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Friday, May 29, 2009

Moral authority

A quick post before I set off to Mid Wales regarding Ieuan Wyn Jones' claim this morning that the MPs' expenses scandal has stripped Westminster of the "moral authority" to refuse a referendum on dismantling the LCO system so that the assembly can use its powers in full.

I am a bit sad to see Ieuan take this view as it turns what is a national crisis about our political system into a narrow self-serving opportunity and as such misses the point. It is not just Westminster that has lost all 'moral authority' as a result of this crisis but all politicians, whether they be AMs, MSPs, MPs, MEPs or MLAs. The public are angry with us as a political class and quite rightly so. It is also worth pointing out that the Assembly too has had its problems though nothing like on the scale of Westminster.

The point is that I want a referendum and a 'yes' vote but we have to argue for it on its own merits. Ieuan is right to highlight the inconsistencies in David Cameron's position of promising to empower communities but not addressing the efficacy of the Welsh Assembly. He is also right that such devolution of power is one way of reforming the present system. But it must form part of an overall package that includes the Assembly, where we change the rules on allowances, cap political donations, introduce fixed term Parliaments, democratise the House of Lords and bring in a proper proportional system for the House of Commons (and for the Welsh Assembly).

We can no longer afford to do things piecemeal, that is one of the reasons we are in this mess. We need to think through what we want our constitution to look like and plan out how we are going to get there. Maybe Plaid Cymru could take that wider view as well.
I couldn't agree more with your comments. Ieuan Wyn Jones should realise that the expenses scandal has reinforced the anti politics mood in the country. For nationalists this might be seen to be the opportunity for Wales to leave the 'corrupt' UK political system. This will not,however, be the view of most voters in Wales in my opinion. The danger at the moment is that they could,for example, use any referendum as a chance to send a message to all politicians. This is not the time for politicians who really believe in the renewal of democracy to engage in party political point scoring. The expenses scandal covers all parties. It is an issue about character and morals not about politics. It could,however, be an opportunity for change if a consensus approach to reform developed. Cameron's speech was weak on detail and I disagreed with his dismissal of PR but at least it was moving in the right direction. To read the comments on Carwyn Jones's blog,however, was sadly depressing but not surprising.Labour politicians who retreat into the tribal bunker and try to just appeal to the prejudices of the dwindling core vote should wake up and smell the coffee. This is the time for out of the box thinking which ,thank goodness, some of the progreesive elements in the Party are beginning ot do.
"...Maybe Plaid Cymru could take that wider view as well."

Mmmmm! Don't think so somehow, think the way Labour tell them to think, they borrowed policies off the Lib Dems, like a local income tax and dropped them a.s.a.p when they joined Labour in the rulling coallition.
This is a bit rich of ieuan Wyn. He was an MP from 1987 - 2001. He had a taxpayer funded flat which increased in value enormously. And the proceeds? A holiday home in the south of France.
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