.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Quangos no more

The announcement by the First Minister yesterday that the three big Quangos in Wales, namely the WDA, Wales Tourist Board and ELWa, will cease to exist and be subsumed in the Assembly caused a bit of a stir. For a start it was unexpected, but also it at last showed that the Government were listening to the opposition. Personally, I support the move unreservedly and so I was disappointed that some opposition members, who I would have expected better of, were only prepared to give it a "cautious welcome". Needless to say we have yet to see the detail so I have already taken steps to try and ensure that the Education and Lifelong Learning Committee have ample time to question the Minister in the Autumn Term on how she plans to implement these proposals with regards to ELWa.

The questioning on the First Minister's statement was lively as you would expect for the last day of term. There was much talk of Damascus and of the rather over-the-top enthusiasm shown by the Labour Group. The First Minister was on particularly good form in responding to Plaid Cymru Leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones:-

The First Minister: The people of Wales measure not whether you talk the talk, but on whether you have done something, and that is what we are doing today. The people will look at when we sought the abolition of the five health authorities. Who were the main defenders and who tried to save those quangos? It was Plaid Cymru. [Interruption.] You are standing there, trying to talk the talk, but I can see the Llangefni to Damascus return bus ticket sticking up out of your top pocket, Ieuan. [Interruption.]

The Presiding Officer: Order. I ask that we listen in an orderly manner to the First Minister's replies to questions from the leader of the opposition.

The First Minister: It is true that you have raised the issue of quangos frequently during the last three months, and I have replied that I did not believe that it was right to bring in a huge amount of further institutional churn in the first Assembly. I think that I used the phrase 'corddi sefydliadol' when answering your questions. There is a maximum amount of institutional churn that you can tolerate. During the first Assembly period, Wales saw more institutional churn in setting up the Assembly than it had seen since the time of Owain Glyndwr. We thought that we should let the Assembly settle down.

Tory Leader, Nick Bourne made a point of highlighting the triumphalism of the Labour Group:

The reception that you received from your side of the Chamber indicated that there was some foreknowledge. It reminded me a little of one of those eastern European rallies. Looking around, some of you probably took part in eastern European rallies because you probably had to practice.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?