Showing posts from November, 2009


Posted on This is My Truth on 20 November Huw Irranca Davies makes this case in the Western Mail this morning for delaying the referendum beyond 2011. I’ve heard very serious people outside the Labour Party say the same thing. I am concerned about the game of chicken that seems to be going on within the Cardiff Bay bubble, with enthusiasts for a referendum goading each other to race across the road confident of avoiding the juggernaught of public opinion. Though there is merit in Geraint Talfarn Davies’ argument that “our politicians are going to have to make their own weather on this issue”, the consequeneces of losing the referendum are too great to rush into it. My own view is that the All Wales Convention has not properly addressed the long-term issues and has locked itself into the sterile trajectory of Peter Hain’s Government of Wales Act As I’ve argued repeatedly in recent days, the offer on the table is not so much extra powers but a different way of aquiring them. The Assemb

A case in point

Posted on This is My Truth on 19 November So its official, the LCO system is flawed On the day the All Wales Convention delivered its verdict, the Assembly's Enterprise Committee was meeting behind closed doors to discuss the progress of its own bid for extra powers. There was exciting news. Ministers were dropping their opposition, and if the committee was willing to agree to a delay WAG would swing behind the draft Highways & Transportation LCO in the spring and negotiate its passage through Whitehall. As the Committee Chair Gareth Jones put it, “This is a triple first when it comes to creating new laws for Wales. Not only is this the first LCO to be proposed by an Assembly Committee but it is also the first to come directly from the National Assembly’s petitions process. Furthermore, the petition came directly from civic society”. He added "It’s democracy in action.” Well, up to a point Lord Copper. An important point of principle has been conceded, and now the LCO

What has Sir Emz got up his sleeve?

Posted on This is My Truth on November 15th So Emz (as he's known to his friends) will deliver his big report this week. I've set out my own views on the All Wales Convention Convention, and on the points they've been considering. More important is the question of what will flow from the report. The worst kept secret in Cardiff Bay seems to be that the Convention will encourage AMs to trigger a referendum. I'm sure it will flesh out what the latest YouGov poll showed, that the referendum is winnable but not yet won. But might Sir Emz go further? The former UN Ambassador teased us with his comment that people will be surprised by the "extent of its recommendations". What's he got up his sleeve? I wonder if he'll suggest that the devolution settlement go beyond the 2006 Government of Wales Act? The One Wales agreement commits Labour and Plaid to "proceed to a successful outcome of a referendum for full law-making powers under Part IV as soon as p

A more optimistic vision ?

Posted on This is My Truth on 7 November There will be people who think that this is the wrong time to be discussing a referendum, Rhodri Morgan told an audience in Aberystwyth last night. But there will be others who will have “a more optimistic vision”, the First Minister said in a lecture to the Welsh Political Archive. What could that mean? I understand he was given the option of the All Wales Convention report being delayed until his successor was in place, but insisted on it landing on his desk. Those with long memoeries wil recall that Rhodri Morgan initally gerated the publication of the Richard Commission report in 2004 as a “red letter day” for Wales, only to recoil from its main recommendations days later in the face of a backlash from Welsh MPs. Perhaps this time, as a last hurrah, Rhodri will want to leave ”a more optimistic” legacy?

The day the Welsh Secretary nearly died

Posted on This is My Truth on 1 November Those with long memories will remember the Cabinet re-shuffle in the summer of 2003 as a complete mess. You may recall Peter Hain becoming Leader of the House of Commons(as well as Welsh Secretary), the post of Lord Chancellor abolished and the Wales Office subsumed - administratively at least - into a new Department of Constitutional Affairs. As someone reporting on all this at the time I remember the confusion amongst Welsh MPs and within the Wales Office at what was going on. Well, some light has now been shed on it all. Lord Derry Irvine, the Lord Chancellor who was sacked, has now published his personal memo to Tony Blair urging him to tread carefully. Irvine revals that Blair has originally intended: "the creation of a Department for Constitutional Affairs with a Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs with a Secretary of State in the Commons including the responsibilities of the Secretary of State for Wales, the staff of the

Signs of life

Posted on This is My Truth on 1 November For me the interesting feature of the leadership election is not the coded attacks, though there are plenty of them, but the early signs of policy innovation. Labour has struggled to develop policy in Wales. Partly because the culture and structure of the Party has not been geared towards developing separate policy for Wales, and partly because the leading players have been engaged in Governing. New policy has been developed in a hurried, and often shockingly casual way, in the immediate build-up to an election. The Leadership election is forcing the Labour Party to think about new Welsh policies in the middle of the electoral cycle. And there are encouraging signs. Dave Hagendyk is right to say that the ideas of Huw Lewis will feature in the next manifesto. So too will the ideas of the other candidates. Here are three suggestions that caught my eye which I believe deserve a place in Labour’s programme in 2011 – I’ve chosen one from each