Supreme caught and bowled

 

We still don't know for sure whether Lord Carnwath, or indeed any of the five judges who sat in the Supreme Court last month, have ever ventured anywhere near a tattoo parlour in Swansea. We do now know where they stand on the legality of the first bill passed by the Assembly. They are unanimous that it is lawful.

In coming to that conclusion they rejected the Attorney General's view that the Local Government By-laws Bill overstepped the boundaries of what is devolved. It may, they decided, have encroached slightly on the powers of the Welsh Secretary and therefore the UK government but only ever so slightly and in a way that struck them, therefore, as appropriate.

Looking back at what I wrote at the time, the clue to the outcome was in some of the questioning:

But I'm also listening to Lord Carnwath struggling out loud to understand what one earth the Secretary of State for Wales' role would be in reality, if Swansea Council were to change the bye-laws with regard to tattoo parlours. No matter what the bare legal analysis, he ventured to suggest, isn't this really all about a political settlement and just how far devolution has come in practice?

Lord Hope picked up the theme. Whatever the complexities of the clauses, sections and sub-sections, 'the nub of the issue' he argued, was what the Bill was meant to achieve and whether it achieves that, or not.

You can read the judgement in full here.

In the Wales Office in London the response was pragmatic. It's a good thing, said the Secretary of State David Jones, that the somewhat hazy boundaries of what is devolved and what is not have become just a little clearer. That's one jagged edge filed down just a little. This is how it works. Raising the question wasn't a hostile act.

In Cardiff Bay there was, um, quiet elation. Why? Because it's about more than one bill that will now become law. It is, as the First Minister told me this morning, one in the eye for those who tend to think that whenever the two governments test each other, 'London must be right.' It turns out that in law, on this occasion, there was every justification for the confidence in Cardiff Bay that London was wrong.

Who are those people, I asked? A commentator or two were mentioned and - get this - it turns out the First Minister sometimes drops in on the blog and you, those who regularly leave what I'll call sceptical comments, got a mention too.

But there's another reason for the Welsh goverment to be rather pleased - the timing.

On Monday the Silk commission published its report on how Wales should in future be funded. Paul Silk and his commissioners now move on to consider the current devolution settlement. The perfect moment then for Carwyn Jones to point to today's ruling and re-iterate a plea - instead of letting the Supreme Court set the boundaries of devolution, case by case, tattoo parlour by tattoo parlour, wouldn't it be in everyone's interests to look again at the devolution settlement as a whole. Rather than rely on their lordships, why not make it clearer in one fell swoop what the Welsh government can and can't do.

Your comments are welcome - and as we now know, sometimes, they get to the top.

 
Betsan Powys, Political editor, Wales Article written by Betsan Powys Betsan Powys Former political editor, Wales

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 80.

    Re 79

    Celticace,

    You say:

    'I do not want to join the Welsh supremacist bandwagon, I want to ensure parity for all...'

    I don't understand what you're saying or your logic. Could you please explain that comment, without reserting to crude insults?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 79.

    Again Alf, Purr on. I do not want to join the Welsh supremacist bandwagon, I want to ensure parity for all and accountability through Government to the point departments are required to account for all they spend and taxation is accounted for to the penny, not the financial 'black hole' of taxation and expenditure we have now, We must eliminate overspends and make our leaders accountable

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 78.

    Then I hope you don't get left behind. The half baked peocemeal approach was forced on us by Westminster. So the WG has to work with that restriction and the rusty tools it was given to work with. Two legal wins against the might of Westminster. They are activities to be proud of. Don't forget what the Westminster Government has got away with. Where has the accountability been there.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 77.

    Sorry Alf I see nothing realistic with this half baked piecemeal approach, and it certainly lacks accountability. Domineering and arrogant attitude of Westminster? I don't see that I'm afraid, still too many questions and too few answers yet, and certainly a lack of accountability for the activities of the Bay. I'm not sold on it thanks

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 76.

    Then Celt we are all on the same side a realistic way forward for Wales. With the judgment favouring the WG and the AG giving in on the Language Bill it is a start. A little acorn perhaps. But it does show Wales can overcome the domineering and arrogant attitude of Westminster. It has shown its maturity. It can only grow and gain strength on that confidence. You as well as us can be a part of it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 75.

    No not a Scot Mab, South Wales Valleys monoglot English Taff who has been round the track more times than a lurcher. What you read is what you get. honest views expressed openly. All I seek is a realistic way forward for Wales, not rhetoric or empty promise or hypocracy A well planed and accountable way forward for Wales is needed. Your Insulting is merely an entertaining aside. Purr on

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 73.

    Mab
    You use the term bigot on others!!!
    Buying a beer £2.70
    CRISPS 50p
    Being called a bigot by mab.........PRICELESS!

    I'm not hiding I'm looking for sanity in our chosen way forward.

    Purr on Welsh supremacist because patriotism it aint.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 72.

    Actually I have read it Celt, that is what I was answering to. Now either we are dangerous Welsh supremacists or we are pussy cats. Could you please alleviate us of our confusion. Or should we go to the Supreme Court for a decision. On present form we would win. Cos we are supreme.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 71.

    Boxer & Celticace plus others hide behind their bigotry. It’s ok to be a Unionist, call yourself British whilst belittling Wales's ability to govern itself. Then use the same language that I use for Wales against a possible European super state whilst quoting the rhetoric "we want to rule ourselves & be Independant." So being a Europe bashing Brit Nat is good but Welsh patriotism is bad. Odd?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 70.

    I think you need to actually read my post Alf. But feel free to continue to Purr!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 69.

    Welsh Governments and Establishments didn't go around the world destroying cultures and nations for greed and power. Those are supremacists. As I said ring any bells. But at least one of those little nations is fighting back. Wales 2, Westminster School Children 0. Mature Welsh Government supremacy. So maybe you are right.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 68.

    Yes I understand completely, neo fascist is far more apt!
    I do not deliberately undermine Wales, I merely look for sanity in our chosen way forward.

    Alf it was Welsh supremacists I was referring to.

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 66.

    Actually it is the English flags that supremacists use not Welsh ones. You can't have any misinterpretation to that. No matter how much you try. It is not an ideology. It is a country who thinks they have the supremacy to be masters of the universe and destroy nations. To rape their countries of everything for their own glory and power. Ring any bells.

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 63.

    I think you have misinterpreted the meaning of supremacist there.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 62.

    61: If I and others are Welsh supremacists ( Your description not mine) means that we're loyal to Wales, it's people. Tolerant of ethnic minorities, have a love for Europe, active in promoting Wales to the world and want dignity by running our own affairs unlike you who's preference is accept begging bowl handouts due to your inability to think for yourself or function without help I plead guilty.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 61.

    Great news. I see the Welsh supremacists are purring like well stroked pussies.
    Beware the lack of fiscal controls.
    Beware blaming, it really doesn't become someone with a plan, a way forward.
    Beware supremacism as an ideology.

 

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