My big, fat Welsh annual report.

 

My favourite conversation of the last few weeks was with the inventor who, it turns out, lives on our street. The key, he said, to inventing wonderful things the world can't live without is to ask yourself what the world's biggest problems are and then set yourself a target - solving them.

Obvious but only easy if you know how. Easier too, you'd have to say, if you're working quietly in your back room and no-one knows what you're up to.

If you're the Welsh Government, working with a host of civil servants in front of a squeezed and demanding electorate, it's considerably tougher.

Let's start then with what the government's first annual report, published today, is not.

It is not a series of targets, which if hit, will solve all of Wales' biggest problems.

It is not a series of targets that come the next election, people can measure and judge the government in blunt terms to have succeeded or failed.

It is not a series of targets at all. But it is a document, a big, fat document, that means you, I, charities, other governments, opponents, supporters, patients, teachers, parents, anyone with an axe to grind or a point to make can check whether what the government is doing is helping solve Wales' problems, or whether their intervention is having little or no, effect.

It lacks targets, it doesn't lack detail.

In that detail Labour see genuine transparency and accountability. This is, they believe, a real attempt to come clean about where we stand as a country, not just an attempt to shake off the damaging opposition narrative of Carwyn Jones and his do-nothing government. Around a quarter of the statistics contained in the 660 pages are, we're told, being made public for the first time. The rest may have been available but not in one place, with the one aim of ensuring we can all grasp it. In that detail too the First Minister sees a means of turning the screws of self discipline from within the government on delivery.

In that detail the Conservatives see "tiresome, repetitive" statistics stuck in one place to "make it look as if a lot of activity is going on". In fact, they argue, "it offers Wales nothing new."

Delivery, say Plaid, may be the "watchword" of this government but "we are still watching and we are still waiting". In that detail, say the Liberal Democrats, there is plenty of "repackaging" but few clear cut, measurable targets.

It's a safe enough bet that civil servants weren't falling over themselves to push ministers towards targets, even when this annual report was but a twinkle in the First Ministerial eye. You imagine those same civil servants blanched every so slightly when Carwyn Jones said, back in September that "I want people in 2016 to look at that document and say: judge these people against what they've done, not what they said they'd do, but what they've done."

Targets? No. Indicators? Yes, minister.

It's pretty clear that ministers are realistic enough to know that whatever their actions now, given how intractable many of the issues they face are, it could be a very long time before they bear fruit. No matter which initiative or investment they announce to great headlines now, many of the colour-coded graphs in this report won't take a turn for the better for a decade, perhaps two.

Politics is always a trade off between the long game and the short game, of course, and even worse, they might think, is that it's likely that in a few years' time - with an election around the corner - many of those indicators may still not make happy reading for them.

But they are there. A big fat commitment to delivery or a big fat PR campaign - well that's for you - as Welsh citizens - to decide.

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

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  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 38.

    Fancy calling David Davies and angry Welsh 'Nat' he is English. But what you should take note of which is more important is the Lady was an English speaking Welsh person ,one of the majority in Wales, not a Welsh speaking Nationalist. So your point is NW. What was worse was D D telling her to join the BNP. Bit of a contradiction there I think. seeing as he is advocating people voting for UKIP

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 37.

    Boxer. Ourselves and everyone we know have never been asked on viewing figures. So how they add up I don't know. DJohn The story of my life.'out on my own'. Doesn't mean I am wrong. About S4C you may well be right. My point was no one complains about the waste of Licence payers millions with the BBC. I am paying for something I very rarely watch. Because, we get nothing but rubbish on there.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 36.

    This is what a Welsh Nat sounds like angry, sooo funny!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-18254869

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 35.

    32 alf
    Alf it seems from reading the coments that you are "out on your own".

    Your point about S4C is misguided. The millions wasted by S4C cannot be justified just because the BBC in general also wastes money.

    BBC Alba, a joint venture, costs around £15m and veiwing figures average 500k. Why can't S4C achieve this?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 34.

    31 & 32 – BBC is an anomaly as successful Governments have privatised ‘life’ as in water etc but BBC survived and is abusing its public duties especially BBC Wales (IE – Silence on WG’s Welsh language imposition by dictate) Scrap license fees and make BBC sink or swim on its own merit including S4C.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 33.

    #28 'zero I thought meant nothing'
    4.9 - 4.7 = 0.2 to 2 significant figures

    (5) - (5) = (0) to 1 sig fig
    So the meaning of zero depends on the precision
    Also, the S4C depends on a sample: they don't ask everyone. If they take a small sample and the uptake is low, the sample may contain no viewers: they report 'zero'. They could report 'prob less than 1:100 viewers'.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 32.

    22. £100million for S4C? How much is spent by the BBC on programme Presenters,and celebrities? How much is spent sending these celebrity and Sportsmen millionaires at our expense around the world to make jolly programs. How much is spent on brainless reality programs. Why aren't you questioning that.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 31.

    You still didn't answer my question regarding BBC2,3,4 and Parliament figures and Local. I didn't mention anything about Asian Channels. Full marks for avoidance though. Also you did say zero viewers for the Channel not programs. If you are mentioning programs it would also be interesting to find out about individual program figures outside of prime viewing times on BBC1 as well.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 30.

    No 28 – My comment was ‘abridged’ and incomplete – Zero figure for S4C means less than 1,000 viewers for most of its programmes whilst BBC Asian programs are thriving and at a fraction of the cost spent on S4C

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 29.

    I used to work for the Welsh Assembly.... it always struck me how the organisation was similar to a hot air balloon.... full of air and no steering present.....Glad I'm out of it now and doing something useful instead.....

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 28.

    Glasnost. Zero I thought meant nothing. Well there are two in our houshold who watch it. Can you give me the figures please of the amount who watch BBC2,BBC3,BBC4,BBC Parliament Local BBC TV Stations, that our licience money is paying for.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 27.

    Naughty BBC has just been reprimanded for shown nudity and at lunch time which in contrast to watching BBC Wales is a refreshing and amusing We need BBC Wales to be more than just a moth for Welsh nationalism!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 26.

    I have a magnificent Russian Doll, depicting evolution of Russia from Tsars to Yeltsin and each ‘doll’ tells a story some dark and some heart warming and unique Perhaps Welsh spoons can be painted to define two sides of Welsh culture and identity!?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 25.

    '#21 'If we are not citizens but subjects, then how do you explain this?'

    I explain it by the Oath in your document: Affirmation of allegiance:
    I (name) do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law.
    Bear allegiance = Subject

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 24.

    ... good morning alf, Russian Dolls have no locking mechanism, but can represent close coupling of the many faceted society we live in.

    ... I would love to explore this topic more alf, but work calls.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 23.

    I got to pg.5, the 1st graph on GDHI per capita. No comparison with England, just the "North-East" (what ever that is supposed to be) but Scotland and NI shown as one. Whats the point in reading anymore when you start off so subjectively biased in producing statistics?. Such a little point reveals this to be shameful,skewed propaganda, politicos are useful for little else.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 22.

    CrossRoads didn’t include the S4C as their 100 Million pa comes from British pubic for a channel that has zero viewing figures (

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 21.

    If we are not citizens but subjects, then how do you explain this.
    http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/britishcitizenship/applying/ceremony/
    John. I hope the Queen knows you took a shilling from her. Russian Dolls, a good example of keeping stolen countries by force and locking them in an artificial environment. Until they break out.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 20.

    I agree with you Boxer, mine was a rhetorical question, I took the Queens Shilling many decades ago and retain my fondness and respect for our head of state, and its continuation.

    A republican I am not, your "Russian dolls" is a perfect view of our wonderful country (UK).

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 19.

    #11 'Morning John. I note our Nat colleague is having trouble framing
    a not-indecent response.
    '
    'Are we citizens of the United Kingdom, or citizens Wales, to what particular social, political, national, or human resource community do we belong?'
    Firstly, we are all subjects not citizens. I didn't see you as a republican. Also, we all belong to many different communities, like Russian dolls.

 

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