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Saturday, February 25, 2012

What Labour's Shadow Health Minister Thinks of Welsh NHS

To be fair, Peter, not that I can ever be described as an apologist for Labour, she wasn't given much of an opportunity to say anything by that arrogant man.

I don't know if you agree, but Wales is almost always portrayed negatively in the UK media, particularly on the BBC.

However, more often than not, Wales isn't mentioned. I know much more about health and education in England than in Wales, from watching the BBC News and News Channel.

I think its high time that responsibility for broadcasting was devolved to the nations.
She was asked some very clear questions and dodged endorsing the Welsh NHS as run by Labour. She is no ingenué, she is a shadow minister, She knew what she was doing.

As for devolving broadcasting, as you know I am in favour but you need to be clear what you mean by that. If you think that Welsh Ministers would assume editorial control then you are very much mistaken.

The BBC have improved massively in their coverage of devolution,and the Welsh Assembly but assuming responsibility for devolution will have little more impact on them or the style of inquisators like Paxman.

Of course we would hear a lot less about the English NHS and Education if the First Minister did not obsess about them in Plenary meetings instead of doing his job and answering questions about his own record.
She certainly must be used to this kind of questioning or even inquisition as it were. Its part of her job after all and its not like she is just out of University. Whatever the imperfections of devolving broadcasting though, it still seems a good notion overall.
Peter, I'm pleased to hear that you agree with devolution of broadcasting.

Of course, the media must be as independent as possible from state, government or political influence if it is to carry out its function in a democratic society. That must hold true in Wales, when and if the powers come.

I regret to say that in the current UK broadcasting environment that independence is more apparent than real. I am suspicious particularly of the BBC, which is effectively a state broadcaster. It has shown itself to be cautious when it comes to offending the political elite, in the van when it comes to defending the status quo, and particularly fawning when it comes to royalty.

There are specific examples which I could mention, but this is neither the time or the place to do so.

I disagree that the BBC has markedly improved as far as the coverage of politics in Wales.

Most political coverage emanates from London.It marginalises our country. The unionist parties effectively get double the coverage over the SNP and Plaid, in Scotland and in Wales because of that.

We are desperately ill-informed about Welsh political issues which is very bad for democracy. For almost a decade, devolved Wales has been a virtual one-party state, with neither the opposition parties or the electorate sufficiently able to hold the Welsh government to account.

It is a matter of urgency that broadacsting is devolved so that a fundamental problem can be addressed.
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