Time for Labour to wake up


By Alun Ffred Jones, AM for Arfon.

Now that we have a Parliament with the power to pass laws, you would expect to see some enthusiasm from a government eager to make an impact on the lives of the people of Wales. Unfortunately, that’s not the way things have turned out. As AMs we have spent the past month doing our usual work on behalf of our electors. But hardly anything has happened at national level to generate interest in the activities of the Assembly. Unless Carwyn Jones and his team get moving soon, the summer recess will be here without anything of note being achieved in the Senedd. That would be scant reward to the public who gave the institution such a resounding vote of confidence in the recent referendum on legislative powers. .
I expressed these concerns, as chairman of the Plaid Cymru group, in a letter to the Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler, asking her to take action to set up the Assembly committees as soon as possible. I was invited to discuss this issue on Vaughan Roderick’s programme or Radio Wales on Sunday morning. .
Committees have always had a vital role in the Assembly, but will be even more important from now on as they have he task of scrutinising any legislation that is introduced.
The Government have not yet announced any work timetable or legislative programme. And they have not put any pressure on Westminster to revise the Barnett Formula, which deprives Wales of millions of pounds annually.
Contrast this with the performance of the SNP administration in Scotland. From day one Alex Salmond’s government has announced exactly what they propose to do, and have informed the Treasury in London of their financial demands.
In Wales, Labour made great play before the election of their claim that they would protect Wales from London’s financial cuts. There has been little evidence so far of any desire to keep that promise.