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Friday, July 13, 2007


Is the One Wales Agreement starting to unravel already? I ask because according to reports, Peter Hain's press conference yesterday raised a number of questions about Labour's commitment to deliver some of the more crucial aspects of the document.

In particular, Mr. Hain was quite emphatic in his insistence that a referendum on a Welsh Parliament is unlikely to be held before 2011, effectively kicking it into touch until after the next Assembly elections. The Western Mail suggests that this is a sign that figures in Labour and Plaid are already interpreting the deal in different ways.

They also go on to refer to the convention that will be set up under the deal so as to prepare the ground for a referendum. Mike German questioned Jane Hutt, who was standing in for the First Minister, on this aspect of the deal on Tuesday. He wanted to know what the purpose of this convention was. Unfortunately, the Business Minister did not seem to know. Not an auspicious start.

Meanwhile, another key aspect of the deal, the review of the Barnett formula, also looks like it will run into the ground. The Secretary of State for Wales does not even seem keen to carry out the review that has been supported by all the parties in the Assembly. He is quoted in the Western Mail as saying that looking into the system could be “like opening Pandora’s Box”.

A few more Peter Hain press conferences like this and the coalition really will be on the rocks.

Update: There are a number of anonymous Plaid Party hacks and researchers who have interpreted this post as an attempt to break up the coalition. How insecure are they? My role as an opposition member is to scrutinise and to constructively oppose. I will not be deflected from that role by personal abuse from unnamed people commenting on this blog. In fact they are getting boring.

I will still allow anonymous comments provided that they are constructive and that they advance debate. If you want to comment otherwise then please use your own name or an identifiable pseudonym.
[Mike German] wanted to know what the purpose of this convention was. Unfortunately, the Business Minister did not seem to know.

That is not true. She (eventually) stated:

the convention will also deliver what the people of Wales want in terms of the way forward for devolution.
Well that's clear - not!
i am not a member of either of these parties but supported the agreement because it appeared to offer the people of wales the chance to 'upgrade' the assembly should they wish to! Looks like i -along with a few others - was being naive! Why on earth are labour suggesting a 'convention' to look at this issue when the excellent richard commission did that job 3 years ago? Or is this labour's way of kicking the issue into touch for the next 4 years? If this proves to be the case it will be a disaster for plaid - on a historical par with the demoralisation they experienced following the disastrous 1979 devolution campaign! For the peole of wales's sake i hope im wrong.
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