I'm the Hen Ferchetan. This is my take on the world through the eyes of Wales. While mostly about Welsh politics (that most famous of dour topics!) I try to scatter some humour around, but I doubt anyone but me will find it funny! Have a read, and if it bores you then feel free to never come back!

Saturday, 29 March 2008

The Case For The Union

Gordon Brown made a strong case for the Union in his speech to his Scottish party last week. Here's part of it...

"But what matters even more are the common values we share across the United Kingdom: values we have developed together over the years that are rooted in liberty, in fairness and tolerance, in enterprise, in civic initiative and internationalism.

These values live in the popularity of our common institutions from the NHS, the BBC, to the Queen - and even more recently in UK-wide support for the Olympics, Children in Need, Comic Relief, Make Poverty History and action on climate change

In other words - don't vote SNP in May or you won't get to wear a red nose once a year!

Spot the Difference

When the white paper that eventually became the Government of Wales Act 2006 was published the words used to describe it by many were a mess, a fudge and a compromise.

As the white paper became a bill and then statute there was many a non-Labour voice criticising it for being confusing and that it would result in no-one quite knowing what the Assembly could or could not do.

While the constant bickering between London and Cardiff over the LCO's suggest those critics may be right, it's hard to blame the GoWA2006's muddles for the mess this week concerning the protection of NHS staff.

London wants extra laws to protect NHS staff from abuse by patients and guests. These were published with fanfare last week and it was only a matter of time before someone asked whether Welsh nurses would get the same protection. Welsh health Minister Edwina Hart thought not, and the London Justice Department semed to agree, although they were hopeful of convincing the Assembly to copy the new laws so that they apply in Wales. A Ministry of Justice statement said:
"Health is a devolved matter in Wales ... We are discussing the issue of the extension of this provision to NHS premises in Wales with the Department of Health, Wales Office and the Welsh Assembly Government."

But wait a sec, we're talking about new criminal laws here, not Health policy. Surely that has nothing to do with the Welsh Assembly? It was only last month that Peter Hain was slapping Rhodri Morgan down over the issue of a smacing ban, saying that it was outside the Assembly's powers. How can the Assembly decide whether or not they want to implement these new criminal laws then? 24 hours later, cue a second statement from the Ministry of Justice...

"Health is a devolved matter in Wales ... We are discussing the issue of the extension of this provision to NHS premises in Wales with the Wales Office and the Department of Health".

The two obvious questions here, firstly who was it that made the rushed phone call to the MoJ to correct them, I'm prety sure it wasn't Edwina or Rhodri! Secondly how on earth was our Health Minister, along with the London Ministry of Justice, unaware that Wales were not abe to make its own criminal law!

(Thanks to Betsan for the quotes of the statements)

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Religious Rebels

With the Six Nations gone for another 12 months and Hen Ferchetan comfortable in her new home it's time to discuss the world again. A lot has happened while I've been away, and much of it has passed me by for the simple fact that the only thng my brain has been concerned with is how is Lee Byrne suddenly a good player, why didn't we get Warren Gatland 3 years ago and how gutted must England be that Shaun Edwards works this side of the Severn!

The one big issue that's caught my attention recently is the Embryo debate going through Parliament. Our new first secretary has hinted that he will resign rather than vote for a bill he disagree with. Firstly, all kudos to Murphy if he does this, it's always refreshing to see a politician give up power to vote as he feels is right. Of course, he might not actually resign, the hint may well have been an attempt to force Brown into giving a free vote.

Current gossip seems to suggest that Brown will relent and allow Catholic Labour MP's to vote against this bill. This simply does not seem right to me. While I would always prefer MP's to vote as they fit and not as their masters see fit, as long as the system of whips continue it should apply to all matters. How is it right that an MP can vote with his conscious on the Embryo matter but not on top up fees? Are we now saying that religion is more important than education? And there I was thinking that there was supposed to be a separation between Church and State!

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

I'll Be Back!

A mixture of the Hen Ferchetan moving house, wasting the weekends watching the rugby and having several important pieces of work in urgent need of sorting out is at fault for the lack of postins recently!

Wait patiently until the Six Nations is over and I promise I'll be back!