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Monday, June 04, 2007

Tortuous and demeaning

Despite my little rant a few days ago about the separation of church and state, I believe that the Archbishop of Wales was absolutely right to publish his views on the Government of Wales Act this morning, and I am not saying that because I agree with him.

There is of course a huge difference in a senior cleric expressing a view on a matter of public interest on one hand and seeking to influence the actions of individual politicians by the use of intimidation on the other. It is perfectly legitimate for churchmen and women to have a view and to use their position to get an airing for it. It is not legitimate in my view to effectively try and place the church between a politician and their vote by implying that an MP's religion should come before the interests of his or her constituents.

Having clarified my position I fully endorse the views of the Most Rev. Dr. Barry Morgan on the powers of the Assembly. That Wales should remain in an inferior position to Scotland in the powers it can exercise is ridiculous. That we need to go cap in hand to the Viceroy of Wales, Peter Hain every time we want to draw down powers is just absurd.

The new system does indeed look clumsy and cumbersome but we will need to wait and see how it operates before coming to a complete judgement. I suspect that it will be easier to operate with a minority Labour Government than with the inevitable rainbow coalition.

One of my concerns about the All-Wales Accord was whether Peter Hain would let us actually implement most of it, particularly those clauses on a fairer voting system for local government, but other measures as well. I suspect that the first real test of the Government of Wales Act will be when Ieuan Wyn Jones assumes the mantle of First Minister. Let us hope that it is not found wanting.
Nothing ventured nothing gained.
Welsh politics has to move forward . As you saw for yourself the public are very unforgiving of anyone who dares stand in the way of real progress.
I couldn't agree more with both you and Barry, Peter.

However, this is tempered by a firm belief that AMs should be up to the task of scrutinising legislation. Sadly, the majority are not. There are AMs in all parties who are hopelessly out of their depth, and many would struggle to hold their own as backbench county councillors.

This in itself leads to another question; should we be contemplating transferring more power given that I doubt their ability to make the most of the power they already have?

On principle the answer is clearly yes, but we need to replace the Irene Jameses with more David Meldings. There are too many Irenes at present, and that is true across the political spectrum.
i agree with you sentiments peter but what does it say about the media and our elected representatives that its the Archbishop of Wales that gets the coverage when he says what many people think.
Dafydd Ellis Thomas said on radio Wales today that in considering whether to support an 'anti labour' coalition government in proposing a referendum for a Parliament, Labour should take heed of the opinion polls at the time. Does he believe the right wing coalition should do the same before undertaking the 'coup etat'? I wonder why the BBC and Western Mail haven't undertaken such a poll already? Answers on a post card.
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