Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Darkness at the Bay

The Wasting Mule covers the story that  a Labour AM sacked by Carwyn Jones as a committee chair has launched an attack on the “unhealthy culture” at the top of the Welsh Government, saying anyone who criticises its decisions from within the party group is “ruthlessly dealt with”.

Cardiff Central AM Jenny Rathbone spoke out against the spending of millions of pounds on a controversial M4 relief road route around Newport she believes will never go ahead.

In response, the First Minister sacked her as chair of the committee monitoring the spending of EU aid money in Wales.

Ms Rathbone issued a statement saying:

 “Following my intervention on the issue of the M4 relief road in the media last week, the First Minister has dismissed me from the role of chair of the All Wales European Programme Monitoring Committee, for speaking out publicly.

“In the Labour group meeting on Tuesday, I reiterated my call for a debate within the group on this massive spending commitment. I am disappointed that no such debate has yet taken place and there is no commitment by the First Minister to allow this to take place at some future date. I remain confident that my views are shared by the majority of Labour AMs, even if they are not encouraged to express them.
“Since appointed in July 2013, I have enormously enjoyed chairing both the European Programme Monitoring Committee 2014-2020 from its inception as well as the European Programme Monitoring Committee 2007-2013 which is winding down as the 2007-2014 projects reach a successful conclusion.
“I recognise the right of the First Minister to choose who he wants to carry out the important role as Chair of the European Programme Monitoring Committee. I am however disappointed that he has chosen to sack me for speaking out on a matter that is unrelated to this role.
Of course Cabinet  Ministers are expected to show collective responsibility and support decisions once they are made or resign. Bur this is not Arthur Koestler's "Darkness at Noon" in which he portrays a barley disguised  Stalin's Russia in which 

The Party denied the free will of the individual - and at the same
time it exacted his willing self-sacrifice. It denied his capacity to
choose between two alternatives - and at the same time it demanded that he
should constantly choose the right one. It denied his power to distinguish
good and evil - and at the same time spoke pathetically of guilt and
treachery. The individual stood under the sign of economic fatality, a
wheel in a clockwork which had been wound up for all eternity and could
not be stopped or influenced - and the Party demanded that the wheel
should revolt against the clockwork and change its course. There was
somewhere an error in the calculation; the equation did not work out.

OK I've exaggerated  things I can'r really see Carwyn as Stalin  but Ms Rathbone  is a committee chair and it is can well be argued that the First Minister should not have the power to dismiss people from that position and that  should be up to the assembly as a whole.

and Ms Rathbone expressed her concerns  that there is a unhealthy culture within Labours Assembly Cabinet.
 ”The events of the last 24 hours have confirmed in my mind there is an unhealthy culture at the top of the Welsh Government which does not allow for rigorous debate and reflection on the best use of public funds. Independent thought is not tolerated by AMs and if someone does step out of line, they are ruthlessly dealt with. This is not a good way to make difficult decisions.”
Again you can't really see Carwyn as Stalin. Indeed it looks more likely that he is a prisoner of those AM who promoted  what the vast majority is the wrong route M4 relief road route around Newport and which is unlikely to go ahead but sem intent on pushing it through by creating an initial expenditure which will be wasted if it is scraped.

If ever there was an example that we need a change of Government in May we have one here.

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