Tuesday, 5 March 2013
A new governance for Wales?
Agreement amongst politicians. Unusual, yes but all three opposition parties agree that local councils are not fit for purpose. It’s probably a view shared by the Welsh Government. We await with interest their announcement on the matter.
But despite the Opposition parties agreeing than there is something wrong in the state of local government in Wales. They’re not singing from the same song sheet as to what’s to be done.
Plaid Cymru want to set up a Commission to look at Local Government reorganisation. But in calling for such a Commission it would seem that one option that Alun Ffred Jones rules out is one local authority covering the whole of North Wales. Not on, according to Alun Ffred.
Andrew RT Davies, Conservative and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly doesn’t want any delay and rules out a Commission. He’s adamant government ought to set out their proposals post haste. He wants the government to set out the “future map and direction” of local government. No prevarication, just let the minister get on with it.
But he went on to say “few back the continuation of 22 councils.” So there we have it the Conservative Leader is turning his back on the reorganisation John Redwood imposed on Wales.
Liberal Democrats want to have a proper debate about local government reorganisation the government should “man up” to the changes they’ve imposed. They accuse the Welsh government of reorganising by stealth. Pushing an education department here into the hands of an education department there. Although reorganisation was disruptive, the austerity faced by councils made a new system necessary sooner rather than later.
So there we have it, all Opposition parties saying local councils are no longer fit for purpose.
Its up to government now. Let them come up with their proposals sooner rather than later. The drift that’s being experienced at the moment doesn’t help deliver decent services. Especially at a time when the financial shoe is pinching all councils.
Welsh Government certainly has the power to bully local government to carry out its wishes. And within the last few years it certainly hasn’t been slow to read the riot act to councils the length and breadth of Wales. That’s why relations between central and local government are at an all time low.
The sooner that a fresh start is made the better. Let’s have a rational look at how Wales is governed. Local government has never been re-organised since we’ve had devolved government in Cardiff. Its certainly well over due. The inhabitants of Wales deserve better governance both locally and nationally.
Lets get a bit of coherence. So produce your plans now, Sergeant.