Friday, 4 November 2011
Oh, lucky, Ken
If you’re in need of a piece of luck you could do worse than rub shoulders with the new Assembly Member for Clwyd South, Ken Skates. Why? Well he’s just won the ballot of backbenchers to introduce a bill. His bill the “Continuity from Care into Adult Life Bill” if passed will help young adults that have left care. A worthwhile piece of legislation you’ll agree. But nothing remarkable in that you’ll say.
So what’s your point, Hughes. My point is, the odds.
Now many of you that read my fun weekend column on horsing tips will know that I’m quite interested in odds. Now the odds on Ken Skates winning that particular ballot was a 1 in 28 chance. Why, because there were twenty-eight backbenchers with their names in the hat.
But what makes his success remarkable is that he was competing against a bill that had almost a 1 in 2 chance. 13 out of the 28 Welsh Assembly backbenchers had decided to put forward the “Adult Support and Protection (Wales) Bill”. A worthwhile bill and one backed by nearly half those with their names in the hat.
Now t’is highly unlikely, no I’ll go further, well nigh impossible that thirteen Assembly members got up in the morning and thought to themselves “I must push for a bill to give vulnerable adults support.” Such a coincidence would be a modern day miracle.
So what’s the explanation? Our dear, Assembly Members were lobbied.
Now there is nothing wrong with that. In a democracy special interest groups have every right to press their particular case on politicians. Some might even say, that without them the legislative cupboard would be bare indeed.
But, equally, the public have a right to know who’s pulling the strings, who’s setting the agenda. As the last blog on this subject said(http://ogarethhughes.blogspot.com/2011/10/whose-in-lobby.html) a register of lobbyist needs to be established in both Westminster and Cardiff.
In Parliament the practice of allowing ex-MPs access to the Palace of Westminster has led to a number of them gaining a lucrative living as lobbyist. They too need to be Registered.
The National Assembly should also stop this happening in Wales. Once Members cease to be public representaives they should have the same right of access and to the same areas as the ordinary voter.
Action needs to be taken soon on establishing a Register of Lobbyists. Far better to act before a scandal rather than wait for one to happen then over react.
Finally, back to next weeks Assembly agenda. What odds woud you give on four very similar questions been placed to the Health Minister?
Aled Roberts (North Wales): Will the Minister make a statement on the future of specialist nurses in the NHS. OAQ(4)0048(HSS)
Mark Isherwood (North Wales): Will the Minister outline her plans for the future of specialist nurses in the Welsh NHS. OAQ(4)0038(HSS)
Alun Ffred Jones (Arfon): Will the Minister make a statement regarding the future of specialist nurses in the NHS. OAQ(4)0049(HSS)
Angela Burns (Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire): Will the Minister outline the Welsh Government’s proposals regarding the future of specialist nurses in the Welsh NHS. OAQ(4)0037(HSS)
Answers on a postcard.