Sometimes its very satisfying to see one's warnings vindicated. It depends how much you care. I watched the National Assembly's Presiding Officer on the Politics Show today, with a growing sense of despair. I care about how Wales is governed. Ever since the Government of Wales Act 2006 was passed, I warned that it is 'a constitutional crisis waiting to happen'. In order to limit this danger, I wanted the Assembly Government to avoid submitting contentious proposals to Westminster for power transfer to the Assembly - at least until the new system of power transfer was well bedded in. Any contentious proposal would inevitably undermine trust and lead to a constitutional stand-off between the National Assembly and the Welsh Affairs Committee of the House of Commons. This was why I strongly criticised the submission of an Assembly Government proposal which would enable the suspension of right-to-buy by the Assembly. It was like scattering gunpowder on the floor of the 'smoking room'. This sort of interview was inevitable.
The Presiding Officer is wholly correct in his interpretation of the Act. But that's not the point. If the Act is to work well, there has to be a measure of pragmatiism, common sense, and mutual trust. This proposed Legislative Competence Order was provocative (perhaps deliberately so) and the opposite of an attempt to build trust. I'm not going to accuse the Deputy Minister who proposed it of trying to provoke a row in order to demonstrate that the current act is not working - ergo everyone will demand full law making powers immediately. But there will be plenty who will so accuse. The consequence may not be quite so predictable. Problem is that when a fire takes hold, there's no knowing where the winds of change may take it. This issue is damaging the relationship between The UK Parliament and the National Assembly. Its going to take some very cool heads with strong water hoses to put this particular fire out.