Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Remember Crabs move sideways.

 To BBC Wales's  credit they have simplified the details that may be changed in the latest clutch of Devo Dibyn Bach that Welsh Secretary  Stephen Crab has promised to look in to after the overwhelming criticism of his latest Bill

The Beeb points to  three specific areas which have attracted criticism (in Blue):
  • The size and content of the reservation list: The reservation list is pretty sizeable, with at least 260 reservations in the bill. There were concerns it was too long, and first minister Carwyn Jones complained of "anomalies" among the individual powers. For instance, the list would withhold licensing opencast mining to Westminster, but devolve land restoration.
 Mr Crabb will now ook at shortening the reservation list. Though before we applaud we should make sure its a case of quality and not quantity in the powers that are devolved. We should compare and contrast with then list of powers devolved to Northern Ireland.
  • Minister of crown consents: This is where Welsh ministers must seek consent from UK ministers for new Assembly laws which affect something the UK government remains responsible for. They exist already where Assembly laws put duties on non-devolved bodies. But there were fears that the way they are implemented in the draft bill gives rise to an "English veto" on Welsh laws, as Mr Jones suggested, with the consents effectively extended.
 Mr Crabb says he will look at passing control for some of these consents, relating to responsibilities that step into devolved territory still held by UK ministers, to Wales though once again he,s talking about "some" of these consents and we need to make sure that he's not throwing us a few bones . We should also again compare and contrast with the situation in the other devolved legislatures.
  • Necessity tests: These would be needed to be passed if the assembly would make changes to criminal or civil law to enforce its new laws. The assembly would need to show the new law was necessary to perform a devolved function. This was needed, the UK government argued, to preserve the single jurisdiction between England and Wales while allowing the assembly to still make effective laws. There were concerns that the test would reduce the assembly's ability to make law, create complexity and uncertainty, give rise to legal challenges and even freeze policy development.
It appears the necessity test will not happen, and Mr Crabb though , though of course we will have to look at the details of the Welsh Secretary proposals. He may well come up with some other form designed to retain  a Westminster overview of the Welsh Government Legislation, He's  a Tory politician and die hard Unionist after all.

Mr Crabb  also launched a working group to look at distinct arrangements needed for the growing body of Welsh law - but has stopped short of backing a separate Welsh legal jurisdiction.

La Pasionaris the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats  writing  on the Subordinate Central Blog seems to believe that Mr Crabb has indicated that anything coming out of such a working party  will need another referendum.

She writes...
For such a major and complicated issue, it is understandable that the UK Government wants to establish a working group to look potential changes to the legal jurisdiction. However, it is quite frankly absurd that the Secretary of State believes this issue would require a referendum.
Having rightly removed the need for a referendum on tax varying powers, it is nothing short of bizarre to suggest another one. The last thing the people of Wales want is yet another technical referendum on the constitution.

If this is the case then Ms Williams is right in her disdain , but considering already had  we have had the Silk Commission   looking into some of this perhaps Mr Crabb should do some do some late night reading of the report , rather than than set up another bloody Committee.

We must remember that Crabs tend to move sideways in their movement and its possible if not probable the Welsh Secretary will try and do the same. 

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