Posts Tagged ‘Dave Collins’

The other referendum that nobody but politicians cares about

01/03/2011, 03:23:28 PM

by Dave Collins

2am, Friday 14th January 2011. Dog-tired, dishevelled and slightly drunk, I am sitting in the back of a pub near with a handful of comrades in similar states of exhaustion. It has been a long day. Half-full glasses and damp winter clothing abound. We await Debbie Abrahams and her retinue. The young woman across from me, trying to sustain flagging conversation, asks “So what exactly are you folk in Wales voting on”?  I stare into my beer and consider how to reply… Some oaf knocks a drink over. Once the debris has been sorted, reparations offered and accepted, the conversation moves on…

This is what I should have said:

The v2.0 government of Wales act (2006), was a political compromise, but it was also an innovative attempt to build a partnership approach into Welsh lawmaking. Parliament would assent in principle to the assembly having the right to legislate in defined matters within the devolved fields, but then the precise formulation and effect of the law was left to the assembly to determine. It might have been a neat halfway house system, which addressed the West Lothian question in a novel way, had the political will existed to make it work. But the ink was barely dry before the formation in June 2007 of a Labour/Plaid Cymru assembly government, centrally committed to triggering the fallback provision, also in the act, of dispensing with the Parliamentary approval requirement for laws within the devolved fields via a further referendum. Essentially this was a move to v2.1. (more…)

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Clear red waters in the land of our fathers

23/02/2011, 02:30:25 PM

by Dave Collins

As Welsh Labour’s faithful departed Llandudno’s conference centre on Sunday, there seemed to be a new spring in their steps. An air of optimism, expectation that the worst is over and that Labour is back on the path to restoring its status as the true party of Wales.

Ed Miliband delivered a competent enough address imploring delegates to “send a message” to the rest of Britain. With a referendum on extending primary law-making powers barely a fortnight away and assembly elections due in 10 weeks time, this was more pre-election rally than sober post mortem.

And, to be fair, last May Welsh Labour limited its losses to just four seats (Aberconwy, Cardiff North, Carmarthen West and Vale of Glamorgan, all won by the Tories), and won back Blaenau Gwent. 26 seats out of forty was a long way from the rout predicted by pundits, despite Labour’s share of the vote in Wales being its lowest since 1918 – 1.3% worse than in 1983. As in the rest of the UK, Welsh Labour escaped meltdown on May 6th, but it was a tad more touch and go than the simple seat tally might suggest.

Last weekend was no time for navel gazing, but Welsh Labour stands at an important crossroads. Since the acceptance of devolution, by the slimmest of margins in 1997, through the difficult gestation and messy start, and then throughout the decade long rein of Rhodri Morgan, Welsh Labour’s political mission was to deliver devolution and make it work. (more…)

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