Thursday, 14 January 2016

Muddying the waters

It was Peter Hain who, when he was Secretary of State for Wales, steered through the 2006 Government of Wales Act.  That act provided for the referendum on law-making powers which, after the 2011 referendum, turned the largely administrative Assembly into a legislature.  It was also Peter Hain who, as I recall, did everything he could to prevent and deter the Assembly from calling the referendum for which he had made the legislative provision, (even at times endangering the survival of the One Wales coalition, so vociferous was his opposition).
I find it more than a little strange therefore that the same Pater Hain, now having been suitably invested in ermine, should be calling for the Assembly to have powers to block legislation on a subject which seems to me to be outside the purview which he set for the body, even using the powers which he then didn’t want it to have.  The trade unions are arguing that it isn’t actually outside the Assembly’s powers, but the lack of clarity is, once again, a hindrance to good governance.
Hain’s argument is that “It is essential for the devolution settlement to work that the prime minister respects the wishes of the Welsh Government”.  That seems to be asking the current (Tory) UK Government to behave as he says it should, rather than behave as he himself did when a member of the previous (Labour) government.  In reality, what the devolution settlement needs to make it work is clarity over who does what; clarity which he failed to provide when he could; and he now seems to be trying to muddy the waters even further.  

I’m sure that he’d argue that the two situations are completely different.  Any disagreement with Carwyn Jones was merely a spat between two different parts of the Labour Party, but now he’s dealing with the wicked and evil baby-eaters.  Or perhaps there’s some other subtlety which has been lost on me.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, has the supremacy of legislation in Wales ever been tested against the legislation of England & Wales?

(as far as I know there is no 'English only' law ... am I correct here?)

I suspect not. And I suspect a great deal of effort has been expended to ensure that this state of affairs continues for the foreseeable.

Long may it not last!

Glyn Morris said...

Yes he did everything he could to prevent and deter the Assembly from calling the referendum . That didn't stop him from claiming some
of the credit when it was a huge YES vote.