Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wise move to drop Welsh Medal idea

The Assembly Commission have made a good decision to postpone plans to introduce a Welsh honours/medal system, because of the economic climate. I do think we should have our own honours system, and that it should be run along civilian lines (rather than Empire or monarchy symbolism) that reflect devolution, but I also think that now isn't the right time for misty-eyed gestures, however well-meaning they may be. Launching a new honours system amidst the usual self-congratulating fanfare would send out the wrong kind of signals during the recession. It might work better that a system could raise national morale as we come out of the crisis, if it shows any signs of abating in the next few years.

Turning to the economy, it's become clear to me that the Assembly Government isn't shouting loud enough about it's actions in helping the people of Wales during these difficult times. I am well aware of all the concrete policies that are being implemented and the comments that Ieuan Wyn Jones is a safe pair of hands, but I am not really seeing the Welsh Government's response being given much time in the press. For example, on the Welsh Government's website there is a news item about the Pro Act scheme being deployed in Welshpool to safeguard hundreds of jobs. This really is an innovative scheme that is helping those workers, it reminds me of the system in Cuba where the state guarantees a wage if an enterprise is struggling but might still be able to get back on it's feet eventually. But it's buried on the WAG site that not many people read. Pro-devolutionists should be shouting about this and saying "we are saving jobs", especially if the scheme is used to help even more workers.

The Welsh Government's language also needs to change to give a clearer impression that the labour force and not the bankers are their priority, especially as they don't have powers to go anywhere near the banks- a good start would be condensing the Assembly Government's economic policies into a fag packet-sized narrative and labelling it 'bailout for the workers and families'. Just an idea.

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