Opinion

A Welsh President could forge a new path for devolution

09 Feb 2018 0 minutes Read
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Edeyrn
Edeyrn
3 years ago

Two things. 1) Why do we need these token rulers … heads of state …. They are becoming obsolete with technology and empowerment of people – Yes, we need specialisation of tasks … but why not change the hierarchial system it’s achieved under. Why not believe in ourselves instead of idoloise distant ‘leaders’ 2) SECONDLY …. why the picture of Lloyd George? His dealings and friendly associations with Hitler makes my stomach feel queasy – and that’s forgetting his UK state interference in the Irish gaining true independence. Ireland still lives with the consequences of never truly breaking with English… Read more »

CambroUiDunlainge
CambroUiDunlainge
3 years ago
Reply to  Edeyrn

Because ultimately some one will get ideas. See: Julius Caesar and any number of other people throughout time. But of course this time will be different right?

A Gog
A Gog
3 years ago

Lloyd George signed the Treaty of Versailles which in turn started WW2.

Benjiman L. Angwin
Benjiman L. Angwin
3 years ago

Thank you for this article, Alex. And thank you for bringing Liberalism and centrist radicalism to the fore. My work with Liberals Cymru does make me a head at present, but I am not Liberals Cymru. And so when I say I disagree with your idea, I also say our group could very well agree with you because we support democratic reform and would hold a vote on the matter. That said, my own view is that the Parliamentary system is the best political system I know, far superior to Presidential systems. And that leaders coming from elected parties are… Read more »

Dafis
Dafis
3 years ago

Bois bach, bad day when people start craving for a “leader”. We certainly need leadership skills but embedded in a diverse leadership group not some fancy person elevated onto some pedestal so that we can fawn over him/her before tiring and setting out to knock him/her off that same pedestal. A good start point would be to eliminate the fashion for media sound bites, those are fine for football managers, even rugby coaches, but coming from leaders in politics ( and business ) it really does sound like corny bullshit. Instead let’s aim for a depth of knowledge and understanding… Read more »

Keith Parry
Keith Parry
3 years ago

Best place for Lloyd George is to leave him where he is on top of the Gents in Caernarfon.
The problem with the Welsh Government is the people who run it not the details of its constitution. Twenty years of Labour is more than enough. Labour exists to return Labour MPs to Westminster,to form a government there,a totally fruitless and pointless exercise.
We need to get Labour out of office in the Senedd and get and get rid London government of Wales. Then and only then will Wales start to prosper.

Phil Steele
Phil Steele
3 years ago

No to president with an executive role, yes to a president such as Mary Robinson was in Ireland.

Dafis
Dafis
3 years ago
Reply to  Phil Steele

Mary Robinson was probably the exception – consider other presidents of so called democracies and there is a shocking lack of real leadership or stewardship. Too many of these people crave the trappings, arrive in post with little or no real vision just a pile of grandiose crap that is doomed to failure. Of course it’s the ordinary folk, the electorate, that pays for those failures.

leigh richards
3 years ago

Wow Alex with friends like you welsh devolution hardly needs any enemies. I’m afraid you don’t seem to have grasped the fact that welsh devolution and the welsh government are not the same thing. So when you criticise failings in any actions of the senedd it’s not devolution that’s to blame – but the party which has been in power in the senedd since its establishment in 1999. And furthermore when discussing welsh devolution it has to be borne in mind that all the major economic levers which affect Wales are actually still in the hands of British governments at… Read more »

malinosa
3 years ago

The term Senedd refers to the building not the institution Dafydd Ellis Thomas (bless his cotton ermine robes) sneaked that past Rhodri Morgan to create the myth of political gravitas, The Assembly is a coven of third rate parish councillors selected by a dynastic list system which tops up a party selected constituency group of 40. More AM; haven’t we suffered enough!

ERNEST
ERNEST
3 years ago

A parliamentary system is always the best.
A presidential system would put too much power in the centre.
Wales could have a 2 chamber system as a power check, this 2nd house could be made up from nominated elected representatives from local government (as it is in Germany).

The only view in favour of a Welsh president is that it could, as it is in Catalonia, be a rallying point for the independence movement, but that is only if we can get an independence minded person elected !

CambroUiDunlainge
CambroUiDunlainge
3 years ago
Reply to  ERNEST

I don’t think Puidgemont is as much as rallying point as we may think – Junqueras is very, very popular too… and its not clear how well the two parties are getting along. I don’t think its as bad as the media is suggesting (undermining) but there’s obviously something. But there are those who believe this is something we do as a society in a democratic fashion so… we’ll see how that goes i suppose.

Red Dragon Jim
Red Dragon Jim
3 years ago

Sorry but this is doing my head in. I’ve commented on this before. Catalonia doesn’t directly elect a President. It’s just their version of a Prime Minister. He/she becomes President of the Generalitat (government). Elected by Parliament from MPs.

This is merely calling for us to rename the Prif Weinidog as President. Fine, but it would make no difference.

Oliver R
Oliver R
3 years ago
Reply to  Red Dragon Jim

I agree, Jim. It does my head in too. Thanks for getting there first with the correction!

I might also add that a lot of people who wade in on this topic looking for examples from overseas, including Ernest, don’t seem to understand how the German Bundesrat (or Federal Council) actually functions either.

Petroc
Petroc
3 years ago

The Welsh assembly needs many more members. Both Scotland and N Ireland have over 100. With most of the Labour ASs already involved as Ministers, whips, officers and committee chairs there is no Labour backbench scrutiny. In fact they’ve had to include a Lib Dem and a former Plaid AS and MP into the Ministerial team. As the powers increase this year, and the budget controlled increases we really need more ASs to scrutinise this National Assembly. Do it soon.

Oliver R
Oliver R
3 years ago
Reply to  Petroc

Stormont has 90 members. I agree that the National Assembly could do with more than 60, though.

Lyn Thomas
Lyn Thomas
3 years ago

I would endorse the comments made here, an executive presidency is not what we need, though it would reduce the need for more Assembly members as the executive could wholly be appointed by the president from outside the Assembly and thus all Assembly members would act as the scrutineers of the executive. I am reluctant to put the power of any executive in the hands of one person, its the concentration of power that unnerves me. Going back to Julius Caesar, his dictatorship and the ensuing civil war ended the collegiate system of power sharing and checks and balances that… Read more »

Cymru Rydd
3 years ago

This is a good analysis of the paralysis at the heart of Welsh political life because of the stranglehold of Welsh Labour and their bureaucratic and managerial outlook. The author is also right to allude to the complete disconnect between the Bay and its assorted politicians and the people and communities of Wales. However, I don’t think that a top down notion of a President will do anything to really change things to be honest. It will be just another figure from amongst the great and good, supping from the trough. Cmon, we all know that is what would happen.… Read more »

Anthony Tuffin
3 years ago

May an Englishman living in England comment? If I need a qualification, is it enough that one of my great-grandmothers and my late wife were Welsh? I oppose directly elected Mayors with executive powers, because I think that system gives too much power to one person and, of course, one person cannot be elected proportionately. For the same reason, I would oppose a directly elected Welsh President with executive powers.

Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro (+North Carolina)
Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro (+North Carolina)
3 years ago

Please pay attention at the back! This is a civics lesson. Malinosa – you are correct in mentioning the poor quality of the present offer. I hope you don’t just want to sweep them away, Replace them, yes. Lyn Thomas – have you hear of checks and balances ie the American system (pretty much the standard world system outside the British Commonwealth? Yes the Executive President /Governor is directly elected. But there are checks. His budget is set by the lawmakers. They have committees which scrutinise. His appointments can be “by and with the consent”. No, this does not lead… Read more »

Lyn Thomas
Lyn Thomas
3 years ago

I have heard of checks and balances, but I much prefer a parliamentary system than creating a system with divided and separate mandates – and the checks and balances coming from an executive dependent on the support of the legislature

Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro (+North Carolina)
Jonathan Edwards Sir Benfro (+North Carolina)
3 years ago

Ok, Lyn Thomas lets look more closely. “checks and balances coming from an executive dependent on the support of the legislature”. So a strong executive is a good thing? Yes, that’s the British theory based on the Queen’s government getting bogged down if it is trammelled too much by whatever. Based historically on the notion of strong kings like Edward I, Henry V and Henry VIII being a good thing, with Elizabeth I, Victoria and Elizabeth II being the long-lived cuddly versions. So this good strong executive must be supported. By what? A docile and adoring populace? Yes, that’s one.… Read more »

Lyn Thomas
Lyn Thomas
3 years ago

I really don’t want to get into a long dispute with you, you like a strong executive presidency with a separate mandate to govern and a legislature that plays no part in administration. Fine, its a valid view point but not one that I share. I dislike strong executives and certainly reject the concept of executive mayors that England has as a suitable model. We have very different ideas as to where the balance of power should reside. Actually I like the idea of the head of state being a president, just not an executive one. The Irish or Slovenian… Read more »

Oliver R
Oliver R
3 years ago

“As we have seen most recently in France, as well as in US states like California and New York dynamic figures are more willing to come forward to run a presidential or gubernatorial executive that can co-exist successfully with a legislature (preferably proportionally elected).”

What a muddled attempt to find an international template to follow. Start a sentence by advocating the the French or Californian system, but by the end of the same sentence decide it’s important to denounce the way those places’ legislatures are elected. Have I understood that right?

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