I am developing an increasing liking for the columns of Matt Withers who, it seems, hits the nail on the head more often than not these days.
Take his column today in which he looks at Nick Clegg’s criticism of Carwyn Jones and his Welsh Government.
‘The Welsh Government was guilty of “the politics of grievance, blame and finger-pointing”, he said, with “an increasingly shrill and narrow and ungenerous approach to how the spoils are divided within a increasingly devolved union”.
This, he added had made him a “staunch opponent” of fiscal devolution to Wales until the Welsh Government was prepared to shoulder more accountability and drop its current approach.
The sound in the background was Carwyn Jones’ advisers readying their responses. Angry words for the First Minister to hurl at Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams in the chamber this week. Anonymous briefings against Mr Clegg and his UK Cabinet colleagues, perhaps, to follow’
Mr Withers has certainly got Carwyn pegged
‘Carwyn Jones has cleverly set himself up as the only Minister of the Crown to also be a leader of the opposition. As the most senior elected Labour figure in Britain, to the outsider it can appear his role is to attack the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats first and be First Minister second.
Witness First Minister’s Questions, where he long ago gave up giving proper answers. To the Tories, he “will take no lessons from the party opposite”. To questions on the NHS, and controversial hospital restructuring in particular, come answers on Andrew Lansley’s even more controversial changes in England.
The Lib Dems’ questions are met with answers about propping up the Tories in London, and on supporting regional pay. Even Plaid Cymru, who are not and never will be in government at Westminster, are labelled “human shields” for the UK Government for letting them off the hook and attacking Labour in Cardiff Bay instead.’
The attitude of Carwyn and his followers makes a mockery of devolution. Playing the blame game helps nobody. With greater powers comes greater responsibility, and those in charge owe it to the people of Wales to ensure those powers are used to best effect. Or do they? After all it was the people of Wales who allowed themselves to be duped by the Labour spin and who turned to them for perceived salvation from the dreaded Tories and us evil Lib Dems who are backing them.
As Matt points out
‘Perhaps that is all people want from their devolved government, after all – something to vent their anger and frustration at the administration in London. Mr Clegg may be furious about that. Others may just think it’s a bit of a shame.’
It’s that alright – a real shame, a shame for all the children who are not getting the standard of education they deserve, for those who have to put up with a below standard health service, for those who cannot get jobs because the Labour Welsh Government are too busy blaming the coalition to do anything useful themselves.