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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Unite’s intervention is a flashback to a darker period in Welsh Labour’s politics

The contest for the Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour has been the least engaging political fight since last autumn’s “fight” to find the new leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. (There’s a bonus point if you can name the runner-up and two bonus points if you can name the winner.) This new battle has been described to me in various ways: Momentum v non-Momentum; Cardiff v Swansea; AM v MP; OMOV (One Member One Vote) v Electoral College. What hasn’t been clear is what the new role will actually do. Perhaps that is because it has a job description akin to the Assistant Deputy Leaders of UKIP (they are real… Read More

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Towards a more relevant politics

One of the better aspects of the fifth Assembly has been its ability to innovate and refresh proceedings. There has been a conscious effort to make business more contemporary and relevant. On the Committee side, founding a committee again to examine issues around European and external affairs could not have been more timely. It has also proven itself to be one of the most authoritative and relevant arms of the Assembly in terms of business. On a plenary level, other innovations have also been apparent on a Wednesday afternoon. The ability to ask Topical Questions has definitely perked things up and held the Welsh Government more closely and robustly to… Read More

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The Cold War

The cold war between the two Governments with jurisdiction over Wales continued this week, with Mark Drakeford offering a rather icy analogy over the stand off: “Welsh Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford said: “If I was trying to explain this to somebody who isn’t close to it all, I would say this: the UK government wants to take some responsibilities that are today held by the national assembly and put them in a freezer that would be held here at Westminster. The three issues we wanted to talk about today was how do those items get put in the freezer – who decides that’ll happen?” At the heart of the problem… Read More

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Taxation: A process not an event

With so much political drama surrounding the Senedd in recent months, and the constant fighting over Brexit, it is easy to forget some of the mechanical aspects of legislating that were perhaps expected to characterise this Assembly. Chief amongst these are the powers of taxation reached by negotiation between the governments at both ends of the M4. The first phase in enacting this process was relatively straight forward and we now have a separate regime in Wales relating to both stamp duty or land taxation, and also landfill in Wales. Of course these are relatively small taxes, but they represented a cementing of that new competence. More tricky is the… Read More

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I’ve changed my mind – the Assembly needs more members

I’ve changed my mind. Independently, without coercion, and without a single Damascene moment, I have come to realise I have become wrong. By that, I do not mean I was wrong in the past, but rather it would be wrong to continue to believe something now which is demonstrated as palpably untrue. I have accepted the case for the increase of the number of members of the National Assembly for Wales. Ok, that may be a so what moment outside the bubble, but at least within it I’ve been known as one of the most trenchant and vocal opponents of expanding the number of AMs. Put simply, my opposition has… Read More

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Changing of the guard

Five factors seem to be at work in understanding today’s Cabinet reshuffle. The painfully slow process – and perhaps particularly personally painful for some – played out at such a pace that for once the Welsh Government offices in Cathays Park would have been full on a Friday afternoon. Yet there seems to be a series of specific motivations behind the moves. The most obvious is the change of generations. Out after eighteen years goes Jane Hutt, the longest serving Labour minister in UK history. Her record is mighty and proud. She may well appear like a ghost in the back of the new team photo, such is the length… Read More

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