Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Careful what you wish for

According to the leader of the Tory group in the National Assembly, there is inadequate scrutiny of the First Minister.  It’s an easy statement to make, and one with which many might be quick to agree.
It leaves unanswered the question of what we mean by “scrutiny” and what its purpose is.  And that probably explains the facile and simplistic suggestions made by the Tories – changing the time of day at which First Minister’s questions are held so there would be a potentially bigger television audience, and abdicating the Assembly’s responsibility to the Westminster Parliament.  The second is bizarre at best – as Peter Black asks “…which part of devolution do the Welsh Tories not understand?”.
As for the first, well of course since the leader of the Tory group is one of the main protagonists at First Minister’s questions, any increased audience would (purely coincidentally I’m sure, and not part of his thought process at all) lead to more exposure for himself.  The phrase that leapt to my mind first was “be careful what you wish for”; greater exposure for Andrew RT Davies might just possibly not be the unmitigated blessing that he seems to presuppose.
I doubt, however, that it would in reality do much to boost the audience.  Only a politician could believe that the only thing deterring people from watching the First Minister give pointless and boring answers to pointless and boring questions is the time of day at which the charade is broadcast.
If we are serious about improving scrutiny, it would be far better to suggest the lengthy forensic questioning which could be achieved by something more akin to a Parliamentary select committee (but at the assembly not at Westminster as Davies seems to suggest), albeit on a less frequent basis.  But then, that might not provide much by way of televisual sound bites.  It might even – perish the thought – be more boring than First Minister’s questions.  However, proper scrutiny is, by and large, an inherently boring process for the observer.  Being boring doesn’t make something unimportant.


G Horton-Jones said...

Careful indeed.

As you rightly point out some politicians should avoid public exposure and scrutiny at all costs if they want to be re elected
There is a feeling that the Assembly business on Television is akin to watching paint drying or even cement reaching full strength. Whilst Westminster appears to be a like a Roman arena during a gladiator fight. Were this true we might get real progress especially if the stabbata was an MPs weapon of choice However the whole place is well orchestrated and we the public are fed the illusion
I am diverging again but have you noticed how the BBC are handling the Scottish problem
Am I wrong in thinking a balanced programme is in reality opening and closing with a negative against a yes vote. Could Andrew RT have this in mind

Morgan said...

Andrew RT should be commended for the overall points he is making. If you read between the lines and know what's going on with Labour in Wales, it should be clear that what he is alluding to and insinuating is that there is great deal of corruption in the Labour in Wales party at Cabinet level especially. Not only that but the system of scrutinising the Welsh Government is also corrupt and not fit for purpose. That is what Mr Davies is surely alluding to. Of course he has to throw in his Unionist and central party hat at the same time so that he isn't mistaken for a Welsh patriot but that is hardly surprising. Otherwise, good on him, he's doing his job