Archive for December, 2009

Bangor get an away result

A family party prevented the usually comment on Saturday’s result. It’s typical when I take my eye off them they go and win away. And in a spectacular way. Five goals to two against Newtown. They have jumped to tenth place in the league. Still plenty of time to trip up again.

Lets now hope, however, that they have turned the corner and winning ways have returned to the Blues.

The Christmas programme will still be crucial to ensuring a real push up that league ladder and out of the danger zone of an inferior league.


Golwg Column: Carwyn Jones’s first challenge

The kings dead, long live the king. Carwyn Jones has won Rhodri Morgan’s crown. He is the leader of the Labour party in Wales and the Assembly Labour group. Our third First Minister.

It is worthy of note that he is the leader of the Labour Party in Wales which decides the role and not the ‘leader of the Welsh Labour Party.’ Unlike the Liberal Democrats which has a Federal structure, Labour in Wales is part of a centralist British Party.

Welsh Labour is simply a marketing tool. Like every marketing strategy designed to make them look and appeal to Welsh people. Misrepresentation. It is not a Welsh party but an English one. No, the label is a devise to mop up the votes of the Welsh.

The challenge to Carwyn Jones is to change this system. Labour waste to opportunity to remind us that they are the party of devolution. If so, why not devolve the party and create a Federal structure. Why not have a ‘real’ Welsh Labour party?

This would be the first opportunity for the new leader to put his stamp on the party. Why not have a Welsh labour party that rules itself and is not a poodle to England.

Carwyn Jones accepts that if the party is to regain the ground it has lost in Wales it has to learn to listen. But listen to who? The party centrally or the people of Wales. Unless the internal structure of the party is changed, ordinary party members in Wales will have little influence. In essence it is a British party and its English priorities that will rule the day.

In his campaign to gain the leadership Carwyn Jones sold himself as the candidate that would not only unite his party but the country as well. That was the rhetoric now what about the reality.

I’d like to suggest that if he is to succeed he will have to change the way that Assembly members are elected. A fair voting system is required. Currently there are tensions between those elected on the regional list system and those on the constituency first past the post system. It makes little sense to have two different types of Assembly members. This points towards having a single transferrable voting system. A Lord Richard recommendation. It will be interesting to see if Carwyn Jones revisits this and insists on changing the system.

But his most formidable task is to persuade the Treasury to change the funding fomula for Wales. Barnett will have to go and the Holtham recommendations implemented.

I suspect that there is just a small window of opportunity for Carwyn to act before the Tories take control at Westminister. No time for prevarication, urgent action is required. The detailed work has been done by Gerald Holtham, its political will that is required now.

Can Carwyn Jones succeed were Rhodri Morgan? That’s his first test.


Have we a Counsel General?

In the cabinet changes John Griffiths was named Counsel General and Leader of the Legislative Programme. But is he Counsel General? Surely not, for that can only happen when and if the Assembly vote him into the role. And as they are all off on the holidays this won’t happen until after Christmas. So no new big salary until the new year for the Griffiths household. Although as leader of the legislative programme he has the responsibility for arranging the Assembly’s agenda. Me thinks the Counsel General vote may feature early in Assembly business.

Just for the record Carwyn Jones’s cabinet:

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Deputy First Minister and Minister for the Economy & Transport

Jane Hutt, Business and Budget

Edwina Hart, Health and Social Services

Jane Davidson, Environment, Sustainability and Housing

Leighton Andrews, Children, Education and Lifelong Learning

Carl Sargent, Social Justice and Local Government

Elin Jones, Rural Affairs

Alun Ffred Jones, Heritage

Deputy Ministers:

Lesley Griffiths, Skills, Innovation & Science

Jocelyn Davies, Housing and Regeneration

Gwenda Thomas, Social Services

Huw Lewis, Children

John Griffiths, Counsel General & Leader of the Legislative Programme

Janice Gregory, Chief Whip