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Monday, November 10, 2008

Opening up the Assembly

Tempting as it is to write at length on Environment Minister, Jane Davidson's batty idea to use regional list seats to to encourage celebrities, sport stars and businesspeople to join the Welsh assembly as a form of secondment, I really cannot motivate myself to do so.

There are a whole host of reasons why this is not the way forward, not least because it re-writes the Government of Wales Act which adopted the d'hondt top up system as a means of achieving political and geographical balance (Although a proper STV system of PR would have been much more sensible).

Jane suggests that her proposal will help boost the range and appeal of the Assembly but I do not see her putting forward the same idea for the House of Commons. I do not want to come across like the professional politician I undoubtedly am but if all these people want to contribute then they should stand for election in their own right, either by joining a political party or putting themselves forward as an independent. That is democracy.

Despite my disapproval I did though feel that the comment about Jane Davidson on the occasionally-Labour-supporting blog Inside Out at Swansea and elsewhere was a tad bitchy. They concluded:

Without making any up-front mention of the arrangements for ‘appointments’ to the House of Lords, La Davidson, asks:

"Could parties support the idea of using their own top-up lists not only to support equality, but to bring talented non-politicians into the Assembly e.g. top business people, entrepreneurs, successful principals of colleges, vice-chancellors of universities, environmentalists, third sector chief executives, sports stars, media stars … the list goes on”

Whilst left pondering as whether the above bit of rhetorical gives a hint in the direction of her planned careers moves we can’t somehow help feel that the question reinforces a widely held conviction that her enduring contribution to the Welsh political scene will be her retirement.

Could it be that the Environment Minister is not flavour-of-the day with some members of the Swansea Labour Party?
Does not surprise me really I think Labours been going down this road for a while. Being severely disabled I like to see more disabled people within the Assembly not the 1.6% that now works within the assembly or the 2.6% that works within the British government, since we are looking for more women more coloured people more Muslim and perhaps a few cripples might help. We might even end up with a voice.
May I suggest seconding Mickey Mouse.

Going back to Roberts point, three years ago I found myself signing on the dole, at the time I was volunteering for Drugs and Alcohol Agency. When I informed the staff at the jobcentre I was doing this the clerk dealing with my claim said "We've got druggies coming in here!"

One would assume that if they were walking with a stick they would be referred too as "Cripples" or if they skin tone was African Sepia they would be referred too as "Niggers"?

Does the high profile government organisation called WAG have the two ticks disability symbol?

With the disabled making up a large minority of the population in Wales, you would have thought that these figures Robert quotes would be higher?
sorry robert but just as a disability should not be a reason why someone should not be elected to the assembly i can see no reason why somebody should be in the assemly purely because they are disabled!!!!! Surely everyone who is there should be so on the basis of their merits as an individual and the political policies they are putting forward???????????

As for jane davidson's ridiculous suggestion it shows utter contempt for the people of wales and the democratic 'deficit' the assembly was created to deal with!!!!!!!

Ive no doubt welsh celebs like colin jackson, katherine jenkins and gavin henson etc are all fine people with many qualities but if they ever do want to be on the assembly (and im not saying those particular individuals do) then they should be there on the basis of their political programme not because they just happen to be both famous and welsh!

There's no doubt in my mind that this apparent culture that exists in wales of the hero worship of anyone who is remotely famous did real damage to the credibility of the yes campaign in 97 (im sure we all remember 'neil jenkins says yes')and im sure davidson's idea would be seen by the people of wales for the superficial gimmick it is.

Perhaps this would be a way of getting Pesky Lib Dems out of the Assembly?
Whatever the merits or de merits of Jane's proposal on bringing fresh talent into the Assembly to conclude that the blog is evidence of unpopularity in the Swansea Labour Party could not be wider of the mark. Swansea CLPs provide a stalwart grouping in the centre left 'Welsh Labour Grassroots' organisation. Jane is hugely popular on the left of the party and 'Grass Roots' members including people from Gower, Swansea West and Swansea East tried hard to persuade Jane not to stand down. Lets not over extrapolate here.........
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