Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Getting things off my chest!

Just been watching the mighty Liverpool labour to yet another unconvincing 1-0 win. However I spent some time speaking to an enlightened individual at the same time. Having bounced some ideas off this middle-aged and somewhat crumbling wall I came up with some questions of my own.

Given that inevitably she will be campaigning for a 'yes' vote in any referendum on granting Wales extra powers, was Bethan Jenkins strategically right to launch this campaign?

Yes:

  • We now have a debate: a real 2-sided contest and "no Vacuum" (see podcast 2) in which the All Wales Convention is operating.
  • The 'danger' during this economic crisis is that we all look to Westminster for leadership at a time when people think/realise that London is where the real power lies...
  • ...and if this is the case, what hope does Cardiff have of gaining support for more power to be transferred its way?
  • Therefore, our youngest AM may just be trying to refocus people's attentions on gaining more power for our little 'insignificant-at-time-of-economic-crisis' Senedd. How noble. How admirable. How politically astute.

    But...

No:

  • She may have highlighted a split in the Labour Party, who are supposed to campaign as one voice in favour of a 'yes' vote in any referendum. The One Wales agreement says so!
  • Even her own party may be angry with her for 'going rogue'. Plaid had not said anything so far - save for Adam Price who's conveniently placed far enough from Wales - and would have wanted to save this sort of talk for when more pressing matters (did anyone mention we're heading into a recession?) are out of the way. Surely Plaid will only begin to fight the whole 'referendum campaign thing' when they think they can mobilise sufficent and telling support for it.
While people's minds are on Woolworths, VAT, and Alistair Darling is it really the right time to begin asking questions about enhancing Wales' powers? The big issue now is the economy (be sure to let me know if I'm pointing out the obvious) and since the main powers in this area remain in Westminster, it's normal that people are focusing on London.

So is Bethan Jenkins right in trying to bring the attention back onto the constitutional question and perhaps in suggesting that Wales needs more powers to be able to deal with recent job losses? Or should she instead wait until all this doom and gloom is over and look foward to the time when only the shiny question of enhancing the constitutional settlement is left unanswered?
As always, all your comments are welcome.

Dewi Dau

6 comments:

welshfledgling said...

sure i'll add you diolch

Rhys Llwyd said...

Lle mae'r botwm i newid i'r ochr Gymraeg? Dwi methu ei ffeindio...

Politics Cymru said...

Sori Rhys, nid yw pob neges ar gael yn ddwyieithog. Mae yna rai negeseuon yn y Gymraeg yn unig ac eraill ddim ond yn Saesneg. Sori am yr anghyfleustra a'r camddealtwriaeth. Cawn weld sut mae'r blog yn datblygu ac efallai yn y dyfodol y bydd hi'n bosib gwneud popeth yn ddwyieithog.

Diolch am dy sylw!

ducky said...

I think you're right to mention the obvious, the economy is what everyone is and should be focusing on right now, especially in Wales where job losses in the manufacturing sector are becoming somewhat of a daily occurence. It annoys me that Bethan Jenkins thinks now is the time to bring this matter up when what people need now is to be unified behind a UK Government which has the abilities to deal with the crisis. Don't get me wrong, I'm a whole-hearted supporter of devolution, but people need to see their AMs unified behind a Prime Minister who, let's be honest, has a fair deal more experience in economics than anyone in the Senedd! The question of the constitutional settlement is an important one, but not the most important one right now.

bethan said...

The issue of having a referendum for more powers to me is a social justice issue. I do not want more powers for the sake of it, but so that the National Assembly has the strength to be able to work effectively as an institution. The current LCO system is a mess, and I only hope that a referendum will be successful in simplifying the process.

I am not a rogue in this either.

Che Grav-ara said...

"It annoys me that Bethan Jenkins thinks now is the time to bring this matter up when what people need now is to be unified behind a UK Government which has the abilities to deal with the crisis."

I would make the argument that having more powers will directly impact on how Wales can tackle the credit crisis. It anoys me when people say we shouldn't talk about constitutional issues as people are more concerned with the economy, policing, health etc without making the connection that the two issues are directly linked.