Saturday, August 27, 2005

Kirsty hits the nail on its head.

A superb article by Kirsty Buchanan appeared in the Western Mail today, under the title 'Confusion is Labour's governance theme'. This article hits the nail on its head regarding the Brit Nat Labour Party's view on devolution.

As Kirsty Buchanan so rightly points out, it's all to do with 'what the Cabinet and Welsh Labour back benchers will stomach', rather than what's best for Wales! Everyone in Wales must realise that the British Nationalists will always put their own party's future, before the future of the people of Wales! Enjoy.

Confusion is Labour's governance theme
Kirsty Buchanan,
Western Mail, Aug 27 2005

ADHERING to the tried and trusted method of kicking difficult topics into the long grass, Labour has yet to reveal how another referendum would ever be held in Wales on additional powers for its hobbled National Assembly.

In its White Paper, Better Governance for Wales, Labour stresses it has "currently no plans" for a referendum, (fearing it would be lost), but insists new legislation will "specify the conditions which will trigger a referendum".

You can expect these conditions, when the Government of Wales (Amendment) Bill is published, to be either frustratingly vague or near impossible to achieve. All we know currently is the trigger rests on a demonstrable show from the public for an Assembly with full law-making powers.

If asked, I would tell you I had a strong desire to run off with Denzel Washington but it's not like I take to the streets with a placard every day to demonstrate this wish. So Wales risks being left with a confusing and compromised devolution settlement simply because Labour will not ask the question in the belief it knows the answer.

Proposals to fast-track legislation through Westminster and to give AMs more power to scrutinise Bills may be a step in the right direction but it's a very small step. It is entirely possible, of course, that the Assembly's track record owes more to the Assembly Government than the settlement itself. After all, who can forget the audacious folly of fiddling around with health board structures while hospital waiting lists grew to dangerous levels?

But surely this is a matter for the people to determine.

I think the time for debating the Assembly's abolition has passed but if it's to stay I want an explanation as to why replacing one compromised settlement with another is preferable to a clear division of power between Westminster and Cardiff.

Welsh Secretary Peter Hain argues this is an exercise in what is deliverable rather than desirable - in other words what the Cabinet and Welsh Labour back benchers will stomach. This reality leaves the prejudices of a few dictating the future for the many.

And so I leave the Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats with a challenge. If Labour will not test public will, you should. If not a referendum, why not a national petition demanding a referendum?

Vouchers in newspapers, road shows, internet petitions would help demonstrate the desire for an Assembly we can all be proud of. There are 2.2m Welsh voters - aim for signatures from 500,000 of them. Would nearly one in four voters be enough to trigger a referendum?

And, having lit that blue touch paper, I am off for new adventures. I have loved writing this column.

Ta ta tan toc!


David Taylor said...

Is this the same Kirsty Buchanan (Political Editor, Western Mail) who Plaid Cymru AM Leanne Wood recently criticised for her "blind love of Tony Blair" I wonder?

Nicholas Michael Morgan said...

And your point is? We are not affiliated to any party. Leanne has her own views and so do we.

David Taylor said...

"We are not affiliated to any party"

Oh, come on!