Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Consultation, Consultation. Consultation.

Apologies in advance. I'm returning to the process by which law making power is currently being transferred from the UK Parliament to the National Assembly for Wales. The reason is that last Thursday the Secretary of State for Wales, Paul Murphy introduced yet another complexity into what is an already complex process. Let me explain.

In 2006, the UK Parliament passed a new act by which power is transferred by means of Legislative Competence Orders. All these LCOs do not create any new legislation. They simply transfer the power to make legislation. Proposals for an LCO emanate from the National Assembly, are considered by a specially convened committee in Cardiff Bay, and the Welsh Affairs Committee at Westminster. Things were progressing much as expected, even if rather more slowly than some hoped for. And then last autumn, we had the 'Housing LCO'.

Prior to the 'Housing LCO', what happened was that after proper discussion, they were eventually approved. But on this one, the UK Government (in the person of the Secretary of State) retained a veto over one aspect of the content of the LCO - an entirely new concept. It could not be implemented without his permission. And now the UK Government has introduced another new concept. Read on.

The National Assembly recently proposed that power over the Welsh Language be transferred from Westminster to Cardiff Bay. Committees both ends of the M4 are inviting comments from interested parties to assist with their consideration of it. That's, in effect, two consultation exercises. And then last Thursday, the UK Government (in the person of the Secretary of State) launched its own consultation. That's three consultations going on - all at the same time. Blimey. The Welsh Language LCO will require a forest of trees to produce all the paper needed to facilitate consultation responses.

I'm not going to comment about the wisdom of all this, but I am concerned to promote understanding about how we are governed in Wales. I hope that all those who respond realise that they are not responding to a proposed new law, other than the transfer of the rights to make a new law. The issue is whether new laws concerning the Welsh Language should be made in the National Assembly for Wales, or in the UK Parliament. I hope that clarifies things!!


Peter Black said...

If there is confusion then it is because the Secretary of State is introducing it. I suspect he knows what he is doing.

Anonymous said...

peter, its not just the secretary of state, the whole lco process is an absolute shambles.

Glyn Davies said...

Peter - I have not the slightest doubt that Paul know's precisely what he's doing.

Anon - I think its a dangerous shambles - but its what we've got. The only game in town is to try to make it work as well as possible. I suspect those who disagreed with my fierce criticism of the Plaid Cymru posturing on the utterly stupid Housing LCO are now starting to understand why I was so angry about it. If you sow trouble, you will reap rouble.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

The Welsh language should remain as a legislative competence of Westminster.

Glyn Davies said...

Anon 1 - This blog does what it can to explain then LCO system. It could be that it will never be understood except by a handful of anoraks.

Anon 2 - Don't agree, but its a point of view. I can think of no issue more suited to fall within the ambit of the National Assembly for Wales - but that's only a point of view as well.

Anonymous said...

Your other "anon" scribbler is right in saying the Welsh Language should stay with Westminster.

Its quite safe in the hands of its greatest supporters Paul Murphy, Don Touig,Ian Lucus,Neil Kinnock and gang who have done so much to swell the ranks of those who now realise (like your goodself Glyn)its feel its worth keeping and cherishing....oh and learning!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3.22 is right. If Plaid get their paws on the Welsh language, we're all buggered.

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - Not sure what you mean about Plaid getting hands on the Welsh Language. There are only 15 Plaid members out of sixty! Even in Government the have shown an inability to promote any of their favoured policies.