Thursday, June 30, 2005

Time to remove Assembly powers?

The Government are in the process of giving extra powers to the Welsh Assembly at present. Given the dreadful lack of competence in the areas in which the Assembly has got powers this is something I will be opposing.

With the latest figures showing yet another rise in hospital waiting lists I feel the time has come to seriously consider removing health as an area of responsibility from the Assembly. I have applied for an adjournment debate on this subject in Parliament but would welcome some online comment from bloggers.

PS apologies for the sporadic posts but for some reason I have not been able to log on from Parliament and I was visiting the in-laws in Hungary over the weekend.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Anyone remember "Top Cat"?

The week before last presented an opportunity to ask a question to the Prime Minister during the weekly question time session. Firing off questions at Mr Blair in a packed House of Commons is a potentially nerve racking experience so I made sure I had rehearsed what I was going to say.

Unfortunately I had not bargained for the effect that my initials would have on the government benches as the speaker called "Mr David T. C. Davies". As I rose to my feet several hundred people opposite started singing the theme tune from the cartoon series "Top Cat." Peter Hain then performed a solo version the following week.

The kindly staff at Hansard had advised me to use the initials to differentiate myself from David Davis MP Shadow Home Secretary and Tory leadership contender. This seemed reasonable at the time. However if the Labour back benchers don't get bored of the joke soon we are going to have to think of something else.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Should the Assembly discuss debt relief?

The need to alleviate the dire levels of poverty which persist throughout many parts of the third world, especially Africa, is something agreed upon by all political parties.

However I cannot support the call by one AM for the Welsh Assembly to debate the matter. Standards of living in the third world could be raised to some extent by western governments adopting different policies on debt relief and free trade. Britain’s contribution towards this is something that will have to be debated and agreed upon at national government level – ie in Parliament.

The Welsh Assembly meets for 7 hours a week. If an hour or more is set aside for discussing a matter over which it has absolutely no control, but on which all it’s members are in full agreement, then up to 20 AMs will all get up and make essentially the same speech, describing the situation in identical terms, and calling on the government to do more. A resolution will then be unanimously passed.

AMs may feel strongly about poverty. They forget that everyone else does. If the Assembly is going to pass resolutions on international affairs perhaps every local council should also do likewise. Why stop there? The board of every health authority could just as logically suspend discussions on waiting lists and MRSA to debate debt relief, – over which they have as much influence as the Welsh Assembly.

If the Assembly must pass a resolution - then it should simply be tabled and passed without debate. Whatever influence they feel a resolution will have on the government can be allowed to take effect without the need for a long debate which will allow the Assembly to avoid discussing matters for which it does have responsibility.