Friday, 19 December 2008

Move the goalposts and score an own goal

As mentioned in my previous post. We're in need of a good story that not only demonstrates the inconsistency of those running the WAG machine, but also an example of the civil service not getting their own way and yet again promoting one of their own numbers from within.

The Western Mail reports the appointment of a freemason as the head of the NHS in Wales was attacked last night as inconsistent.

Paul Williams left his post as chief executive of Abertawe Bro Morgannwg NHS Trust at the end of last month on a two-year secondment during which he will be in charge of the Welsh health service. He is currently working a handover period with Ann Lloyd, his predecessor, who is retiring.

But a civil servant who contacted the Western Mail contrasted the appointment of Mr Williams with an earlier decision to block the appointment of Gerard Elias QC as the Welsh Assembly’s counsel general – partly because he was a freemason.

In 2004, Mr Elias, one of the best-known barristers in Wales, was personally vetoed by First Minister Rhodri Morgan after he was recommended for the post of top legal adviser at the Assembly by Civil Service Commissioners.

Mr Morgan’s refusal to appoint Mr Elias – and the revelation that he had unsuccessfully sought approval from the commissioners to appoint the candidate who came second, a former Labour parliamentary candidate – created a political storm at the time.

The Western Mail received a typewritten letter saying:

I am afraid this note has to be anonymous as I am a civil servant.

You might find it useful to ask the Welsh Assembly Government why it saw fit to debar Gerard Elias from the counsel general post on the basis of his rather inactive freemasonry but now sees no problem in appointing Paul Williams, a very senior and active freemason, to the post of head of NHS Wales.

No doubt the excuse will be that the counsel general offers advice on legal issues but there is no more sensitive post than head of NHS Wales.

I am not a freemason but I have no quarrel with that organisation. I have no axe to grind for or against Mr Elias, unknown to me, or Mr Williams, known to me but not well-known.

My beef is really with the inconsistency and – let’s face it the dishonesty – around decisions like this which devalue the whole Assembly position.

An Assembly Government spokeswoman said:

We appoint on merit and the best person for the job based on skills and experience. We do not have a policy of excluding individuals based on membership of the freemasons.

Candidates are not obliged to declare membership of the freemasons. The issue of Paul Williams’ membership of freemasons is viewed as a private matter.

I couldn't help but contact one anonymous insider that contacted me a while back on another issue. I was told that "one senior civil servant didn't get what they wanted for Christmas" which I think amusingly falls foul of the tradition of Secret Santa.

Merry Christmas everyone.

[Pippa Wagstaff is currently on a blogging break and hopes to return in the New Year]


Anonymous 19 December 2008 at 16:08  

Merry Christmas Wagstaff. We need you in 2009 as there are too many lefties on Welsh blogs.

Anonymous 19 December 2008 at 16:14  

The civil service in Wales is a law unto itself. The NHS boss is one of the highest paid and look at their approach to change management since 1999. Hutt messed up. Gibbons plodded along, and Hart is looking to the past to solve current problems.

Ann Lloyd will get a pat on the back, pick up her gong that is usually a CB and can look forward to a hefty pension.

Anonymous 20 December 2008 at 16:25  

Freemasons - the Labour Party old boys network across the crachachocracy in Wales makes the lodge look likme a kindergarten.

Anonymous 20 December 2008 at 16:43  

We need some comment on the Tories.

Anonymous 20 December 2008 at 16:44  

Merry Christmas Wagster.

Anonymous 20 December 2008 at 21:53  

In my experience the masons are alive and well in WAG, not just in getting people up the ladder, but alos protecting those who should be falling back down.
Truth be told, the overarching WAG HR policies leave a lot to be desired, with some very unhealthy policies.....amazes me that one of the unions don't challenge some of these a little more

Anonymous 22 December 2008 at 16:05  

What about the deficit that Paul williams is leaving at the Bro Morgannwg Trust?

jim 23 December 2008 at 14:49  

"What about the deficit that Paul williams is leaving at the Bro Morgannwg Trust?"

It's more than likely to be a downsizing exercise.

jmb 25 December 2008 at 06:36  

Merry Christmas Pippa, hope to see you back soon.

Anonymous 3 January 2009 at 16:56  

Hey Wagstaff - where are you

Arty 5 January 2009 at 08:25  

Yes. Where are you Wagstaff?

Miss Wagstaff 5 January 2009 at 08:37  

Taking an extended and long overdue break at the moment after some family issues that I had to deal with.

Best wishes for 2009. Keep blogging.

Anonymous 7 January 2009 at 17:44  

Is sacked Welsh blogger Christopher Glamorganshire's tribunal next week?

Anonymous 7 January 2009 at 17:44  

Is sacked Welsh blogger Christopher Glamorganshire's tribunal next week?

Sandra Evans 7 January 2009 at 17:46  

Are you returning Pippa? The Welsh blogosphere is beginning to dry up and has the makings of a good desert.

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