It is 9.30 in the evening and I still feel stunned. I am in the office, trying to work on the agenda for Wednesday's Environment, Planning and Countryside Committee - but I can't concentrate. It happens every time. And the reason. This afternoon, I have been chairing a Planning Decision Panel - a most appalling creation spawned by the ludicrous conception, consensus politics. Thank God it will be killed off by the new Government of Wales Bill after next May's election. But someone's got to do it. I think my wife feels a bit the same after going to the gym - and it takes her a while to recover.
What happens is that members of different political parties (how insane is this?)are brought together to decide on planning applications that the Minister has decided to call-in. They are often 'big' decisions. It makes no odds that different parties have different policy objectives. Decisions may well depend on who is elected to serve on any particular panel. And to make things worse we then all have to stand by the decision made as if we were all in full agreement. We cannot discuss it with anyone at all. This is the opposite of accountability and democracy. These decisions should be taken by the Minister. The sooner we can get rid of these hellish panels, the better. I am going home for an early night.