Sunday, 28 December 2008

Posted on the Bevan Foundation blog. Contribution to debate on what have been the most over-rated and under-rated issues of 2008

Over-rated: The establishment of the All-Wales Convention under Sir Emyr Jones Parry. It is a well used tactic, set up a committee to discuss a difficult issue of the day: take minutes, spend years - as Harold Wilson cynically said of the Royal Commission on the Constitution. Since then there have been several more on devolution. The Jones Parry Commission is likely to report so late that there won’t be time to hold a referendum before 2011 – even if there was the political will to do so.

Under-rated: An Assembly Committee this year called for an all-Wales independent advocacy body to be set up to give looked after children a voice. A child in the care of the state is more likely to go to prison than University. And yet where’s the outcry? These children get a crappy deal. If my child is bullied in school I'd be straight in to see the Head - who is there to stand up for a child in care?

The evidence presented to the committee was searing. One told the committee: "I’ve been in care long enough to tell the difference between a social worker and a so-called independent person, and the woman I had wasn’t independent. Her wages were paid by the same people as social workers and that is not right’. WAG rejected the report's recommendations. The author of the report into the North Wales abuse scandal, Sir Ronald Waterhouse, went on Dragon's Eye to say he was 'scandalised'. We should all be, but we're not.

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