Posts Tagged ‘devolution’

Letter from Wales: Local snouts in the devolved trough

16/05/2013, 11:14:34 PM

by Julian Ruck

I was born in Wales, Swansea to be precise. At 18 I went off to London to train as a lawyer and didn’t return to my place of birth until 30 years had passed. I have lived in various parts of the world and all over the UK.

I had missed the beauty of Wales, its innate humour and radical spirit but when I returned, I found a different place. A foreign place. Devolution is admirable in intent, but in Wales it has allowed a self-serving and extreme minority to step on and abuse the will of the majority.

A Welsh language nationalism has been allowed to run riot and ruthlessly suppress the moderate views of an emasculated majority – these nationalist cliques, coteries and cabals have also been allowed to spend tax-payers’ money (your money) at will and without any proper scrutiny or accountability. And please remember here that 80% plus of Welsh GDP comes from Westminster.

Wales is now run by a Welsh speaking elite that adds a new dimension to the word “entitled” and considers itself to be the noble successor to the duffed up Owen Glendower (without his Indentures) at the height of his nationalist misery – never mind of course, that he was rampaging around the Welsh marches some six hundred years ago!

Now, I can hear all you English folk saying to yourselves, “How boring, another bitter Taffy having a good rant about how hard done by he is and how we English raped his fair country and ran off with all the dosh.”

Not so, do please read on and discover what happens to a Welshman living in Wales when he stands up and speaks the truth.

Some nine months ago I dared to put some Freedom of Information Act 2000 requests to various Welsh literati quangos e.g. the Arts Council of Wales, the Welsh Books Council and Literature Wales.


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Labour has missed a chance to be positive about police commissioners

15/11/2012, 01:42:29 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Well, here we are, the day when, if some pollsters are to be believed, fewer than one in ten of us in England and Wales will bother to trudge to the polling station and cast a vote for our first-ever police and crime commissioners.

It is fair to say that this is the most unloved choice put before the electorate since Herod offered Jerusalem voters a choice of slaughtering the first or second born.

It’s not just the prophets of doom among our number-crunching mystics who are predicting disaster. The hostile chatter across the media and British politics over the past year will make a low turnout today a self-fulfilling prophecy. I gave up going through the Labour website press release section looking for something – anything – positive that the frontbench has said about commissioners.

Yet the concept of elected police commissioners deserves a chance. A cursory glance through the independent report into the Hillsborough disaster shows why stronger oversight of our police service is so badly needed. South Yorkshire Police’s abuse of power, including running background and fingerprint checks on the dead as senior officers concocted their alibi and slur the victims, is what happens when the police have no-one able to frustrate their knavish tricks.

Chief constables enjoy almost feudal powers. Police authorities, which are supposed to act as a check and balance, are about as effective as the audit committee at Lehman Brothers. The conspiracy that resulted in the Hillsborough cover-up would not happen with a strong commissioner, ever mindful of public opinion, and ultimately personally responsible, refusing to be bowed by such evil intent.


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Tom Harris’ speech launching his campaign to be Labour’s candidate for first minister

03/11/2011, 11:55:17 AM

This contest must be decided on the qualities that matter

by Tom Harris

Two months ago, I became the first person to announce I wanted to stand – not as a candidate for the leadership of Scottish Labour, but as Labour’s candidate for first minister. I made that announcement because nearly four months after our dreadful result in May, there still had been precious little debate about the future direction of our party and how we could restore our electoral fortunes. There had been precious little debate, either, about the challenge of nationalism and the threat posed to Scotland through the break-up of the United Kingdom.

So, in the absence of virtually anyone else making the case for Labour or against the nationalists, I stepped forward.

Since then, I have led the debate on the future of our party and our nation.

In September I proposed the setting up of a standing commission on devolution, modelled on the successful Calman commission, so that decisions about which powers should in future rest with Westminster or with Holyrood could be decided on an rolling basis and, crucially, be evidence-based. (more…)

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