Monday, 1 August 2011

If Peter and Cheryl do not have a job perhaps its time to end it.

There has been an interesting take on the report of the seeming lack of activity of Shadow Welsh Secretary Peter Hain in the commons chamber firstly from jaxxland who takes the Western Mail s and Plaid's Jonathan Edwards to task for what they point out is not much of a  story. Though Welsh Ramblings  makes  a little more of it.

So why interesting? Because  both in their way seem to realise that the problem with Hain is that Shadow Secretary of Wales is now a virtual Non-Job ,as the actual post of Secretary of State held by Cheryl Gillan has lost much of the little authority that it had when Wales voted for increased powers last March.

The post of Welsh Secretary has  always been the lowest in the cabinet, and has been usually filled either by nonentities , John Morris, Paul Murphy, George Thomas or seen as a means of keeping some people in the Cabinet William Hague,John Redwood and of course Hain .

So why does the post remain post devolution ? Most of the powers have past to the Assembly?

For Labour its probably a means to reward Welsh MPs who have failed to measure up for a more important cabinet or shadow cabinet post . There have been very few Welsh cabinet ministers of late and yet the dominance of the Part in Wales suggest they should have the talent to emulate their more successful Scottish colleagues..

For the Tories who have failed to appoint a Welsh based shadow or cabinet Welsh secretary in Wales the position has probably more to do with the need to keep the Scottish position in order to give the impression that  they have greater influence in that nation bearing in mind  only 1 of 59 MP and  15 of 129 MSPs. They have been fortunate in being able to appoint the Liberal Democrat Michael Moore so at leat unlike Wales and Northern Ireland the cabinet   minister represents a seat in that country.

However  why keep these post especially if they along with that of Northern Ireland are seen as form of Government control.. 

Would the solution to these non-jobs be to abolish the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland office and create a new cabinet office of "Secretary for Devolved Communications", With a Cabinet  Secretary and three minister  under him or her. The responsible  minister(s) would be invited to Cabinet meetings when the respective devolved area is on the paper. The minister for Wales for instance would also take the seat reserved in the senedd for them on a more regular basis explaining the Westminster governments position and learning that of the Welsh Government (a semi-ambassadorial role in fact.)

It might also be interesting to appoint a minister for each of the English Regions..

The current Staff in the Welsh Office can be transfers to the ministry or the Assembly


  1. Better still would be would be to replace the SoSs with miniterial delegates chosen by and accountable to the devolved governments and legislatures themselves. These would participate in UK cabinet when UK-wide or issues affecting the devolved territories were disussed. This is how intergovernmental relations between the European and overseas countries within the federal Kingdom of the Netherlands are managed.

  2. Anon. I suppose it depends on whether you believe the Minister should represent Wales in the cabinet or should represent the cabinet in Wales. I can't see him or her doing both,