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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Labour at sixes and sevens over devolution of police

Yesterday's Western Mail contains an interesting revelation about the continuing tensions within the Labour Party over devolution.

The paper says that Carwyn Jones was given a “roasting” by Welsh MPs during a meeting at Westminster over his plan to have policing powers devolved to Wales:

A senior Labour source said many Welsh Labour MPs were angry that the policy had been announced by the First Minister without it having gone through normal party processes and without them having been consulted. 

We have also been told it was made clear to Mr Jones that such a transfer of powers would not be a priority during the first term of an incoming Labour government if the party wins the next general election in 2015. 

The party source told us a message to that effect had been conveyed to Mr Jones with the authority of Ed Miliband, although last night the party leader’s spokesman denied that was the case.

As the Welsh Liberal Democrats spokesperson said “This is very embarrassing for Carwyn Jones. While he may be First Minister in Wales, it is clear from the reaction of his MPs that he does not lead his party. 

“When the Welsh Labour Government published its submission to the Silk Commission, while Welsh Labour were talking about how they were standing up for Wales, the question on everyone else’s lips was 

‘Have these proposals been given the OK by the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales and the leader, Ed Miliband?’ Nothing will happen on devolution in Westminster in the Labour party unless it gets the backing of the MPs. Carwyn Jones was very naive to think otherwise. 

“It seems there is a clear split in the Labour Party when it comes to devolution and the attitude of the Welsh Labour MPs reveals Carwyn Jones’ weakness as a leader. Labour’s attitude towards the most senior elected Labour politician in the country is akin to the previous UK Labour Government’s attitude towards Wales."

In other words it is the same-old schizophrenic Labour Party.
The Assembly was always envisioned, as far back as the 70s, as Labour's pet poodle. Now its leaders and MPs are afraid it might actually fall under the control of people who really care about Wales, and put its interests first, as has happened in Scotland. The Labour Party always acts out of self-interest, although historically there have been individuals from time to time who have been principled. They seem to have disappeared from its ranks altogether and replaced by faceless professional politicians who will say and do anything to get elected. People in Wales vote Labour out of habit and because they detest and fear the Tories more. The power of Labour has to be broken electorally if Wales is to have a positive future.
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