True Wales go off the rails

It's wonderful to see Rachel Banner's latest offering on Wales Home. Under a picture of massed ranks of Communist Party delegates we are told:

Altogether now: The Cardiff Bay political class resembles some totalitarian caucus

She goes on to tell us that:

This faction then closes down debate by insisting that the only thing that can be discussed is the technical matter of whether it has new direct law-making powers: anything outside this buttoned down and whipped up consensus is irrelevant to the agenda they have manufactured.

Wales Home, 25 January 2011

But here in the real world, this referendum is about one thing and one thing only: whether the Assembly gets primary lawmaking powers in the areas which are already devolved to Welsh ministers.

Yes, it may be a "technical matter", but that doesn't make it any less important.

Now of course anybody in Wales is free to talk about anything they like; but no matter how desperate True Wales are to make out that this referendum is about something else, it won't change the question on the ballot paper.

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Anonymous said...

What was most notable about the Waleshome piece was how all the people making comments following it appeared to be going easy on her. She cuts such a forlorn figure now that Len has been retired.

We DO need a NO argument. She is the closest we are likely to get to an advocate, and now is not the time to go all out to discredit her debating points when she is doing such a good job of that on her own!

Anonymous said...

It's rather strange of Screw Wales to compare recent efforts at self-government in Wales with the central government of the People's Republic of China, when the facts confirm that it's TW that has most in common with the Chinese Communist Party:

1. Most of True Gwent's dozen or so militants are a product of authoritarian one-party states in the shape of Old-Labour-controlled Valleys local councils, and are of the same ideological mould as mainland China's governing regime.

2. TW want total uniformity with the centre of the empire in respect of law, government, and society, to the detriment of a "marginal" region's identity and ability to conduct its own affairs as it sees fit. What TW wants for Wales is what the Chinese Communist Party seeks to impose on Tibet, on Inner Mongolia, on East Turkestan etc.

So bearing in mind their resemblance, could Screw Wales and the Chinese Communist Party be in any way related? I think we should be told.

MH said...

On a slightly different tack—and it's definitely tacky—is this what you get if you mix a Communist Party dictator with the Tea Party?

Anonymous said...

The difficulty is that I'm for more power to the Assembly, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to stand up to a lot of the criticism especially in terms of health and education 'cos things aren't as good as they should be.

This isn't the fault of the Assembly as such, it's the fault of the government which has run the Assembly and every education and health remit since 1999 - Labour. Basically, Banner and TW's gripe should be with their own party, Labour, for making a mess of the Assembly.

I'll be voting Yes to the Assembly, but it's becoming increasingly obvious that Labour can't be trusted to run health and education. It's not down to £500 per pupil less than England it's down to mis-management - Labour mismanagement.

Labour's biggest threat in the Assembly elections will come from the mess they've made of education and health in Wales.

Gwyn ap Llew said...

I'm in two minds about which way to vote. The Assembly is still rather young and needs to settle in. Maybe this referendum is five or ten years premature. The Assembly needs to show it can make a difference now in education and the NHS.

MH said...

Each party offers a different set of policies, Gwyn. If you don't like what Labour has done over the last twelve years—or what Plaid and Labour have done in the last four—you can vote for parties that you think will do better.

But that vote is in May, not March.

Anonymous said...

im really glad that someone like gwyn has left a comment about its good to hear from someone who isnt overtly partisan on this lets be honest most of us who contribute to these blogs usually are....being either very strongly for....or strongly against....yes i believe there are one or two lol

But one thing i would say to people like gwyn is that while i can understand his possible reticence to give the assembly more powers at this stage a no vote from the people of wales in the referendum will not be viewed as simply being people not being 'ready' to grant the assembly more powers at this time...a no vote is likely to be seen as a vote of no confidence in the entire devolution project itself!

Certainly there are many of those in the No camp who have already made it abundantly clear that if there is a no vote their next move will be to press for the Welsh assembly's dissolution..and yes it could happen...the british govt at westminster has the power to do it if such a case was presented to them...and make no mistake the wales haters around true wales and in around parties like ukip would present just such a case to the british govt in the event of a no vote!

So what i would say to people like gwyn is if you are not sure which way to vote..think very carefully about the consequences for wales of a no it could well lead to the entire unravelling of devolution for wales.....something im sure that no one who really cares about wales and its people would want.

Leigh Richards

Anonymous said...

It is becoming increasingly obvious that the more publicity True Gwent get - the more their policies unravel - the more obvious that this is run by old-Labour dionosaurs who are still fighting the cold war - and that apart form Len and Rachel they have nothing.

Give them as much publicity they can handle!


Anonymous said...

Penddu, I don’t think anyone should get too complacent. People may vote ‘no’ for a number of reasons, including as a protest vote against a single, specific policy.

It’s a while since we’ve seen letters from the badger brigade in the Western Mail in the vein of ‘let’s cull the Assembly, not badgers ...’ but we’ll probably see one or two more before 3rd March.

It makes to no difference to them that the Assembly has been thwarted in its original scheme, that it possibly has powers to implement an alternative under its current powers and that there are a number of vocal AMs against badger culling in the Assembly. Nope let’s just punish the Assembly....


Anonymous said...

Speaking of badgers, they'd do well to remember that if it wasn't for the assembly, we'd be under the English badger cull which in their case is planned to cover half of England. Making 110 square miles of Preseli look fairly trivial. But why let facts get in the way of a good Anti-Welsh bonanza

Anonymous said...

With Elin Jones as Minister for Rural Affairs I will never vote yes for more Assembly powers. It isn't just about badger culling but the failure (in this case and others) to respond to reasonable opposition and the undemocratic power of lobbying interests,ie the farming unions.The Welsh Assembly can force on the population inexperienced and draconian policies as the number of members is 60, therefore a majority of only 30 plus is needed for virtually anything they want to get through by sticking together. More powers mean more loopy policies and bad laws swayed by vested interests and powerful lobbyists. In Wales there are few NHS dentists, meaning that thousands are without dental care, pot holed roads, lack of broadband, and failing schools. Money from Europe and England means that Wales can throw it away on schemes that are peripheral to most people's lives.

MH said...

The answer for you, Anon 13:11, is exactly the same as the one I gave to Gwyn. If you don't like the policies of the current Welsh Government, you can vote for parties that you think will do better.

But that vote is in May, not March.

Anonymous said...

"policies and bad laws swayed by vested interests and powerful lobbyists"

Unlike Westminister?

On the point of NHS dentists, well, that provision has been opened up to the market. Blame market forces.

Aled G J said...

I'm a YES supporter of the view that some form of a credible NO campaign was important for democracy here in Wales in order to guard against complacency and get people actively making the case for more powers on the doorstep.True Wales have done us all a disservice by not going for official NO status, because I think that one or two of the more valid no reasons could also be used to improve Welsh democracy post March 3rd. Rachel Banner's point about the amassing of power down in Cardiff Bay to the detriment of other parts of Wales is a valid one, which not one politician in Wales seems willing to challenge at present. There really is a need to question this Cardiff City state approach which seems to be at the heart of the present devolution project, and we need a wider debate about how to share out power and resources to other parts of Wales. If Rachel banner or whoever else forms an unofficial NO campaign contribute that much to the debate that is something to be welcomed in my opinion.

Ron Weedon said...

Based on the evidence of past performance by the Welsh Assembly since inception I would'nt ask them to run a Welk stall.
I want to know what they intend to do with these new powers if ,heaven forbids, the voters in Wales misguidedly give them unfettered powers to spend more of our money unnecessarily.
Ron Weedon

MH said...

There's a list of the seventeen Measures passed by the Assembly since 2008 here; plus another six which are likely to be passed before the election in May here. That should give you a good idea of what to expect, Ron. I'd be interested to know if you object to any of these laws.

But deciding how to spend money is an executive, rather than legislative, function. The Welsh Government of the day will spend the money it is given to spend (no more and no less) and this will continue irrespective of whether or not the Assembly gets primary lawmaking powers as a result of the referendum.

So don't let yourself be fooled. Voting Yes or No in the referendum will make absolutely no difference to how much money the Welsh Government has to spend. If anyone in Wales doesn't like the policies and spending priorities of the current government, they will be able to vote for parties that have different policies and priorities ... that's how representative democracy works.

But that vote will be in May, not March.

Anonymous said...

And a transfer of powers may not necessarily lead to a great rush of legislation. The point of the transfer is to have greater clarity and to know that powers are available when an Assembly Government wishes to do something, and not 2-3 years down the line.


MH said...

Agreed, Hendre. I'd be very surprised if the Assembly were to pass more than a dozen, twenty at most, Acts of the Assembly (as Measures will be called after the referendum is won) each year.

It's amazing how much blatant misinformation is being pumped out by No campaigners. In Betsan Powys blog, the usual suspect was claiming that the Assembly passes over 3,000 new statutes a year.

For 2010, I count 10 Measures from this page. These are the only things that might be described as statutes.

However, if we included Orders and Statutory Instruments, we get:

17 Orders from this page.
121 Orders from this page.
8 Orders made jointly with the SoSW from this page.

At a pinch, we might also include 87 Local SIs from this page, but these are mainly to do with traffic regulations such as imposing a temporary speed limit while road works are taking place.

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