Monday, 22 September 2008
Gordon Brown gives us the green light
Gordon Brown isn’t a popular figure with Plaid Cymru members. His privatisation agenda, fixation on ‘Britishness’ and support for disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not exactly turned the embattled Prime Minister into an electoral asset.
But, Gordon Brown’s speech to the Northern Ireland Assembly shows that miracles can happen. The Bard of Britishness gave his full and strident backing to further and full devolution of powers to Northern Ireland’s Assembly.
The enlightened PM said:
“There is something more vital at stake for your entire society - that only the completion of devolution can deliver.
How can you, as an Assembly, address common criminality, low-level crime and youth disorder
· when you are responsible for only some of the levers for change?
· when you have responsibility for education and health and social development but have to rely on Westminster for policing and justice?"
The people of Northern Ireland look to you to deal with these matters because to them they are important. Full devolution is the way to deliver better services, tailored to the needs of all communities, regardless of the politics. It is the best way for you to serve them.”
Our Assembly needs powers over criminal justice as soon as possible, so that we can get our young people out of the youth crime trap. I have already set out my stall on how this could be done. The Prime Minister's conversion is timely as the charity Barnardo's today delivered one of the most damning verdicts yet on our failing criminal justice system, which incarcerates more kids than any other country in Europe except for Russia and the Ukraine.
Based on Brown’s logic in his Northern Ireland speech, criminality and disorder in Wales is never going to be solved until we have the tools we need to do the job.