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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Life after Rhodri

We are not quite there yet but the imminent announcement of Rhodri Morgan's retirement plan has attached to it a degree of suspense that underlines his contribution to devolution and stable government in Wales. Most commentators agree that without his presence it would have been different. Alun Michael would have replicated London policies and have WAG operate as an administrative centre without a mind of its own, I for one believe that short of parliamentary powers it is easy to cast the current settlement in this light. Ron Davies would have taken the Assembly further away from London Labour and have a greater economic development focus but I suspect that Labour MP's would have acted to prevent too many changes. A detatchment of Welsh and Scottish Labour MP's is so important in maintaining power at Westminster that they will conveniently avoid the West Lothian question and prevent instability in the 'regions'. A fair assesment would conclude that Rhodri has steered in the clear water in the middle channel.
What happens now? The in tray is stacked with problems, Does the new First Minister honour the One Wales agreement? What policies will be cut to meet the budget constraints? Are budgets more important than badgers? How will the Assembly deal with a possible change of government in London? How to proceed with Sir Emyr's report?
Labour have a lot to ponder on who they elect for the right reasons for Wales not the right reasons for Labour and certainly not for the right reasons for London.

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