Saturday, 8 September 2012

Randerson to concentrate on education - Really?

Deputy prime minister  Nick Glegg has said he pushed to expand the Welsh Office department to three ministers.
The department includes a Lib Dem for the first time to "fly the flag for the kind of Wales we want to see," he said.
But he portrays either an ignorance of devolution or a desire to interfere in the workings of the Assembly when he announced on a visit to Cardiff yesterday that new Liberal Democrat Wales Office minister Baroness Randerson will concentrate on education,  - even though the policy is devolved.
Education like Health is always something opposition Parties have an advantage.Since you can always claim that there's q need for a great deal of improvement.
But are we going to see the main thrust on Education Policy coming not from their Assembly Education Spokesman Aled Roberts but from a Westminster minister who has no responsibility for Education here.?
And is going to see her role Randerson is to  undermine the Assembly education minister Leighton Andrews or simply to present a LibDwm viewpoint from a Westminster perspective.
Reading Peter Blacks Blog you can't help feeling the latter at least will be part of his her purpose as he writes...

But it is not just the Welsh Government that needs to be kept in the loop and listened to. The Welsh Conservatives and the Welsh Liberal Democrats are in government in Westminster and in opposition in Cardiff Bay. We need to have an input too, not least because Welsh Government Ministers occasionally use us as a conduit to send a message to their opposite number on the other side of the Severn Bridge.
I have been able to facilitate meetings between Ministers for example, whilst my ability to pick up the phone and talk to the right people was crucial in getting the Housing Legislative Competence Order approved back in the early days of the coalition Government.
In a coalition government situation, and given the nature of Wales Office Ministers' jobs, it was absurd that the Conservatives had this additional line of communication, but the Welsh Liberal Democrats did not. That is why Jenny Randerson's appointment is so important, it gives us a formal input into Government discussions.

I may be misreading Peter but it looks to me that he sees Randerson appointment as a means of linking the Welsh LibDems with the coalition government and therefore claiming some influence inn the way Wales is run.

Was Nick Harvey sacrificed as  Minister of State for the Armed Forces so that Nick Clegg Quota of MPs can have a foothold in Wales . Where they have been haemorrhaging  votes?

Will we see a Welsh Office Minister putting forward a different viewpoint from her coalition partners? I doubt it and I can't see Randerson seeing her role being there merely to act as a contact point for her party in Cardiff bay.

The real likely result of this appointment will be to link the LibDems in the bay with the Westminster Government and make it even harder to claim their hands are clean of Westminster Politics. They can hardly claim "Its not us we didn't doit" with a Minister pushing the coalition agenda in the Welsh Office.



Pads said...

By "education" he means somehow win back some student votes in Cardiff Central, says the cynic in me.

glynbeddau said...

Says the Cynic in me as well.