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    Llanmartinangel wrote:
    The People's Republic of Newp wrote:
    Llanmartinangel wrote:
    The People's Republic of Newp wrote:
    Llanmartinangel wrote:
    pwlldu wrote:
    Monmouthshire Merlin says... JohnReadwood the the welsh sec returned millions of unspent NHS money back to London without a second thought. The welsh office were a bunch of unelected civil servants and its boss was an unaccountable MP who couldn't get voted out by the people of Wales. Both Labour and Tory parties are still puppets to their payroll masters in London. Who is to say that if Wales voted yes in 1979 Wales wounldn't faced pits closing. Some element of the Labour party still want the Welsh aeembly not to be sucessfull. English based parties have the wrong policies for Wales.
    What are you on about? The civil servants in the WAG are now ten times in number and just as 'unelected'. The Welsh Assembly will never succeed whoever runs it because it's a totally flawed construct. No problem was ever solved by creating more politicians and cvil servants. Or haven't you noticed. It just costs ten times as much.
    Do you in any way, shape or form understand how government operates? How governance is assured? How scrutiny takes place? How the democratic process is managed? You seem to think its a case of getting a few bods in the room to write cheques.

    And no civil servant is elected. To do so would be to undermine one of the hallmarks of constitutional democracy i.e. the political independence of the civil service as a counterpoint to the very much political elected Government.
    Given that you seem to be having trouble reading, I'll point out that my comment on the civil servants being 'unelected' was a reply to the post I was answering, I.e unelected civil servants at the Welsh Office. The fact remains that WAG has cost £billions since it's inception and yet no-one has yet articulated a single tangible benefit for that obscene outlay. And neither have you.
    Costs billions in the sense that the operation of services in Wales cost billions when retained by the UK Government, pre-devolution.

    My sincere apologies (pithy) for the paucity of my knowledge when it comes to mid 19th century newspapers.

    I will however offer up an actual apology for my comment on your riposte to the earlier statement on the 'unelected Welsh office' civil servants... Rushed in there somewhat.
    Apology accepted. So for clarity, is it your sincere belief that the administrative costs for Wales have not increased exponentially since the WAG took over here? If it is I think you'll find its a minority view. Government departments (including Westminster) have never been good at managing costs. They get paid other people's money to spend other people's money. I doubt many think that Wales cost £700m pa just to run pre-WAG. And nothing here has improved, indeed it has got worse.
    Costs have most certainly increased, but that is because Wales is finally taking control of its own affairs, and introducing Wales-specific legislation for which is it is exclusively accountable for and responsible for scrutinising.

    I'm no apologist for the WG, but I can assure you that a great many things HAVE improved - and you'll have difficulty believing this - in terms of NHS patient satisfaction data, and rights and entitlements in certain health services that go beyond anything being driven forward in mainland Europe (including the rest of the UK).

    The major difficulty is not necessarily the cost of operating WG, but rather Wales' 22 unitary authorities of which there are far too many. Far-reaching structural changes to the ways in which health and social care services interact are required which will take some time. One step change which would reduce cost, increase accountability and expediting more effective partnership working would be to reduce the number of local authorities so as to be coterminous / amalgamate with Wales' 7 LHBs.

    Lastly, and while I think there are institutional and governance issues that will continue to plague us (the calibre of AM is pretty poor, for example) we cannot forget just how mercilessly shafted Wales has been, funding-wise, under the Barnett formula. Until we receive a settlement based on need rather than population we'll continue to falter. Put it this way - and the data bears this out - if a pot of change was made available by HM Treasury for England and Wales, divided amongst the 'regions', of which Wales is one, 'we' would receive approximately 5.85% whereas the north-east of England, an area with comparable population, health / disease burden and socio-economic profile, would receive anything between 11.5 and 14%. Perverse, yes?

    This is not to say I agree with everything successive WG Governments have done - far from it, the monies spent on the Senedd were a disgrace, and very very few civil servants actually work there - but, at the risk of sounding like Woodward or Bernstein, I have to be careful what I say."
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Make us equal

Make us equal

First published in Letters

IF SCOTLAND votes Yes that’s the end of the British state. If they vote No, they could end up with devolution-max, with only defence and foreign affairs reserved here to Westminster.

Are you seriously saying that the people of Wales are going to be content with a settlement that doesn’t even take us up to where Scotland is now?

Andrew Nutt Heolddu Road Bargoed

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