Presiding over before the game begins?

Forgive me please, just this one 'what if'. I need it...

Unless Labour pull off a big shock in this election, we expect a hung assembly on May 4th. The first business of that assembly is to elect a presiding officer. Whoever is bestowed that privilege will be politically impotent during their tenure, except in casting the decisive vote on those occasions where there is a tie. This makes the presiding officer feel terribly important. This and a plentiful supply of both blue and red bottles of Ty Nant mineral water, so his Lordship can have bubbles if that is what his Lordship doth wish.

Anyway, this happens within seven days of the election and the assembly then has a further 28 days to nominate a First Minister, who on this occasion will be appointed by the Queen (if he can be bothered to turn up).

So what's my point? Well, if it's tight (and there's every chance it could be tighter than a badger's anus), then the political affiliation of the presiding officer could determine which parties are able to form a government. In other words, it may well be that there is but a week for coalitions and/or agreements to be battered out after the election. There's also every chance that the parties will fail to agree on a way forward in that time, meaning that the election of a presiding officer could become quite a highly charged and controversial affair.

Of course, this is speculative twonk. But I wouldn't completely rule out someone other than Dafydd Elis Thomas getting their hands on the presiding officer's fizz next year.

Disclaimer: This is based on a nocturnal scamper through the assembly's standing orders (yes, I need a girlfriend). If you spot something fishy, let me know.

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posted by Blamerbell @ 12:07 am,


At 12:31 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Deputy PO will be in a similar position, as under the new standing orders, the DPO only has a casting vote when he/she chairs the plenary session. Unlike what has been happening with John Marek, the new DPO will be unable to sit in the chamber and vote as an AM.

At 6:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

IIRC The twenty eight day deadline is from the date of the assembly election not the date of the election of the PO so the deadline for nomination of a FM is May 31st. As has been pointed out the PO and DPO cancel each other out under the new system and one each must come from the governing party/ies and the opposition. But My question is this. What if it's not clear which parties will be in government when the PO/DPO are elected?

At 7:59 am, Anonymous Daran said...

Really well thought out piece, Blammie, and one which looks beyond next Friday to the practicalities of forming a government. The changed Standing Orders and the requirement that the PO and DPO will need to come from different power blocs (unlike the past - they just seemed as if they were from different blocs...) adds a huge dimension to this.

For the anoraks, the key Standing Order is:
"2.12 The Assembly must not elect a Presiding Officer and a Deputy who belong to:
(i) the same political group;
(ii) different political groups both of which have an executive role; or
(iii) different political groups neither of which has an executive role."

On which basis, the question begged by Anonymous is totally valid: since the PO and DPO are elected first, their election could be important if there is no overall government and no clear coalition agreement has been reached. So the PO or DPO might have to resign later down the road if political agreements on the Government have compromised their position. Unless, SO 2.13 is applied: the power to disapply 2.12 (needs a two-thirds majority). Or, and this is the really clever get out clause, SO 2.14 takes effect: "If in the course of an Assembly, the Presiding Officer and Deputy
become members of:
(i) the same political group;
(ii) different political groups both of which have an executive role; or
(iii) different political groups neither of which has an executive role, and neither resigns from office, then any Member may, without notice, propose a motion at the next plenary meeting that the Presiding Officer and Deputy may remain in office. If no such motion is proposed, or the motion is not passed on a vote supported by at least two-thirds of those voting, then both the Presiding Officer and Deputy must resign from office."

I thought it would be the second week of May before we got into this issue, but I'm sure some of us having been giving it some thought.

At 8:16 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DEL boy, the only realistic candidate for First Minister in a rainbow coalition, also the only Llywydd all sides would vote for in a hung Assembly.

At 8:17 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All very interesting for the anoraks but basically we're in for another four years of Welsh politics going down the tubes. Although it will be interesting to see how politicians who haven't made a difficult decision in their lives handle the new environment after the CSR is announced in the autumn. Trying to find 3% cashable savings each year could really concentrate the mind down in the Bay. Times editorial yesterday summmed up Welsh politics . Unfortunately we are stuck in a complete time warp of the late 1970s and early 80s. Look at German and Bourne's favourite groups/singers-Abba and John Denver. As for Plaid perhaps they should read Anatole Kaletsky on how small countries have to adapt to survive in a capitalist world. Good bye the dependency culture which so dominates much of Welsh political thinking .

At 9:10 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Times editorial yesterday summmed up Welsh politics

Oh no it didn't!

At 9:18 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might not like the comments in the Times but they are a fair summing up of the poor quality of Welsh political thinking . Everyone knows that the health service structure in Wales ,for example, needs reform but all we get from Plaid is opposition to any change for the sake of short term political gain. At least the SNP is beginning to think seriously about policies for an independent Scotland which would be radically different form the past. Welsh Nats can't praise Ireland without looking at the free market policies together with massive EU subsidies which have transformed the country in the past 20 years. The simple fact is that the instead of criticising the Times editorial individuals interested in the future of wales and Welsh politcs should be addressing the issues raised.

At 9:47 am, Anonymous dave rodway said...

I thought the Times editorial was written by someoen with a book of cliches but no real experience fo the issues we live with, or the needs of people in Wales. It was also written from a right wing, tory-sympathetic, anglo-superior point of view. I got nothign from it. The best analyss of welsh issues still comes from people like Shipton and blogs liek this one.
As for the poor quality of Welsh political thinking, I'd worked that one out fo rmyself. There'll be an editorial on whether or not bears use the woods to shit in next.

At 11:29 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might not like the comments in the Times but they are a fair summing up of the poor quality of Welsh political thinking

Nonsense. All they showed were the author's poor quality of understanding. As for the issues raised...couldn't find any. "Wales is crap" is all he had to say.

At 12:30 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't say wales is crap. The criticism was aimed at the quality of Welsh politicians. The editorial talked of hoping that the Welsh elctorate would be given a better choice in 2011. One of the problems with Rhodri's 'clear red water' nonsense is that it ignores the fact that in England there are a number of young Labour politicians who are thinking outside the box regarding public services. Public service reform will be a key issue in the next few years and Wales needs a real debate on how public services should be delivered for the benefit of consumers not the producers. At the moment we seem to be getting a knee jerk reaction from politicians that they oppose any change particulary if the over 65s are on the march. For Plaid the real future lies in getting Price to leave the fleshpots of London and concentrate on Wales. He is one of the few younger Welsh politicains to think outside the box. Ieuan Winge, Wiggers and the El Presidente Thomas are all rapidly getting to past their sell buy date. It's time to start thinking of the 21st century instead of living in the 19th.

At 2:44 pm, Blogger Henlaw said...

What a load of gerontophobic nonsense! The teenagers running Blair's office and most of the UK press would be proud of you. Fortunately the UK public have seen through the smokescreen and recognise it for what it is - and the disintegration of the Labour Party is the result. You and your infantile friends misunderstand where the true centre of British values lies, and through ignorance of life, you insult workers in health, education, transport etc whose motivation has been public spirit not self-enrichment. Blair and his cronies will never understand that, hence constant denigration, re-organisation, use of underqualified, under-age 'consultants', the PFI etc, whose aim is to reward greed and to enrich the crony classes. And if you don't understand that Wales and Scotland are determined to hang on to what is left of community values then you understand nothing. The red water between the Welsh/Scottish Tory, Liberal (and to an extent, Labour) Parties shows that their leaderships have a bit more nouse than you will possibly ever understand.

OK. Rant over. But I have had a bellyfull of infantile politics...

At 4:09 pm, Blogger Hogyn o Rachub said...

Dafydd El is much to career-minded and self-important to leave the role of the Llywydd. After all, when Labour had 30 seats last time it was him who gave them their majority by going Llywydd again. And I bet he'd do exactly the same again.

At 4:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous (get yourself a name!) is right. Welsh politics is full of left-wing machoism which is dependent on a culture of subsidies.

Nationalists should realise that one of the beneftis of independnce is that it will force Welsh political leaders to learn to swim. Wales will have to be an economic success to succeed - and that meant thinking hard about policies not just ranting about NHS and against any change.

Plaid and Welsh Labour have taken no account of the changing demographics which makes welfare for all an impossibility. Well, no it's not an impossibility in theory - we can all pay more taxes. but as we / the electorate won't pay more taxes, yes it is an impossibility.

The Times as an article full of cliches ... but there was also some sense in it too.

IO'm borad of 'clear red water' and 'welsh values'. Its all bunk and an insult to our intelligence.

ex-Plaid member

At 4:56 pm, Blogger Henlaw said...

'Welfare for all' means everyone is covered i.e public insurance. It does NOT mean that every-one is receiving it at any one time. Nor has anyone opposed change: it's what the change is to, that's the issue.

The UK/US economies are bubbles based on debt and transfers of assets from the many to the few - would you bet on no increase in interest rates, rise in unemployment etc in the next 3 years? You'd be safer betting on the nordics where a better balance has been maintained.

Pathetic Aunt Sally creation has been part of the neo-con Blair-Thatcher lexicon. Please get it... you have been sussed, the public won't stand for it.

ex-Labour member

At 7:15 pm, Anonymous mildred said...

Welsh politics can seem squabbly and poor at times but in truth some parties have adapted much better to the realities of devolution far better here than they have in Scotland.

Party politics aside, I think 'clear welsh river water' and some truly welsh policy are in evidence while scottish politicians are too busy bickering over an independence that half of scotland can't even be bothered to laugh about.

Scrutiny of welsh politicians and goverment by the press remains terrible but until the Welsh people want to read about their own politics that will continue.

The only way to tackle that is for politicians to stand on the doorsteps and reach out to constituents- show them that voting ,and caring about politics is worth it.

At 10:38 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Western Mail markings for our AMS seem pretty fair to me, and what stands out is how bloody abysmal many of the Labour members are.

Why would any party want to prop up this deadwood party.


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