Friday, 10 August 2012
What's in a name?
What’s in a name? A great deal, according to Andrew RT Davies. Assembly or Parliament? A no brainer says the Conservative leader it ought to be a Parliament.
The name change would give the institution more respect and clear up confusion says the dedicated ‘unionist.’
The great unwashed get confused between the actions or non-actions of the Welsh Government and the goings on in the Assembly itself.
In making his plea for change Mr Davies, the “unionist” as he describes himself, didn’t consult HQ - the Westminster government.
It is understood that the Welsh Secretary was caught on the hop. When she eventually found out what the Welsh branch of her party was proposing.It would be an understatement to say that she was rather underwhelmed by the idea.
Dear Cheryl, doesn’t regard it as a priority. And as she never ceases to remind politicians in Cardiff bay, it is her that’s charged with law making in Westminster, when it comes to Welsh matters, at least. So it would be the right honourable lady that would need to amend the Government of Wales Act to usher in the change demanded.
It’s Mr Davies’s view that it’s a simple re-branding exercise. Lose the ‘Assembly’ tag and re-brand as ‘Welsh Parliament.’
The distinction between legislature and executive would then be clearer and reflect the aspiration of Welsh people expressed in the referendum for a more powerful body.
If the change was to happen this would be the latest in the evolving story of devolution. The institution started after the 1997 referendum as a glorified county council as a ‘corporate body.’ There was no legal separation and ministers sitting on committees.
It was that other Davies, Ron’s, hope that mature politics would reign in Wales and all would work together for the common weal. Oh, dear, political parties working together, what an innovation that would be. Suffice to say, it didn’t happen.
So along came Peter Hain and his Government of Wales Act 2006. This recognised the real world. Labour to control a government that was separate from the motley crew that was the Assembly. The motley crew’s role? To hold government to account and institute laws. That is, create laws with the help of Westminster. Peter didn’t quite trust them to do it on their own.
But now the institution is very grown up and can pass its own laws unaided by Westminster. To date it’s passed one on the important issue of local government by-laws. Even that is now in dispute and is going to the Supreme Court. A nice little earner for the lawyers again.
First Minister and newly elected member of the Gorsedd, Carwyn Jones’s government certainly haven’t adopted an Usain Bolt approach to law making. The legislature hasn’t being greatly worked.
So a change of name would be more appropriate. Parliament after all comes from the French word “parler” to speak. And that is certainly the only thing that is happening in our institution at the moment.
So Andrew “parliament” it shall be.
This blogger is now taking a holiday. Normal service will resume in September.