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Sunday, October 21, 2012

An occasional round-up of Welsh blogposts Part Five

This is the fifth in a series of reviews of Welsh blog posts that have caught my eye over the last month.

The Wales Audit Office report into AWEMA has been simmering in the background for some months and has now emerged with a bang. It is likely that Ministers will be asked to account for their role in the failure to scrutinise this organisation in the Assembly this week, however the appearance of the report has at least led to the former Chief Executive of the body to go public for the first time. The blog, A Change of Personnel was not impressed:

The only point I would add to the general discussion is that while the Civil Servants are taking the majority of flack over the Government’s failings on AWEMA, we need to remember that Civil Servants don’t act independently of Ministers who set tone for the Department they run. So if poor communication and lack of accountability were the order of the day then Welsh Minister's are clearly are fault, despite what the Wales Audit Office had to say.

And for all denial of wrong doing coming from Cardiff Bay you have wonder why Carwyn Jones, Jane Hutt, Edwina Hart and other Ministers involved weren't willing to sit down with Betsan Powys, Adrian Masters or Martin Shipton on Thursday to tell their side of the story - at the very least they owe the numpties who vote them in time after time an explanation over this sorry mess, the rest of us saw through the smoke and mirrors years ago and remain unmoved by Labour's continued incompetence and indifference in governing Wales.

Glyn Davies MP has been reflecting on news that Assembly Members have been having training on how to ask questions and on presentation. He adds a new twist to the controversy with the suggestion that his predecessor as MP for Montgomeryshire might have a role in instructing us:

The Assembly Commission could have recruited cheaper advice from former Montg. MP, Lembit Opik who has recently launched The London Academy Business School, where he offers himself as  a guru on public speaking and presentational skills. Am told he charges £149.00 for a 2 hr course. Its advertised as a 'personal and tailored experience' and 'provides tips to make your presentation sparkle'.  OK, I know he didn't look too good when that wrestler had him in a headlock, but I remember Lembit as always quite well turned out. He's seemed a bit unsure of career direction for a while, but could be that the desire of AMs to smarten themselves up creates an opportunity for Lembit to use his skills for the benefit of Welsh politics again.

Meanwhile the controversy over the UK Government's challenge to the Assembly's Local Government By-laws Bill and the possible challenge to the Official Language's Bill rumbles on. However, Alwyn Ap Huw thinks he has smelt a rat:

From a nationalist point of view one could see these legal challenges as a way of highlighting the deficiencies in the Welsh devolution settlement and making the case for more devolution, but that is not what the Welsh Labour Government is doing; Welsh Labour, on the whole, is lukewarm about giving the Assembly further powers.

The Labour government in Cardiff is basically having a pissing competition with the Con-Dem government in London in order to prove that they are "standing up to the Tories". They are allowing the governance of Wales to stagnate in silly legal challenges. Rather than using the limited powers that we voted to give the Assembly in the referendum for the benefit of Wales, Labour is abusing that mandate by bogging the right to pass Welsh laws down in petty party politicking and point scoring. Yet again - the Labour Party is putting what's best for Labour before what is best for Wales!

Paul Flynn is back at work after his suspension from the House of Commons, but he has never relented from pursuing his hobby horses, this time on the suppression of Prince Charles' letters to the UK Government:

The Queen has never strayed into politics. Charles cannot stay away. Letters kept secret. They prove he would be a poor monarch.

Time we copied the practise of most of the free world and elected our head of state.

If Charles is not 'politically neutral' he is not fit to be Head of State. Tories should not stifle truth on his character and prejudice.

It has to be said that much as I agree with Paul, the previous Labour Government has been culpable in this as well. The other big issue of the week has been the TUC march against the cuts. On the IWA blog, Anthony Barnett suggests they are missing the point:

Now, the demonstration is to be repeated. The aim of 20 October is to carry on 26 March. But what’s the point when the argument about austerity has already moved on – it isn’t working and that’s official. Another march, another day. It isn’t new, it won’t be bigger unless I’m missing something. What’s the point?

Any kind of organisation or movement has to learn, to grow. It has to be a learning experience for those who participate and for its leaders. This is especially so now when, to leave aside everything else, we are facing the possibility of a second financial crash (if David Potter’s sober analysis is right. But the TUC is not responding to this. And if it isn’t learning it will be shrinking.

Finally, Gareth Hughes spots a new political trend in the way that Plaid Cymru are promoting themselves. Henceforth they are to be called the Party of Wales or POW so as to better appeal to non-Welsh speakers:

Come election time if two smiling individuals turn up at your door speaking English and being positive about the world, don’t slam the door in their face thinking they’re Mormons. Chances are they’ll by POWs not escaping but garnering votes.

You have been warned.
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