Funny old day in British politics. At Westminster it’s all very depressing. Luckily, my main interest is the politics of Wales, where there are two big stories in the news. The big one is a major Welsh Government reshuffle. The second is the first salvo, from a host of ‘names’ and organisations, arguing for a major increase in the number of members of National Assembly.
Let’s consider the reshuffle first. Biggest story involved an old friend of mine, Carl Sargeant. Not only has Carl been sacked from the Government, he’s been suspended from the Labour Party. He’s been a stalwart of Carwyn Jones cabinets since the beginning. No idea what he’s supposed to have done, but it’s a big story. Next biggest story is the inclusion of ex Plaid MP/AM/Peer, Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas in Carwyn Jones’ team. I also think the inclusion in the Government of three potential replacements when the current First Minister finally hangs up his boots is interesting. In the silly debates politicians have about the future, I’ve tipped Eluned Morgan and Huw Irranca-Davies as my favourites to take over. Two talented politicians who know how to ‘reach out’. Others speak very highly of Jeremy Miles too, but a man I don’t know personally.
Here’s the new team.... Carwyn Jones-First Minister; Mark Drakeford-Finance; Ken Skates-Economy and Transport; Lesley Griffiths-Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs; Kirsty Williams-Education; Vaughan Gething-Health and Social Services; Alun Davies-Local Government; Julie James-Leader of the House and Chief Whip; Jeremy Miles-Counsel General, and Ministers, Dafydd Elis Thomas-Culture, Tourism and Sport; Rebecca Evans-Housing and Regeneration; Hannah Blyddyn-Environment; Eluned Morgan-Welsh Language; Huw Irranca-Davies-Children and Social Services. Best wishes to all of them. And special mention to Jane Hutt, who is no longer in the Government after nearly 20yrs involvement. The last ever-present since devolution gone.
The other big story, though hardly covered, is the campaign launched by a veritable host of ‘names’ and organisations calling for a big increase in number of Assembly Members. I think we’re expecting this to be the big story next week, so today is just a tiddly warm-up. But it’s going to be a controversial story. There will be debate about numbers and about how they are to be elected. More on this when the report we are expecting is published.
And finally there is the Welsh Liberal Democrat Leadership. It’s not had much publicity, but since the winner and new leader is Jane Dodds, who has fought two General Elections against me, I felt I should give it a mention. She defeated Elizabeth Evans by 587 votes to 519, and steps into the very substantial shoes once worn by Clement Davies, Emlyn Hooson and Alex Carlile.