Have you ever wondered how a one-party-state would work in a British context. Well, since devolution, we have a Government in Wales which is giving us a bit of an idea. Really good example this week about a committee system would work. None of this messing about with elections as we do at Westminster. None of this freedom for elected politicians deciding to influence policy through a democratic process - (like the recent election of clear-thinking Peter Lilley onto the Environment and Climate Change Committee in the House of Commons). No - if a committee member shows any capacity to think for themselves, or stand by a principle, just throw them off - immediately. And because this way of operating within Welsh Labour is no surprise, its not even much of a media story.
Better explain (though Betsan Powys does it better). The Children and Young People's Committee of the National Assembly for Wales are considering the complex Social Services Bill. Three Labour AMs are publicly in support of a legal ban on smacking children. The Minister is not. (I should add that I agree with the Minister, Gwenda Thomas). Anyway, just before the Committee was due to meet, to take evidence, and consider an amendment to introduce the smacking ban into the Bill, Labour's Chief Whip just sacked the three principled members, Christine Chapman (Chair), Julie Morgan and Jenny Rathbone - and replaced them with three others. When the meeting started, the microphones were turned off so that new chair, Ann Jones could explain that she had only just found out she was even on the Committee. Sir George Young must be salivating at the thought of such untrammelled power. Its what happens when one party is always in power. Independent, principled thought is banned,even if the smacking of children is not.
And this comes after news this week that First Minister, Carwyn Jones simply refused to answer a FOI inquiry about discussions between himself and Sir Terry Mathews. Now behind the request is the suspicion (I think) that Sir Terry has influenced, or sought to influence who is in the First Minister's Cabinet. Now again I have some sympathy with Carwyn Jones here. I've never been a fan of the FOI system - but can you imagine the UK Gov't getting away with this sort of high-handed behaviour. My oft-expressed view when I was an Assembly Member myself was that devolved Welsh democracy will not have 'grown up' until Labour in Wales is occupying the opposition benches. No reason to change that opinion.