Time to Sort out What to Call the Executive Arm of the National Assembly; Constitutional Confusion Is Jeopardising the Quality of Democracy in Wales, Warns Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales. Here, He Claims the Welsh Assembly Government Is in Urgent Need of a New Name

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), October 18, 2008 | Go to article overview

Time to Sort out What to Call the Executive Arm of the National Assembly; Constitutional Confusion Is Jeopardising the Quality of Democracy in Wales, Warns Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales. Here, He Claims the Welsh Assembly Government Is in Urgent Need of a New Name


Byline: Dafydd Elis-Thomas

THE National Assembly recently surveyed more than 2,500 people in Wales for their opinions about the National Assembly for Wales and how much they understood about the powers of the Assembly.

I was naturally delighted to find that opposition to the Assembly, which has constantly declined from 39% in 1997, is only at 15% today. I am also very pleased that across Wales there is now a similar level of support for the Assembly in all regions.

The research also found a reasonable degree of interest in politics and knowledge about the Assembly. Most people know that the Assembly is responsible for education and isn't responsible for defence. However, there is very little understanding of the difference between the National Assembly for Wales and Welsh Assembly Government.

Only 14% knew that the statement - 'the Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales is Rhodri Morgan' - is wrong. Western Mail readers, of course, will know that Rhodri Morgan is the First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government, but despite our excellent personal relationship, our roles and our institutions are hardly interchangeable.

The lack of a clear separation between the Assembly itself and "Welsh Ministers" as they are now always described in UK legislation conferring powers on them, and the civil servants working for them, has always been a constitutional issue for me. But the evidence now clearly shows that perpetuating the confusion is preventing clear communication about democratic decisions.

This is the view of the Electoral Commission, who in its reports on general elections to the National Assembly asserts that public uncertainty about powers and responsibilities was a contributory factor in the relatively low level of turn-out. A clearly-perceived separation between a legislature and an executive is a crucial part of democratic governance and is fundamental to the workings of any constitutional political system world-wide. How could Wales be different?

The separation between the two was formally made in the Government of Wales Act 2006. There was complete unanimity both in the National Assembly and in theUKParliament that the granting of legislative powers should be accompanied by a proper separation between the parliamentary institution of the National Assembly, and the "Welsh Ministers", as they are described in the Government of Wales Act 2006 which is the present constitution of Wales.

However although the term Welsh Assembly Government was enshrined in Part Two of that Act itself, "Welsh Ministers" is now far and away the most common term used in legislation.

Our present confusion is a creation of our history. The National Assembly for Wales was set up by our first constitution in the Government of Wales Act 1998 as a "corporate body" with no formal differentiation between executive and legislature, Government and Assembly. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Time to Sort out What to Call the Executive Arm of the National Assembly; Constitutional Confusion Is Jeopardising the Quality of Democracy in Wales, Warns Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Presiding Officer of the National Assembly for Wales. Here, He Claims the Welsh Assembly Government Is in Urgent Need of a New Name
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.