Thursday, 24 June 2010

Clear as mud...

Here's the draft preamble and question for the referendum on further powers as published by the Wales Office yesterday:

At present, the National Assembly for Wales (the Assembly) has powers to make laws for Wales on some subjects within devolved areas. Devolved areas include health, education, social services, local government and environment. The Assembly can gain further powers to make laws in devolved areas with the agreement of the Parliament of the United Kingdom (Parliament) on a subject by subject basis.
If most people vote Yes in this referendum, the Assembly will gain powers to pass laws on all subjects in the devolved areas.
If most people vote No, then the present arrangements, which transfer that law-making power bit by bit, with the agreement of Parliament each time, will continue.
Do you agree that the Assembly should now have powers to pass laws on all subjects in the devolved areas without needing the agreement of Parliament first? 

Am I just imagining it, or is it pretty much as clear as mud? Either way its hardly likely to set Wales on fire...


Anonymous said...

I haven't followed this much, but who will carry out the 'checks and balances' on proposed laws? ie will there be a Welsh House of Lords, or will they just be able to make up any law without further consulation?

I'd also want to know what laws in particular they (the people who are proposing this) have in mind for the future? if they say they haven't got any (which I wouldn't believe) then what is the reason for the change....will it be cheaper or better?

Blowdry said...

Actually, Druid, although it's not written particularly well, it does make sense.

To me, it says: do you want the Assembly to be able to make laws in all areas as and when they feel it necessary,or do you want the present case-by-case approval by Parliament to continue?

stats man said...

I agree it is not clear, however for me the question is the important elemenent and should be simply put as in:

Do you agree that the National Assembly for Wales be given additional powers to pass laws on subjects it currently administers, without the need to seek approval of Parliament.


Old Mona said...

The question of whether the Welsh Assembly should have more powers has to be looked in context of whether they have achieved much with the powers they have got before getting aany more. It would seem to me that we have a third rate bunch of representatives who have dragged Wales down. Wales is by far the poorest region in the UK and Anglesey is the poorest in Wales. Our Health service is thirld world and the executive in Cardiff seem to have know foresight into the problems facing Wales. My answer is no.

stats man said...

O please - can we stop making reference to the third world as in 'OMG our services are worse than those in the third world'- its a really stupid argument.

Of course there are areas of poor service in Wales - getting a suitable wheel chair being one of them, but there are areas we should be proud of. And it does not require a charity and the free service of a doctor for an artificial limb.

Sorry but stupid arguments make me really cross!!

Jac o' the North said...

It seems pretty obvious that by inserting the final paragraph about doing things without the "agreement of parliament" the Tories are trying to raise the spectre of independence and thereby encourage a No vote.

Cynical, obvious and likely to backfire given how unpopular the Tories - and by extension, London government - will be by the time we vote in the referendum.

The Druid of Anglesey said...

Stats Man - your version makes more sense and reads better to me.

Jac o' the North
"It seems pretty obvious that by inserting the final paragraph about doing things without the "agreement of parliament" the Tories are trying to raise the spectre of independence and thereby encourage a No vote."

Not sure its especially cynical since the entire point of the referendum is to allow the Assembly to pass laws without needing the approval of Parliament. It would be difficult to phrase the question without mentioning that fact!

Prometheuswrites said...

I agree with Druid, on first reading it's not particulary clear what's on offer.
However a careful reading through tells you that all you are voting on is whether devolvement of law making powers with-in the already devolved areas will happen sooner rather than later.
I'm with the first poster (anon), and will want to know what provision for checks and balances will be in place. At the moment it seems that Westminster Parliament provides the 'checks and balance'.

stats man said...


Lets us not forget there is the Welsh Assembly Government (the executive) and the National Assembly for Wales (the check and balance ?).

Currently it seem even where there is consensus in Wales we need the further approval of Parliament on devolved issues.

Illtyd Luke said...

"Our Health service is thirld world" (sic)

That's an insult, Old Mona.

How can you use the term 'third world' so lightly?

If I took you as anything more than a pointless Anon comment, i'd call that an insult to NHS staff. The Welsh NHS for all its relative drawbacks is one of the best in the world.

We live among a very small percentage of the global population who are extremely lucky to live in a stable and generally developed country, Wales. In the majority of the world there is barely such a thing as a health service.

People like you make me sick.

Anonymous said...

The Welsh Assembly I honestly thought would benfit the normal man, the man who has struggled and fought hard to survive, and being Welsh, this part is certain. We all struggle to survive.

In 1997, Tony Blair declared that we would have a Welsh Assembly, which we all probably thought would be a way forward, a way for our Country to have some respect, especially as we have always felt as if we had no real voice in our own Country. Value is a matter of need, we needed an Assembly and we got one. Now it's a question of devolved power, Wales is keen as ever to forget the sorry years, of when our valleys were flooded to provide Water for the cities of England. Like shifting tectonic plates, the nation's remembering and forgetting heave and grind against each other to the rythms of political change. History is there to be written over. And over.
Sometimes it's better not to have memory.

Whatever power we get, let's not waste it.

Huw Terry

stats man said...

Sorry Huw, but I do remember history, the sacrifices made by those who came before, the close connection between us and the people of Liverpool and Manchester.

We are better for this connection, it has made us strong. History is the testament to this fact, and I at least shall always be grateful.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Anglesey Documentation Centre that is there for the people to deposit grievances and complaints, maybe someone will listen.