Monday, 31 May 2010

GOLWG article translated: Country Cousins

Its very uncomfortable to attend an event or other and everyone ignores you. Everyone else gaining attention and get none. Even worse if your in a family party and the rest of the family are full of it and no one seems to care about you.
That's exactly how I felt when David Cameron attended the Assembly. There's little doubt that our new Prime Minister is a natural communicator. On this occasion he tried to persuade us that the countries of the United Kingdom were all part of one big happy family and he did not want to see us, like some families, falling out over money.
Indeed many hoped that this was a new start between the Welsh Government and that of the London Government under a Conservative Prime Minister.
An offer was made by him to attend the Assembly each year to answer questions. Although there was not much of a welcome to that suggestion from the Welsh Assembly Government.
Without doubt it would be a bit odd for one legislature to question a member of another legislature. Such a system would lead to every county council in Wales demanding Carwyn Jones to attend their local chamber to answer for his government. A system of government that would be totally ineffective and slightly stupid. But it was consistent with being a member of a large family. But one has to accept that the suggestion was made with the best of intentions.
But as the good book says 'its by their fruits you recognise them.' And it took little time to recognise that there weren't any fruit at all.
Yes, I'm referring to the Governments first publication 'The coalition: our programme for government'. A statement that underlined the governments commitment to devolution and therefore it was a set of proposals for the Westminster government to implement.
But, and its an important, but. The document made it clear how the government would finance Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales in the future.
In the North of Ireland alongside the existing system, the Westminster government would explore methods by which the Northern Ireland Assembly could vary Corporation Tax in that part of the Kingdom.
A concession of some importance. The complaint in Northern Ireland is that they are under a competitive disadvantage to intense new industry in in comparison to the Republic of Ireland. So power over the tax is all important to them.
In Scotland Mr Cameron's government is intent on implementing the recommendations of the Calman Commission immediately. New powers and a new way of financing Scotland will follow.
But what of Wales? Nothing but a promise. A promise that depends on the referendum result. What, you ask, is the promise? To establish a commission to look at our funding. Despite everyone recognising that Wales is not receiving a fair share, for some time, of the resources that is its due from the Treasury. And despite the Welsh Assembly Government having already commissioned a comprehensive report on the matter from Holtham.
Nothing will happen until after the referendum, even to start the inquiry. God only knows when a Commission of the kind will finish its inquiry. What is certain is that Wales will not receive the help that  is tits due for some time. This at a time when every penny will be important to sustain our public services.
No, if we are part of Mr Cameron's large family, we're the poor country cousins. Sitting quietly in the corner while the others celebrate. And perhaps, we'll get the crumbs of the feast - 'sometime!'

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