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Friday, October 15, 2010

The second bonfire

We have a lot of experience in Wales of throwing Quangos onto bonfires, however the experience here does not seem to have helped First Minister, Carwyn Jones in forming a considered view on the Coalition Government's plans.

He has accused UK Ministers of rushing through their cull of 192 Quangos, even though his own government's bonfire was equally as rushed and based on the bare minimum of consultation.

He says that his administration were given “limited opportunity” to work out the full implications for Wales of such a wide-ranging reform. This again reflects the Welsh experience at a time when Carwyn was a Minister. But at least the One Wales Government was consulted, a matter that they will not properly acknowledge as it gets in the way of the Labour and Plaid Cymru rhetoric of not being respected.

Well, if they behave like this all the time, I would not be surprised if their opposite numbers at the other end of the M4 hold them in contempt, though there is no evidence to suggest that is the case.

Meanwhile, Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Liam Byrne ties himself up in knots by suggesting on one hand that the Coalition Government are simply completing a process begun by the previous Labour government, which had announced plans to axe 123 quangos,accounting for two-thirds of those on the Government’s list, and yet on the other hand criticising the decision as not saving enough money.

He says that whereas Labour’s plan would have saved £500bn by 2013, the Government’s approach could actually lead to increased costs. In turn Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude argues that there will be savings in due course, but the main objective of the cull is to deliver better accountability and transparency.

The Welsh experience indicates that Francis Maude has the better grasp on reality, whilst Liam Byrne is living in cloud cuckoo land if he really believes that Labour's cull could have produced savings of that magnitude. No wonder there was no money left when he left the Treasury.

If this is their idea of responsible opposition then Labour really are condemned to the fringes for some time to come.
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