Monday, 28 May 2012

Cheryl consults

So Cheryl Gillan is proposing to change the electoral system for future Assembly elections. Her suggestions are that there should be 30 constituency seats and 30 elected in the regions. At the moment there are 40 constituency and 20 regional Assembly Members. 
What Mrs Gillian wants is Assembly constituencies to mirror those of Westminster. Her view is that the poor voter could not cope with living in different constituencies to vote for the two different democratic bodies. 
In order to stem the criticism that Westminster is changing a system that effects the Welsh Assembly they have made the proposals in the form of  Green paper. Thus allowing all those confused voters to write in with their views. As if.
And whose decision will it be in the end? Well, Mrs Gillan’s, of course.
Not  only is she asking about the constituencies but she’s also posing other questions.  
Now do you want the length of an Assembly term to be extended permanently to five years. It has been extended to five years next time round to prevent the election falling on the same day as the general election, then it will revert back to the original four year cycle. 
Another vexed issue to be consulted on is should all candidates be allowed to stand both in constituencies and on regional lists. Vexed because it agitates politicians, most others just shrug their shoulders and say so what.
If you’re a political anorak you’ll remember that at first, Assembly candidates could put there names forward for both a constituency and a region. If they were elected for a constituency they would come off the regional list. 
Labour were very unhappy with this ‘cos they were winning constituencies and often a political opponent would be elected on the regional vote and open an office in the same constituency and use it as a base to win support.
Peter Hain when Secretary of State axed the system.  At the time the Conservatives said that they would reintroduce it when back in power.  So now it’s in the Green Paper.
Finally, it will consider whether AMs should be barred from also sitting as MPs and members of the House of the Lords. At present, this would only affect one AM – former Presiding Officer Lord Elis-Thomas. 
The change would act as a real disincentive for Westminster politicians deciding on a career in Wales if the effect of them seeking a seat in the Assembly was a Westminster by-election. 
When Rhodri Morgan, Ron Davies, Ieuan Wyn Jones and Dafydd Wigley decided to become Assembly Members, they held on to their Westminster seats until the next general election. Then stood down. Under this proposal they would all have had to stand down as did Cynog Dafis, resign their seats and cause an immediate by-election. 
Party whips would be most unhappy if this were to happen. You can imagine the arm twisting to prevent MPs making the move.
The green paper misses a trick in not addressing the issue recently raised by Rosemary Butler, Presiding Officer of the the Assembly about increasing the size of the Assembly to that of eighty members.  
A number suggested not only by her but also by Lord Richard in his forensic analysis on the needs of the Assembly. Eighty, according to him is the number required of Assembly Members to do the job “proper”. Passing laws, committees that really scrutinise and hold real inquiries and sufficient backbenchers to hold the government properly to account. But that’s bye the bye.
Perhaps, a more fundamental question needs addressing. Should it be Westminster’s business at all. Yes, they have the legal powers but should they not pass these to the Assembly. 
Surely how the people of Wales elect their own Assembly should be decided in Wales. Appropriately by the Assembly. Westminster politicians should keep their collective noses out.
 After all two referendums have shown that the people of Wales more and more want decisions relating to Wales to be made in Wales. 


  1. 'Westminster politicians should keep their collective noses out.'

    Well, this would be fine if the people of Wales were not totally dependent upon the money being doled out by the politicians of Westminster.

    Let's have more decisions relating to Wales being made in Wales, the first decision being how we plan to pay our way in this world and when!

  2. wherever the boundaries are decided (Cardiff or London) they will be gerrymandered to benefit the party in power. Don't fool us in to thinking that replying to consultations makes any difference to the final decision.

    Of course the Assembly needs 80 AM's but I've said it before, Labour in Wales only moves on devolution when it's forced or when its politically beneficial, how long has the Richard Commission report been gathering dust?

  3. With the current partisan Labour party, I am glad that the power is not devolved.

    A few issues with boundaries. When did we decide that constituencies should be based on population? When was that meeting? Surely it should be a mix between size and population? As if we are not careful most AM's will come from the M4 corridor.... and so how will the rest of Wales develop?. This issue really p*sses me off if I'm honest. However if the Westminster boundaries change, then the Assembly will have to otherwise it'll just be confusing. I also don't know why we can't have constit based on councils?...

    I think the MP going to be an AM question is a good one. However perhaps it should instead be "they should resign their seat within x years" so as to avoid the whips powers. I don't think their should ever be double jobbing - this includes those that are councils.

    I want PR, however I've never liked the regional lists. I'd much prefer STV.

    I'm of the view that there is a need for more AM's. However they do not help themselves; they rarely sit in Cardiff, there is no massive backlog in legislation. I also question how the 80 figure was reached? if feel like just a nice round figure.

  4. I see KP is trolling it's lies on here as well.

    The entire UK is in debt, there is no subsidy between England and Wales. There is only debt. How could they subsidise us when they cannot even balance their own books and require massive loans to do so?