A week off =unfinished business


After a week in the Tenby sunshine what do you get? A list of unfinished business.

1. Now that Plaid Cymru have called off the (disciplinary) dogs against former leader and Presiding Officer Dafydd Elis-Thomas, who had accused his party of behaving like Tory (lap) dogs, will peace break out for good? I doubt it.

Will the former Presiding Officer be tempted to cross the floor by Labour's sweet nothings? No. He does admit, though, that he thought about it, dismissing the idea because of the support he got from local Plaid members in Dwyfor Meirionnydd.

Now, you may at this point be tempted to slip into theorising about whether simply thinking about being unfaithful is as bad as actually being unfaithful? As in, if your mind is elsewhere darling, your body might as well be there too. (No need to ask what sort of books I spent my time reading last week.) On the other hand you may debate what 'being unfaithful' in this case actually means and whether Lord Elis-Thomas was, in his view, being perfectly true to the values of the Plaid Cymru he represents.

Either way, this feels like unfinished business.

2. Is the vote that highlighted the Plaid member's absence from the chamber history now? It is. But while the Health Minister now knows her opponents in the chamber doubt her grip on her brief, what she'll really want to know is whether the First Minister intends to leave her in the job. Oh, and the business of persuading those who use the NHS in Wales that the changes proposed are absolutely necessary, right and considered? Barely started, not just unfinished.

3. Just when you thought the very first Welsh law that was 'made in Wales, for Wales' was on the verge of getting the Queen's blessing, it turns out to belong to this list.

The UK government's opposition to the measure is "ridiculous" says a spokesman for the First Minister. Don't they know that the people of Wales voted in a referendum to cut Westminster out of the law-making loop?

Don't they know in Cardiff Bay, ask Westminster sources, that you've got to get these things right and that the new law, as it stands, encroaches on territory that isn't devolved? This isn't about blocking devolution, they say. It's about bad drafting. That's why the Attorney General intervened.

This bit of unfinished business won't end with the usual finger pointing and spat out references to the respect agenda. It'll end in the Supreme Court in the spring of 2013 at the earliest.

4. The concerns of the people of Cefn Coch and the 'route corridor' to Lower Frankton isn't that the business of connecting new wind farms in mid Wales to the electricity network in Shropshire is unfinished. The problem, as they see it, is that it will go ahead at all.

Given the strength of numbers and feeling of the crowd that came to Cardiff Bay to shout their protest last year, National Grid will be well aware that finishing this bit of business won't just take a lot of hard hats. It will be hard work.

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

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  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    #31 'Perhaps there wouldn't be the financial pressures we have today'
    unfortunately, given the increased life-expectancy of the population after retirement, any system that worked in 1950 would be creeking now. Fortunately, many changes have proved neutral but unpopular e.g. a primagravida would be kept in hospital for a week after birth but is now often released on the day of birth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    #30 'The constitution, when it outlawed slavery acknowledged self-possession '
    The constitution did no such thing. Parliament - to its credit - made slavery illegal within the Empire. This may have acknowledged self-possession BUT no Parliament can bind a successor Parliament.
    You could argue compulsory working in industry is slavery, but Parliament authorised this in 1939-45 : Bevan Boys.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Boxer, if you had continued past my ...

    "... is bereft of logic."

    ... you would have discovered "self-possession",

    ... the argument.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    #30 John. You feel my view that a measure can be both repugnant and unconstitutional is 'bereft of logic' but put forward no arguments.
    The fact is, historically, anything Parliament and the monarch sign up to is constitutional. This is now, possibly, subject to the Supreme Court and/or the European Court; but neither is absolutely certain. Who is sovereign: the courts or parliament ??

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Boxer. If the consecutive Westminster Governments over the years had used our NI money wisely, for what it was supposed to have been intended. Perhaps there wouldn't be the financial pressures we have today on our Health Service. Politicians, MOs and Accountants have bled it dry. They have created the inefficiencies we are paying for today. Just like Private companies took Pension Holidays.


Comments 5 of 35



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