Life after Edwina

When Edwina Hart became the economy minister, the joke doing the rounds among business leaders was whether, after years ruling out the use of the private sector in the Welsh NHS, she would do the same in the Welsh economy.

It was always going to be a meeting of two worlds giving someone with such a strong trade union background that brief.

But on the whole the business lobby liked her approach which was to make up her mind quickly and it was a reminder of how so many of the decisions made in government are more managerial than political.

She always denied it when I put it to her but she radically changed many of the economic development policies that had been introduced by her predecessor Ieuan Wyn Jones.

He had tried to take Wales away from the kind of old-fashioned grants that existed under the Welsh Development Agency, and introduced a focus on a relatively small number of sectors he felt had a future.

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Critical week for councils

We are approaching what could be a critical week for the future of councils in Wales.

Council leaders gather in Swansea next Thursday for the Welsh local government association annual conference.

Read full article Critical week for councils

Repair relationship

I was expecting a highly detailed and technical statement from the health minister Mark Drakeford about the measures to improve health services in north Wales.

Instead, I was struck by how much of the detail of the special measures imposed on Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board relate to the need to listen and repair the relationship between the board and the public.

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Betsi: gamble or opportunity?

So with eleven months to go until the assembly election, the Welsh government has taken much greater control of the biggest health board in Wales.

In one fell swoop, the state of the NHS just became an even bigger political issue than it was already shaping up to be.

Read full article Betsi: gamble or opportunity?

Elephant in the room

It's been called the elephant in the room.

I'm talking about council re-organisation, and we are likely to get the Welsh government's idea of what it should look like at some stage before local authority leaders gather in Swansea for their annual conference on June 18.

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How to get elected

First we had it, then we didn't and now it's back again.

Yes I'm talking about dual candidacy.

Read full article How to get elected

Aftermath of damning report

The aftermath of the damning report into standards of care at the Tawel Fan mental health ward at Glan Clwyd Hospital throws the debate about the state of the Welsh NHS into sharp focus.

The Welsh government's deputy health minister Vaughan Gething has warned his opponents not to treat the report's findings as a political triumph.

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How to make EU referendum debate fly

Airbus A380
Airbus is concerned about the implications of EU withdrawal

The debate surrounding the in-out EU referendum hasn't taken long to gather momentum.

There are a number of Welsh dimensions.

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Neutralise NHS attacks

A hospital ward
Concerns about the NHS were a major issue in the general election in Wales

The election fallout continues.

One of the big questions as we look towards the assembly election will be how Labour tries to neutralise criticism of the way it has been running the NHS.

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Cities are where it's at

Cardiff city
A city deal could mean huge public investment in Cardiff

Forget the counties and the shires, any self-respecting economic development policy has to have the word city in it somewhere to give it a sense of dynamism.

So we already have city regions, which is an attempt to make the most of the growth of places such as Cardiff and Swansea.

Read full article Cities are where it's at