Peeing Comps and I Told You So!

I stand by my claim that the Labour Part is Standing up for Wales against the Tories by intentionally scuppering Welsh Laws by making them laws that will inevitably be challenged by The Secretary of State for Wales, the Counsel General almost admitted so in the Assembly yesterday!

Those who have claimed that the SoS for Wales is at fault are being naive. If the SoS doesn't challenge the laws when there are obvious doubts about them; they are open to challenge from any Tom, Dick and Harry – a challenge from the SoS that is rejected / upheld will actually strengthen the validity of any Welsh Law.

By seeing the flaw in the Official Languages Bill, David Jones MP might be doing a favour to the language (which he speaks fluently) by asking the Supreme Court to validate the bill. If validated by the Supreme Court the Bill is legally sound! If the Supreme Court says No, it will say why and a more sound bill can be passed by the Assembly based on its judgement.

On the other hand David can ignore the bill's current failings and allow any Tom, Dic and Harri to oppose it in hundreds of courts of law.

If I was a Hairy Arsed Tory Anti Welsh Monster, I would have ignored the problems that the Bill raises and would have waited for the proverbial to hit the fan.

By flagging the problems and attempting to resolve them David Jones isn't quite the "Monster" that Labour would have us believe. He is a good friend of Wales who is trying to sort out a mess in the best interest of Wales!

Of course the main problem is the pathetic Devolution settlement that Wales suffers – a settlement that many voted for enthusiastically! Last year - I tried to organise a No! Not Good Enough Campaign – but I had little support.

It appears that it wasn't good enough



NATO - A breath of Fresh Air!

Some might agree with Syniadau that the SNP's vote for Scotland to be part of NATO was right; others might agree with Glyn Beddau that it was wrong.

Having listened to broadcasts from other party conferences, where nothing was debated, where no policy was decided, where the party hierarchy was not held to account, I thought that the NATO debate at the SNP conference was a breath of fresh air.

A party conference where delegates were allowed to argue passionately for and against what they believe to be the best policy followed by a knife edge vote, where the arguments presented to conference made the difference to the outcome of the vote - that is what party conferences use to be for should be for!

How many other Governing parties, in the so called Democratic West, would allow such a debate and such a vote? Very few!

Agree or disagree with Conference's decision (I disagree) it was fantastic to have such an open, honest and hard hitting debate – decided by ordinary party members.

The fact that UK Party Conferences have become nothing more than staged managed rallies rather than a place to argue policy and that Scotland still has a party where debate is open and free - should, in-itself, be an argument for independence and a reason to vote YES in 2014!


A Christmas Boost to the Economy

Gideon Osborne wants to cut back on benefits in order to do what he wants to do with the economy.

There is one really pathetic state benefit that he should tackle if he is serious about boosting the economy. The Christmas Bonus.

The Christmas Bonus is £10 that is paid to all benefit recipients in late November, it was first paid in the 1970's; I can't recall if it was Mr Heath or Mr Wilson's government who introduced it, but I can remember my Grandmother being thrilled to bits because the £10 enabled her to buy a pair of socks for all of her descendants – the first time she had been able to buy all her kids and grandkids a Christmas present.

The Christmas Bonus is still £10 forty years later – it probably costs more than £10 to distribute it and in this day and age ten quid is hardly a bonus of any real value to the recipient.

Abolishing the Christmas Bonus would be a sensible saving if one just wants to cut the benefits bill. Let's be honest a tenner at Christmas isn't really a benefit anymore! Ditching the payment and the cost of paying it would make serious inroads into the benefits bill!

On the other hand – the best way of boosting the UK economy in the run-up to the important Christmas quarter would be to update the Christmas bonus to a sum that enabled grannies to buy gifts for all their descendents again!

Giving every scrounging bastard, older person, tax credit parent, disabled individual, single mum etc a £2K Christmas bonus - that will be spent rather than saved will result in a HUGE boost to the economy!

And therein lies the problem of the Tory attitude to solving the economic downturn in these islands' prosperity – the idea that the economy is top down as it use to be 200 years ago, that the "poor" depend on those higher up the financial / social scale is wrong in this day and age. It isn't so now!

The way that the mass economy works is that the things that sell best are the things that we ALL must have – if we are on the dole or on a £5K per week – for the economy to grow we must enable the poorest to buy!

In a mass international market – the mass is the key to economic success, not the elite – The Cameron / Gideon axis doesn't get this modern truism and is, therefore, bound to fail.


Let's suppose that my cynicism is wrong - What happens next?

Let's suppose that my cynicism about the reason why the first two Assembly Bills have been subjected to judicial review is wrong (as nationalist and socialist commentators alike suggest in response to yesterdays blog post).

Let's suppose that the fact that at least one and possibly two other Bills are in line for judicial review has nothing to do with the Assembly Government / the Labour Party deliberately picking a fight with Westminster, what happens next?

The Supreme Court will not make its decision on the validity of these contentious bills on the morality of the Assembly being able to pass them; they will just look at the dry bones of law and the law will unequivocally find against the Assembly.

If, after it finds against the Assembly, we all condemn the law for being an ass and we complain that such laws are morally indefensible even if legally sound, what happens next?

Will the Labour Party mount a vigorous campaign for a more robust devolution settlement? Will the Conservatives and the Lib Dems admit that there is a flaw in the Government of Wales Act and insist that it is rectified by their colleagues in Westminster? Will even Plaid say that the Campaign for Devo Max / Independence starts today?

Sorry! I'm still a cynic - the answer to all of those questions is No! No! No!

Creating Bills that will be challenged in law has everything to do with the right to moan it's not fair but absolutely nothing to do with creating a system that is fair!

What happens next? – The answer is nothing other than the traditional Labour Evil Tory hissy fit rant.

I think that my cynicism is well founded!


Labour Games and Welsh Laws

The fate of the National Assembly's first attempt at passing a law under the new powers it gained following last year's referendum is currently being considered by the Supreme Court following a complaint from the Wales Office that it is without the competence of the Assembly. Apparently the Assembly Government had been warned by Whitehall sources that there were problems with the Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Bill before the bill had gone through the Assembly's processes but the Assembly Government chose to carry on regardless.


Yesterday it was announced that a second bill, The Official Languages Bill is about to face a similar fate because the bill deals with both the devolved Welsh Language and the non-devolved English Language. I am not at all surprised by this move; back in 2010 when the Assembly was discussing the Welsh Language LCO I noted on this blog that "There is a failure in the devolution settlement. The Assembly has the right to legislate on the Welsh Language, but not on the Languages of Wales. A measure that says that English and Welsh are both official languages would be illegal;" I made this statement, not because I have superior knowledge of the law, but because that was the feedback that those of us who raised the issue of Official Status got from Assembly Members and Civil Servants. So the Assembly appears to have passed the Official Languages Bill knowing full well that that there were elements in the Bill which were not within the Assembly's current competence.


A third bill, dealing with organ donations is, almost inevitably, going to face a similar challenge, but yet again it appears that the Welsh Labour Government is going to press ahead with that bill regardless of any legal warnings too. When the Government of Wales Acts were passed such legal challenges were expected to be very rare, but they seem to be the defining trait of the current Assembly. So the question has to be asked "Why?"


From a nationalist point of view one could see these legal challenges as a way of highlighting the deficiencies in the Welsh devolution settlement and making the case for more devolution, but that is not what the Welsh Labour Government is doing; Welsh Labour, on the whole, is lukewarm about giving the Assembly further powers.


The Labour government in Cardiff is basically having a pissing competition with the Con-Dem government in London in order to prove that they are "standing up to the Tories". They are allowing the governance of Wales to stagnate in silly legal challenges. Rather than using the limited powers that we voted to give the Assembly in the referendum for the benefit of Wales, Labour is abusing that mandate by bogging the right to pass Welsh laws down in petty party politicking and point scoring. Yet again - the Labour Party is putting what's best for Labour before what is best for Wales!