I admit it, I'm a political raincoat, I look forward to watching 'Y Dydd yn y Cynulliad'(Today at the Assembly) which starts at about midnight and goes on till about 5am! I find the need to watch it because political reporting in Wales is woefully inadequate and as such we are generally uninformed about Assembly proceedings.
I have now watched questions to the First Minister on several occasions and I am increasingly appalled at the poor quality of his answers and his general demeanaour whilst at the Welsh equivalant of the 'dispatch box.' His 'laid back,' nonchalant demeanour conveys his disdain at his role. He just about manages a certain degree of courtesy when answering questions from his own side which in the main are non-challenging. Whenever questions are asked by the Conservative opposition he tends to become somewhat defensive and the odd bit of 'mud slinging'occurs but this deteriorates into a 'batten down the hatches' and outright hostility as soon as Kirsty Williams has the audacity to ask a question. To be fair to Kirsty I think she does a very credible performance in holding the Welsh Government to account but the First Minister clearly doesn't see it that way and the more Kirsty get's 'the bit between her teeth' the more defensive, arrogant and condescending Carwyn Jones becomes, resorting in the end to the same old excuse that everything is the fault of the Con Dem coalition. This is an excuse that is wearing thin and I don't think it will last for 5 years!
There were several questions asked of the First Minister which were dismissed out of hand, one of those was a question about the Estyn Report on educational standards which the FM batted off saying that Leighton Andrews would make a speech outside the Assembly next week; that is totally unacceptable, the FM should have made a statement on the Estyn Report as it was of such importance.
The performance of the First Minister is in my opinion second rate and inferior to the performance of ministers like Jane Hutt, Elin Jones and Jocelyn Davies.
Many of my anonymous Tory followers will jump on my criticisms of the First Minister to twist my arguments to justify a No vote in the referendum. Nothing could be further from the truth, you do not weaken an institution because some of the individuals within it are second rate otherwise we would have abolished Westminster because we had a second rate Prime Minister in Gordon Brown!.
To use the perceived poor performance of the Welsh Assembly Government as a reason to vote No in a referendum to reduce bureaucracy is akin to 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
To have an efficient and competent legislative body in Wales we need three things to happen:
1. Higher calibre of individuals to serve as Assembly Members.
2. A Welsh Civil Service answerable to Welsh Ministers and not the head of the London Civil Service, and that Civil Service needs to be LOYAL to Welsh Ministers which is not the case at present.
3. A resounding YES vote on the 3rd of March, so as to reduce the bureaucratic, burdensome and lengthy processes by which legislation is currently passed.