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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

An insidious Act

As we continue to veer all ways on the journey towards stable government in Wales it is worth reflecting on some words spoken by the First Minister yesterday. He issued what the South Wales Echo described as a veiled threat to any potential rainbow coalition when he told journalists that Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats would struggle to get Welsh laws passed in such an arrangement.

A spokesman for Plaid Cymru put his finger on the issue at stake when he said: “It would be preposterous for any Labour government in Wales to block any legislation passed by a democratically elected National Assembly. It would fly in the face of democracy.” However it seems that the fact that Labour can deliver in Westminster was a deciding factor in Plaid Cymru's decision to re-open negotiations with them last night.

In many ways this incident underlines the main criticisms of the Government of WAles Act. Not only does it turn the Secretary of State into an effective Viceroy of Wales, but it also puts the National Assembly in the position of going cap-in-hand to Westminister for the powers needed to implement manifesto pledges and gives MPs an effective veto over matters that should be devolved to us, irrespective of the mandate associated with them.

The fact that the First Minister can use that deliberate design flaw as a bargaining tool is, I suppose, realpolitik but it is not a comfortable reality nor is it a very principled one.
You know very well he was talking about Westminster legislation.
He was talking about Legislative Competence Orders, which have to be passed at Westminster so that the Assembly can draw down powers. These powers are needed to implement manifesto promises. I dispute your claim that I have misrepresented the FM here. I think I have got him bang to rights.
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Well remembered Silurian.

I was referring to the referendum for the following reasons:

1. You need 2/3rds AMs (impossible without Labour)

2. You need a majority of MPs and Lords (impossible without Labour)

3. You need to win the campaign (impossible without Labour)

So one can only conclude that Plaid's real choice is First Minister or a Parliament. Rhodri is just being realistic and I think at last Plaid are too.

Sounds like blackmail to me. Personally speaking I would prefer a minority Labour government.
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