Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Scrutinising Welsh Laws?

By now many will have read the analysis on the Assembly referendum  on the Jaxxland website. I'm not going to go over their criticism of the debate but they raised  some very good points and it proves that sometimes criticism is constructive and we should all consider the points made. Sometimes you have to listen to what your friends are warning you.

However one thing raised on this issue  and what I believe is the only truly legitimate argument True Wales has is the question of Scrutiny should Wales have law making powers on the  20 subject areas it currently covers.

The argument being that the only real debate on these Laws will be in the Assembly Chamber and in Assembly committes and the lack of a second Chamber for which in the current settlement  is Westminster means that any Laws proposed by the Assembly will not be accurately scrutinised.

The latest post from Syniadau shows the minefield that any a Legislative Competence Order ( LCO ) which the current Assembly uses in order to change some Laws relating to Wales has to go through.and defy any member of True Wales to argue here that this is a democratic and efficiency method.

So how do we scrutinise laws  proposed by the Assembly do we need to?

The Assembly like the Scottish Parliament and the NI Assembly is Unicameral  and does not have a second chamber. I have never seen any criticism of  the Scottish Parliament being on, and I am totally convinced that a second chamber is a big as a democratic watchdog has some would claim.

And of course Westminster second Chamber can only delay or amend  bills  from the commons it has no power of veto but under the current system Westminster can veto Welsh laws  proposed in the Assembly and that is not as Syniadau points out scrutiny but  I would also the abuse of power by Westminster governments and as the different political makeup of the two government becomes more evident of the next 5 years this will undoubtedly grow if keep the current system..

In any case the creation of a second chamber in order to balance power in order to prevent one party in the Lower House with a overall majority from passing Laws at will by having the second chamber composed of independent minded peers or senators or relying on the people to Vote split that is vote for different parties in the Upper House is not really relevant to Wales and Scotland because the current  votining system makes it unlikely that any Party will have a comfatable Majority.

Labour  hasn't received over 50% of the vote in A General Election since 1970 and although they could win a majority in the Assembly with about 43% of the vote it would be a small one. Of course under STV the likelihood of any Party having a overall majority would be less likely.

I am not arguing that scrutiny is not needed or that a democratically elected second chamber  is not preferable but our current system where is not an example we should revere or follow.

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