Wednesday, 14 October 2009

The Welsh Grand Committee does the Welsh language LCO

I have now decided that my behaviour today has proven my commitment to covering Welsh politics. Whilst the majority of my peers have been (apart from those in more stable employment) sunning themselves, shopping or going to the gym I have been watching the Welsh Grand Committee on Parliament TV. Yes I know I’m the height of cool.

These hours spent watching and Twittering (granted not as often during the afternoon session) has taught me several things about the scrutiny of LCOs.

It’s well documented on this website that during my time in university I spent many a Friday morning learning about the GOWA 2006 – its scope and powers and therefore the LCO process. What I learnt today is that the members of Parliament clearly have not interpreted the Act as my lecturers had. Granted THIS LCO is a special case, however what I saw today was the process of minutiae scrutiny (and even a request to see a draft measure before passing the LCO), as opposed to a broader approach that looked purely at the legality of the LCO.

My (along with lecturers / classmates) interpretation of the GOWA is that it’s the Assembly’s role to make the measures and it’s the Welsh MPs role to transfer the powers but only if they fall within the remit of the above mentioned act. We have known for some time now that this isn’t the approach that the Welsh MPs appear to be taking, or is it?

Several times during today’s debate’s the MPs seemed confused themselves as to what exactly they were talking about, and several times some MPs had to remind others that it was not their place to discuss what would be included in a measure but instead what was included in the LCO. Confused? Some of them certainly seemed to be.

My conclusion after watching today’s proceedings:

Someone somewhere surely needs to clarify the role of the Welsh MPs with regards to LCOs.

Are they essentially scrutinising future measures and therefore looking at LCOs to do exactly what they say on the tin?

Or are they (as I initially interpreted) looking at whether or not the LCO transfers powers that the Assembly shouldn’t have legally ? And therefore leaving the Assembly do the close scrutiny at the measure stage.

Either way - someone somewhere (for my sanity if nothing else) needs to decide or expect to see this confusion continue.

Dewi Un

P.S Great updates on Twitter from David Cornock, Nick Speed et al


Monday, 12 October 2009

MPs Hart Labour

Today we’ve found out that Edwina Hart’s campaign has been boosted with the support of Paul Murphy MP and Don Touhig MP – as one tweet put it, two for the price of one.

Now have I missed something somewhere? I’m sure that all the talk to this point has been that whilst Edwina Hart is popular with the trade unionists and some AMs, her campaign would likely splutter due to a lack of support from MPs. Today’s news surely means that this analysis is flawed?

Paul Murphy and Don Touhig are some of the most senior Labour MPs and the most anti-devolution. If they support Edwina Hart’s campaign then surely many more MPs will follow? Edwina Hart is seen as a radical and the most pro-devolution of the three candidates – so if Don and Paul have ignored their natural opposition to these positions, and backed the AM from Gower, then maybe MPs are not as anti Edwina as we have been led to believe?

If this is the case and MPs are dancing to Edwina Hart’s tune then surely she must become the front runner?

Ladbrokes latest on Welsh First Minister race has it as:

Jones 4/6, Hart 5/2, Lewis 7/2

So Carwyn Jones is in the lead for now – but if more MPs start harting Labour then I suspect the odds will change.

Dewi Un


Thursday, 8 October 2009

Podcast #2.2: The Importance of Being Seen

The Podcast returns with the best quiz ever (for Dewi Tri)...

We're also talking about the Labour leadership, who's got the snaziest website and how much of a difference that really makes??

Dewi Tri's also been along to the Topping Out of the new Assembly building at Llandudno Junction with Mr Rhodri Morgan so will this help public relations up north??

All that, fun and banter in our new look Politics Cymru Podcast.

Powered by
Having trouble listening? Click here
Subscribe with iTunes


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr - not in the bag?

So we now know pretty much who the runners and riders are not only in the Labour leadership race, but in the race for selection in Carmarthenshire East and Dinefwr. What is seen by many as a safe Plaid seat (I’ll come on to this later) sounds like an ideal place for a Plaid candidate to stand.

The big guns to watch out for: Angharad Mair and Jonathan Edwards, I expect the race to effectively come down to these two, and I expect the winner to be pretty pleased. How often does a safe seat come up for grabs months before an election? Or is it a safe seat?

The facts are that Adam Price managed to take the traditionally Labour seat in 2001 and extended his majority from 2,590 to 6,718 in 2005. Adam Price is a local boy who went to school locally and whose parents live locally. Given the boundary changes in 1997 this local link becomes far more important. Why’s that then? Well now Ammanford and Llandeilo are the two biggest towns / population centres in the constituency and both are fairly intimate places – where mostly everyone knows pretty much everyone else, so local links and empathy for local issues become very important here. An absence of this cost the Labour campaign dearly in 2005 where the candidate was seen to have been parachuted in from London.

The constituency has a strong Labour tradition, Plaid managed to win the seat in 2001 because of a combination of a message that was more left wing than the Labour Party and a candidate with strong local roots who was brought up in the area (plus aforementioned boundary changes).

Coming from Glanamman myself I’ve spent some time talking to locals gathering their opinions. My findings are: There is not necessarily a loyalty to Plaid Cymru here, there is however a loyalty to Adam Price.

My point is - this is not Meirionnydd. There is no definite / concrete affiliation with Plaid Cymru here.

All of which means that Carmarthen East and Dinefwr could be up for grabs - making the selection of a candidate for Plaid Cymru all the more important. Angharad Mair, I am told, may well alienate the voters who feel, just as they did with Ross Hendry in 2005, that she has been parachuted in.

However with Labour’s inner party workings in Wales a mess, and their election coffers bare, it may be that they just don’t have the cash to support a push out West – which makes this entire article rather academic – so I suppose in classic Politics Cymru style, we shall have to wait and see....

Dewi Un


Monday, 5 October 2009

Campaign Website Review

It would appear Huw Lewis is slightly behind the times...I can’t find a campaign website for him.

Carwyn Jones (who technically doesn’t launch his campaign until tonight) has gone for a Wordpress blog with 1 post to date and different sections including ‘Carwyn’ and ‘Ministerial Record’...sounds like gripping stuff.

Edwina Hart has what is quite a stylish website complete with logos and catchphrases and everything!

Based purely on websites I know who I’d vote for...of course there’s much more to these campaigns than looking good!

Dewi Tri

ADD: Lewis4Labour is now online and Huw Lewis is on Twitter already! D3


Saturday, 3 October 2009

Could this be what Wales look like after the next election?

Vaughan Roderick’s been blogging this morning on the Welsh results for the annual Politics Home survey of marginal constituencies.

Wales looking very interesting indeed and according to the index would see a major resurgence for the Conservatives who would take Aberconwy, Bridgend, Cardiff North, Carmarthen West and South Pembs, Gower, Newport West, Gower, Newport West, Vale of Clwyd and Vale of Glamorgan…


It also sees Plaid making most of the gains they’d want to make.

Here's a summary of those Welsh marginals:

Aberconwy Labour Conservative GAIN
Arfon Labour PC GAIN
Brecon and Radnorshire Lib Dem Lib Dem HOLD
Bridgend Labour Conservative GAIN
Cardiff North Labour Conservative GAIN
Cardiff West Labour Labour HOLD
Carmarthen West and South Pembs Labour Conservative GAIN
Ceredigion Lib Dem PC GAIN
Clwyd South Labour Labour HOLD
Clwyd West Conservative Conservative HOLD
Delyn Labour Labour HOLD
Gower Labour Conservative GAIN
Llanelli Labour Labour HOLD
Newport West Labour Conservative GAIN
Preseli Pembrokeshire Conservative Conservative HOLD
Vale of Clwyd Labour Conservative GAIN
Vale of Glamorgan Labour Conservative GAIN
Ynys Mon Labour PC GAIN

If, like me, you can imagine no better way to spend your weekend take a look at all the findings here.

Dewi Tri


Friday, 2 October 2009

Do we need a North Wales candidate?

BANG! That’s the starting gun being fired on the race to succeed Rhodri Morgan.

But it strikes me that all the candidates (so far) are all based along the M4 route:- Edwina from Gower, Carwyn from Bridgend and Huw from Merthyr.

Three places that feel very far away from those of us based along the A55…

Would a candidate from the north perhaps offer something different to the debate?

Dewi Tri


Thursday, 1 October 2009

Podcast #2.1: The Next Generation

We're back! New Podcast! New jingle! But we are a Dewi down...swings and roundabouts!

And is there any better week to be back?

Rhodri Morgan has stepped down - but what legacy does he leave and who will be his successor?

We've also got our new north/south feature and the quiz is back.

Let us know what you think -- as far as we're concerned it's very good to be back!

Having trouble listening? Click here
Subscribe with iTunes


Hwyl Fawr Rhodri

So Rhodri’s finally gone and done it – announced that he’s standing down as First Minister, with his intention to leave the job after the details of the budget have been hammered out (roughly December the 8th).

It will be a nigh on impossible job to fill his sizeable shoes, but those who are feeling the urge to try are, as we speak, preparing for battle.

Rhodri’s well respected by his colleagues, well liked by the Welsh public and feared by opposition politicians, to be one of those things is an achievement, to be all three is truly remarkable. His enthusiasm for Wales and for devolution has arguably held the project together for the last 10 years especially in the dark early days when the Assembly was floundering around looking for something to do. It is because of Rhodri that the Assembly has been normalised and accepted in the minds of the Welsh public – only a politician of his stature (with an approval rating that U.S Presidents would drool over) could have achieved that.

Of course no-one’s perfect. During the last few years under Rhodri’s leadership the Labour Party’s popularity in Wales has plummeted – leading to that disastrous European election result in June. Some will also criticise the lack of progress made on the Parliament front and look at the still frosty relationship between the Senedd and Welsh MPs.

However whatever your personal opinion of Rhodri’s politics it’s difficult to challenge his passion for Wales and desire to better the lives of those of us who live here. He has almost singlehandedly brought credibility to the Assembly – through his huge brain and common touch.

Today is a momentous occasion for devolution, and now with its champion leaving the front lines for good hanging up his sword and shield, will devolution cope?

Dewi Un