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Melding: Labour's plans for Wales lack coherence

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales.

"The First Minister has given one of his more grumpy performances today. I watched him this afternoon. He had his eyes down and he rarely looked up. He glanced once or twice at his Cabinet colleagues but, overall, he seemed about as happy as Gordon Brown after his latest conversation with Tony Blair about transition arrangements at No. 10.

He generally reminded me of a dilatory schoolboy who blames the rest of the class for doing its homework rather than blaming his own failure to put in a coherent assignment. It was a drab performance.

Two measures—is that the best they can do? He then accused the other parties, which have proposed a range of measures for a legislative programme, of putting forward a 'ragbag' of proposals. In fairness to him, at times, the First Minister is capable of thoughtful, even elegant, speeches, but we certainly did not have that sort of performance this afternoon. I will give you a bit of advice as we run into the last year of this Assembly, First Minister: elevate your vision a little.

The Welsh Conservative Party has consistently called for a national art gallery. That is part of our vision for a more confident nation, a vision that includes greater cultural authority and a celebration of our great visual heritage, which, over the years, has probably been downplayed.

People do not always know the richness of the heritage that we enjoy as Welsh men and women in that one area of the arts. An ideal venue for a gallery, although this would obviously have to be agreed, would be City Hall. I would also extend the collection to include various visual media, including photography, and I would roll it out to other centres around Wales.

On our proposals for a mental health Bill, we are now in the situation of the Westminster Government withdrawing a draft Bill for a second time. That seems to be extraordinary after four or five years of trying to get a Bill to amend the Mental Health Act 1983, which is itself an amending Act of the fundamental legislation passed in 1959.

In England and Wales, we have very antiquated mental health legislation, which needs to be reformed. I pay tribute to the Labour Members who speak on mental health issues, as I think that they would share in a consensus on how we should proceed in Wales in looking at the right to treatment and the need for advocacy to protect the human rights of those in this difficult position.

I did check myself earlier; I was about to say that mental health law in the United Kingdom is antiquated, but, of course, in Scotland, it is not. It has been modernised there, and that could well be an approach that would be supported in Wales and would achieve all-party support.

I think that what the First Minister was really saying was, 'We really have to hammer any type of idea as we enter the last year of the current Assembly and go towards another election'. He got himself into another corner, because I asked him whether the reform of mental health legislation was part of a ragbag that an irresponsible opposition was likely to propose. In fairness, he tried to reverse out of that, because he would not want that on the record.

I hope that the First Minister, if it is he who is winding up the debate, will say that mental health law reform is needed and that we could well do that in Wales. I would accept that as some form of apology for not taking some of these issues as seriously as he should have. Our group wanted to propose a range of legislation that could act as a programme for Government in this coming year.

First Minister, I do not think that you realise how tired you sound sometimes. I have not hammered you. I could have really put the hyperbole into top gear and said that you would not take mental health reform seriously. I have not done that, and I have no reason to believe, beyond the bear-pit politics, that that would be your considered view.

But, no, you want to come back with the ragbag accusation. As I have tried to explain to you, you may not think that we are offering a coherent programme for Government, but that is the rationale that we have tried to propose. If you do not think that it is coherent, you have every right to say so, but you are not on very good ground when you come to the Assembly with just two measures of your own. That shows you the limitations of what you are prepared to do with what is left of your mandate."

"Mae'r Prif Weinidog wedi rhoi un o'i berfformiadau mwy sarrug heddiw. Bûm yn ei wylio'r prynhawn yma. Yr oedd yn edrych i lawr y rhan fwyaf o'r amser. Edrychodd i fyny unwaith neu ddwy ar ei gyd-Weinidogion yn y Cabinet ond, yn gyffredinol, yr oedd yn ymddangos ei fod yr un mor hapus â Gordon Brown ar ôl ei sgwrs ddiweddaraf gyda Tony Blair ynghylch y trefniadau trosiannol yn Rhif 10. Yr oedd yn fy atgoffa o fachgen ysgol araf sy'n beio gweddill y dosbarth am wneud eu gwaith cartref yn hytrach na beio ei fethiant ei hun i gyflwyno aseiniad ystyrlon. Yr oedd yn berfformiad diflas.

Dau fesur—ai dyna'r gorau y gallant ei wneud? Yna cyhuddodd y pleidiau eraill, sydd wedi cynnig ystod o fesurau ar gyfer rhaglen ddeddfwriaethol, o gyflwyno cawdel o gynigion. Gyda phob tegwch iddo, ar adegau, gall y Prif Weinidog gyflwyno areithiau meddylgar, a choeth hyd yn oed ar adegau, ond ni welsom y math hwn o berfformiad y prynhawn yma. Rhoddaf ychydig o gyngor ichi wrth inni ddechrau ar flwyddyn olaf y Cynulliad hwn, Brif Weinidog: mae angen ichi godi rhywfaint ar eich golygon.

Mae Plaid Geidwadol Cymru wedi galw am oriel gelf genedlaethol yn gyson. Mae hynny'n rhan o'n gweledigaeth i gael cenedl fwy hyderus, gweledigaeth sy'n cynnwys mwy o awdurdod diwylliannol a dathliad o'n treftadaeth weledol wych na roddwyd digon o sylw iddi dros y blynyddoedd, mae'n debyg. Nid yw pobl bob amser yn sylweddoli cyfoeth y dreftadaeth sydd gennym fel Cymry yn y maes hwn o'r celfyddydau yn unig.

Byddai Neuadd y Ddinas yn lleoliad delfrydol ar gyfer oriel, er y byddai'n rhaid cytuno ar hyn wrth gwrs. Byddwn hefyd yn ehangu'r casgliad i gynnwys cyfryngau gweledol amrywiol, yn cynnwys ffotograffiaeth, a byddwn yn ei gyflwyno i ganolfannau eraill ledled Cymru.

O ran ein cynigion am Fesur iechyd meddwl, yr ydym bellach yn wynebu sefyllfa lle mae Llywodraeth San Steffan yn tynnu Mesur drafft yn ôl am yr ail waith. Mae hynny'n anhygoel ar ôl pedair neu bum mlynedd o geisio cael Mesur i ddiwygio Deddf Iechyd Meddwl 1983, sydd ei hun yn Ddeddf sy'n diwygio'r ddeddfwriaeth sylfaenol a basiwyd yn 1959.

Yng Nghymru a Lloegr, mae gennym ddeddfwriaeth iechyd meddwl hen ffasiwn iawn, y mae angen ei diwygio. Talaf deyrnged i'r Aelodau Llafur sy'n siarad ar faterion iechyd meddwl, oherwydd credaf y byddent yn cytuno ar sut y dylem fynd ati yng Nghymru i edrych ar yr hawl i gael triniaeth a'r angen am eiriolaeth i ddiogelu hawliau dynol y rhai sydd yn y sefyllfa anodd hon.

Bu'n rhaid imi atal fy hun rhag gwneud sylw am hynny yn gynharach; yr oeddwn ar fin dweud bod y gyfraith iechyd meddwl yn y Deyrnas Unedig yn hen ffasiwn, ond, wrth gwrs, nid yw hynny'n wir yn yr Alban. Fe'i moderneiddiwyd yno, a gallai hynny fod yn ymagwedd a fyddai'n cael ei chefnogi yng Nghymru ac a fyddai'n cael cefnogaeth yr holl bleidiau.

Credaf mai'r hyn yr oedd y Prif Weinidog yn ei ddweud mewn gwirionedd oedd, 'Rhaid inni feirniadu unrhyw fath o syniad wrth inni ddechrau ar flwyddyn olaf y Cynulliad presennol a nesáu at etholiad arall'. Canfu ei hun mewn sefyllfa anodd arall, oherwydd gofynnais iddo pa un a oedd diwygio deddfwriaeth iechyd meddwl yn rhan o'r cawdel yr oedd gwrthblaid anghyfrifol yn debygol o'i gynnig.

Gyda phob tegwch, ceisiodd wadu hynny, gan na fyddai am i hynny gael ei gofnodi. Gobeithio y bydd y Prif Weinidog, os mai ef sy'n cloi'r drafodaeth hon, yn dweud bod angen diwygio'r gyfraith iechyd meddwl ac y gallem wneud hynny yng Nghymru. Byddwn yn derbyn hynny fel rhyw fath o ymddiheuriad am beidio â chymryd rhai o'r materion hyn mor ddifrifol ag y dylai fod wedi gwneud. Yr oedd ein grwp am gynnig amrywiaeth o ddeddfwriaethau a allai weithredu fel rhaglen ar gyfer y Llywodraeth yn y flwyddyn i ddod.

Brif Weinidog, ni chredaf eich bod yn sylweddoli pa mor flinedig yr ydych yn swnio weithiau. Nid wyf wedi eich beirniadu. Gallwn fod wedi newid gêr go iawn a dweud na fyddech yn cymryd y broses o ddiwygio iechyd meddwl o ddifrif. Nid wyf wedi gwneud hynny, ac nid oes gennyf unrhyw reswm i gredu, y tu hwnt i wleidyddiaeth ymosodgar, mai dyna fyddai eich barn ystyriol.

Ond, na, yr ydych am ateb gyda chyhuddiad y cawdel. Fel y ceisiais esbonio ichi, efallai nad ydych yn credu ein bod yn cynnig rhaglen ystyrlon ar gyfer y Llywodraeth, ond dyna'r rhesymeg yr ydym wedi ceisio ei chynnig. Os nad ydych yn credu ei bod yn ystyrlon, mae gennych hawl i ddweud hynny, ond nid ydych ar dir cadarn pan ddewch i'r Cynulliad gyda dim ond dau fesur eich hun. Mae hynny'n dangos cyfyngiadau'r hyn yr ydych yn barod i'w wneud gyda'r hyn sy'n weddill o'ch mandad."

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