Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Talk, Talk Muddy's The Waters

According to the Scotsman Salmond will try to enlist the support of Ian Paisley, Northern Ireland's First Minister, to re-establish a high-powered committee of Britain's political leaders, chaired by the Prime Minister. The First Minister wants to bring back the plenary joint ministerial committee, which was set up in 1999 to resolve disputes between the devolved administrations and Westminster. Dubbed the Council of the Nations, it was an extremely powerful body, chaired by the Prime Minister and including the Deputy Prime Minister, the first ministers of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and other senior ministers from the devolved administrations. It has not sat since 2002 and the only joint ministerial sub-committee still intact is the European committee, which met in London yesterday. Mr Salmond also wants to bring back the four other committees, the main joint ministerial committee and the poverty, health and knowledge economy sub-committees.

You can't help thinking that with all the layers of government that we have that this will just end up as more talk, talk. The political disease that is rampant is the art of not making decisions and that is what is costing this country. Decisions cost reputations and jobs, yet not making them costs far more. Now I know that backers of the SNP will immediately say that these committees will help the process of decision making. But I've yet to come across a committee that makes decisions, in business or in politics. Why can't our elected officials just get on with their jobs and stop trying to find ways to muddy the waters.

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