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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Thinking the thinkable

I have not commented on Carwyn Jones idea for another Welsh think tank or policy institute to generate ideas to improve public services, largely because I am always suspicious of easy targets.

It is not that I do not support such a body, we can always do with fresh thinking, it is just that Welsh Labour has hardly been a hotbed of original thought since the Assembly got underway and, if the First Minister's comments are any guide, that has not changed.

My first reaction was very much in line with the AM quoted by Matt Withers in this morning's Wales on Sunday, who said that it is to be “a think-tank tasked with thinking the unthinkable as long as it’s thinkable”. This is a reference to the fact Mr Jones has set out its terms of reference, and no use of the markets or private sector is allowed.

More intriguing though is the suggestion in this week's Spin Doctor column in the same paper, which could save the First Minister a lot of work. The column asks why start a new think tank when a perfectly good one is laying dormant?

The Progressive Policies Forum, which famously channelled £26,613.75 plus a loan of £25,000, to Peter Hain's campaign for the Labour Party deputy leadership in 2007, has still yet to publish any work since its inception in December 2006. What's more, it's been so busy thinking it hasn't even had time to get a website yet.

Or does that suggestion contain too many difficult questions for the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and Welsh Labour as well?
But the First Minister has given every indication that he has no interest in ideas/solutions to Welsh economic problems unless they are trussed up in Welsh Labour dogma and hence likely to contribute to another decade of Welsh decline.

Welsh Labour is still shackled to times past, and thinks somehow that Wales is superior even while the Welsh economy and education are bumping along the bottom of just about every league table.

There is not a ‘cat’s chance in hell’ that the First Minister will actually do anything that actually improves the state of Wales v. Rest of the World.

Even former third world entities are leaving Wales behind.
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