Since the people of Wales decided in 1997 that a National Assembly for Wales was to be created, I've taken an interest in how my nation is governed. I want Wales to be governed well. So its depressing to read that another 'law' made by the National Assembly is being considered by the Attorney General as to the competence under which its been drawn up. This time it concerns the Welsh Language - or more precisely, the English Language. It seems there are doubts that the National Assembly can pass any 'law' relating to the English Language, and Dominic Grieve's view may well turn on whether the reference to English is no more than incidental to the main purpose of this 'law' (which is actually about the Welsh Language). If the Attorney General concludes that the Assembly has acted beyond its competence, the 'law' will be referred to the Supreme Court. B****** ***. Not again.
If this happens, we are facing a difficulty. The Government of Wales Act 2006 (including the changes brought about by the 2011 referendum) should be clear. I'd expected to be. That's what these well paid drafting lawyers are supposed to ensure. But it seems things are not clear at all. The first Assembly law is currently being considered, at great cost, and total mystery to the public in the Supreme Court. For this to happen once is a pity. To happen twice would be a real problem, which we would need to think about. And then there's the proposed new Assembly 'law' to change the organ donation system to come!
Personally, I'd like the National Assembly new 'laws' to be agreed. But the Attorney General must do his job. He must conclude on the basis of the Government of Wales Act. He has no choice. And its completely pointless blaming the Wales Office, the Welsh Secretary of State, or the Attorney General if 'competence' is found to be absent - though I've no doubt that some with other agendas will use it to drive wedges between Westminster and Cardiff, Making law is a complex, nit-picky, mind-numbingly boring business - but it has to be done properly. If the current law does not work, we need to look at it. This is what the Silk Commission will be doing from November.
I want to see the National Assembly working comfortably within the UK constitution. Most people want this to be the case. Lots of questions beofre us at present.