Friday, 4 March 2011

A *very* good afternoon for Wales

Will Roger Lewis, leader of the "Yes" campaign, dare echo Ron Davies's much-rehearsed response to the referendum result which set up the Assembly in the first place? It is increasingly certain that the Senedd will have law-making powers as a result of yesterday's referendum vote.

However, the nay-sayers raised a number of valid points which need to be addressed, not only by the 2011 new intake of Assembly Members, but also by those of us  who will vote them in. There is the slippery slope argument, the question of quality of representation and the remoteness of decision-makers in Cardiff from many communities in Wales.

Taking the Taffarchy first, it is surely right to devolve not only power to the unitary authorities but also work to the regions. WAG offices which deal with regional problems, like transport and stimulating commerce & industry are prime candidates for moving out to the regions. And why doesn't WAG look again at reviving regional committees?

Doubts have been raised about the quality of "the parish council on the bay" as some have put it. My view, based on some experience, is that the standard will rise as more responsibility is taken on. But this puts a heavier onus on us the voters to make sure we put people in that we trust to take reasonable decisions, not just because of the colour of rosette they wear.

Only the most die-hard nationalists see the vote as the thin end of a wedge leading to full independence. Certainly, all the Labour MPs who weighed in  behind the "Yes" campaign this time, were largely against devolution in the 1990s.

[00:50 2011-3-5, on return from Welsh LD spring conference rally] What must be guarded against is legislation-itis, something which the Labour Westminster administration suffered from for most of its existence. There were mutterings yesterday about civil servants going round various ministers asking for suggestions for items of legislation. If this is true, I hope they were told where to get off.

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