.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A damp squib

The All-Wales Convention has spoken. They have concluded that a 'yes' vote in favour of boosting powers is desirable and obtainable but not guaranteed.

Is that it? I could have told them that for much less than the £1 million we have spent on this talking shop and without wasting two years in which we could have been making the case on an all-party basis for abolishing the costly and time-wasting LCO process that has effectively stymied the Welsh legislative process.

This exercise has not so much advanced devolution as held it back. Plaid Cymru in particular should hang their head in shame for allowing themselves to be manoeuvred into such a political cul-de-sac.
The decision doesn't need making until june, or in other words just after the general election, so labour can decide based on who is in govt at westminster instead of on what is right for wales. What a crock of sh*t.
Actually it is worse than that. There is a six to nine month run-in period following a decision being taken in the Welsh Assembly, including 160 days for Parliament to agree and a second confirmatory vote in Cardiff Bay, before a referednum can be implemented. So if you have the vote in June you are effectively pushing the referendum to February/March 2011, which means that it runs smack bang into the Assembly elections. That would be a disaster. If you do not take a vote in the Assembly before April 2010 then you may as well forget it until after the next Assembly elections, when all the momentum will have been lost./
Peter would you rather the Convention had said no?!

I know its imperfect and the referendum itself will still leave us short of what Plaid and the Lib Dems want, but surely you can see sense in getting behind this?
What am I getting behind exactly, a £1.3m time waster which states the bleedin' obvious? Get me a Yes campaign and a commitment from the Government to table a vote in the Assembly for a referendum and I will happily get behind that.
“Welsh Liberal Democrats believe the Convention has done a good job, bringing the voices of people from across Wales into a debate all too often dominated by politicians. Credit is due to Sir Emyr and his colleagues for providing a thorough report, following months of consultation and research.”

“The report itself provides a devastating critique of the existing, half-baked settlement, confirming my belief that a referendum will allow Wales to choose a better, proper settlement, fit for the purpose of truly devolved Welsh Government.”

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats believe that the sooner a decision is taken to proceed with a referendum, the greater the opportunity for all political parties and progressive voices to build a coherent and persuasive yes campaign.”

Think your a bit of message here Peter
Me, off message? Never. What an outrageous suggestion. I say what I think not what I am told.
What is really lacking is the ability for the administrators of the All Wales convention to really engage with the public about it, what it actually is and what it is setting out to achieve . Ask your average person hat it is and they have a vague idea....
The All Wales Convention achieved a number of things, possibly most importantly it took a serious, informed and impartial look at GOWA 2006 and how Part 3 is being operated. In plain English, it looked at the powers and procedures of the Assembly as they are now and what was on offer should there be a "Yes" vote in a referendum.
The fact that the "experts" took so long in answering some of the questions showed that very few people actually knew the extent of the powers currently at Cardiff Bay and how they got there. Welsh business, the Public and Third sectors, let alone the person on the street were concerned and/or confused about the current situation.
Then, unlike some reports, instead of just leaving the problems identified, they suggested ways of moving forward.
The Convention even managed, after a lot of difficulty, to answer the burning question raised by most concerned people – how much would the change cost? In my opinion the answer to this single question is crucial to the outcome of any referendum. The answer that a move to Part 4 would be broadly cost neutral really means there is a chance of winning a referendum!
To paraphrase the report - a true democracy needs an informed electorate... and that is something we don't have and are unlikely to have under Part 3.
This was money well spent - perhaps not on whether or not a referendum is winnable; crystal balls cost more than £1.3 million but on describing the short falls of the current set up and indicating the path that politicians and those really concerned with democracy in Wales should take.
What price democracy? The was a very small price to pay.
'very few people actually knew the extent of the powers currently at Cardiff Bay and how they got there.'

And the convention hasnt changed any of that. As one commentator said the All Wales Convention was the Richard Commission for slow thinkers. They spoke to the commentariat not to the general public. They amounted to a displacement exercise in place of a real 'yes' campaign and when it comes to that campaign the impact of this report will be negligible. It was a waste of £1.3m.
I don't think anyone is really reading between the lines in the report. It outlines a scandal possibly more sinister than the MPs expenses, at least that was about individuals trying to screw the system.
The fog around GOWA was actually a smoke screen produced by the establishment to make a pretense of giving sham powers to Wales while actually just making jobs for the boys. The behind the scene boys, those needed to develop the procedures and strategies for getting LCOs, while all the time powers were coming to Cardiff via framework bills with as the report says "little or no scrutiny".
The waste of money was not the convention but the sham of part 3, not to mention the undermining of democracy in Wales by by-passing proper scrutiny. EJP states that scrutiny is at the heart of democracy.
This is hot stuff, it's in the report but nobody is talking about it.
Sure if you just read £1 million spent on LCOs not working and winning a referendum is possible then thats a big waste of time and money. We could have all said that last year but read the rest.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?