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Bourne: Labour's lacks ambition for Wales

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"In opening, I will say that although the leader of the opposition should have been here at the beginning of the debate as a matter of courtesy, as someone who was here throughout the First Minister's speech, I can tell him that he did not miss a great deal.

We were treated to the usual dreary, repetitive mantra of Labour's success at getting measures through, and we have just been told, correctly, by the leader of the Liberal Democrats how false that premise is. Indeed, it has been stated to be false by Lord Morris of Aberavon in the House of Lords, and he was, after all, a Labour Secretary of State for Wales. He said that this sort of approach

'is not a particularly intellectually challenging assertion'.

Let us turn to Labour's record and look at what is, according to Peter Hain, an unprecedented number of Bills going through Parliament at the moment. In fact, there are two Welsh Bills. One is the Commissioner for Older People (Wales) Bill. That is a positive step forward, and I certainly support it, as does my party. It is important that we have a voice for older people in Wales, and we are giving our support to that measure.

The other Bill, the Government of Wales Bill, is a missed opportunity for the Government; let us be clear about that. Aside from the separation of the legislature and the Executive, which everyone is in favour of, there are spiteful and partisan measures in that Bill. The Government at Westminster, and certainly the Government here, has refused to listen to any amendments from opposition parties.

In terms of the proposals put forward today, I am astounded by the First Minister's assertion about penny-in-the-slot polemics, although it is a joke that he has oft repeated in different debates.

Has he looked at these amendments? Is he seriously suggesting that we should not be looking at Welsh-language provision? We debated this in a group yesterday, and it demands important consideration. Is he seriously suggesting that we should not be considering the environment?

Is he seriously suggesting that we should not be considering mental health provision? I find the First Minister's approach scarcely reflective. He is too often caught out like this; it is absolutely astounding. All of these measures demand careful consideration.

I will come on to how seriously you are taken by the UK Government in just a minute. However, let us be clear about this: there are three opposition parties, not one. You have previously made many more bids than two. As the leader of the Liberal Democrats has just said, this demonstrates a poverty of ambition.

The Aberystwyth study has been around for ages. Of course, we agree with that measure, it is perfectly sensible. We will come on to who is listened to in Westminster in just a minute, when we look at the St David's Day provision.

That is another measure in this ragbag that, presumably, you disagree with. You keep saying that it is a 'ragbag', but that measure was part of your ragbag once, although it is not now.

On the housing Bill, we would welcome a housing measure that looks at building more houses, and making more social housing available. Restricting the right to buy does not create more housing.

It is easy for all of us here, when none of us live in local authority housing or social housing, to restrict the rights of tenants to buy their homes. It is an aspiration that we ignore at our peril. We should be looking at the provision of more housing, not at how we divide the existing cake.

I come on to the St David's Day provision, which the First Minister, in a most extraordinary assertion, asserted was part of a 'ragbag'.

The assertion went further than the leader of the Liberal Democrats hinted. The First Minister said, and I think that I am quoting him absolutely faithfully, that the attitude of the Westminster Government has not changed 'so far as we are aware'.

When he his talking about relations with Westminster, and bearing in mind that he is supposedly in the same party as Tony Blair, the words 'so far as we are aware' indicate to me that there has not been a lot of dialogue on this between him and Peter Hain, the Prime Minister and Westminster.

Do you know what the Westminster position is at the moment, First Minister, or do you really not know?

Therefore, he is no better aware of the Cabinet position than you are—perhaps he should discuss it with the Cabinet. The words 'so far as we are aware' indicate that there has not been much discussion on the subject.

When you vote against it, therefore, we will assume that you are voting from a position of ignorance rather than one of outright hostility to the provision.

I suggest to the First Minister that this 'ragbag', as he referred to it, is worthy of more serious consideration. Perhaps if the Labour Party went away and really considered this, it could come up with something better than the threadbare list of two measures that it has managed to produce.

This illustrates a poverty of ambition. There is no wonder that we are in some of the messes that we are in with this Government, when the best that it can do is this a short, threadbare list. Given its past record, perhaps it is no surprise, but we really do go from bad to worse with this Government."

"I ddechrau, dywedaf, er y dylai arweinydd yr wrthblaid fod wedi bod yma ar ddechrau'r ddadl o ran cwrteisi, fel rhywun a oedd yma drwy gydol araith y Prif Weinidog, gallaf ddweud wrtho na chollodd rhyw lawer.

Cawsom y mantra diflas, ailadroddus arferol yn sôn am lwyddiant Llafur o ran pasio mesurau, a dywedwyd wrthym, yn gywir, gan arweinydd y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol pa mor ffug yw'r cynsail hwnnw.

Yn wir, nodwyd ei fod yn ffug gan Arglwydd Morris o Aberafan yn Nhy'r Arglwyddi, ac yr oedd, wedi'r cyfan, yn Ysgrifennydd Gwladol Llafur dros Gymru. Dywedodd nad yw'r math hwn o ymagwedd

yn honiad sy'n arbennig o heriol yn ddeallusol.

Gadewch inni droi at record Llafur ac edrych ar yr hyn sydd, yn ôl Peter Hain, yn nifer digynsail o Fesurau yn mynd drwy'r Senedd ar hyn o bryd. A dweud y gwir, mae dau Fesur i Gymru. Un yw'r Mesur Comisiynydd i Bobl Hyn (Cymru). Mae hynny'n gam cadarnhaol ymlaen, ac yn sicr fe'i cefnogaf, fel y gwna fy mhlaid. Mae'n bwysig bod gennym lais i bobl hyn yng Nghymru, ac yr ydym yn cefnogi'r mesur hwnnw.

Mae'r Mesur arall, Mesur Llywodraeth Cymru, yn gyfle a gollwyd i'r Llywodraeth; gadewch inni fod yn glir ynghylch hynny. Ar wahân i wahanu'r ddeddfwrfa a'r Weithrediaeth, y mae pawb o'i blaid, mae mesurau maleisus a phleidiol yn y Mesur hwnnw. Mae'r Llywodraeth yn San Steffan, ac yn sicr y Llywodraeth yma wedi gwrthod gwrando ar unrhyw welliannau gan y gwrthbleidiau.

O ran y cynigion a gyflwynwyd heddiw, synnaf at honiad y Prif Weinidog ynghylch codi ysgyfarnog, er ei bod yn jôc sydd wedi cael ei hailadrodd yn aml mewn dadleuon gwahanol. A yw wedi edrych ar y gwelliannau hyn? A yw o ddifrif yn awgrymu na ddylem fod yn edrych ar ddarpariaeth yr iaith Gymraeg?

Trafodwyd hyn gennym mewn grwp ddoe, a dylid rhoi ystyriaeth bwysig i hyn. A yw'n awgrymu o ddifrif na ddylem fod yn ystyried yr amgylchedd? A yw o ddifrif yn awgrymu na ddylem fod yn ystyried darpariaeth iechyd meddwl? Prin y gellir dweud bod y Prif Weinidog wedi ystyried y mater. Caiff ei ddal ar ei gam yn rhy aml fel hyn; mae'n hollol ryfeddol. Mae pob un o'r mesurau hyn yn gofyn am ystyriaeth ofalus.

Fe drafodaf pa mor ddifrifol y mae Llywodraeth y DU yn eich cymryd mewn munud. Fodd bynnag, gadewch inni fod yn glir ynghylch hyn: mae tair gwrthblaid, nid un. Yn y gorffennol yr ydych wedi gwneud llawer mwy o geisiadau na dau. Fel y mae arweinydd y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol newydd ei ddweud, mae hyn yn dangos diffyg uchelgais.

Mae astudiaeth Aberystwyth wedi bod ar gael ers hydoedd. Wrth gwrs, cytunwn â'r mesur hwnnw, mae'n gwneud synnwyr perffaith. Fe wnawn sôn am y rhai y gwrandewir arnynt yn San Steffan mewn munud, pan edrychwn ar ddarpariaeth Dydd Gwyl Dewi. Mae hynny'n fesur arall yn y cawdel hwn yr ydych, mae'n debyg, yn anghytuno ag ef. Yr ydych yn dweud drwy'r amser ei fod yn gawdel, ond bu'r mesur hwnnw yn rhan o'ch cawdel chi ar un adeg, er nad ydyw mwyach.

O ran y Mesur tai, byddem yn croesawu mesur tai sy'n ystyried adeiladu rhagor o dai, a sicrhau bod tai cymdeithasol ar gael. Nid yw cyfyngu'r hawl i brynu yn creu rhagor o dai.

Mae'n hawdd i bob un ohonom ni yma, pan nad oes yn rhaid inni fyw mewn tai awdurdod lleol neu dai cymdeithasol, gyfyngu hawliau tenantiaid i brynu eu cartrefi. Mae'n ddyhead a anwybyddwn ar ein menter ein hunain. Dylem fod yn ystyried darparu rhagor o dai, nid sut i rannu'r gacen bresennol.

Soniaf yn awr am ddarpariaeth Dydd Gwyl Dewi, a oedd yn ôl honiad rhyfeddol y Prif Weinidog, yn rhan o'r cawdel. Aeth yr honiad ymhellach na'r hyn a awgrymwyd gan arweinydd y Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol.

Dywedodd y Prif Weinidog, a chredaf fy mod yn ei ddyfynnu'n gywir, nad yw agwedd Llywodraeth San Steffan wedi newid 'hyd y gwyddom'.

Pan sonia am y berthynas â San Steffan, a chan gofio ei fod yn yr un blaid â Tony Blair, yn ôl pob tebyg, mae'r geiriau 'hyd y gwyddom' yn awgrymu i mi na fu llawer o drafodaeth ar hyn rhyngddo ef a Peter Hain, Prif Weinidog y DU a San Steffan.

A wyddoch beth yw safbwynt San Steffan ar hyn o bryd, Brif Weinidog, neu ni wyddoch o ddifrif?

Awgrymaf i'r Prif Weinidog bod y 'cawdel' hwn, fel y cyfeiriodd ato, yn haeddu ystyriaeth fwy difrifol. Efallai pe bai'r Blaid Lafur yn ystyried hyn o ddifrif, gallai feddwl am rywbeth gwell na'r rhestr wan o ddau fesur y mae wedi llwyddo i'w chynhyrchu. Mae hyn yn dangos diffyg uchelgais.

Nid oes rhyfedd bod y Llywodraeth hon wedi mynd i drafferthion mor wael, a'r gorau y gallwn ei wneud yw cynhyrchu'r rhestr fer a gwan hon. O gofio ei record yn y gorffennol, efallai nad yw'n syndod, ond awn o ddrwg i waeth gyda'r Llywodraeth hon."

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