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

A big day for health in Wales

A day of big health stories in Wales is capped with a potentially very significant announcement.

Read full article

Comments

This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
 
  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 58.

    55,Cythraul. Problems of their own making. Or lack of. When have you ever known Politicians to be frank. It is more like the state the nation is in. Don't expect a resolution from them. It will be more of the same in next years Report.. With a caveat.. We promise to do better.Not.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 57.

    Again Alf we appear to have no opposition or controls over what they want in terms of legislating. No second chamber to promote debate or put the brakes on the lower house banality. We appear to have moved too quickly toward self governance with too little in terms of controls and balance. Easy in hindsight I suppose but we need to stop and re-assess. The folly I'm afraid is just that, a folly!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 56.

    No problem Celt thank you. I know from bitter experience about promotion being taken away through spite of Unions. it makes you bitter through the disappointment. I think re balance is what is needed. To go back would be a disaster for Wales. Politicians are the ones who need to grow up and mature. Not behave like children. They need to accept the great responsibility they have.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 55.

    Less of the 'big fat Welsh' please Betsan; you're treading on potentially sensitive issues for our overburdened GIG there!

    This could clearly be important as it gives us a snapshot of the current 'state of the nation'. Hopefully it's a frank picture of the true situation, with a detailed road map to resolve the problems.

    What more is there to say? Have you got an Executive Summary for us?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 54.

    Sorry Alf, I'm probably a tad tetchy at the mo, Hope no offence given, but my recent experience of working in the PS in Wales is just that!. Quite aggressive promotion to the point it's really is tedious, still, I can vent my spleen here I suppose. It's the lack of balance and effective opposition that just grinds, the wag needs to be rebalance in my view, or removed completely from the equation!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 53.

    Celt I wasn't referring to you why are you so sensitive about it. I was speaking in general. Actually I agree with you debate from the Assembly is sterile. Nothing from there is a priority. They don't want it to be. they want it to be empty rhetoric. They are the three monkeys.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 52.

    I have no nasty or aggressive opposition to the Welsh Language on the contrary I feel that its promotion is just that overly aggressive with nasty overtures. Anyway as I've said language is not a priority. What is a priority is giving the folly in the bay some smart objectives. I do wish they would start to listen. There's one a week: this week fire sprinklers in homes. WAG, Just start to LISTEN!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 51.

    I can't not understand this aggression and nasty opposition to the Welsh Language. Why does it have to be a sterile pointless debate. Debate should be about two sides getting together and deciding in a grown up manner something positive. What is positive about wanting to destroy a whole culture and way of life for some people. My Father fought in a war against this very thing.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 50.

    Once again Betsan acts as the unquestioning cheerleader for the Peoples Republic of Carwyn. The Welsh Assembly is a vacuous and pointless charity that hands out my money to the public bodies that feed off its handouts. As for the sterile pointless debate about the "language", grow up.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 49.

    Does it mean that if the Welsh language was taken out of the equation that everything will be Hunky Dory with the Welsh Assembly. Why is there so much animosity against a language and its campaigners. Why is there not the same against the English extremists and their violent politics and hatred. or is that OK. Why is the English language felt to be superior to any other.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 48.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/player/b01hzggh

    1:33:30 onwards is worth a listen. If this is typical of Welsh medium education the no wonder so many end up taking GCSEs through english despite years of Welsh medium schooling

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 47.

    And as far as the theme of this particular blog goes, the WAG is indeed in need of some serious reforms. What a dreadful organisation. It achieves little but spends inordinate amounts. We really must review our systems of governance, from Westminster down, and review what it is this place is there for, it needs some serious economic targets to achieve. Language is not a priority.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 46.

    that radio clip is classic! sums up the nasty attitude of some of the Welsh language enforcers we have to deal with here nicely. Although I bet she's relatively calm compared to some of the fervent obsessives residing here... should anybody have the misfortune to meet them in real life

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 45.

    I like the vast majority here am an English speaking Welshman. I have no problem with the use or promotion of the Welsh language. I do however have a problem with it being rammed down my throat at every opportunity, and the cost of its implementation. The language needs to be promoted for a longer time period for it to flourishpeople need tobe encouraged not haveit forced upon them by the Taffyban

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 44.

    Glasnost. She was one of the majority, a monoglot English speaker. Boxer. I know what you mean my sports Teacher was a Rugby player and he put me off Rugby for life. No, I have no idea either, but it is a great possibility it is more than you would like. WM, S4C? you wouldn't get many voting, because 1. No one watches it according to you. 2. No one reads the WM, well about 23.000 people

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 43.

    #41 When I think of my last PE teacher, the phrase 'overweight, elderly illegitimate person' isn't quite the phrase I had in mind.
    I admit: I have no idea how many monoglot persons in Wales may favour more Welsh. Neither have you. Some sort of questionnaire on WM, S4C, more devolved powers, less powers, independence, a republic : all supervised by a neutral; would ruin a lot of arguments here.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 42.

    (No 36) NW1837 you made ‘my day’ a fascinating insight into the nationalist mindset and the lady featured should run for PC leadership! David Davies had the courage to speak up for the majority and this example brings to the fore as to why Wales must have separate education for English and Welsh speakers.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 41.

    Oops Boxer. Did you mean overweight. Not very political correct that was it. But this is one of the majority in Wales persons you and others are always hitting back with, at Welsh speakers. English speaking majority. Perhaps there are a lot more of them than you may not want to accept.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 40.

    #38 Re your Radio2 listener and David Davies. I understand she was 'vigorously' supporting WM education for all whilst being a monoglot English speaker. I will add her to my collection (like the Mikado's; they'll none of them be missed):
    People who can't play the piano, but wish they had practiced
    Fat PE teachers who favour more compulsory sport
    Bar-room pats who would bring back National Service

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 39.

    Spending on Welsh is £100 million? Does that include Welsh language education? Is that spending on Welsh or on education. Anyway the WG budget is £15 billion a year, £100 million is 0.67 of 1 per cent. That for a language spoken by nearly a fifth of the population. Evidently not enough.

 

Page 1 of 3

 

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.