Monday, February 08, 2010

Weak start to the Yes and No Campaigns - Politics Show today

I was none too impressed by the arguments put forward by the two combatants in today's Politics Show, Rachel Banner and Nerys Evans. Rachel was outlining the case for a No vote in the forthcoming referendum on law making powers for the the National Assembly, and Nerys was making the case for a Yes vote. It wasn't Ciaran's fault. He was asking the right questions. Seemed to me that both of them were basing their arguments on very shaky ground. Bit depressing if this is to be a taster for the sort of arguments that will be used in the campaign.

Rachel first. She seemed to be implying that AMs are in support of extra power because it will lead to an increase in an AM's salary. I'm not at all sure this is true. In May 2007, an AM's salary increased by 8.3% because the power to make laws was granted in the 2006 Government of Wales Act. Its just that it has barely happened. Since the process of power transfer under the system that has applied since then has been so slow, it could be argued that AMs have been overpaid over the last two years! Whatever, the basis on which an AM's salary is calculated after a successful referendum will not necessarily change much. I can see that it will play well to people's current perception of politician's avarice, but it's falseness makes it a rather vulgar argument.

Nerys' turn next. She was trying to describe the change proposed in the referendum as a "tidying up exercise". That is not going to wash. Admittedly, the big principled change was made with the 2006 Act. But that has been a failure - despite what some MPs try to claim for it. But its still a big change. We've heard this phrase "Tidying up exercise" before, and it looked decidedly dodgy last time. If the Yes camp run with this, they will look dishonest, and may lose. I do think that we will have a referendum in the Autumn, and I hope the two sides come up with something rather better than we saw today.


Peter Williams said...

Turning to the UK and MP and PM situations could you please have a Palin sort of TEA PARTY a la USA style ?


Anonymous said...

It seems the esteemed AM Mick Bates was so drunk he didn't remember being abusive in a restaurant, and fell down the stairs and hit his head while being ejected. Disgraceful behaviour for an Assembly Member. But to make matters worse - much, much worse, he then physically assaulted the paramedic who was trying to help him, and carried on with verbal abuse in the A&E dept. His head should roll!!!

glynbeddau said...

I thought Nerys Evans completely demolished Rachel Banner’s argument the latter seamed to be living in the past. If she is going to be the face of the NO vote then True Wales have a problem. Though I guess the actual facts will have very little to do with their campaign.

Anonymous said...

I am totally disgusted by the Mick Bates incident. Having Lembit Opik parade around the pubs of Newtown of a weekend is bad enough. And now this. What on earth is wrong with the politicinas who represent us here in Mid Wales? They are an embarrassment.

exhabire said...

Anon> not meaning to defend the AM in questin (and not at all being someone who supports the Lib-Dem Party), but you seem to have described a time-line. Specifically, if the time-line you describe is accurate, that Mick Bates suffered a head injury prior to medical treatment. Also, your post implies that NHS or Police workers have divulged private patient information to others. This in itself is a serious matter and also deserves investigation - leaking private patient information.

inglych said...

Peter Williams> yes, the UK could have a Tea Party - but one should remember that democracy in the UK remains somewhat depressed. The UK 'Senate" - members don't face an election, they are in 'for life', some of them even pass on their rights to sit in the UK 'Senate". UK 'Senators' can't be elected out of office whereas in the USA Senators do face an election very six years - with one third of Senate up for election every two years.

The UK "President" is not directly elected by the people. Contrast that with the USA where the President faces election on a rigid 4 year cycle.

Parliament - the 'elected' leader calls an election when he/she wants within a specified time period - he/she can call it whenever they think they their party could win the election. In contrast, the President faces an election on a time-table determined by the US Constitution - absent a national emergency suspending the US Constitution and Congress - the President must face the electorate according to the Nation's time-table.

This is almost akin to insider dealing.

So with an unelected body of people in the UK 'Senate', a "President" not directly elected by the people, a "President" who can call an election if he/she thinks his/her party can win ...

Anonymous said...

Anon (02:15:00 PM)> just another advocate's thought: just how did a senior acquire a head injury - was he thrown out onto the street or down some stairs? If so, this is definitely a police and civil matter. "You find your victim as you find him", meaning: Mick Bates is a man with a new hip - hardly a threat to anyone, especially not to a bouncer, care must be taken not to injure someone, especially a senior.

Then, if medical staff and/or police have leaked private patient information then this requires investigation by both the NHS trust(s) involved and the South Wales Constabulary. It is totally unacceptable to leak private patient information.

If it turns out that a police officer or paramedic or hospital worker has engaged in such illegal activities they must be found out and subject to disciplinary procedures - for: is Wales a nation where medical professionals and/or police can drop their professional responsibilities at the drop of a hat when it suits their egos to divulge private information.

By all means investigate Mick Bates, but do so within the proper confines of due process and the NHS sticking to the policy it must adhere to: not having staff speaking to the press - especially not ahead of an investigation - what value is an investigation if the person being investigated has already been tried in the press?

If it turns out that Mick Bates was illegally injured and/or medical staff divulged information and/or police the same then there must be some internal discipline and possible criminal charges brought against anyone who actually injured Mick Bates - he is a senior and poses threat to a bouncer (if this indeed happened).

alanindyfed said...

What do AM's salaries have to do with a YES/NO vote for a Parliament?
It is a very minor consideration.
Then, it is not so much a "tidying up exercise" as a synchronization exercise to put all devolved administrations on the same platform - Wales, Scotland, N.Ireland.

Anonymous said...

Now I wonder if the mouthpiece of the Lib Dems in Mid Wales, the County Times, will cover the Mick Bates' fury and the bottle story in an honest way? Or will they just quote a load of Lib Dem baloney about "concussion"? Smart money on the usual CT whitewash

typers said...

Anon (09:34:00 PM); I'm no Lib-Dem spin-doctor and I don't support the Lib-Dems, but every man/woman is innocent until proved guilty and every patient is entitled to medic-patient confidentiality.

If Mick Bates suffered concussion then that is a VERY important factum. Being merely verbally abusive does not give anyone the right to bounce a senior down some stairs or onto the street - doing so is called: assault and battery. Leaking patient information to the press is a violation of patient confidentiality. If a paramedic has leaked information to the media about a patient, he/she has acted improperly and should him/herself be called to account. If a policeman/woman has done the same or similar: they have also broken rules. Apparently the paramedic has been quoted (absent giving his name) to the press - if so, he is in direct violation of medical professional-patient client confidentiality.

The NHS Trust should investigate this potential breach in confidentiality. Just because someone is a public figure does not give a medical professional the right to ignore patient confidentiality. Nor does anyone have the right to hurt a senior by throwing them out onto the street or down some stairs; if this is indeed what caused the head injury to Mick Bates - then anything after that point as far as Mick Bates is concerned is moot. He would not be himself, he has a head injury which apparently required stitches and he suffered concussion.

I am the last person to support a Lib-Dem politician (I have had a Lib-Dem politician in my sights more than once and for good reason), but I will not stand by and see rough justice or personal vilification of a senior – the authorities should investigate because there are many unanswered questions including potential breach of patient confidentiality by one or more medical professionals and/or police officers, a potential assault and battery against a senior by a member of staff at a restaurant.

Shouting at someone is not per se a criminal offense – if it were we would all be in the dock.

Involuntarily abusing someone post head injury is not a criminal offense per se – patients with head injuries can lash out and not know what they are doing and have no recollection of lashing out.

Anyway, no one suffered actual physical injuries at the hands of Mick Bates, but Mick Bates did suffer a head injury requiring medical treatment, this should be investigated by the Police.

Of course the NHS can investigate if one or more of their employees were abused by Mick Bates – but also the breach of patient confidentiality. It does sound like a paramedic has acted against his own interest in leaking patient information.

If Mick Bates suffered actual physical harm possibly as a result of being man-handled – this should be investigated.

Anonymous said...

What on earth have we done in Powys to deserve the likes of Mick Bates and Lembit Opik? I just want them both to go and to do so asap

Anonymous said...

Yes, agree with Anon. The County Times will write a vanilla piece and focus on his timely "concussion". It could be asked what have the people of the area done to deserve Lembit Opik, Mich Bates AND the County Times?!

Anonymous said...

exactly what personal medical info has been mentioned ?

Anonymous said...

In reply to typers/anon/cybyl (obviously all the same person) I wouldn't worry too much as the police, ambulance service and LHB all intend to investigate this incident - so the truth, hopefully, will out.

As far as Mick suffering from concussion - that is a red herring, as the paramedic has already said at no time did Mick lose conciousness and in fact his head injury was a minor one - not a serious one as described by Lembit Opik on the BBC news. I for one will believe the paramedic (who knows the difference between a serious and minor head wound) rather than the MP for Montgomeryshire. Someone with concussion does not behave in the way Mick did. He was asked to leave the restaurant because of his abusive behaviour, and the paramedics just got more of the same.

If typers etc lived in Montgomeryshire, he/she would know that this is not the first time Mick has consumed so much alcohol that he has become obnoxious - but let's hope it is the last time and that he has learnt a very painful lesson.

Glyn Davies said...

Been a bit short of time to respond to all this.

Peter - I'm hoping to arrange a 'tea party' next week.

Anon and others - I'm keping out of this now. Too serious.

Glynbaddau - The facts will indeed have little to do with the campaign - and Rachel is cool and persuasive. Don't underrate her.

Alan - I agree - but AMs salaries will feature. We saw that on Sunday. Prepare for it.

Anon - I won't hear a word against the County Times, after last week's edition!! In fact, I've never had any complaint about how I've been treated. If I come up with the stories I get the coverage. I have been a bit surprised that some stories have passed without coverage - but I'm biased, and I'm not a journalist.

And finally - If Mick has suffered concussion, I hope he makes a good recovery. He might even recover his memory!