Today, tomorrow and Today.


When should you stop wishing people a happy new year?

Not the most pressing problem facing Carwyn Jones in January 2013 maybe but one he grappled with briefly this morning - before taking on the more sticky issues coming his way, the sort of 'sticky' that can cling to governments and cause ministers to, well, come unstuck.

Tomorrow we find out just how the Hywel Dda local health board has decided its services must be reconfigured. Tomorrow we won't be talking about 'gearing up' to change in West and in Mid Wales. We won't be talking about the prospect of change. This will be the real thing, the sort of change that saves a lot of money by closing some services and centralising them in fewer, larger hospitals.

Then on Friday we'll do it all over again, except this time it's the people of North Wales who'll find out what their local health board has decided and what, if you receive your care from the Betsi Cadwaladr LHC - "centralisation" means. You'll find out which doors will close, which will open and how that is going to affect your care.

We'll hear the words fewer, better, more specialised, more efficient, safter too uttered by those who've made the decisions. We'll hear too far, too risky, too driven by cost cutting from those afraid of the implications of those decisions for their parents, their children, themselves. And we'll keep hearing David Cameron homing in on - and questioning - the state of the NHS in Wales under Labour

Then, there's education.

Big territory, big sticky issues. So let's narrow it down and take a look at these extracts from a letter sent to the Children and Young People Committee and to the Education Minister this week. It's from the Welsh Joint Education Committee, a body that last year found out what happens when you don't do as the Minister tells you. He orders you to do as he tells you.

It's a body of officials who must be wondering whether they are long for this world. Who regulates the qualifications young people gain in Wales, how the whole sector is organised structurally, what those qualifications should be are all matters up for discussion. More decisions to be taken in 2013 - and the WJEC wants its voice heard.

It's not against change and welcomes much of what's been recommended. But in the letter its Chief Executive refers to "several real concerns" about the way the government is going about implementing them: "there is potential to do immense damage by getting this wrong."

It'll be got right - or wrong - in 2013.

The biggest matter of all? The one the Housing Minister, Huw Lewis, described this morning as the UK government having "its hand on our throats". What will Carwyn Jones and his government do when the arguments over social "fairness" and changes to benefits are increasingly felt in pounds and pence and pockets in 2013? Will they stick to the approach they've taken so far and took to the wire at the end of 2012? That they feel the pain of those losing council tax benefit, that they condemn the UK government for making the cut but argue they just don't have the money to ease the pain?

Tomorrow, you may get answers to some of those questions. I'm not pinning all my hopes on First Minister's Questions - oh no I'm not - but tune in to Today on Radio 4 at 8.30am or thereabouts to hear the First Minister facing up to 2013, happy or otherwise.

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

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  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    3.John Tyler

    Do you honestly think that the WG can be blamed for the last 10 yrs. What about the previous 20-30 yrs. People who think we are safe in the hands of London particularly the Tories then you are more deluded than I thought. You history is very selective

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    United We Stand

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Alf if Huw Lewis and the other WG ministers had got an ounce of fairness they would have followed what was carried out by LA's in England when they were told over 12 months ago about the changes to the benefit system.
    What the WG have done is play politics with peoples lives in Wales by trying to use the issue as a stick to beat Westminster instead of being grown up and doing something about it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    ... the face of Welsh politics for the coming decades has already been decided, it will be to kill off nationalism once and for all, it will be "federal light", not much more than we have in Wales at the moment.

    Scotland must be encouraged to drift into the sunset to save the rest, and the migration of business and MOD south will seal the fate of separatists through prosperity and cooperation!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    The gravitational pull of the Scottish referendum Order in Council due in the HOC tomorrow will decide Welsh politics more than anything. PS the OiC is a device to avoid parliamentary debate. Erskine May
    “It is common practice for government bills of ‘first-class’ constitutional importance to be committed to a Committee of the whole House”

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    ... alf, Huw Lewis, in my opinion, is an opportunist, no premier division intellect under his thatch. His words in the Western Mail were the regurgitated political agitation from Party HQ.

    Look to the last decade and tell me I'm wrong; "Health",, "Education" and "Housing" all debilitated by poor politics.

    It's unfortunate that the poor politics in question is our very own Cardiff Bay ....

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Be positive John, be positive. Now we have the looming disaster of more starvation in Wales as well as Huw Lewis is pointing out . He is not afraid to lay the blame at who is at fault. No slouch there. More foodbanks I suppose. Sorry Boxer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    ... I think that where BP writes "... [the] potential to do immense damage by getting this wrong" is probably dwarfed by the damage done this last decade or so through constant reorganisations of both "Health" and "Education", and the "Housing" inertia that can only be described as pitiful.

    No doubt Carwyn will continue his slouch at the dispatch box .......


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