Carwyn makes a fool of himself

Who knows, perhaps Martin Shipton has got hold of the wrong end of the stick, but if what he is saying in the Western Mail is true (and I'm sure he has the press release to back him up) then it is Carwyn Jones who is making a fool of himself.

Wales is losing £800,000 a day because the National Assembly does not have primary law-making powers, Carwyn Jones will claim today.

The First Minister will tell an audience at the National Eisteddfod that winning a referendum on the issue next year would trigger a reform of the funding formula experts say robs Wales of £300m a year.

Mr Jones will go on to say: “Now, given that Wales is underfunded by some £300m per year, it means that for every single day Wales doesn’t have these powers, we lose £800,000 each and every day.”

Western Mail, 4 August 2010

Revising the way Wales is funded for devolved areas of spending has absolutely nothing to do with the referendum on primary lawmaking powers. At any time during the last ten years—or indeed in the years when spending decisions were made by Secretaries of State for Wales and Scotland—the Barnett Formula could and should have been revised.

This is just cheap, nasty, misinformation designed to get people who don't know better to vote Yes in the referendum. We simply do not need to resort to such tactics. Doing so plays into the hands of people like True Wales who will take it as further encouragement to spread their own brand of misinformation. We don't need two groups muddying the water.

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Now it is true that we will save money by getting rid of the LCO process. But it will be a marginal saving. It will cost us more to draft legislation, but this will be offset as money will be saved by avoiding duplication of time and effort in Westminster and Cardiff Bay ... as well as the fact that AMs cost us much less than MPs, partly in salary but mostly in expenses.

That would be a reasonable point to make, and indeed Carwyn Jones does go on to make it. But to claim that getting rid of the wastefulness inherent in the LCO process is linked to changing the way the block grant is calculated is disingenuous, to put it at its mildest.

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6 comments:

menaiblog said...

Quite - it's a disengenuous way of going about things. The only point I'd offer in his defence is that True Wales is busily hugely exaggerating the cost of legislative power as he speaks.

No excuse though.

aled g j said...

Quite- bandying about spurious figures like this is just inviting True Wales to bang on about the cost of holding the referendum and just invites a Dutch auction approach to the campaign which is quite frankly, not going to help the Yes campaign.

Carwyn's metaphor about the three siblings and the car keys was also an unfortunate choice. It presupposes that we still need to look up to Westminster and also invites counter metaphors about free rides and potential accidents. He should stick to the one about the workman and his need for a full box of tools to do the job properly!

A Change of Personnel said...

Today's 'speech' was more a part of Carwyn's strategy to soften up his Parties supporters ahead of the upcoming referendum on more powers, rather than an attempt to say anything intelligent or of value on the way Wales is funded. Even the UK Government released a statement and dismissed his claims as false.

Its also speaks volumes about Labour's leadership that the only way it can deliver the majority of its Party supporters to the Yes Campaign is by telling them they would be sticking it to the Tories by voting Yes, rather than trying to win them over on the merits of the arguments.

Anonymous said...

Oh ... tell me, how many years were Labour in power in Westminster and Cardiff Bay? And how many times did they rubbish Plaid Cymru's challenge on Barnett right up till the last day of the election campaign?

Labour can't be trusted to govern Wales by themselves. It's best if they're out of power, if not, then at least in coalition.

13 years of power in Westminster and they wrecked the economy; One Party Rule in Wales will be policies designed with only securing Labour votes and everything else ditched. After the Landsdown / Treganna school fiasco, Labour are just not to be trusted.

No One Part Rule in Wales.

MH said...

Obviously I agree with MB, AGJ and Anon.

CoP, I've said before that Labour would always find it more comfortable to fight for a Yes by raising fears about the Tories. I'm sure it's for this reason that a definite Yes campaigner like Glyn Davies has said that he wouldn't join an organized Yes campaign.

But on the other hand, it's probably fair to say that Labour know best how to get out the Labour vote. If you build your whole political existence on the slogan that the only choice is between Labour and the Tories, how can you then change that message without confusing those supporters? Or worse, if you acknowledge that the choice is wider, you then have to change your well-worn tactics to fight the next election.

Daran Hill's speech at the Eisteddfod yesterday is a reminder that Labour have always been more comfortable when the focus is on them rather than the issue. That's why the banner was "Vote Yes, Vote Blair". Their root message is going to be "Vote Yes because we, the Labour Party, want you to vote Yes ... and all the others who want a Yes are just tagging along behind us!"

Carwyn seems to be intent on making a united Yes campaign as hard as possible. He wants people to think of the Yes campaign as merely an appendage to Labour's election campaign. And he's hoping that the other parties won't rock that boat out of fear that a disunited campaign might produce a shock result.

But, as the reaction to his speech shows, no-one else who wants a Yes vote is going to play along with his game. Let's be charitable and say he was just trying it on.

Anonymous said...

Holding referendum; Housing eLCO, electification of railway, Barnett ...

So, Labour now nick Plaid Cymru's policies ... but unfortunately don't implement then when they're in power.

Ci Du

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