At 6:38pm on 05 Feb 2011, Nospin wrote:

    quote "is that in Westminster, an amendment of the scale being proposed by Carl Sargeant, so late in the process, would be turned down flat. Under Cabinet Office rules, the Government wouldn't propose it, and under Parliamentary procedure, it wouldn't be accepted."

    Doesn't matter in Cardiff there is no scrutiny or proper process they believe what they want they should have ( most of them have never been MPs and don't understand the proper process route), like greedy spoilt children really.

    quote " If bodies such as councils are established by primary legislation, then they should only be dissolved by primary legislation. And that means another Measure, rather than ministerial decree. Very clear."

    They are our councils, it is not up to WAG to merge them, what are the criteria for deciding a council needs merging, which of it's neighbours would it merge with?.

    Are only back room functions merged or councillors as well, are councillor numbers reduced, which chambers would they meet in or will it be a strasbourg / brussels scenario.

    WHAT ON EARTH IS THIS ALL ABOUT, IT IS NOT ABOUT DEMOCRACY.

    It is also a clear example of the sort of thing that we can expect if a yes vote wins, a very good reason to vote no.

    THANK YOU BETSAN.



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  • 35. At 8:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, Fitzmark2 wrote:

    Re #31 by Bryn_Teilo

    Firstly I think you should take a leaf out of your own book and not excuse the failings of the Assembly and its politicians by pointing the finger constantly at the Westminster Parliament.

    Secondly I'm having a problem with my computer which tells me that every time I try to put a link up I should "Ask permission of the administer." Anyway that's another matter.

    Back to your post: I hope the link you provided has given you hope and joy for your absurd crusade for more powers. Of course there have been improvements to certain aspects of social services in the region of Wales as there has been in all the regions of Britain.

    But you have carefully avoided any mention that Joseph Rowntree Foundation also highlighted the following points in relation to Wales:

    •Steady falls in the proportion of people of all ages living in low-income households have brought poverty rates in Wales down to the GB average. Though highest in the Valleys, every part of Wales has significant levels of child poverty.

    •Unemployment has also fallen steadily to UK levels or below. However, more people are 'economically inactive but wanting work' than unemployed, especially in the Valleys.

    •Homelessness is rising sharply, as is the number of homeless households placed in temporary accommodation.

    •Wales stands out within Britain for the high prevalence of working-age ill health across all ages. It is highest in the Valleys, with significant pockets across the west of Wales.

    •Households where someone is in work are a rising share of those in poverty. Low pay is especially associated with part-time work. Most low-paid workers are women. Retail and the public sector are the main employers of low-paid workers.

    •Low pay is most prevalent in rural areas, especially Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion, Gwynedd and Powys.

    •Improving trends in educational attainment at 11 and 16 slowed around 2000 and in some cases came to a halt. Compared with England, Wales has a particularly high proportion of 16-year-olds failing to get any GCSEs at all.

    •17-year-olds who have neither five good GCSEs nor an equivalent vocational qualification are very unlikely to have any further qualifications by the age of 24.

    •Both the quality of GP services and the provision of childcare places are lower in the Valleys than elsewhere in Wales.

    •Rural, West and North West Wales are marked by a lack of central heating, the problem being worst in Gwynedd, Isle of Anglesey and Conwy.


    There you are you see: a couple of pluses there but many more minuses which are all down to that wasteful and unnecessary extra tier of government in Cardiff Bay.

    And I have no hesitation in repeating that Wales is the poorest region of the Britain or that the Welsh economy is the least competitive of all the regions of Britain.

    And you and others of the Yes campaign still have the bare faced cheek to call for more powers to set things right. You just couldn't make it up.




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  • 36. At 9:41pm on 05 Feb 2011, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Really? Can you tell me which are down to the National Assembly and which are down to the Welsh government and why?

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  • 37. At 10:25pm on 05 Feb 2011, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #35

    As the research carried out by the Rowntree Foundation points out, Westminster's reserve powers, those not devolved to Wales and Scotland, bear much of the responsibility for successes and failures in various parts of the UK in most of the areas you list.

    The UK's version of devolution has been patchy and poorly designed. Its still a highly centralised state, with a consequential rich/poor geographic divide. Unfortunately Wales is on the wrong side of that divide, and has been throughout my lifetime, indeed, for centuries.

    Many of Wales' problems are structural, built up over generations - unemployment, child poverty, low incomes etc. The Assembly and the WAG don't have extensive powers to address those issues in any serious way.

    Even those that the WAG can influence have been hit by a relative fall in Wales' block grant under Barnett. That is destined to get worse as its built into the Formula. The Westminster Government refuses to address it.

    A Yes vote may well bring about a change of attitude to funding in London. The Scottish Government and Parliament is much better regarded in Westminster and Whitehall. Inevitably more powers will be devolved north of the border.

    The Assembly will get its legislative powers in the 20 areas over the next 4-5 years through both framework legislation or the LCOs - that's a given. The referendum is about whether or not the powers are devolved immediately.

    Essentially, its about removal of the cumbersome LCO system, which just about everyone agrees hasn't worked well. More framework powers have been devolved directly already, and that process will continue.

    Sadly the Assembly won't have the fiscal and monetary powers required to energise Wales' stagnant economy even after a Yes vote... I hasten to add that the stagnation has built up over many decades. Those powers, will remain at Westminster, which has failed to address Wales' problems.. indeed largely ignored them.

    Legislative powers will make for better and more accountable government in Wales, but imo won't tackle the most serious problems which face our country and its people.

    Those such as yourself which oppose the development of better government IN Wales, have only negativity to offer. There isn't a significant political party anywhere which supports a NO vote. No-one of any political substance has supported the campaign as far as I'm aware.

    Their argument, and yours, centres on the continuation of the LCO system for a couple more years. I don't hear Labour MPs out campaigning for its continuation either, which might be a tacit admission that they'd be glad to see the back of it. The leader of the Labour Party supports a Yes vote, as do all four leaders of the major parties in Wales.

    The ConDem coalition is going to drastically cut Wales' representation at Westminster by 25% in any case, so Wales' MPs will carry even less clout than they do now. That does not bode well for our future. More powers are needed to counterbalance the loss of ten MPs, else Wales will be sidelined even more.

    So we need a Welsh Government and Assembly with greater powers to carry more weight when it comes to negotiating with Westminster and Whitehall.

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  • 38. At 11:19pm on 05 Feb 2011, Nospin wrote:

    Lyn - semantics mate .

    assembly, wag, the bay, sennedd who cares, it is all part of the same shambles and failure.

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  • 39. At 10:24am on 06 Feb 2011, Cythraul wrote:

    Fitz,

    "And I have no hesitation in repeating that Wales is the poorest region of the Britain or that the Welsh economy is the least competitive of all the regions of Britain."

    There's absolutely no need to hesitate on that point. Shout it from the rooftops, repeatedly, so that every man, woman and child in Wales gets the message, until it finally sinks in. WE HAVE TO GET OFF OUR COLLECTIVE NATIONAL A*** AND GET BUSY!

    "And you and others of the Yes campaign still have the bare faced cheek to call for more powers to set things right. You just couldn't make it up."

    That's because there's absolutely no need to make it up.

    Without the guiding influence of people who truly care about our country, as a country and as a nation, not as some irrelevant English backwater, Wales will NEVER be able to dig itself out of the horrible, broken dependency culture that centuries of Westminster rule has ultimately led to.

    10 years of limited devolution verses 100s of years of Westminster English rule, and you blame ALL our ills on the former?! Talk about myopia!

    Win or lose the referendum, the power to make law for Wales in Wales by the National Assembly will come anyway, piece by piece.

    As a Welsh citizen all you have to do is decide whether you want to cut off your nose to spite your face, or say YES to progress and the rebuilding of a great nation.

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  • 40. At 10:37am on 06 Feb 2011, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Its not semantics, after all do you blame Parliament for the failings of a government? Do you call for the Parliament at Westminster to lose legislative power when a government policy fails?

    Again I ask what policies are the responsibility of who and what exactly has failed.

    People paint a very depressing picture, yet educational standards are rising (as measured by exam passes) - yes maybe not rising faster than England. Yes average expenditure per student is less than in England, but there is a huge variation within that with some authorities spending far more than others and there is no direct correlation between expenditure and performance - as witnessed within Wales.

    Wales' problems are structural, we have a poor internal communication system, a higher proportion of our people live in rural areas than England, we have a higher incidence of longtime ill health, caused by our industrial heritage and lifestyle issues. Most of our problems arise from the disinterested neglect of a UK government who is unconcerned about a minor part of the UK with a small population - and one that doesn't vote for it anyway - or when Labour is in power is compliant and votes for it regardless.

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  • 41. At 11:44am on 06 Feb 2011, RWWCardiff wrote:

    Thank you Bryn for at least putting out a coherent argument and making clear why some things are the way they are.
    Regards, etc.

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  • 42. At 12:19pm on 06 Feb 2011, Fitzmark2 wrote:

    Posts #37, 39, 40, clearly affirm that even if there is a majority Yes vote, however small and regardless of turnout, the change will be pushed through. But their craving for more and more power will not be satiated until they have achieved total separation from England.

    It looks as if it is going to be another dog day afternoon, 1997 all over again. Then the full weight of the government machinery and finances were behind the Yes campaign and even then they were only able to achieve the flimsiest of winning margins. Now again at this referendum the same shysters (right across the political spectrum) who have wrecked the Welsh economy and social services, post devolution, are behind the Yes campaign.

    But devolution has indeed provided a damn good living for a feather bedded elite and its precious language, at the expense of a crappy ambulance service, increasing homelessness, child poverty, and low educational standards, for the majority.

    Thank you all for clearly explaining the agenda behind the referendum.

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  • 43. At 12:26pm on 06 Feb 2011, Nospin wrote:

    Lyn , just excuses mate , all excuses.
    The annual grant from 1997 to 2009, in real terms more than doubled ( ie after stripping out monies for new transfers etc, a like for like comparision), inflation over the same period (according to the BoE website) was around 35%.
    That is a hefty funding increase in anyone's terms.
    what did they do with it?
    what was achieved?

    The best tool in any government box is money, so why did the failures in education, health, transport and the economy happen, WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?

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  • 44. At 12:46pm on 06 Feb 2011, Nospin wrote:

    In 1997 any sensible new organisation would have set about building a vibrant sustainable economy based on the private sector ( not an airy fairy 10 year plan budgeted at £15b), alongside that they would have ensured health and educationcand transport infrastructure systems were properly funded and sound.

    After a sustained period of growth the pet schemes could have been affordable.

    Now I'll tell you where the money went, socoal engineering, "nation" building, office building ( the senedd and 16 overseas), empire building( WAG civil servant count up from 2000 to almost 7000).

    They ignored the old adage LEARN TO WALK BEFORE YOU TRY TO RUN,very foolish.

    Those decisions then lead to the deliberate pillaging of the funding for essential services, they didn't need more powers or LCO's to take those budgetary decisions, they don't need them to fix those failures.

    Until they have demonstrated the ability to fix them they don't deserve or need more powers.

    THE BOYS DON'T NEED MORE TOYS
    THE FOOLS DON'T NEED MORE TOOLS



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  • 45. At 1:30pm on 06 Feb 2011, John Henry wrote:

    Tredwyn at 25 threw down a gauntlet that seems to have been ignored, let me apologise personally for my silence, work can be an inconvenient distraction and your contribution deserves more than silence.

    There are two substantive elements to your comment, the proposals of the Richard Committee “for reformed voting and 20 extra AMs”, and the question “what concrete reforms would improve the levels of consultation, debate and scrutiny in the Assembly?

    The Richards proposal for reformed voting would be welcome if I were able to vote for the person, I would prefer AV or similar which preserves the one member, one constituency. Additional AMs seems to be adding costs to the operation of the Assembly, but in the cause of democracy I could support it; does the Assembly need to be a full-time occupation, 2/3 time with a 2/3 salary for those not appointed to WAG might mitigate issues of costs.

    Consultation is difficult, it requires so much information and substantial amounts of time, if the consultation issue/’s were extensively advertised in simple English/Welsh so that everyone has an opportunity to contribute, then democratic Wales would be moving in the right direction, if the consultation period per issue were extended then in Wales there could be a conversation between the peoples of Wales rather than just the narrow conversations that currently exist between political pundits, including the very narrow conversations we have here at Betsan’s.

    Debate and scrutiny would follow as night follows day.

    I have a little complaint Betsan, why close a topic for comments, it is as if we are being denied following a conversation to natural conclusions, if contributors are genuinely moving off topic or spoiling a conversation delete them, some work long antisocial hours where both spare time and access to this blog is severly restricted so miss many opportunities to contribute.

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  • 46. At 2:00pm on 06 Feb 2011, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #43

    Assembly Government expenditure in Wales depends mostly on the Barnett Formula. It determines the share of funds from the UK Treasury to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is mainly based on relative population size. Its more complicated than that, but you can read about it here:

    http://wales.gov.uk/icffw/home/?lang=en

    Read the reports of the Independent Commission on Funding and Finance for Wales. I don't know if the BBC allows a direct pdf. link

    There you will read about the Barnett 'squeeze' which explains why the block grant to Wales is falling steadily relative to England.

    The major problem with Barnett is that it largely ignores the special needs of regions or nations within the UK. That is why thirty years ago the formula allocated a higher proportion of funding per head of the population to Wales and Scotland. They had greater needs which were largely historical - higher ageing population, higher unemployment, more ill-health etc.

    That extra funding did not address the deeper infrastructural inequalities, which remain to this day, and are arguably worse. An example is transport, as you raise, which although a devolved responsibility, Barnett funding can never address Wales' poor transport infrastructure. At best it can only be tinkered with.

    There isn't a mile of electrified railway in Wales, and only one motorway, which is tolled on entry to Wales - itself a tax on the Welsh economy. My guess is that if rail electrification happens it will stop at Bristol, whereas Wales' economy requires it to stretch to Swansea. That's just one example of how Wales is losing out or has been sidelined by Westminster governments.

    Worse still, Wales' funding has slowly been squeezed by Barnett since the early 1990s. Eventually it will make no allowance for Wales' special problems which haven't been addressed. We in Wales are on a loser in that respect. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has ruled out changes to Barnett. Shortly there will be ten fewer MPs from Wales to argue our case.

    If, as you contend, Wales' funding in real terms has more than doubled over a given period, that is also true of England. Do remember though that the factors that favoured parts of England in the past, such as London and the south east, still remain. That implies that inequalities will increase with time, rather than the opposite. Those regions will get relatively more prosperous, and Wales will get poorer.

    It's easy to come to simplistic conclusions, make unverified assertions, throw flimsy statistics about, or point the finger of blame. My contention is that in the final analysis its down to us in Wales to get our act together and take responsibility if we want to live in a better country. Others have failed to deliver, mainly because they've had little or no incentive to improve conditions here - they don't live here and have little or no interest in us or our country. If we don't grasp the nettle then we will only have ourselves to blame.

    We need to take every opportunity to increase the status and dignity of our country and its people. That's why I'll be voting Yes on March 3.

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  • 47. At 2:50pm on 06 Feb 2011, cleverelliejo wrote:

    Why is it that when Wales has a cut in budget there's always whining that it is because we're Welsh?
    I heard recently that the city of Liverpool has had cuts in it's budgets of hundreds of millions, I wonder if they are all going round whining about their lot? and blaming London.
    A bit off topic, but what was that all about on the BBC on Friday night, bringing up the Welsh not, film of children being whipped for speaking welsh? (didn't know they had films at that time!)
    The last Welsh speaking village being drowned to supply water for some English city. etc.Shock horror.
    Is that how it's going to be in the run-up to this Referendum?
    Dollops of anti English propaganda.
    Just wondering.

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  • 48. At 3:42pm on 06 Feb 2011, Bryn_Teilo wrote:

    #47

    '... to supply water for some English city'

    The city is Liverpool, which I have a great liking for, especially its people - friendly, welcoming and a great sense of humour! Not bettered anywhere.

    The flooding of Tryweryn and the destruction of the community of Capel Celyn happened in 1965 despite ALL of Wales MPs voting against the bill - Plaid had no MPs at that time. It was passed by Parliament, regardless. Today, as I understand it, Liverpool sells the water from Llyn Celyn at a profit.

    I think I'm correct in saying that the Government of Wales is forbidden (in the GoWA 2006? Feel free to correct if I’m wrong) from taking any actions which might have a detrimental effect on England's water supplies. So much for Wales' resources!

    Liverpool City Council belatedly apologised in 2005.

    'The statement acknowledged the "hurt of 40 years ago" and "insensitivity by our predecessor council".

    Councillor Mike Storey, the Liberal Democrat Leader of the council, said: "Apologising is the first step towards reconciliation. I hope people don't see it as gesturing because it's not - it's a recognition that mistakes were made."'

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/4354256.stm

    'Shock horror'.

    It's sad that some people such as yourself, presumably living in Wales, have so little empathy for the trauma suffered by the villagers, when even the elected representatives of the citizens of Liverpool realise that an injustice had been done.

    The Barnett 'squeeze' is over and above any cuts to the Wales block grant over the next five years. A double cut, if you prefer to put it that way. No-one is whining about it, simply describing how Wales' finances are structured. This is important in the run-up to the referendum.

    Wales' history is also relevant. Read up on the definition of propaganda sometime. A Yes vote is not against anyone or anything, its a vote for our Assembly to get legislative powers now, instead of bit by bit over the next couple of years. A No vote leads nowhere.

    Seems you have an aversion to facts when they're presented. Opinion seems more to your liking. Keep on wondering.

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  • 49. At 4:03pm on 06 Feb 2011, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    These pet projects of which you speak, the Assembly building, its offices and the bureaux abroad actually cost small sums against the whole Assembly budget, likewise these "nation building" measure, exactly what are they anyway?

    If policies have failed we can vote out those that have failed us, but that is the Welsh Government not the National Assembly. You could argue that the last government failed us economically, but we don't strip Westminster of legislative power until we assess that they can be trusted with it again.

    Stonemason, thank you for returning to the argument.

    I too don't like the additional member system as its closed list system does not let people rank the people on the list. It has an advantage over FPTP in that it produces a result closer to the voting wishes of the people but it doesn't give people the control that STV has. I would prefer the additional member system over FPTP and AV as AV is not proportional.

    Richard proposed an additional 20 members to support the work of scrutiny. That isn't on offer at the moment - interestingly AMs roughly cost half that of an MP, and we are about to lose 10 MPs.... A yes vote will not increase the size of the National Assembly. Stonemason you might like to read the conclusions of an Assembly Committee that has been looking at how the scrutiny of legislation can be improved.

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  • 50. At 4:30pm on 06 Feb 2011, Nospin wrote:

    Bryn the more than doubling of the Barnett grant in real terms between 1997 and 2009 is not my contention it is a fact, I submitted an foi to get the figures with the extras for new transfers etc stripped out, to get a genuine like for like comparison.
    As for capel celyn the villagers were re housed in far better accomodation, there was no fuss until plaid and the nationalist whipped it it, and i believe one welsh mp abstained.

    You are correct a no vote leads nowhere, things remain as they are and the assembly can have a good re-think about it's failures.
    On the other hand the yes vote is a pig in a poke as no one knows what will happen. What new laws will be introduced without proper scrutiny, and how these new laws may affect the vast majority of the non welsh speaking welsh people.
    One thing we can safely guess is that if the laws are as flawed as the bill for the badger cull then there will be some very rich pickings for lawyers in Wales.

    Read somewhere the no smoking LCO took 4 years, well if you consider the fact the assembly has no devolved authority in that area, the more important question is why did they bother, would have been better if they had spent the time fixing the things they have broken over which they do have autrhority, instead of wasting their time and our money politicking.

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  • 51. At 4:35pm on 06 Feb 2011, John Henry wrote:

    49, when do I ever digress !!

    My response to Tredwyn at 45 was not related to the forthcoming referendum, but the democratic direction I would like to see the Assembly take, as he succinctly put it .... "I, for one, will sign up for any sensible plan for improvement. Say what you want."

    I downloaded the document as soon as I read about its existence over at "A Change of Personnel" last Thursday, a step in the right direction and welcome, but it relates primarily to technical issues, my concerns are with the democratic process where the public and politics can and should both interact.

    Consultation is probably that part of the scrutiny process most lacking, by that I refer to consultation with the public at large, not just interest groups or narrow forums such as this.

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  • 52. At 5:00pm on 06 Feb 2011, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re my 23

    Stonemason,

    Is your silence an admission of the contradictory nature of your remarks...or not?

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  • 53. At 5:15pm on 06 Feb 2011, John Henry wrote:

    52, not ...

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  • 54. At 5:20pm on 06 Feb 2011, John Henry wrote:

    53, not ...

    Additional scrutiny is able to counteract the less than excellent qualities found at Cardiff Bay, as happens in Westminster.

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  • 55. At 6:36pm on 06 Feb 2011, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Actually there is more room for consultation with the wider population in the National Assembly as evidence can be taken from individuals as well as groups at both a pre legislative stage and at the various committee stages. I would also welcome greater use of the petitions committee. I think we can learn a great deal from the way other unicameral legislatures work - including all those subnational ones in the rest of Europe.

    What would you suggest as a way for wider consultation? Technology can help here, as in maybe requiring all legislation to have a comments page? Though judging from some of the things you see on the net you might have to wade through a lot of rubbish....

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  • 56. At 6:53pm on 06 Feb 2011, Fitzmark2 wrote:


    The thirteen years of appalling partisan stewardship of the once prosperous region of Wales Stonmason has seen an ever widening economic gap between Wales and the other regions of Britain.

    In a well regulated society more scrutiny of all the policies emantaing from Cardiff Bay would be the order of the day. But this is Wales and the minority and unrepresentative nationalist grouping in society get away with murder,

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  • 57. At 7:13pm on 06 Feb 2011, Lyn David Thomas wrote:

    Actually Wales was not prosperous, its economy has been in decline for over 100 years. As for partisan stewardship, well that is what you have in a system where political parties exist. You think we have non partisan stewardship at Westminster? Have we ever?

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  • 58. At 8:51pm on 06 Feb 2011, FoDafydd wrote:

    Re 54

    Sadly, Stonemason, that doesn't even begin to address your contradiction.

    And Fitz, living in denial as you do will not change the basic, undeniable fact that Wales is a country, and the Welsh are a nation. Even the Queen of England, of whom I am sure you are an extra-loyal subject, believes it.

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  • 59. At 10:36pm on 06 Feb 2011, tredwyn wrote:

    #51 I fnd myself agreeing with Stonemason - not something I can say every day. The Assembly has been disappointing in its failure to develop the mechanisms of public consultation and involvement. We never had a national convention of civil society like the Scots and when the Assembly was set up there was talk of virtual on-line conventions and other mechanisms of public consultation. Since the departure of Ron Davies those things failed to happen. The Assembly needs to raise its game in getting through to the people. Wales suffers from the absence of a media which most people read that covers Welsh politics - which perhaps explains the stupefying level of ignorance of some contributors to this blog. But that isn't news and the Assembly needs to try harder to connect with its electorate and enable them to feed in views.

    That said I'm sure STV would help. Each AM would have a constituency link. True there would be several members per constituency but that would enable every memeber of the public to find a sympathetic representative and create an element of competition among AMs within the same party that would keep them on their toes and enable the public to indicate in which direction it wanted a given party to go.

    You would never know it from comments on this blog but the UK has about the lowest number of elected representatives per head of population in the democratic world. All these calls for eliminating politicans are a call to thin out democracy, intentional or otherwise. They remind me of the populist appeal of an Oswald Mosely or a Mussolini. I would guess that the Richard Commission was right and we need another 20 AMs to do the job right. The cost would be absolutely trivial compared with the cost of one bad decision when managing a £16 billion budget. The cost of the Assembly in relation that budget is very modest. I agree with the critics that we need a better standard of decison-making but if you will the end you have to will the means.

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  • 60. At 11:03pm on 06 Feb 2011, merthyrmarkf wrote:

    In reply to M39; quote;
    "Without the guiding influence of people who truly care about our country, as a country and as a nation, not as some irrelevant English backwater, Wales will NEVER be able to dig itself out of the horrible, broken dependency culture that centuries of Westminster rule has ultimately led to."
    Er what is this referendum for "Welsh Independence" well no, just a bit of "tinkering" in the issue of law-making.
    Also quote;
    "Win or lose the referendum, the power to make law for 'Wales in Wales by the National Assembly will come anyway, piece by piece."
    I'm sorry, can the UK government and assembly ignore the wishes of the welsh electorate ? Well if so save some cash and call this fiasco off !

    Finally, quote;
    "As a Welsh citizen all you have to do is decide whether you want to cut off your nose to spite your face, or say YES to progress and the rebuilding of a great nation."
    Erm.. British, yes, European, well yes, Welsh citizen... in your nationalist dreams !





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  • 61. At 11:27pm on 06 Feb 2011, Nospin wrote:

    Tredwyn, the lowest level of representation, you sure.
    Local councillor,Am, MP and Eu, I have 2 local councillors, 5 AMs, 1MP and 4 Meps.

    That's 12, as a young man I had one paid representative my MP, councillors were unpaid, there were no Meps or AMs.
    All these extra representatives are a sign of the burgeoning public sector gravy train, not a sign of better representation.
    With the exception of MPs they have all built their own empires to justify existence and pay.
    They create a myriad of stupid rules to justify their jobs, employ people in the most pointless and unnecessary jobs (check the guardian each week).
    Before long there will be more rulers than ruled.

    Sorry to tell you the number of representatives is not in anyway indicative of the quality of that representation.

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