Standing down as MP
25 Oct 2012
This is my last Penarth Times column as the Member of Parliament for Cardiff South and Penarth. After 25 years as an MP that does give me a strange feeling. But when I became an MP I missed my challenging work with young people and the roles as a magistrate and local councillor in which I had invested a lot of hard work and energy in the previous 15 years. It’s the same now: I will miss the House of Commons but I am moving on to meet a new challenge and to do something that I regard as essential to the public good.
The Badger Cull
18 Oct 2012
On Sunday, dozens of senior scientists with expertise in wildlife disease wrote a public letter to The Observer, expressing their strong objection to the Government’s badger cull about to begin in England. They say that they “believe the complexities of TB transmission mean that licensed culling risks increasing TB rather than reducing it.” This is something that we’ve already agonised over in Wales.
The 'free' press
11 Oct 2012
Any democracy needs checks and balances to hold the government to account. Those constitutional checks are provided in different ways in different countries. America has three pillars of government – Congress, President and Judiciary. Congress passes laws, the President can veto them, his decision can be over-ridden and the Supreme Court interprets these laws. In Britain, the Government creates the laws, but they have to be agreed by both Commons and Lords and then “signed off” by the Queen with the Norman-French words “La reine le vault” (“the Queen wills it”).
In Germany the Bundestag is directly elected but the Bundesrat (second chamber) is made up of representatives of the Lande – the regional governments from every part of the country.
Outside those constitutional structures is the “free press” with the duty of holding them all to account in the public’s interest. It’s because they failed in that duty that we had the Leveson Inquiry