Saturday, November 15, 2008

Academics catching up.

"Yawn, yawn." I can almost smell it leaking out of my laptop as I embark on this post. What the H*** am I doing posting on how Wales is governed - again. I apologise to those of you who visit this blog for gossip and 'gaffes', but reading today's Western Mail has set me off again.

Regular visitors will know that this blog supports the granting to the National Assembly for Wales of law making power in the subject areas which are currently devolved. Unfortunately this 'opinion' sometimes leads to derisive snorts that I'm what is dismissively termed a 'Nat', someone who believes Wales should be an 'independent' country. Nothing wrong with being a 'Nat' of course, but I'm not one of them. And that is because the reason I hold the opinion that I hold, is that I support the long term survival of the United Kingdom. I'm pleased to read today's article by Tomos Livingstone, based on a report by the Constitutional Unit at University College, London which seems to lend support to the position policy this blog has long taken. I will just reproduce one of the quoted lines.

"The present arrangements are unstable and hard to make work, and create constitutional entanglement and confusion, so greater autonomy would be in the interests of both the devolved institutions in Wales and at a UK level."

Couldn't have put it better myself. In fact that's just about how I have been putting it since the 2006 Government of Wales Act reached the Statute Book. There's a whole lot of other stuff as well, some of it blindingly obvious, and some of it 'blue skies thinking'. I think I'll try to acquire a copy.


Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Well, Peter Black's latest 'forays' into Lembit Opik territory are as far removed from "Yaw Yawn Land" as one can get...

So what is Lib-Dem Peter Black up to of late?

Well, just a week or so ago Lib-Dem Peter Black ridiculed a former prisoner of war for his “unnatural movements” and walking like he was “break-dancing with his arms”.

Then just days later Peter is out of the starting gate, this time supporting the likes of Patrick Jones. A poet who writes poems that he believes are likely to upset Christians and Muslims which of course he is free to write, along with emailing copies of his poems to Christian and Muslim groups with the intention of sparking "debate". But the poet need not worry, because Peter Black will rush to his side throwing open the doors of the Welsh Assembly Building to let Patrick Jones read his poems. Which is kind of strange given that his poems are already published and available in book form to anyone who wants to buy them.

All this PeterBlack Lembit-Kafkaesque-like-activity begs the question, would Kirsty Williams like to add anything to her recent comments to the BBC that her "biggest mistake" in her political career was "Appointing Peter Black as my agent in the 1997 General Election"?


DaiTwp said...

You sum up the problem in your post that there is with any debate about the assembly. Depending on which direction (if any) you think the Assmebly should go - your either labelled a "Brit Nat" who believes not only in the abolition of the Assembly but also that Queen Elizabeth should still be the Empress of India or as a "Welsh Nat" cottage burning language extremist who believes all people who can't apeak Welsh shouldbe deporterd!
It's good to have a bit of passion in the debate but not when it's to the detriment of common sense which seems to be the case more often than not when we discuss devolution in Wales.

Glyn Davies said...

Chris - I think its time to move on from Peter Black's comments about John McCain. I also thought them inappropriate, but enough is enough - but your refernce to Patrick Jones makes this comment interesting. While I think the actions of Christian Voice do little except provide huge publicity and benefit to that which it disapproves of, I also think that putting on readings in the National Assembly will do nothing to help external impressions of it as a serious political institution.

Daitwp - I'm all in favour of common sense. But it not thought to sell newspapers.

Anonymous said...

Glyn - i would let the Lib Dems get on with their own small world fighting.

Just concentrate 100% on getting elected in the next election....!

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn> I too find it puzzling that the anyone would want to undermine the outward expression of the National Assembly as a serious political institution while simultaneously provide a target for the national press who seem to delight on reporting such stuff.

If published reports are correct, the writer provoked religious groups ahead of the reading by directly contacting them through emails. Whether the writer’s intention was to merely spark ‘debate’ or to provoke protests at the reading is an interesting question, but the bookstore which agreed to the reading and which already stocks his books, had little choice but to cancel the reading event for the sake of its customers and staff, and expressly not to stifle free speech.

It came down to a safety of customers and staff issue, not a freedom of expression issue.

I think Peter Black has made two errors here: (1) he has misunderstood the reason why the bookstore was forced to cancel the reading; and (2) by opening the doors of the National Assembly will, as you state yourself, “do nothing to help external impressions of it as a serious political institution”.


(1) “Poet 'stirred up' storm over book”

(2) “Waterstone’s says poet Patrick Jones incited bookshop protest”, Wales on Sunday:

Glyn Davies said...

anon - good advice.

Christopher - The author seems to have adopted a cunning and successful way of promoting his book.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn> yep, and Peter Black et al. fell for it "hook, line, sinker and copy of Angling Times" (Based on a Kryten line in BBC's Red Dwarf).

"... and to make matters even worse, this sorry episode is turning the National Assembly into a laughing stock ... if that were possible sir."