"Quiet inward celebration" for ministerial anniversary

 

President Kennedy's assassination; Thatcher's fall; Elvis's death: we often remember what we were doing when big news events occurred.

One year ago today, David Jones became secretary of state for Wales . Since you ask, as the reshuffle unfurled I was at the Olympic stadium watching the athletics during the Paralympic Games (there's a reshuffle most years but only one chance to experience London 2012).

"It's gone very quickly," the secretary of state said today, "and I think overall it's been an interesting year, and in many respects I think it's been a successful year. When you're sitting at the cabinet table, time does move very quickly."

In 12 months, Mr Jones has made headlines beyond Wales twice - for his choice of transport for the short hop between the Wales Office and Downing Street, and for the reasons he gave to oppose his government's move to legalise same sex marriage.

Within nine months of taking the job, he also found himself tipped for the sack in a September reshuffle.

Behind the headlines, he's been beavering away on the UK government's response to a report suggesting the Welsh government should get some tax-varying powers and has been instrumental in delaying that response until business and industry have been consulted on the merits of devolving stamp duty land tax to Wales.

"The Silk commission is something that's really dominated the first 12 months of my period as secretary of state, but there will be an announcement shortly," he said. (Ministers have given up tying announcements to the seasons - the Silk response was promised by the spring, then "in the reasonably near future", "in due course", "very soon" and now "shortly".)

For those who wonder how they'll fill their time once that response is delivered, Mr Jones is already looking forward to the next Silk commission report on which further powers, if any, should be devolved to Wales. "Of course next year we've got the Silk 2 recommendations on the other elements in its remit so of course there will be another period of Silk consideration next year." Put it in your diary now.

Mr Jones also highlight his role in pressing for a new prison to come to north Wales, a push for rail electrification in north Wales and working with the Treasury on proposals to upgrade the M4 in south Wales (the Welsh government might claim to be pivotal to this too).

"I think that it demonstrates that the Wales Office can make a substantial difference by ensuring Wales's voice is heard here in Westminster and that Wales is not overlooked when it comes to government spending."

And how will he celebrate the anniversary? "Until you walked into the office I didn't realise it was 12 months since I'd been appointed, so, no, I don't think celebration, I think for any politician to survive 12 months in the same job must be regarded as an achievement so that extent I think I'll celebrate but I'll have a quiet inward celebration rather than anything else."

 
David Cornock Article written by David Cornock David Cornock Parliamentary correspondent, Wales

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 31.

    None of the problems with the WG have anything to do with party politics but everything to do with 4th rate parish councillors being promoted vai the ballot box to jobs they are completely unsuited to doing.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 30.

    I'm really not fussed how long he's been there, how effective, ineffective, or even invisible. The whole crowd are much of a muchness no matter what side of the House they come from. One person who I wish was invisible is Blair's former henchman Peter Haine. I saw him on that Gibraltar doc, in which he tried, and failed, to justify handing the Rock back to Spain with telling the Gibraltarians!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 29.

    David Jones might like to ask Carwyn Jones the logic behind a £10 Million deficit in the drugs fund for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, and presumably the other 6 boards, whilst he was able to find the £50 Million to nationalise Cardiff airport.

    That would be a service for the public at large, political projects seem to come before healing the sick of Wales.
    .

  • rate this
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    Comment number 28.

    Clon, Clon what are we going to do about your dodgy grasp of economics? Wales is a huge net beneficiary of subsidies from Westminster because after decades of economic decline it is a basket case. Now is time for the dear leader to put up or shut up. Thing is, he has nothing to put up. end of.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 27.

    23 Woodsey I have been a member of the Labour party for more than 40 years so have no right wing leanings. I suspect that one of the differences' between us is that I think for myself and don't toe the party line.
    If you read my post you will see that I said "provide superior service" not as you have misread that "the Pte sector was superior"

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 26.

    London at present subsidises all the UK not just Wales and that's wrong. If people are stayed in their Victorian outlook to life and the economy then that's their choice. Being governed by right wing politicians who only care for a small minority is not my way. Who ever said self government and hand outs?People shouldn't make statements without knowing the person

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 25.

    "I know lets keep the wealth in London and don't redistribute to the rest of the UK". So you admit that London (England) subsidies Wales? At long last you get the point. Thing is you want self government and hand outs. Westminster has rumbled that one and hence they are trying to force the hand of the Dear Leader. Wales cannot and never will be able to exist financially without Westmnster. QED.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 24.

    Oh hang on there aren't any. tell you what, lets try the 89,000 people who pay 40P in the £
    I know lets keep the wealth in London and don't redistribute to the rest of the UK and that includes North of Watford Gap. Let's carry on being governed by the Bullingdon Group and be for ever grateful for the odd Garden Festival

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 23.

    Having worked in the Pte and Public sector I can say that the Pte provides far superior service to its customers
    I also have worked in both sectors and both have their merits but lets not get carried away saying they are superior. Look at the running of the Railways. I'd hardly say that is superior. You have Right Wing which I oppose but that's democracy

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 22.

    18 Clonakilty

    I didn't vote for the Tories or PC either.

    I have voted in 2 Referenda I cannot recall any debate during campaigning saying that the post of SSfW should be abolished. So the Gov of the day appoint the SSfW - that's democracy and just because you don't like it does not change the facts

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 21.

    #18 What is your point?

    In the UK elections no party gained a majority. So we ended up with a coalition. Are you suggesting that labour would have done away with the post of SSfW or that Wales should not have a voice at Westminster?
    Democracy does not always work in your favour - that's life

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 20.

    17 Woodsey - yet again you miss the point. The point is that the WAG spent our money on airport and not on improving roads or other infrastructure projects.
    Having worked in the Pte and Public sector I can say that the Pte provides far superior service to its customers.
    Look at the WA to see a total lack of service

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 19.

    Full tax raising powers now. End of the block grant and lets get on with hiking those taxes to bridge the gap. Now, where will we start. I know the huge number of super rich people living in Wales. Oh hang on there aren't any. tell you what, lets try the 89,000 people who pay 40P in the £. Oh hang on that isnt enough, Dear Mrs Merkel..........

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 18.

    16 that's called democray
    Exactly and the people of Wales voted twice for devolution. I didn't vote for the Tories or PC.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 17.

    Strange that the WAG could find £M,s to buy an airport but cannot spend on roads.
    When they bought the Airport they were only doing the same as authourities in Manchester had done previously. Whilst right wingers don't like public ownership sometimes its for the best. We only need to look at the Privatised Co. to see they are there for profit not service

  • rate this
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    Comment number 16.

    11 Woodsey If you look at what is in the WAG's remit you will see that they have failed in all respects. Strange that the WAG could find £M,s to buy an airport but cannot spend on roads

    14 Clonakilty - that's called democracy- I didn't vote for PC but had to put up with them when they were in coalition

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 15.

    Is David Jones the voice of government to the peoples of Wales, or is he the voice of the peoples of Wales to government ?

    That's a question only David Jones can answer, but if he continues to bring projects to Wales that the peoples call for we can safely assume he is the peoples voice in cabinet (Westminster).
    .

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 14.

    David Jones is the voice of Wales

    How can he be the voice of Wales when he represents a Tory Government that has few MP's in Wales

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 13.

    The various projects you refer to at #11 are all sponsored by Westminster, where David Jones is the voice of Wales, politics is moving away from the abyss that Scotland marches towards, better together I believe.
    .

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 12.

    Universal Benefits another expensive Tory Policy , along with the privatisation of the NHS and the High Speed Rail link that will never happen and will cost double the original estimate wihout the benefits and that's the view of the top business leaders.

 

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