|Time to stand up and be counted Mr Davies!|
|Columnists - Standing up for Llanelli with John Jenkins|
|Wednesday, 27 February 2013 20:10|
Thank God for the Community Health Council!
The plans by the Hywel Dda Local Health Board to disorganise health services in Llanelli have now been referred to the Health Minister in the Welsh Assembly.
This is important because it now inserts a slither of something into the campaign to safeguard services at Prince Philip Hospital that has been missing up to now.
At least a little bit of what passes for it. The Health Minister can now either endorse the plans or refer them back to the Health Board and tell them to try again.
So let us be perfectly clear. Without wishing to be party political it is a matter of fact that the Government of Wales is Labour. The First Minister is Labour. His Health Minister is Labour. Llanelli has a Labour constituency Assembly Member and two of the four regional Assembly Members that cover Llanelli are Labour.
To be fair, Labour have earned the votes of the people and won elections in order to achieve these positions of public office.
But with office comes power and with power comes responsibility.
So now, with the trust and the confidence of the people of Llanelli invested in them at the ballot box, is the time for our elected representatives to repay that trust invested in them by the people of Llanelli.
No other issue of public importance in Llanelli measures as much as the fight to safeguard our hospital.
It’s a service we all hope we never have to use but it is something that we all hope will be there when we need it and there is not a single person in Llanelli who has not been thankful of its presence when either one of us or a loved one has needed it to be there.
So now is the time for those in high elected office to stand up and be counted.
Llanelli will not forgive those that shirk their duty. Heaven forbid that they put the interests of their political party before the needs and interests of the people of Llanelli.
Down in Cardiff Bay at the centre of political life in Wales is a body divided equally between 30 Assembly Members whose political party forms the Government of Wales and 30 Assembly Members whose do not.
The 30 who are not in government do not have the burden of decision-making, only scrutiny and the holding to account the Government.
On this matter of the reconfiguration of our health services, 29 of the 30 Assembly Members have been admirable in their opposition to the plans.
So now, given the evenly-divided nature of the Welsh Assembly, individual Assembly Members can wield disproportionate influence over the Government and can, and should, use that influence responsibly to the benefit of their constituents.
Put simply, Keith Davies the fun-loving and hard-partying Assembly Member for Llanelli should knock on the door of his Labour colleague who occupies the Health Minister’s office and celebrate his most welcome return to health with a very appropriate stand in favour of Llanelli Hospital.
All Keith has to do is tell the Minister, in polite terms that unless she is minded to act in the interests of Llanelli then she and the Government of the First Minister can no longer count on his 100% support.
Since the 2010 Assembly Elections Keith has voted with his Party on no less than 100% of the time so he has a stockpile of political brownie points at his disposal.
This simple act would alter the balance of power in Cardiff Bay on this issue. In Cardiff no-one could blame an Assembly Member for putting his constituency first.
Here in Llanelli, Keith would be a bloody hero. We would erect a statue to him!
Name a ward in the hospital after him, and babies would be christened “Keith” like they were christened “Roy or Carwyn, Derek, Delme, Phil or John” in the generation following 1972.
Keith Davies would be carried through the streets of Llanelli atop of shoulders. They’d name a street after him, “Heol Keith” for instance. We’d name buildings after him, “Ty Keith” for instance. He’d be an odds-on bet for a Freemanship of the Parish of Llanelli.
I’d propose it myself!
He would be immortalised, up there with Jim Griffiths for their contribution to the public life of Llanelli.
Instead of being remembered for ‘being adversely affected by alcohol’ in the St. David’s Hotel in Cardiff, the image of Keith Davies would be transformed overnight.
C’mon Keith, stand up for Llanelli.
You can do it, just save our hospital.