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Glyn Davies: Labour avoiding pre-election scrutiny of its record

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"I welcome the fact of the statement; I see it as a basic structure for the debates that will be held in the Chamber over the next six months. However, in itself, it does not tell us a great deal; it does not answer the questions that I have about what we should be doing over the next six months.

It depends on how we fill in that structure and the attitude of the Government in terms of genuinely bringing forward a real debate.

I see today's debate somewhat differently to the First Minister, who took my intervention to be a complaint. In this debate, I was rather hoping that we might meet the challenge of tackling the disengagement between Chamber activity and the general public, which we have to meet in the next six months.

There is no doubt that devolution has delivered a lot of positive things in Wales. The one area in which I think it has not delivered is that of engaging the public with what happens in this Chamber.

I think that is mainly linked to the fact that a lot of the debate has been on issues on which, generally, we all tend to agree, rather than on those on which we disagree. I think that the Government has set out to try to avoid the latter, and that has been a major mistake.

If we deal with issues, albeit important issues, on which we agree, the debate is not dynamic and it does not connect with the public in quite the same way.

I will only make two general points, due to the time constraint. First, I agree with the thrust of Mick's point at the beginning, namely the issue regarding what we debate. It is mainly frustration that has led to the amendments being proposed today because Members feel that tabling amendments is the only way of getting the Government to consider issues that the people of Wales want us to debate in the Chamber.

The same thing happens with the business statement every week. I have always believed that it would be far better if the number of changes put forward by opposition parties were much smaller and more concentrated. Due to the Government's tendency to want to talk about issues that people agree are anodyne and do not connect, we find that opposition parties want to prompt you to bring forward the real issues that people wish to debate.

We need some innovation in what we do, and I address this to the Business Minister, in consultation with other people. Why can we not have a three-hour debate in the Chamber about the secondary care situation? We know that that is probably the most difficult issue that the Assembly faces; it is a huge issue and it is causing the most controversy across Wales.

All of us know, in our hearts, that no change is not really an option. We know that thousands of people are dying because we are not allocating the resources exactly as we should, and that is an important issue.

If we had a three-hour debate, with Assembly Members being given 10 minutes to make speeches and to develop their points—something somewhat different—I think that we could make a real connection with people.

It might be that we should even have an extra Plenary day. I have often thought that this is an area that we have not talked enough about. Going hand in hand with that would be the ability to make proper speeches.

Dirprwy Lywydd, you were contemplating today whether we should cut the speeches from five to three minutes—you have often had to do that and I understand why—but that discourages Members from spending time on research to develop five-minute speeches.

That is the sort of thing that we should be doing. We should be spending a lot of time on that and then circulate speeches that we are proud of and seek to get them published. However, if a speech is to be cut back at the last minute, that is a huge discouragement for people.

The second point that I want to make concerns the way in which the Chamber engages with the European Union. With Lorraine Barrett, I spent most of last week in the European Union, talking about various issues with some of the commission's directorate general staff. I must say that I was shocked—and this is a self-criticism as much as anything else—about the disconnection with what is happening in Europe.

The discussions that we had truly amazed me, and one issue that I think is important for our committees and individual Members is how we can adjust what we do in order to strengthen the European and External Affairs Committee. It is not good enough to pass off everything to a European affairs committee so that issues do not engage quite the same public attention as they would in other committees.

I am going to suggest, at the next committee meeting, that we should introduce a video link to the European Commission, perhaps as part of the meeting. I do not know whether Members would support that, but I think that we must find innovative ways in which to make real contact with the European Union to bring forward complicated discussions to a forum that the public can engage with. That is the challenge for us over the next six months.

We have all talked about raising our game, as individuals and as regards the civil service. We have to do that, and I think that we should use the next six months to trial ways in which we could do that far better when we come back after the next election."

"Croesawaf ffaith y datganiad; fe'i gwelaf fel fframwaith sylfaenol i'r dadleuon sydd i'w cynnal yn y Siambr dros y chwe mis nesaf. Fodd bynnag, ynddo'i hun, ni ddywed lawer wrthym; nid yw'n ateb y cwestiynau sydd gennyf ynghylch yr hyn y dylem fod yn ei wneud dros y chwe mis nesaf.

Dibynna ar y modd y byddwn yn llenwi'r fframwaith hwnnw ac agwedd y Llywodraeth o ran cyflwyno dadleuon go iawn.

Gwelaf ddadl heddiw mewn modd ychydig yn wahanol i'r Prif Weinidog a dybiodd mai cwyn oedd fy ymyriad. Yn y ddadl hon, fy ngobaith oedd y gallem wynebu'r her o fynd i'r afael â'r ymddieithrio a geir rhwng gweithgareddau'r Siambr a'r cyhoedd. Rhaid inni ddatrys hynny yn y chwe mis nesaf.

Nid oes amheuaeth bod datganoli wedi esgor ar lawer o bethau cadarnhaol yng Nghymru. Un maes lle nad yw wedi llwyddo yn fy marn i yw cysylltu'r cyhoedd â'r hyn sy'n digwydd yn y Siambr hon.

Credaf fod hynny'n bennaf gysylltiedig â'r ffaith bod llawer o'r dadleuon wedi'u cynnal ar faterion yr ydym, yn gyffredinol yn tueddu i gytuno arnynt, yn hytrach na'r rheini yr ydym yn anghytuno arnynt.

Credaf fod y Llywodraeth wedi ceisio osgoi'r olaf ac mae hynny wedi bod yn gamgymeriad mawr. Os byddwn yn ymdrin â materion—materion pwysig yn ddi-au—y cytunwn arnynt, nid yw'r ddadl yn un ddeinamig ac nid yw'n cysylltu â'r cyhoedd yn yr un modd.

Gwnaf ddau bwynt cyffredinol yn unig, oherwydd y cyfyngiadau o ran amser. Yn gyntaf, cytunaf â byrdwn pwynt Mick ar y dechrau, sef pynciau ein dadleuon. Yn bennaf, rhwystredigaeth sydd wedi arwain at y gwelliannau a gynigiwyd heddiw oherwydd, ym marn yr Aelodau, cyflwyno gwelliannau yw'r unig ffordd o sicrhau bod y Llywodraeth yn ystyried materion y mae pobl Cymru am inni eu trafod yn y Siambr.

Mae'r un peth yn digwydd gyda'r datganiad busnes bob wythnos. Yr wyf wedi credu erioed y byddai'n well o lawer pe byddai nifer y diwygiadau a gyflwynir gan y gwrthbleidiau yn llai ac yn fwy cryno.

Oherwydd tuedd y Llywodraeth tuag at drafod materion sydd, ym marn pobl, yn faterion lliniarol, nad ydynt yn cysylltu â'r cyhoedd, gwelwn fod y gwrthbleidiau am eich ysgogi i gyflwyno'r materion gwirioneddol y mae pobl yn dymuno eu trafod.

Mae angen arloesedd arnom yn yr hyn a wnawn, a gofynnaf hyn i'r Trefnydd, mewn ymgynghoriad ag eraill. Pam na allwn gael dadl deirawr yn y Siambr ynghylch y sefyllfa gofal eilaidd?

Gwyddom mai hwnnw yw'r pwnc anoddaf, yn ôl pob tebyg, a wynebir gan y Cynulliad; mae'n fater anferth a'r mater mwyaf dadleuol yng Nghymru. Gwyddom oll, yn ein calonnau, nad oes dewis ond newid y sefyllfa. Gwyddom fod miloedd yn marw oherwydd nad ydym yn dyrannu'r adnoddau yn union fel ag y dylem, ac mae hynny'n fater pwysig.

Pe caem ddadl deirawr gyda 10 munud i bob Aelod Cynulliad gyflwyno araith a datblygu eu pwyntiau—rhywbeth ychydig yn wahanol—credaf y gallem ymgysylltu'n wirioneddol â phobl. Mae'n bosibl y dylem hyd yn oed gael Cyfarfod Llawn ychwanegol.

Yr wyf yn aml wedi credu bod hwn yn faes nad ydym wedi'i drafod ddigon. Law yn llaw â hynny byddai'r gallu i wneud areithiau priodol. Ddirprwy Lywydd, yr oeddech yn ystyried heddiw pa un a ddylem dorri'r areithiau o bum munud i dair munud—yr ydych yn aml wedi gorfod gwneud hynny a deallaf paham—ond oherwydd hynny nid oes cymhelliant i Aelodau dreulio amser ar ymchwil i ddatblygu areithiau pum munud. Dylem fod yn gwneud y math yna o beth.

Dylem fod yn treulio llawer o amser ar hynny ac yna dosbarthu'r areithiau yr ydym yn falch ohonynt a cheisio eu hargraffu. Fodd bynnag, nid oes fawr o gymhelliant i bobl os caiff araith ei thorri ar y funud olaf.

Mae'r ail bwynt yr wyf am ei wneud yn ymwneud â'r modd y mae'r Siambr yn cysylltu â'r Undeb Ewropeaidd. Gyda Lorraine Barrett, treuliais ran fwyaf yr wythnos diwethaf yn yr Undeb Ewropeaidd yn trafod amryw bynciau gyda rhai o staff cyfarwyddiaeth gyffredinol y comisiwn. Rhaid imi ddweud imi gael braw—ac mae hyn yn hunanfeirniadaeth gymaint â dim—ynghylch yr anghysylltedd â'r hyn sy'n digwydd yn Ewrop.

Fe'm syfrdanwyd gan y trafodaethau a gawsom ac un mater sy'n bwysig i'n pwyllgorau a'n Haelodau unigol yn fy marn i yw'r modd y gallwn addasu'r hyn a wnawn er mwyn cryfhau'r Pwyllgor Materion Ewropeaidd ac Allanol. Nid yw'n ddigon da i drosglwyddo popeth i bwyllgor materion Ewropeaidd fel na fydd cymaint o sylw'r cyhoedd yn cael ei ddenu i faterion fel y byddai'n wir am bwyllgorau eraill.

Yr wyf am awgrymu, yng nghyfarfod nesaf y pwyllgor, y dylem gyflwyno cyswllt fideo â'r Comisiwn Ewropeaidd, efallai fel rhan o'r cyfarfod. Ni wn a fyddai Aelodau yn cefnogi hynny, ond credaf fod yn rhaid inni ddod o hyd i ffyrdd arloesol o gysylltu â'r Undeb Ewropeaidd i gyflwyno trafodaethau cymhleth i fforwm y gall y cyhoedd ymgysylltu ag ef.

Dyna'r her inni dros y chwe mis nesaf. Yr ydym oll wedi sôn am anelu'n uwch, fel unigolion ac o ran y gwasanaeth sifil. Rhaid inni wneud hynny, a chredaf y dylem ddefnyddio'r chwe mis nesaf i dreialu ffyrdd y gallem wneud hynny'n well o lawer pan ddown yn ôl ar ôl yr etholiad nesaf."

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