Archive for November, 2009

Joint statement on referendum

Rhodri and Ieuan have issued a joint statement on the referendum. Sweetness and light has broken out. But, and there is always a but, the final sentence. “nothing has been ruled in or ruled out including, if it proved practical, a referendum in the Autumn.”

Now, how can it be proved practical if Labour are not going to discuss the matter until after the general election.

Plaid Cymru, if they don’t get an assurance of a vote on a referendum early next year, can say goodbye to an Autumn date with the electors. Consequently, new powers will not be

in place for the post 2011 Assembly.

What price going to bed with Labour if they can’t stick to done deals.

Rhodri has form in backing down to Peter Hain. For it was he, [Hain] that was pushing for the Labour statement of intent and the issuing of the press statement that has caused today’s excitement.

His address to the Assembly tomorrow should prove interesting.


Labour poised to break up coaliton

The press statement produced by Labour at the insistence of Peter Hain that Labour AMs cannot discuss and vote on a referendum until after the general election poses a real threat to the coalition with Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru see this as a complete breach of faith. It is understood that Plaid Cymru quite understood that no action could be taken until Rhodri Morgan’s successor was in post. But the statement from Labour would seem to limit the options available and steps away from the agreement reached by Plaid Cymru that formed the basis of coalition government.

One of the reasons that Ieuan Wyn Jones moved away from the Rainbow option was the agreement with Labour that a referendum on more powers would be held before 2011. This was pivitol to the establishment of the current Plaid/Labour government.

Peter Hain , the Secretary of State for Wales, has always questioned the need for a referendum before 2011. It would seem that the statement issued today by Labour is aimed at taking the steam out of Sir Emyr Jones Parry’s conclusions that a referendum should take place earlier rather than later. The first step in Hain’s agenda in delaying the referendum for some time.

Plaid Cymru will wait to see what Rhodri Morgan’s statement will say before deciding on their response. But many feel that the coalition government may be in serious danger of collapse.


Translation last Thursday’s Golwg Column – Special Advisors

Reading about the Tudors gives my great pleasure. Films and TV drama about the period are a constant source of satisfaction.

Glenda Jackson playing Elizabeth 1 was memorable. Its a constant course of regret to me that she gave up acting for politics although her old skills may well be useful in her new career.

It’s strange to think that modern Britain started off in a small bay of the coast of Pembrokeshire when Henry Tudor landed with his army before moving on the Bosworth to defeat Richard III and become Henry VII and start the Tudor age.

The popularity of Court officials were in and out like the tide, on the whim of the king or queen. And certainly those with influence in the court would change on the death of the reigning monarch.

It will be the same in Wales next month. As soon as the Queen accepts Rhodri Morgan’s resignation as First Minister his advisors will have to clear their desks and head for home. Apart from a couple that will help the transition to the new regime, the rest will be out in the cold.

History gives us a clear picture of the influence of the special advisors in the past. We are reasonably aware of the influence Thomas Cromwell had as chief advisor to Henry VIII. He was one of those who argued and was enthusiastic about the Refomation – the split of the English church from the Roman Catholic church.

But today? What do we know about the influence the Special Advisors have on our government here in Wales? We haven’t a clue where their coming from and their take on the world. What exactly do they do? Are they worth the public money spent on them?

In the United States those appointed to high office in an adminstration are vetted publicly by Senate committees before they take up their posts. Welsh democracy would be the healthier if the same happened here. And certainly special advisors should be submitted to such a process if Wales was to adopt such a system. It would be our opportunity to assess them, know their views and the advice they are likely to offer Ministers.

Certainly the one growth industry of recent years, is that of advice. Most of our public representatives have paid advisors. What on earth do they all do?

Does anyone think that we are more efficiently or better managed or ruled now, than in the past? The answer surely is, no.