Saturday, 11 August 2012

Assembly, Parliament or Senedd

In December 2010  National Left made some prediction on this Blog although not very accurate I did predict that the Tories leader in the Assembly would be the first to call for the Welsh Assembly to be renamed the Welsh Parliament.

 And Lo it came to pass.

Andrew RT  Davies says that there is still too much confusion in the public’s mind between the National Assembly and the Welsh Government, and that changing the name of the former would help better understanding.

The Wales Office, however, has already poured cold water on the idea, with a senior source revealing Cheryl Gillan was “surprised at the proposal” and that it was not a priority.

Mr Davies said:
“For years, confusion has understandably existed amongst the Welsh public in distinguishing between the Welsh Assembly Government and the National Assembly for Wales.

“The rebranding of WAG to Welsh Government has helped mitigate that, but we believe the time has come for Wales’ devolved institution to lose the Assembly tag and brand itself as a proper Welsh Parliament – strengthening the distinction between legislature and executive whilst giving it the accolade the people of Wales afforded it in last year’s referendum.
“The process for this to happen is very simple. One small amendment to the Government of Wales Act 2006 would be all that needs to happen to change the National Assembly for Wales into the Welsh Parliament.
“No expensive rebrand, no new buildings, no more politicians, no new protocol, but what a statement it would be. A statement that shows that Wales is a nation with a strong legislature in a strong United Kingdom.”

A fair point But should we need to do this in this manner.

The Westminster Parliament is divided into two houses ,The Commons and the Lords so in reality all members of the House of Lords are also Member of Parliaments and Cameron et al should be called members of the House of Commons.

The Scottish Parliament was is the inheritor of The Parliament of Scotland, officially the Estates of Parliament, was the legislature of the Kingdom of Scotland.

 The current Parliament is   as an unicameral chamber and even if  the Independence referendum fails it may be the Devomax may result in a call for a second chamber which means that the existing chamre will have to be given a new name.

A similar problem may be what to call an English Parlaiment since Westminster id the historic English Parliament and it may mean that it would need a new name but probably not an  English Assembly.

The Welsh Assembly is a unicameral chamber But the building is called the Senedd which translates closely to parliament.

So if Devomax came to Wales and a second chamber needed  the current  chamber could remain as the Assembly with the two falling under the name Senedd.

So  may be instead of calling for a Welsh parliament we should use the title Senedd more often to describe our equivalent of Scotland .

If we want to promote the image of the Government of Wales mote positively .

Bur why not use our own term?

In Ireland Dáil Éireann is the lower house, but principal chamber, of the Oireachtas (Irish parliament), which also includes the President of Ireland and Seanad Éireann (the upper house).( though this is set to be abolished ).

Though perhaps the chamber could be renamed in a similar manner .I would presume that there is a Welsh Term similar to that from where Dáil came from.


maen_tramgwydd said...

There's no need for Wales to have an upper chamber.

Davies was kite-flying and mischief-making. If the only rationale for renaming the Assembly is that of distinguishing between legislature and governmental functions in the mind of the public at large, then it's pretty lame.

Wales needs a comprehensive legislature, whatever it's called, having the whole range of powers to deal with the serious problems our country now faces after generations of misrule from Westminster.

Unless and until the likes of Andrew RT Davies are willing to support a move to an independent Wales, then the conservatives are an irrelevance. Gillan represents the Tory view of Wales...a colony. Her appointment by Cameron illustrates his and his government's absolute contempt of our country (and this includes his LibDem cronies).

glynbeddau said...

More or less agree. As I said Ireland are doing away with their upper chamber . Bur I can't help but think Assembly is a weak name and we should go for a more positive name. It might encourage people to a more comprehensive legislature to match it.

But as you say it is the powers that are of most importance and that should be our priority.

Owen said...

I might've agreed with changing the name from Assembly to Parliament, and roughly along the same lines as Andrew Davies. However, thinking about it, "National Assembly" works well enough for the French, Slovenes, Poles etc.

The only issue, as far as I can see, is that people might consider an "Assembly" as lesser than a "Parliament" in the same way as a "Prince" might be to a "King".

I could go for calling the whole thing a "Senedd" as you suggest Glyn, electing "Seneddwyr". But that shouldn't really be a priority at the moment. As maen_tramgwydd says, I think the issue (if it's even an issue at all) is irrelevant until independence or at the very least equal standing with Scotland.

Cibwr said...

France has a National Assembly, a number of countries do... If we had an upper house I'd call it the National Council (as does Slovenia - and I'd elect it in the same way, partly by regional politicians, ie elected representatives electing people to represent their regions, and partly by functional groups, like the Slovenian and the Irish Senate).

Though a more important reform would be to change the electoral system to STV and increase the size to at least 80. The current set up was just for the convenience of the Labour party in Wales.

Anonymous said...

If we keep it as National Assembly then it should be The National Assembly 'OF' Wales rather than 'FOR'. I think its imperative that a greater distinction is needed between the Welsh Government and the National Assembly. The problem is when we criticise the Welsh Government it can automatically be seen as an attack on devolution or Welsh democracy.

Cibwr said...

Would agree, which is why changing the name officially to the Welsh Government or the Government of Wales and the National Assembly of Wales would be good.

glynbeddau said...

It seems we tend all to think the major issue is what the Assembly does and not what its called.

I think Assembly may have a different resonance in French
I have just blogged on Quebec National Assembly ( Assemblé nationale du Québec) whose powers we can only dream about.