Friday, 24 April 2009

Welsh Language LCO - putting the con into consultation?

The Welsh language LCO saga will take a new twist on Monday when it comes under parliamentary scrutiny. Ministers from the Assembly and Westminster MPs will face the Welsh Affairs Select Committee to argue the case for transferring powers to legislate over the language to Cardiff .

Those hoping Westminster will simply bow down and send Cardiff's messengers back with pockets full of linguistic rights and responsibilities should not hold their breath.

David Cornock says:

"Wayne David, if prompted, is expected to refer to the results of a Wales Office consultation exercise that insiders say proved overwhelmingly hostile to the idea of extra responsibilities on business to offer services in Welsh."

If you believe those at Welsh Ramblings (who suddenly seem to have become a blog, a pressure group and a think tank rolled into one over the last couple of weeks), that consultation will be hostile purely because of the way Paul Murphy has gone about gathering feedback from stakeholders.

"Has the Welsh Secretary tried to stitch up his 'consultation' up good and proper? You could reach that conclusion." - that's pretty much the gist of the WR message.

You can see who exactly received the letters here because some thoughtful, quick-minded individual has decided to take full advantage of the FOI Act.

So what does all this mean?

Looking beyond the moral implications, things do not look good for the Secretary of State, nor do they look particularly healthy for the future of the language LCO, for the One Wales Coalition or the future of the Cardiff-Westminster relationship (although perhaps that particular bond is already in intensive care).

If Plaid fails to deliver this LCO in a way that is satisfactory to its core support - already annoyed over the tuition fees developments - (more) serious questions will be asked about its role in government. And if the London administration cannot cooperate with its Cardiff counterpart today, imagine how things will work if and when the Conservatives enter government.

Those devolutionists within Welsh Labour who are planning on using the argument that 'Wales needs to take another step forward in the devolution process to escape the clutches of centralist government which is putting obstacle after obstacle in front of LCOs' when David Cameron's party is elected, will have no leg to stand on. Because afterall isn't that what the Labour Party seems to be doing now?

Any further difficulties in transferring powers over this LCO to Cardiff Bay will of course consolidate Labour power in Westminster. For now. But that will mean little if the Conservatives are elected next year. Meanwhile in the Senedd....

"Historic" is a word used almost daily in Welsh politics, but a small landmark looms next week," says Cornock.

He's not wrong.

Dewi Dau



The chosen one said...

I've just looked at the list

NUT is there but not UCAC - Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru. Royal Welsh show is there but not the Eisteddfod. Trade Unions but no Student Unions. What about the Mentrau Iaith. Any more missing bodies I wonder?

Anonymous said...

Mudiad Meithrin

Rhieni Dros Addysg Gymraeg

. . . . and more said...

Presbyterian Church of Wales and Muslim Council of Wales but no Welsh Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, Independents, Anglicans or Jedi.

Draig said...

On the other hand Cymdeithas yr Iaith are there, and so are the Urdd. I think it's more revealing that a letter wasn't sent to Cymuned...

Alwyn ap Huw said...

The geographical balance of the consultation is a bit skewed too. Two thirds of those consulted have addresses in the former counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire. I suppose that this can be partially explained by the fact that many all Wales organisations have their head offices in Cardiff. But the fact that there were more consultees with addresses in England and Scotland than there were from the Welsh heartland counties in the west seems a bit odd.