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

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)

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