Thursday, March 08, 2007

Brunstrom at war with Labour

Hot debate in the Assembly this week was about the cost of policing in North Wales. Its not an easy issue. Big Council Tax increases v effective policing. The Labour Government wanted to limit any precept increase to 5% while the North Wales Police Authority had set its precept increase at 6.75%. There was a decent argument for both sides. The precept in North Wales is already £167, while in neighbouring Cheshire its only £108. But the Government lost by one vote. So up goes the Council Tax. The PR 'spinners' will be busy in North Wales this weekend, fighting to win the 'blame game'.

What struck me was the anti-Richard Brunstrom 'tone' pouring forth from the Labour seats. He may be a bit 'colourful' for some, but Brunstrom is the Chief Constable - and at the moment, he is at war with Labour in Wales. Ann Jones, Vale of Clwyd, publicly demanded an apology from him - and there was plenty more barely disguised antipathy. This is dangerous stuff.

Only light moment in the debate was when Ann Jones told David Davies AM/MP where to stick his extendable baton. Don't ask.


Martin Eaglestone said...

I think you make a valid point about the growing gap between Richard Brunstrom and elected representatives. I beleive he is a charismatic leader with a number of valid views (see my recent blogs) but, I fear, gained too much taste for publicity. An unfortunate mix given his clear leadership skills on some controversial issues.

By the way how did it feel to vote to impose a higher tax increase on us council tax payers outside your area ?

Alwyn ap Huw said...

For shame Martin.

If it wasn't for your lot in Westminster underfunding North Wales Police this argument in the Assembly would never have arisen.

I am one of the people that will have to find the extra money to fund the increase in the North Wales police precept, but I don't blame Richard Brumstrom, I don't blame the NW Police Authority, and I don't blame the Assembly for taking my hard earned cash. I put the blame where it belongs - with the London Labour Government.

Glyn Davies AM said...

Martin, it didn't feel at all comfortable to vote in favour of a precept increase of 6.75% rather than 5% - but we believed the alternative was even worse.

I must admit that I had some sympathy with the as-always well argued case by Sue Essex. But, on balance, I disagreed with her this time.

Alwyn makes a good point. This is the sort of dispute that will always arise while policing is undevolved. I'm not arguing for devolution here, but when responsibilities are split, accountability is also split and inevitably confused and consequently weakened.

Anonymous said...

labour are starting a petition in north wales over this it will do tories nop good to be seen as backing higher coumcil tax

Martin Eaglestone said...

Hi Glyn, I'm not sure that split responsibilities is a good response to the simple fact that the "Rainbow coalition" (remember that)voted for the tax increase.

Secondly it was Tory votes in Mid and South Wales that gave pensioners in North Wales the joy of the extra tax. I am sure they will be thankful to you!!!!

Glyn Davies AM said...

Another way of putting things Martin is that Tory votes in Mid and South Wales gave North Wales the benefit of effective policing - for which I would expect them to indeed be thankful!!