Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Do as I say, not as I do.

God knows from time to time I was critical of  Rhodri Morgan's during his term of office. The main theme of my  criticism was that he was not bold enough in pushing forward the devolution project.
But when he  took office as First Minister one of his first decisions was to publicly advertise and recruit his Special Advisors. A decision to be commended. There were some  lapses from this principle later  but Rhodri Morgan's initial decision was the right one.
Surely, it is essential in a modern Wales that all post are subject to open recruitment. It is not a question of political correctness but practical politics.  How else can one ensure that the best talent available is recruited. It must be in Carwyn Jones's interest to have the best at his disposal. The days of who you know as a basis for a job should be over. As a party that sets great store on equal opportunities the Labour Party surely should adhere to high standards in its recruitement procedures.
It goes without saying that Carwyn Jones would want members of his own party around him.  But has membership of the Labour party in Wales reached such a low level that the party leader knows them all intimately and knows all the talents within their ranks. I don't think so.
No, this is the one example when following the previous leader's lead would have been the right thing to do. But alas, this has not happened. His backroom cabinet are now in place without any public recruitment.
For the record the new team are:
Jo Keirnon, becomes Senior special advisor taking over from Mark Drakeford. She will also be working on health and social services issues as a policy advisor. She was Rhodri Morgan's Communications advisor and a former ITV journalist.
Lawrence Conway, former Civil Servant and Rhodri Morgan's Private Secretary. He will advise on Public Service Delivery
Andrew Bold, Peter Hain's Special advisor ditches the Wales Office and joins Carwyn's team. Not a bad career move for this ex Labour Party research officer, if the polls are to be believed and a Tory victory is imminent.
Sophie Howe, a Special Advisor who's contract is renewed.
Steve Jones, who worked for Lesley Griffiths AM for Wrexham becomes responsible for Communications.
Ian Butler and Jeff Andrews continue but as Specialist Advisers.
Plaid Cymru's team are unchanged.


  1. well said, more openness and transparency from the politicians might engage the public more.

  2. I so agree and made the same points on my blog
    I am just so stunned that he has just moved the eggs around in the box.
    Surely they should be advertised and oh to see some fresh faces
    This whole cabinet feels like a cardi and slippers ,when it should be trendy jackets and jimmy choos

  3. Did you say the same when Plaid appointed its Spads?

  4. Surely the fact that one of them is a former senior civil servant raises some eyebrows...

  5. If my blog had been running at the time the same rule would have applied to Plaid Cymru. But a party like Labour that was established to fight privilege and provide equal opportunities surely should be beyond approach on such issues or be condemned as hypocrites

  6. 1) Rhodri only appointed a minority of spads through appointment
    2) You're a journalist with opportunity on a number of outlets, you chose not to mention this as an issue before
    3) think conflating the method of appointing temporary civil servants with the Labour raison d'etre of social justice is missing a little perspective
    4) think you should chill out. If you are going to blog then you are going to have to take a little bit of criticism every now and then.