Archive for October, 2009

Distancing from the agreement

Two out of the three candidates for the leadership of Welsh Labour seem to be distancing themselves from the commitment contained in One Wales for a referendum on Scottish type law making powers for the Assembly.

Whilst it’s well known that Huw Lewis was opposed to the Plaid Labour coalition so its not surprising that he takes the view he does on a referendum. Basically no referendum this side of a general election. It would suit his purposes if Plaid walked away from the table on this issue.

Of greater interest is Carwyn Jones’s stance. He is of the view that a vote should not go ahead without the wider consent of the ‘labour movement’ and particularly the MPs. If so its unlikely that a vote under such circumstances will take place before 2011.

If so, what price the coalition.

Kirsty Williams must be reading these comments with interest. Thinking her day may yet come and its just a matter of time before she receives the phone call.

It would seem that the only candidate that is prepared to stick with the ‘All Wales’ agreement is Edwina Hart.

Unfortunately for her, Plaid Cymru don’t have a vote in this election


Welsh Labour face defeat.

The 1st YouGov Poll in Wales makes miserable reading for Labour. They would loose 9 Members from Parliament leaving them a total of 20 seats if the poll results were reflected in the general election.

There is nothing suprising as these results merely reflect the actual votes cast in the European election.

Indeed Labour on this polling data do slightly better than their European vote with 34% to the Conservatives 31%. Reversing the second place they got when those votes were counted.

But not since, almost, its birth as a party have Labour faced such a grim prospect at the hands of the Welsh electors.

Their new leader in Wales will have the daunting task of re-energising a party that will be demoralised by defeat.

Meanwhile, the Tories will rue their opposition to PR. Labour gains half the Welsh seats with only just over a third of the votes and they the Tories will have to be satisfied with only 12 seats despite being only 3% behind Labour.

Plaid Cymru will be reasonably pleased with gaining two additional seats bringing their total to 5. But they still don’t seem to be making the breakthrough that the SNP are making in Scotland. Putting themselves in the driving seat by leading a Rainbow coalition might have produced a better result than being tied to a failing coalition partner like Labour.

As for the Liberal Democrats despite having a dynamic young female leader they seem to be moving backwards, with only two seats left in Wales. Not the breakthrough that Kirsty Williams promised in her leadership campaign.

And last but not least, the Peoples republic of Blaenau Gwent remains firmly in the grip of Dai Davies’s and his Peoples’ Voice.


No referendum just pass over the powers

It looks as if the referendum campaign is been waged by proxy.

We have True Wales trying to water down the powers of the Assembly but not having the guts to campaign for its scrapping – their real agenda.

Sir Emyr Jones Parry’s convention saying we should go for gold and have law making powers.

In no time at all, we’ll have Holtham demanding power over taxation and financial policies. And our dear Secretary of State taking his lead from St Augustine ‘Let’s have a referendum, but not just yet’.

Most ordinary people already think, if they think at all about the Assembly, that it makes laws. You can imagine what their response will be if the question is put to them again.

The Government of Wales Act is just one of those classic fudges to get Labour off the hook created by the Richard Commission. The Commission said the Welsh Assembly should have full law making powers. Labour back benchers would not swallow it. Result, the dog’s breakfast of the Legislative Competence Order[LCO]system.

It would be difficult to find in any other democracy a more complex, time wasting, expensive system of making laws. But law making it is. So what’s the point of the charade of a referendum on law making, when the principle has already been conceded.

An incoming government could do us all a favour and save a large amount of cash be changing the current Government for Wales Act and move to full law making without dragging us all out to a pointless vote.

Oh, for politicians that will stop wasting our time on meaningless referenda, just because they can’t face down their own MPs.