06/11/2011 The Politics Show Wales


06/11/2011

Jon Sopel and Aled ap Dafydd with analysis of the political scene shaping Wales.


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Later in the programme: A shake up in organ donation is on

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the cards as the Government prepares to publish new plans this

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week and I'll be joined by two members of parliament to discuss if

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2228 seconds

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there should be less of them Good afternoon.

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Coming up: Cuts in MPs and broadcasting.

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Plans to make wills the first part of the UK to adopt consent for

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organ donation is to be published this week. It is a radical way of

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helping the 300 or more people waiting for organ transplants in

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Wales at any one time. Voices are warning that the move will not work.

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Few would oppose a policy to maximise the number of organs made

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available to patients desperate for transplants. Welsh government plans

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for consent to be published this weekend are intended to do just

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that. They come at a time when a debate on people automatically

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being on the donor register until they decide to come off has been

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gathering pace. At first glance, the issue of presumed consent

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appears simple. Making everyone an organ donor unless they choose to

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opt out would make more transplants and more lives saved. But the

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transfer -- practicalities of presumed consent might not be so

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straightforward, and that is before we consider religious or

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philosophical concerns. The Welsh government is expected to announce

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a softer form of presumed consent meaning relatives would be

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consulted about using loved one's organs in the highly dramatic

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circumstances of their death. of the real problems I have got

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with presumed consent is that it undermines trust. I do not mind

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moving to a more presumptive attitude because almost everyone is

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in favour of organ donation. It is reasonable to have a presumptive

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attitude when you discuss this with relatives in the immediate

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aftermath, or sometimes be for a the machine is switched off. If it

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is presumed consent there is an immediate suspicion. That is why I

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put it in for a debate in the House of Commons. I want to spend half an

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hour explaining in a considered way why this will not work. It does not

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work, it does not deliver but a fraction more organs. What we do

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need is to understand what will work. People are dying because we

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do not have an effective system is. The Welsh government is confident

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there is widespread support for Wales to lead the way and become

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the first part of the UK to introduced presumed consent.

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will get an increase to up to 30% in organs which was sold a lot of

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issues for people who are waiting for a transplant. We are losing one

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person every week here in Wales, and that is a huge amount of people

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who are dying. We need to give hope, I believe the Welsh government have

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got this absolutely right and they are progressive. I think the rest

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of the UK will follow. The saw signs last read in Scotland that

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that was the case. Politicians are urged to come up with policies that

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make a real difference to people's lives. Anything that increases

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organ donations would do that. This week we should have a better idea

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how the Welsh government plans to address some of the fears of some

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of those who doubt presumed consent will have the effect that some

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people want. The White Paper on introducing an

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opt-out system for organ donation is expected this week. A Bill could

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then go to -- forward to the Assembly next year. The world

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government told us debates and consultations in Wales have

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convinced us the public is ready to Margaret Haig Thomas, Viscountess

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Rhondda was a leading Welsh suffragette. She fought for women

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to sit and vote in the House of Lords just after the First World

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War. The Lords prevented her to take her father's seat, but friends

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to Baroness Gale of Blaenrhondda the portrait of a Viscountess

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Rhondda is now sitting proudly in the Houses of Parliament.

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Hanging with kings and queens of the past, a newly acquired portrait

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of a powerful Welsh lady is now on display in the Lords gallery. A

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lady who was forbidden to taking her rightful place in the House of

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Lords. Despite inheriting her father's title, Viscountess Rhondda

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could never sit in the House of Lords. So her journey to this place

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has been a long, hard struggle. Baroness Gale of Blaenrhondda has

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always been a fan of the by Countess. I am so pleased we have a

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portrait, at last of Viscountess Rhondda. She inherited the title

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from her father. With special permission from King George the

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fifth because she was the only child. When she did, she then tried

:43:11.:43:17.

to take her seat in the house of Lords. She went to a sub-committee

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to the House of Lords, a committee of privileges, and the six men who

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sat on the committee, five voted in favour of her coming. There was

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great rejoicing at the thought of a woman in a house of Lords for the

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first time. But the Lord Chancellor did not like this idea at all. So

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he convened a another committee of 30 men, and guess what? They said

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no, she cannot come in. She never got to sit here. But she fought the

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battle for women. She certainly broke down barriers for women.

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Outside politics she was very active in the business community.

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She inherited her father's wealth and business interests. She was one

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of the very few women who was successful in business. And she had

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a magazine as well? She did. She put a lot of money into that

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magazine, it was a feminist magazine. It was her journal where

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she could express or her views on women's rights and so on. She was

:44:27.:44:32.

quite a controversial character, I believe. She divorced her husband,

:44:32.:44:37.

she set up home with a female lover, it is thought. It must have been

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quite something, caused quite a stir. She was obviously a very

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determined woman. She did unconventional things from the time

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- work for the time, like having a divorce. Obviously, her Wells

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allowed to to do all that. Some books you read about to say she

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lived with a close woman friend at that time. Probably a bit unusual.

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Lots of things about her, fighting for equal rights for women, equal

:45:09.:45:14.

pay, all issues that women are still fighting for. Are there

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things that she actually achieved in her lifetime when it came to

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women's rights? What I think she did was lay the groundwork, if you

:45:24.:45:29.

like. She broke down barriers, that is for certain. Certainly in

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politics and for women in the House of Lords, she broke down barriers

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for women like me. Her father was from the valley. She couldn't come

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into the House of Lords. My father was a coal miner and worked in a

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colliery which her father owned. I feel because of her, I am in the

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House of Lords today. Do feel a certain attachment to her? I do. I

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feel I have a lot of links to her, a lot of contrasts and a lot of

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similarities. She was the daughter of a very wealthy man. She had all

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the privileges one could imagine. And I was, if you like, the exact

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opposite. But we still believed in the same things. When I read about

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the thing she believed in and what I believe in, there are

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similarities. Am very pleased we have got this portrait of

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Viscountess Rhondda so everyone can see what a wonderful woman she was.

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The Lords committee paid �7,000 for the painting. Today's Lords and

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Ladies have the pleasure of viewing this painting from now until

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Christmas. We have heard MPs discussing cuts

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in public spending but they are also discussing a cut in their

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numbers. The UK government wants to cut the number of MPs to 600. They

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would each constituency to have more or less the same number of

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voters at the next general election. Wales could lose 10 of its 40 MPs.

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The Boundary Commission for England has redrawn the map for that

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country and we're expecting the Welsh proposals in the new year.

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What can we expect? We can discuss that with Owen Smith and Alun

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Cairns. It is said, Owen Smith, that Wales is over-represented in

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Westminster. That is a new view. It is not something we have heard from

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the Conservative Party over many years. It is something they have

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come to recently, and it is because it is in their party's own interest

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to reduce the number of MPs across the UK. We will see a 7% reduction

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in MPs across the UK. It will hit - - hit Labour and Liberals

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disproportionately. The vast majority of Welsh MPs will be

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Labour Party MPs. If you have constituencies with equal weight,

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it is something like within 5% of 75,000 voters, surely that is good

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for democracy? I think the reverse is the case. This is not an

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argument we have heard from anyone for many years. We have not been a

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democracy weather has been privacy attached with mathematical accuracy,

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and mathematical exactitude. We have had an interest in making

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politics closer to people. Making politics identified with people.

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Unfortunately, we will end up with constituencies that are bigger and

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people do not identify and the same sense. Particularly in Wales where

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we have a sense of Locale and an attachment to our local identities.

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I feel it will be less democratic. The accusation is that this is an

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attack on Labour, gerrymandering of the boundaries to help the

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Conservative cause. It seems that his strongest argument is that this

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is a new idea. It is not. In 2004 Michael Howard first proposed the

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changes to the number of MPs across the UK. Particularly in Wales

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relating to the powers of the Assembly. The Prime Minister talks

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about cutting the cost of politics, reducing the number of MPs to 600,

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and therefore when we look at the detail around that you take a

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constituency that has some 39 of 40,000 voters. My constituency has

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72,000 voters. Why should a voter in Barry have that the vote count

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less than someone else? It does not make sense there for their needs to

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be a fair distribution of Members of Parliament. On the partisan

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point, I'm am naturally worried. My Conservative colleagues in

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Westminster are worried about their boundaries. But we have all voted

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for it because we think it is the right thing to do. You say you have

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all voted for it, but Iain Duncan Smith has apparently warned David

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Cameron about the party teetering on the brink of further mutiny

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because not all Conservative MPs are happy about this. I did not

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know anything about that tittle- tattle. Conservative MPs are

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naturally concerned about their own personal role, but they recognise

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the bigger picture and that is about making votes equal. At the

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moment it is not. My voters do not have the same power as other areas.

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You speak to Conservative backbench cot -- colleagues, a lot of them

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left high rate paid jobs for a seat in Parliament. Will they think, I

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might go back to the city? They might go back to where they came

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from in any field. I do not know why you suggest the city. The

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Conservative Party has a diverse nature. The parliamentary party has

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voted for it. It was in the manifesto to reduce the number of

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MPs by 10%. There has been a slight adjustment to that, but the bottom

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line is about making the whole of the United Kingdom equal in terms

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of numbers. It is not right that my voter in Barry does not have the

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same amount of influence as someone in Pontypridd. Peter Kane has said

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new boundaries might bring together towns that were in the past rivals.

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What does rivalry have to do with boundary changes? I think he is

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making the point that in Wales we have a sense of local identity.

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Whether it is on the rugby field, are in politics. That would be true

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of England as well? People have often said we are too parochial in

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Wales. I think it is a positive that we have a clear sense of our

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local identities. The point he is really making is that

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geographically Wales, and in particular the South Wales valleys

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have a certain sense of what they are about. You will end up with

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communities that traditionally have sat easy together having problems.

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What about a scenario where made wills would be covered by only two

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constituencies? -- made a Wales. That is part of the difficulty now.

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My surgery work is absolutely phenomenal. When I talk to other

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members of parliament with smaller constituencies, it seems to me they

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do not have that same pressure. It is about balancing it out and make

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sure that every individual's vote counts the same way. Labour are

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against this because they're going to lose out more than the

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Conservatives? We are against it because we think it is

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gerrymandering. Yes, we're going to lose out by a greater degree and

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that is what the Tories have designed it for. Politicians and

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opinion formers should take a stronger stance on the threat to

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English language broadcasting in Wales. That is according to Menna

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Richards. Speaking at the Welsh political archive annual lecture in

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Aberystwyth on Friday she said she understood why it most of the

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recent debate surrounding broadcasting have focused on S4C,

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but she was surprised how little attention had been given to cuts in

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English-language programming. Because the whole of the BBC has

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had to cut back and make savings, BBC Wales has been forced to cut

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100 hours of programming in English language over the last five years.

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What is sad about it is that the programmes we have lost have

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included comedy and drama about Wales for Welsh audiences. I think

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people have been preoccupied by the future of S4C, and understandably

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so. But perhaps people have not realised what has been going on

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behind the scenes of English- language television programmes. The

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people who make those programmes at BBC and ITV do a fantastic job, but

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I think that audiences in Wales deserve more output, more

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programmes that tell them something about their lives, that reflect

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their interests. Owen Smith and Alun Cairns are still with me. Have

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we lost sight of any problems regarding English language

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broadcasting because of the focus which has been put on a S4C's

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trials and tribulations? I haven't. It has been one of the things I

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have consistently raised in the House of Commons. Slightly ironic

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that Menna Richards should be raising it because it has been on

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her watch that we have seen this dramatic diminution in the volume

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of programmes about Wales in English. She is right to

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highlighted. We do have a contemporary art stand in Wales, we

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have less current affairs, less drama, certainly less drama made in

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Wales. The danger is with S4C being folded into the BBC is that you

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will see form -- for good reasons and that perhaps, greater

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concentration on Welsh-language programmes. She might say, how do

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you expect us to commission and broadcast more programmes when our

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funding is being cut? Yes, the funding is being cut. But choices

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are being taken. Her predecessor has been in the forefront of

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highlighting this, not just recently, but four, five years ago,

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this trajectory of fewer English language programmes was very clear.

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We could have done something to arrested, and we should do. We have

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all been talking about it for. Welsh language broadcasting has a

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Stirchley been a politically sensitive issue for many reasons.

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Has that hindered the debate around English-language broadcasting?

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much of the last year I have spent my time pressing the government to

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come up with a positive settlement for S4C. Working with independent

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companies and people within the BBC to come up with a positive answer.

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I think it is fair to say Menna Richards does make a good point.

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The vocal numbers that have been shouting about S4C for a very good

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reasons, and there was support their objectives and their outcome,

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but it has detracted from the wider debate about broadcasting. What I

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would like to see is more of broadcasting about Wales on network

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television. She is also pointing the finger at people like you. She

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said a Scottish newspapers and media attack the BBC and management

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in London. By you doing the same? have always made the point to Mark

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Thompson that I want to see more about Wales on network television.

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The North-East does well, Scotland does well on network television. It

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is easy to talk about Wales within wheels, but I want to see it on

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network television. -- Wales. raised this with Chris Patten, it

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