Monday, 27 July 2009

The Welsh Government

Cymru X submitted a motion to this year's Plaid Cymru Conference, calling for the party to refer to the administration in Wales as the Welsh Government in all of its communications. The term 'Welsh Assembly Government' is unnecessary and causes confusion amongst the public who will equate the legislative and administrative arm of devolution with the National Assembly itself. This might seem like a minor issue, but in the past it has had a steady political effect on election results, with Plaid doing badly when people thought the Assembly as a whole was to blame for a bad administration (with the early devolution settlement not being a help there either). The WAG term also relegates the Welsh Government to being a lesser beast than the UK Government. While this might be true in terms of powers, it holds back aspiration and the confidence of the people of Wales in their own government.

While not calling for a formal rebranding of the Government during a time of economic recession, it is obvious that people in Wales will generally refer to their government as the Welsh Government, and when they talk about the Assembly they will be talking about the institution at the Senedd composed of 60 Assembly Members of varying parties. The distinction between the two is important to furthering a public understanding of how devolution works.

Our motion was not included in the end, perhaps understandably because it is not the most pressing issue for Plaid Cymru to be addressing, and in any case our Assembly Members, MPs and supporters routinely use the term Welsh Government, emphasising that since Plaid Cymru has entered government we have had a genuinely and independently Welsh administration for the first time since antiquity. We should be proud of this and should not have to muddle things up by talking about a second class 'Assembly Government' as if they cannot ever do the same job as Westminster. It's not as if the UK Government calls itself the 'British Parliamentary Government' is it?!

Nonetheless, it is positive that the new Annual Report by the National Assembly recognises this distinction and refers only to the Welsh Government. It shows that Cymru X is on the ball on this. The report itself also makes interesting reading and Cymru X is particularly pleased with the moves the Assembly has made to accommodate young people in Welsh democracy. You can read the report here:


Anonymous said...

good idea - and important. Words and symbols are important.

Illtyd Luke said...

Just look at the dynamism behind the Scottish Government, compared to the previous 'Scottish Executive'.

Pelagius said...

You are, of course, 100% correct. We must create our own political discourse in all ways. In English, this must mean ceasing to use divisive / imperialist terms like North Wales, South Wales, Mid-Wales, West Wales, etc. I can never work out where they are! They are used by the British media and their mini-Brits in Cardiff to avoid local, Welsh terms.Much too alien and difficult! If something is in Ceredigion, Powys, Torfaen, etc, say so. Why do even Plaid regional AMs always include 'Wales' in their regional names; where else do they think they represent?

Similarly, it must always be the British government and the British parliament: never without the adjective. BBC Wales said "the Cabinet is meeting in Wales" as if there was no Welsh or even Cardiff Council cabinets. Doh! We must make British 'the other' and Welsh things normal. The British nationalists do the opposite; we must play them at their own game.