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It's all in the delivery

Betsan Powys | 12:51 UK time, Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Coffee and Welsh cakes: that's what Labour and Plaid deemed a suitable credit-crunch celebration, or observation perhaps, of one year of the One Wales government this morning. Gerry Holtham, just named as chair of the commission looking into funding and finance - or which formula if not the Barnett formula - would have been proud of them.

They're actually a day early cracking out the cakes but Tuesday is lobby day, so let's not dwell on that.

An under the weather Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones herded us up to the fifth floor to serve up coffee in One Wales mugs, to say that the Welsh Assembly Government is on schedule to deliver on its programme of government and to mutter that herding a lobby full of journalists to the top floor is bad enough but getting them all to write the same thing is even worse.

The two men, who found it hard to connect in the months leading up to the coalition deal, now call each other 'ti a tithe' when speak ing in Welsh - the familiar form of 'you'. Think 'tu' rather than 'vous' in French. Whatever the understanding they've come to between them, it does look like one that works for them.

So what have they achieved?

They've provided "a stable platform" says the First Minister, "that enables us to honour our promises to the people of Wales".

So once again, what have they achieved?

Both parties talk about health, Labour from the point of view of the new Aneurin Bevan hospital going up in Ebbw Vale, waiting lists 'on target' to come down, a £1bn plus investment in NHS infrastructure over the next three years, an end to the internal market in Welsh hospitals, extra funding for palliative care, for social care - oh and of course, Wales making strides as a "small, clever country".

Plaid talk about health too but from the point of view of stopping Labour's pre-election hospital closure plans first and foremost. The hymn sheet is the same but the order of service is different.

What else do they say they've achieved? This is the coalition government list:

The All Wales Convention. Members of the Executive Committee were named last week.
Appointing Gerald Holtham as Chair of the Independent Commission on Funding and Finance.
Ending the internal market in the NHS.
Ending competitive tendering for NHS cleaning contracts
Introducing a new national oral health action plan.
Investing £15m in an action plan to improve care for people suffering chronic conditions.
A new NHS Redress Measure giving patients fairer access to compensation when things go wrong.
Creating a single investment fund, radically changing the way the Assembly Government supports business in Wales.
A new transport strategy.
A new Learner Transport Measure to improve school transport and to promote access to Welsh medium education.
Approving 27 business ventures with a total investment of £504 million with aid from the European Convergence Programme.
Giving local authorities greater freedom to designate non-development sites for affordable housing.
An action plan to tackle bovine TB
Increasing the Social Housing Grant to £107 million per year with a pledge to provide 6,500 affordable new homes over four years.
Boosting the availability of affordable housing in rural areas.
Established the Child Poverty Expert Group.
Investing £10.5 million in Libraries for Life, a three year strategy to improve libraries.
Investing £200,000 a year in a new daily Welsh language news service to meet the demands of the 21st Century.

Let's just point out that the first achievement on that list fails to mention the fact that the Convention will hold its first meeting on Monday, six months later than promised. Does that matter? Yes, mostly because it'll report back six months later than promised and time to make up its mind on if and when to hold a referendum on further powers is something this government doesn't have much of to spare.

And the last achievement on the list? Well that fails to mention the fact that £200,000 for a new Welsh language service falls way short, in the eyes of Plaid supporters and others, of the pledge to support the establishment of a Welsh language daily newspaper.

I'll let you have a go at the achievements in between.

Before leaving them to get on with the job, a chat with Rhodri Morgan and a chance to ask whether he thinks Ieuan Wyn Jones is right and that he'd get a warmer welcome in a Rhondda Labour club than he would have done last year?

The First Minister put his head in his hands, attempted an answer before smiling wanly and suggesting that wasn't an experiment Mr Jones should try in a hurry.


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