Still wary of big decisions
Jun 15 2008 by Matt Withers, Wales On Sunday
THERE were many disappointed at the outcome of the big vote on Wednesday, with several Labour members voting one way after suggestions they would go the other.
No, not the 42-day detention vote in the House of Commons. The vote in the Senedd on giving the powers to decide voting arrangements for council elections to the National Assembly.
Dull, dull, dull. Which it probably is to all but the most dedicated politico. The long-term aim of Peter Black, the Liberal Democrat AM who put forward the proposal, was for the Assembly to get power to change the voting system for council elections – and then bring in the party’s beloved proportional representation (PR), giving them a better chance of success.
But Labour members, long suspicious of PR, voted it down, with a couple of notable exceptions (the First Minister among them). Fair enough, you might say, they don’t agree with the system.
But this wasn’t a vote on changing the system. It was a vote on giving the Assembly the power to change the system. Labour AMs’ action is no different than the Tories’ attempts to block some housing powers being devolved to the Assembly because they’re scared of them being used to put a block on the right to buy council houses.
In both cases, the argument is the same: we don’t think we in Wales can be trusted with such powers. Best to leave it with the MPs in Westminster.
And some people in Cardiff Bay still hold out hope of a full parliament for Wales.