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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Those anti-social Assembly Members

Yesterday's Plenary had a distinctly anti-social air to it as members asserted themselves against the monolithic government. First off was Tory AM, David Melding demanding more commitment to public art:

David Melding: First Minister, would you not go further and confirm that Wales has a wonderful tradition of community involvement in art? Look at the work of the late great sculptor, Jonah Jones, for instance, being representative of many of the artists that the nation has produced over the years. When we are talking about substantial regeneration, and the moneys involved, we ought to have, as part of an integral commissioning process, public art being encouraged and developed by the community.

It was left to his colleague, Alun Cairns, however, to really set the tone:

Alun Cairns: Does the First Minister accept that either the Home Office or the police should consider introducing an anti-social behaviour order against some Labour backbench Members, such as Carl Sargeant, who make inflammatory statements in the Chamber, which particularly alienate a small minority of people—

The Presiding Officer: Order. The First Minister has no responsibility for Carl Sargeant, as far as I am aware. However, I ask Alun Cairns to reconsider his statement. Members must not be accused of making inflammatory statements, particularly in the Chamber.

Alun Cairns: Out of respect for you, Mr Llywydd, I am more than happy to reconsider that statement, and I will withdraw it if that would make you happy, in the same way as I had hoped that Carl Sargeant would withdraw his statement about gun-slinging landowners.

Another Conservative. Mark Isherwood, then really stuck the boot in:

Mark Isherwood: I congratulate the Welsh Assembly Government on yet another budget statement that makes up in waste for what it lacks in clarity. We must recall that huge increases in devolved public spending have produced declining public services, despite the dedication and expertise of front-line professionals, because the evidence that they put forward is ignored by these dogmatic, centralising Welsh ministerial commissars.

With Gordon Brown’s black hole hovering over Wales, threatening post-election cuts or unsustainable tax increases if Labour were to be re-elected, we must recall that Brown the Imprudent has consistently got his borrowing, tax and spend forecasts wrong, and that all forecasters tell us that his current spending plans will breach his much-vaunted golden rule. We must take note of the statement in The Economist that Labour’s claims of economic success, which are at the heart of its campaign for the coming general election, are ‘dodgy’, and that Labour is claiming all the credit for reforms introduced by the Conservatives.

After eight years of hard Labour in London, and six years in Cardiff, Wales is now the least prosperous region or nation in the UK, has the poorest basic literacy and numeracy skills of any nation or region in the United Kingdom, and it has seen hospital waiting lists rise to more than one in 10 of the population. The bottom line of this supplementary budget is an increase of £30 million, but, after allowing for a £45 million increase in market support scheme funding for farmers in demand-led funding from the UK Government, it is a cut in real terms, largely because of cross-budget transfers and refunds.

It was one of his better contributions though I have not checked the facts. Mark continued in belligerent mood in the next debate:

Mark Isherwood: As if Brown’s black hole was not enough, Wales is now also saddled with Davidson’s disappearing dosh. If this special education grant is intended to help local authorities and schools drive up standards, as stated, why does it appear to have been cut, as my Liberal Democrat colleague previously mentioned?

....The bottom line is that Mr Blair promised us education, education, education, but Rhodri Morgan saddled us with Davidson, dogma and distortion.

This meddling Minister’s mission to do everything differently in Welsh education is denying our schools and colleges the freedom and resources to deliver for all the young people of Wales. Under this Welsh Assembly Government, the skills and prosperity gap between Wales and the rest of the UK is widening and we now have poorer basic literacy and numeracy than any other nation or region in Britain. We must now replace political correctness with pupil knowledge, and bureaucracy with basic skills. We must teach this Welsh Assembly Government a lesson.

It must be something they put in the water!
Love what you do with your blog. Keep it up. I'll be back. by the way, I agree with the water thing. Something is deffinately going on. Unite!
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