05/03/2014 The Wales Report


05/03/2014

In the week that a major report recommends further powers for the Assembly, Bethan Rhys Roberts talks to first minister Carwyn Jones about the future course of devolution in Wales.


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Tonight a special programme from the Senedd in Cardiff Bay. This week a

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major report recommends further powers for the Assembly - we quiz

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First Minister Carwyn Jones about the next steps on the devolution

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journey in Wales. I want to see a settlement that is

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clear and Scotland is in that position where we have a better fit

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for services being delivered and then we can move on from endless

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constitutional debate. Good evening and welcome to a

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special programme from the Senedd where on Monday a major report into

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devolution in Wales recommended that further powers be devolved here to

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the National Assembly. The second part of the Silk Commission put

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forward 61 recommendations including handing over control of policing to

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Wales, along with granting more powers over energy and transport.

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The report also said that the current devolution arrangement is

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too complex for people to understand or to find out where exactly power

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lies. Professor Richard Wyn Jones, the Director of the Wales Governance

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Centre, went along to the report launch. He gives his take on the

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report. This is a red letter day for

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constitutional anoraks like myself. We are about to go and listen to the

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launch of the second report of the Silk Commission and that is going to

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determine the way Wales is governed for several years.

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Our recommendations emerged out of the evidence. The commission was

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established by the UK government after the 2011 action. Crucially,

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all four of the parties represented in the Assembly nominated

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representatives to the commission. Now begins the time that they try to

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mobilise and apathetic public. The government is thinking about a

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Scottish independent election and a general election over the horizon.

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What is historically important about this kind of exercise is that it

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injects basic constitutional principle into the debate, much of

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the way Wales has developed has been down to the internal politics of the

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parties and you get pragmatic decisions, some of which aren't

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brilliant in terms of getting a government that works. These guys

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have left their party affiliation at the door and come up with a

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anonymous report which tries to inject some principle.

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Our commission, I think, did have as it's ambition trying to settle some

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of these prisoners questions, trying to settle their powers ought to be

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distributed, so that the political dialogue in Wales can concentrate on

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how those powers are used rather than the right powers in the right

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place or the right structures of government exist.

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I'm sure the headlines will be about things like devolving large-scale

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energy projects but the real story at the heart of this is a complete

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transformation about the model of devolution we have for Wales. To

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understand what is devolved in Wales we have defined schedule seven of

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the 2006 act and get into the detail. They are suggesting to

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transform that and saying, everything is devolved unless it is

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reserved to Westminster and that is a completely different mindset. It

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will underline the fact that it is the most government and the National

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Assembly for Wales which are the key levels of government in terms of our

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daily lives. That is a radical transformation. We got the worst

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political class, the most government and now the Silk Commission all

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agreed that reserved powers is the way to go and this will give us a

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more coherent and stable settlement. David Jones, the Secretary of State

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for Wales, said that he favoured conferred powers and he doesn't want

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a reserve power model for Wales. We have to diametrically opposed

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positions and who wins smack comments from David Jones this week

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-- who wins? Comments from David Jones suggest he is not about to

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change his mind. The people of Wales will want the

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bus government to make it clear the powers they get will be used

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bus government to make it clear the properly and frankly, after proper

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liaison with the UK government, which is another theme which has

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developed in the Silk report. The Silk Commission have nominees

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from each physical party in the Assembly. These representatives now

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have to launch their carefully worded report onto the political

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battlefield and convinced their parties to take its recommendations

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on board. It is really important for me, as

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the party nominee, to go to the conference and persuade our

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conference attendance of the importance of actually putting this

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into the manifesto, not just for the UK general election but also for the

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Welsh election. I am expecting and in anticipating that other parties

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will do the same. The content of the manifestoes are

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going to be determined by the outcome of big battles within the

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Driscoll parties themselves, particular Labour and the

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Conservatives. Carwyn Jones has nailed his colours to the reserved

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powers last and I suspect he will actually get that. Devolving

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policing is the source of contention between Welsh Labour MPs on one hand

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and the Welsh government on the other. In terms of the

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Conservatives, there has already been a big public falling out

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between David Jones and Andrew RT Davies on devolving tax varying

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powers. Those battles will continue and intensify. Will this report end

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up gathering dust on a Whitehall shelf? I think probably not and

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that's because most of the people working in the national Assembly

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actually believe we need a reserved powers model of evolution to

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establish devolved government on a properly effective and stable

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foundation. Notwithstanding that, whatever happens, I think it is

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genuinely striking that three years after the last referendum we have a

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unanimous report from a cross-party commission recommending further

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powers in the devolution settlement for Wales. Wales is changing really

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rapidly for up what --. What this has done is ring the bell to

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commence a political fight that will play out before us over the next few

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months and years. Where will that leave Wales in ten years time? I

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might be self-confessed anorak but I'm no profit. Your guess is as good

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as mine. Richard Wyn Jones, director of

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Cardiff University's Governance Centre there. I'm joined now by

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First Minister Carwyn Jones. Let's start on the last point, about

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where we will be in ten years time in terms of Welsh devolution.

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Where would you like to be? Over the next year or two I would like us to

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chart the course for the next ten years. We know things are more

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settled than they have been in the past and we have a devolution

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settlement that will last. You used the word settled and that

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is the word Peter Hain used several years ago and here we are. If the

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journey going fast for your liking? There. We have a situation which

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have two government bills which end up. It is so vague that people don't

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understand where the boundaries are. I would like to see a settlement

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which is clear and we have a better fit for service being delivered and

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then we can move on from endless constitutional debate.

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The Silk report, as you see it, is a tidying up exercise. Proving what we

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know is devolved. You are not ambitious for more

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powers? It is quite significant because it talks about the reserved

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powers model, which is what everyone talks about on the street in Wales!

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It makes it clear about who does what and talks about getting the

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right level of power over energy, one of our greatest resources. It

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talks about devolving the police, which is the only emergency service

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which isn't devolved. It is very different and put us in a different

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position from when we were before. You have said no to income tax. You

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don't fancy that one and we will come on to that shortly but there

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are arts of powers you don't want. Yes to policing but no to criminal

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justice, for example. We know that. What about teachers pay? We didn't

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ask about teachers pay but it maybe they devolved anyway. What is

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crucial is they are devolved, the full financial package comes with

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it. If it is on offer, we could look at it but we know with the council

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tax benefits, for example, when we are giving something we didn't ask

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for, they top slice the budget. Yes to further energy projects.

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What about speed limits? It is about community safety and if you look at

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What about speed limits? It is about driving it is a part of community

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safety. So yes in terms of that but what

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else do you want? It is up to the people of Wales but

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what I want is clarity. I want to make sure we have proper powers over

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energy and it's ridiculous that there is no way we can develop the

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energy sector. We don't control the level of subsidies as the Scots do.

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There is a better fit to have policing devolved because other

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aspects are devolved but we can't just spend our time demanding more

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time, even when they wouldn't work for us. No justice is an interesting

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idea and massively expensive. We would have to build up expertise.

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And many. -- and many. What about response

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ability, which is about Silk part one, the financial settlement. Many

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would argue that is where the response ability is and you have to

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raise and very your own taxes. You are saying no thank you? As far

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as tax DC is concerned, yes -- tax duty.

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The big one? Wales is underfunded. We know that. Unless underfunding is

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sorted out, all income tax powers will do is lock it in because with

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we say to the Westminster government we have to have their funding, they

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will say raise money yourselves without addressing the major

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problem. Three quarters of our budget will come from the rock

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around. Has it? Because it suits you at the

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moment, doesn't you it? You can always say that London isn't giving

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you enough money so the blame game is working.

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It doesn't address the problem. All it will do is put us in a position

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where people will have to pay more tax for fewer services and I'm not

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going to recommend that. Secondly, the model is useless as a power and

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all it does is raise money. You can't do it. You can't change things

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for the better. What is the point? Not just taking powers that are on

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offer without carefully considering what is on offer for the people of

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Wales and in terms of income tax, I can't see the benefit for people

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here. What about Assembly Members?

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More recently members? I think it is difficult unless there are fewer

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politicians elsewhere. We have 60 members here, smaller than the

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Northern Ireland Assembly. It is true to say that backbenchers worked

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exceptionally hard and are there to scrutinise the government. There

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should be 80 here, perhaps, but the reality is I don't think the public

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want to see more. Fewer councillors. You have got the

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Williams Commission looking at fewer councils. Now is the time to reject

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politicians. If you increase the numbers, do you

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increase the number elected first past the post or do you increase

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through proportional representation? That changes the way

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this place is organised so it is not a case of effects elsewhere. We have

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60 members and it is difficult for backbenchers. A lot of them sit on

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three committees a week. Do you need more?

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I think we can manage with the 60 we have. I don't think the time is

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right. But you would like more and you

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don't want to be unpopular by saying it?

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If you look at Silk as a package, not confuse the number of Assembly

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Members with the powers. I don't want the public in Wales to think if

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this place gets more powers it needs more politicians. Looking at Silk is

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a passage, are you bashing on Ed Miliband's door, saying, yet this in

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the manifesto? I have met him already. He understands he needs to

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put in a good already. He understands he needs to

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of Wales. Is Silk the blueprint? It is the basis of discussions. Fair

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funding is important, let's not take away from that. Each party will of

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its package to the electorate next year. You would be disappointed if

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Silk was not in the manifesto? Of course not, we have to make sure

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there is a decent offer for the people of Wales. Notch has been --

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much has been made of tensions, people saying, it was a trap. I said

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that first. If you look at what has happened in the Conservative party,

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there was openly rebellion. There was an open fight between the

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Secretary of State and the leader in Wales, and you will have noticed

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since the publication of Silk, a distinct lack of loud voices in the

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Labour Party saying it is bad. We have talked about getting extra

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powers for this place. People will say, they cannot manage what they

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have got. They are making a hash of the powers they have got. Delivery

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has been your big mantra during this term. Many would say, you are

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delivering but you are delivering the worst education system in terms

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of performance in the UK. And a failing health service. Are we?

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Let's look at health for example. Roddick comes to cancer, -- when it

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comes to cancer, waiting times are far lower than in England. They are

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spiralling in England, they are taking money from social services to

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put into hell. It is not extra money. If you look at it -- health.

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If you look at education, we have a good deal.

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If you look at education, we have a good Deal for students. You have got

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good statistics on health, but 15,000 people are waiting for them

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46 -- more than 36 months for treatment, your target is zero. An

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education, just under half of secondary schools in Wales are

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adequate or good. You cannot be proud of this. There is more work to

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do, we understand that. It is difficult in the second is that we

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find it. If you look at education, local authorities control it. Many

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are in special measures because of the local government structure we

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have. They are too small to be able the local government structure we

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to cope. We need to make sure ourselves and local authorities cope

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as well. We have put money into flooding, which they did not in

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England. If you live in Somerset you probably look at what is happening

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in Westminster at 12pm on Wednesday where Wales is ridiculed. Yanukovych

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is politics. There is a general election -- that is politics. The

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flooding has been dealt with is inept in England. Let's stick to

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health and education. Economy, they are not doing as well as we are. We

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have to look at education in the round. You say it is the hands of

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local authorities, but surely you take some responsibility centrally

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about those policies. take some responsibility centrally

:17:59.:18:06.

have to. But we do not deliver education, that is delivered by

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other bodies. We have to make/there is the right structure for education

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-- we have to make sure there is the right structure. It is the blame

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game again. In Westminster, we hear it all the time, the current

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government blames the previous one. Here, you cannot do that because for

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the past 15 years, it has been labour. We do not have

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electioneering, you are right. You are living your own legacy. And it

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is not great. I disagree. If you look at our economy, it is stronger

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than any time since devolution. We are doing better than England in

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terms of unemployment. It is not a race, but we are. We are doing far

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better for young unemployment. We have the biggest inward investment

:18:56.:19:00.

projects by Pinewood Studios. It is not like the Welsh economy is doing

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compared to England, we aren't doing better. -- we are doing better. But

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some statistics show that GDP is slipping. They are three years old,

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those statistics. You cannot keep blaming other parts of Westminster.

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Ella McRae have I a chilly done that? What am saying is. You two

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have a chilly done that? What Westminster used figures selectively

:19:28.:19:39.

to try and illustrate that Wales is doing badly in some areas, which is

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true. Comparing it is very difficult. England, there is

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true. Comparing it is very of gaming going on in terms of some

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figures, particularly health. The National audit office has said that

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you cannot trust the figures in England because they are not

:19:54.:19:56.

accurate, and ours are. On education, it is often said that. On

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education, it is often said that you have got the policies there. I you

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confident that on health and education, things are turning

:20:09.:20:13.

around? There is no question in my mind that things are going in the

:20:14.:20:16.

right direction. It is not easy, it is difficult on health, that takes

:20:17.:20:20.

45% of the aged. If you increase spending on health the -- of the

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budget. If you increase spending on health, the effect is very big on

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other departments. We are not prepared to do what they have done

:20:31.:20:39.

in England, rob the social services put it in health, and you see people

:20:40.:20:44.

are stuck in hospital because they cannot get home. Back to education,

:20:45.:20:51.

Pisa is coming, do you sit in your office and think, that is coming? It

:20:52.:21:00.

is a few years. I sit in my office and look for improvements, of

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course. You need to be in this job in a position where you are

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constantly looking for improvements. Constantly have a hunger to see

:21:07.:21:10.

Wales do better. There are areas we have two improved, -- have to

:21:11.:21:15.

improve, let's not pretend otherwise. We need to make sure we

:21:16.:21:18.

have the right service provision in health, and difficult decisions have

:21:19.:21:22.

to be taken into how health is delivered. You cannot deliver it in

:21:23.:21:25.

the same way it has been delivered in the past 20 years it is going to

:21:26.:21:29.

be effective, that can be effective. On Pisa, we will do better next

:21:30.:21:34.

time? We have to, we have to do better. We have to make sure that

:21:35.:21:38.

schools are taking Pisa as seriously as they should, it is not the only

:21:39.:21:44.

measure, we also wanted to see an improvement in GCSE results and a

:21:45.:21:47.

further closing of the gap with the UK. Let's move on to be the biggest

:21:48.:21:52.

thing which is happening this year, the Scottish referendum. You have

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made it clear that you hope they say no. If they say yes, where does that

:21:56.:22:02.

leave Wales? Well, yes or no, there has to be a fundamental rethink of

:22:03.:22:05.

the Constitution of Britain. You cannot just carry on as before, we

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have to make sure that we have a sustainable settlement in the

:22:09.:22:12.

future. The worst imaginable outcome would be for there to be, on the one

:22:13.:22:16.

hand, and no vote, which would be good, but then nothing happens in

:22:17.:22:20.

terms of further devolution of Scotland, I think

:22:21.:22:22.

terms of further devolution of dangerous and Scotland would leave

:22:23.:22:26.

the UK within a decade. There has to be further devolution for Scotland

:22:27.:22:29.

and a package on the table in the event of a no vote. If it is a yes

:22:30.:22:34.

vote, the UK cannot carry on as it is. There has to be a thinking of

:22:35.:22:37.

the cost occasional relationship between the three different patients

:22:38.:22:45.

to keep the UK together. -- the three different nations. In terms of

:22:46.:22:51.

scenario planning, we call it the rump UK, are you having chats

:22:52.:22:55.

behind-the-scenes, saying, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, we should

:22:56.:23:00.

get together? What is our name? We have not done that. None of that is

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going on. In my view I think it will be a no vote in Scotland. I think

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you -- it will be closer than be a no vote in Scotland. I think

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think. There will have to be change whatever happens. We have to have

:23:17.:23:19.

constitutional change whatever happens, yes or no, in Scotland. And

:23:20.:23:24.

Northern Irish minister recently said, we should beget in together

:23:25.:23:30.

with Wales and England and planning for all eventualities. Is he right?

:23:31.:23:34.

I do not clear at that stage. I do not see that we we -- I do not think

:23:35.:23:40.

we are at that stage. I do not think that we will be there. My thought

:23:41.:23:45.

is, what happens afterwards. If it is a no vote, how come we have a

:23:46.:23:49.

sustainable constitutional future so we are not closely talking about it?

:23:50.:23:56.

You know Alex Salmond, he is a wily politician, he could clinch it. He

:23:57.:24:01.

is, but the detail has been lacking in the yes campaign. They have got

:24:02.:24:04.

into an awful mess of a currency which they have not sorted out. The

:24:05.:24:09.

response was from Alex himself, when it was put for him that Scotland

:24:10.:24:12.

would not be part of sterling, he said, we will not take on the UK's

:24:13.:24:19.

debts. So they will not ever raise any money because they will default

:24:20.:24:23.

on their debts. Should they be allowed to keep the pound? They can

:24:24.:24:28.

keep their own pound, I do not think they should be in a union with

:24:29.:24:31.

sterling, when there are two different, to two different sets of

:24:32.:24:37.

budgets feeding into one bank. You either join the euro zone, all you

:24:38.:24:43.

have your own currency, or you have your own currency. Said George

:24:44.:24:49.

Osborne is bang on? When Ireland left, they did not suggest they

:24:50.:24:54.

should use sterling. And they paid their currency to sterling than 50

:24:55.:24:55.

years. To have one currency run their currency to sterling than 50

:24:56.:25:00.

two governments is an hurdle. If it is a no vote, and we get something

:25:01.:25:06.

like Devo Max for Scotland, what you want for Wales? What I would like to

:25:07.:25:14.

see at a UK level is there is an understanding that the model for

:25:15.:25:17.

devolution should be the same across the UK. Not the power is necessarily

:25:18.:25:23.

but the model. There is established mechanisms to make sure powers can

:25:24.:25:26.

be devolved in the future and there can be bettered communication

:25:27.:25:30.

between the governments of the UK. At the moment we meet every now and

:25:31.:25:36.

again but there is no real mechanism for us to meet on a regular basis.

:25:37.:25:40.

If it is going to be a no vote in Scotland, and then you want Silk,

:25:41.:25:45.

you better get Silk in the manifesto now. Yes. So you will ask you to get

:25:46.:25:49.

it in there? I have now. Yes. So you will ask you to get

:25:50.:25:54.

already. We will consider what our response to be as a party. Clearly

:25:55.:25:59.

there needs to be a good package of devolution on offer for the people

:26:00.:26:03.

of Wales. You say now is not the time for scenario planning, when

:26:04.:26:08.

this the time for the Scottish result? Once we know the results.

:26:09.:26:12.

The next morning? Will you ring David Cameron and say, what we do

:26:13.:26:20.

now? It looking to happen overnight. It will take a couple of years -- it

:26:21.:26:27.

is not going to happen overnight. It will take a couple of years to

:26:28.:26:30.

negotiate what happens. If the Scots to vote yes in September, they will

:26:31.:26:35.

not become an independent state in the following week. Back to the

:26:36.:26:40.

crystal ball we had at the beginning, 10-year time, what is

:26:41.:26:46.

your visit -- vision for Wales? An ever stronger economy, health

:26:47.:26:50.

service which is stable, which means we have to change it. An education

:26:51.:26:54.

which is the best in Europe and above all else, people being

:26:55.:27:01.

increasingly confident. We love to run ourselves down, perhaps less so

:27:02.:27:05.

than we have been. The young people are more confident than we were at a

:27:06.:27:12.

generation. But we are still there with this little germ, saying that

:27:13.:27:15.

we in Wales cannot be as good as anyone else. Of course we can. I was

:27:16.:27:23.

in America recently, I saw what we could do in promoting Wells, we have

:27:24.:27:28.

16, is meant -- we had 16 congressmen signed up to the

:27:29.:27:34.

supporting Wales caucus. Of course we can be the best, let's stop

:27:35.:27:40.

believing we can. -- start believing we can. That's it for this week's

:27:41.:27:44.

programme. Huw Edwards will be back next week, but in the meantime you

:27:45.:27:46.

can get in touch.

:27:47.:27:50.

In the week that a major report recommends further powers for the Assembly, Bethan Rhys Roberts speaks to first minister Carwyn Jones about the future course of devolution in Wales in a special programme.


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