I've only been knocked out properly once. Went to tackle a big second row moving at speed. I was coming from the side and managed to get my head in front of his legs rather than behind, and was hit on my temple by his knee. When I eventually came around, surrounded by worried faces, my first words were "What the h*** happened". I felt a bit like that this week, in response to the media coverage of the 'presumed consent' issue - though I thought my discussion on Post Cynta with Dr Dai Lloyd was fine. Anyway, here's the view from where I stand.
I've known for probably a couple of years that Health Minister, Edwina Hart was minded to ask Westminster for the power to introduce 'presumed consent' in Wales, by means of a Legislative Competence Order (LCO). At present, organs can be removed from a dead body only if their former owner has given express permission for that to happen. The Assembly Government wants to introduce a system where the organs can be taken unless there is on record an express refusal to allow it. When the request for this power transfer finally came, two thoughts came to mind. Firsly, that it was late in the term of the current administration in Cardiff Bay to intoduce a complex measure before the Assembly election, and secondly that it might turn out not to be straightforward.
Fast forward to this week. The Secretary of State cleared the order (I think that's the terminology) and passed it on to others which have to be consulted - the Welsh Affairs Select Committee, and the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve. The latter sees problems with the LCO, which interest me. Personally, I've felt deeply divided within myself about this issue. I have very good friends who are passionate about changing the law, and I would like so much to share their passion - but I don't. And its for the same reason as Dominic Grieve. Personally, I'm concerned that some of my fellow citizens would have their organs removed even though they would not want it to be so - simply because they could not be ar*** to fill in a form. The Attorney General has concerns about human rights and personal liberty - which is much the same thing. What will happen in the end I do not know, but the opinion of the Governmnet's leading legal adviser cannot be simply ignored in any civilised country.
We've already seen some (including senior people who really should know better) suggesting that a Yes vote on March 3rd would change this position. It would not. This issue has nothing whatsoever to do with the 'powers' referendum. Its about whether the pwer falls within one of the devolved 'fields' of responsibility. The Attorney General may well take the view that the human rights and personal liberties involved here are not devolved. Oh what a dilemma. Luckily, I cannot see how I can be called upon to vote on this.