Commentary: The power of blasphemy

“The Welsh Government is not an institute of angels,” asserted Alun Davies AM (Lab, Blaenau Gwent), the fallen angel Lucifer of Assembly politics and our nearest thing to a Minister Emeritus. His powerful comments came in a seminar organised by the Electoral Reform Society and the Bevan Foundation around the role of Welsh Civic Society and were made in reference to the timidity he and most of the room felt about the robustness by which many challenge, critique and respond to Welsh Government policies. His thinking was shaped by many experiences, including the point in the last Assembly where an essentially state funded charity made the controversial statement that there… Read More

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Commentary: One week, two conferences

At the start of the week, the Conservatives met in Manchester for their conference. At the end of the week, Plaid Cymru is meeting in Swansea for theirs. The two events could not be more different as far as Wales is concerned. The Conservatives arguably had less Welsh focus than for years, with new Assembly group leader Paul Davies removed from the agenda and confined to a fringe meeting. Meanwhile, Alun Cairns was spotted eating ice cream with Boris and used his own conference platform to argue for a stronger UK union when we leave the European one. All of which is a world away from Plaid Cymru’s core messages… Read More

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Commentary: Harsh words

The arrival of BBC Question Time in the Senedd last night was rather symbolic. With the programme dominated by events in Parliament and the Supreme Court, it seemed natural that the Question Time should be too. After all, from the moment that the Assembly plenary session began this week an urgent question was allowed to enable the First Minister to be questioned on the outcome of the Supreme Court judgement. Not that the response to the outcome was anything really to do with him, but that sort of logical dividing line between governments and legislatures doesn’t really seem to matter anymore. This was also the week in which the issue… Read More

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Commentary: Back Blast

As Assembly Members return, perhaps the most interesting story of the week was the verdict of the Standards Commissioner in respect of Leanne Wood AM calling a prominent and acerbic blogger an “Arsehole.” She did so in response to an attack by him on her colleague Delyth Jewell AM. For this action, Leanne has refused to apologise, and her group is standing with her, as are a number of other AMs. The case is not isolated. Hefin David AM has also been censured for using the term “coc oen” during a Twitter debate. Unlike Leanne, he has accepted he did wrong and does not object to his censure. Yet, in… Read More

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Review: Welsh Spring Party Conference Season

Daran Hill Once upon a time, Welsh spring party conference season used to last a little over a month. Now it seems to last a lot longer and this year’s prolonged Welsh season means your memory (or lack of) relating to the first such event may be blurred somewhat by the time we get to the final one. As a sort of aide de memoir, here’s the Positif shorthand take of each of the party conferences. Plaid Cymru: Way back in March, Bangor was added to the array of Welsh conference venues for the first time in modern political memory. The venue gave the chance to showcase the Pontio building… Read More

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POSITIF THINKING PANEL DISCUSSION

HEALTHY WEIGHT: HEALTHY WALES Wednesday 22nd May, 6pm, Norwegian Church, Cardiff Bay In January 2019 the Health Minister Vaughan Gething AM launched a consultation on the Welsh Government’s new plan to combat the greatest public health challenge facing Wales – obesity. Called ‘Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales’, it outlines the actions to be taken to help people in Wales maintain a healthy weight.   The consultation will end on 12 April 2019. Positif Thinking will be holding a panel discussion to discuss the responses to this consultation and taking a look forward at its 4 main themes: Leadership and enabling change – Healthy environments Healthy settings Healthy People Our panel members will include… Read More

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Ten Key Themes from new Welsh Government Appointments

Creating a new government is the most defining thing that a First Minister can do. It is also a vital first step in indicating the direction of a government. So now that Mark Drakeford has created his first administration, we can summarise ten key themes from his appointments: Continuity: Very few new ministers have entered government, this is very much a continuity government in which his most trusted and experience allies have been rewarded. Loyalty: Mark Drakeford is known as a loyal politician and he respects that quality in others. He has rewarded a number of loyal allies during the election campaign – Ken Skates, Lesley Griffiths, Rebecca Evans and… Read More

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The Mark of the Man

The election of Mark Drakeford as Welsh Labour leader brings to a conclusion the longest contest in Welsh political history. It was also arguably the most predictable contest. At no point did Drakeford ever look like anything other than the eventual winner. His sincerity, industriousness and decency made him not just the most appealing candidate for his fellow AMs but also the stand out choice for the party membership as a whole. Awaiting Mark when he becomes First Minister next Wednesday are a series of fundamental but difficult challenges. On a policy level, top of the in-tray is the M4 Relief Road. Carwyn Jones had wanted to be the person… Read More

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The Half Way Line

The mid point of the fifth National Assembly for Wales is here and Positif is using this opportunity to stage a discussion session for clients and other interested parties on what the next two and a half years will look like for politics in Wales. Hosted by the Positif team, the event will have two main focuses: What the next two and a half years of Labour government will look like, including insight into the Labour leadership election. Discussions with Paul Davies AM, Welsh Conservatives, and Helen Mary Jones AM, Plaid Cymru, on their party priorities and challenges over the same period. We invite you to join us at Coffi… Read More

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Positif Thinking: Social Prescribing – From Concept to Prescription

Social Prescribing – From Concept to Prescription Tuesday 12th June 2018 6pm – 8pm Culture and Media Centre, Loudoun Square (CMC@Loudoun), Butetown, Cardiff CF10 5HW Positif Thinking, a termly discussion forum on politics and policy in Wales, is pleased to offer our latest free event in this series which is open to everyone. Join us at our seminar where Future Generations Commissioner Sophie Howe, Bethan Sayed AM and Jenny Rathbone AM will be joined by representatives from the Royal College of General Practitioners Wales and Working Links on a panel to discuss how social prescribing is taken forward in Wales. Attendance is free. Please help publicise the event to maximise turnout.… Read More

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