We're frequently reminded of the "West Lothian Question", the situation whereby Welsh and Scottish MPs are allowed to vote on issues relevant to West Bromwich but not West Lothian (as Tam Dalyell so succinctly put it back in 1979).
It's a question that's never been properly answered during the devolution debate and growing powers for the Assembly make it even more absurd that Welsh MPs can vote on health and education matters, for example, that affect English constituencies but don't impact on their own voters.
This is often cited by English nationalists, usually in opposition to devolution. But there is less publicity given to what could be termed "the Tryweryn question".
Back in pre-devolution days, Liverpool Corporation's desire for water (mainly to supply industries that are now long gone) led it to Tryweryn, near Bala. An Act of Parliament was needed to permit the damming of the valley and the drowning of a Welsh community, Capel Celyn.
35 of the 36 Welsh MPs voted against the move but it was passed with the help of English MPs who knew nothing about the community they were voting to destroy.
Not surprisingly, the symbolic nature of the drowning of Capel Celyn in the 1960s still resonates among nationally minded people in Wales.
The manifest injustice then should not be perpetuated now. Welsh MPs should not vote on issues solely for England. There is therefore a clear case for a reduction of Welsh MPs in Westminster because the bulk of decision making on day-to-day matters in Wales takes place in Cardiff.
The savings made by reducing the numbers of MPs should be put towards increasing the numbers of AMs who can therefore scrutinise and hold the Assembly government to account more fully.
We have half-and-half a democracy at the moment, with neither half functioning properly.
One of Labour's key pledges at the last Assembly election was free school breakfasts for all primary school children. It had the feel of the back of a fag packet - the Labour Party's press officer estimating it would cost £16m a year.
So how has it gone down in the schools?
Like a bowl of cold lumpy porridge.
New figures released by the Welsh Assembly Government show that just 11,000 kids in Wales - out of 285,000 primary school children - are using the breakfast clubs. That's a pathetic 4% after four years.
Even in the schools with breakfast clubs the take-up rate is just 26% across Wales. Not surprising when the estimated spend per pupil on the food provided is just 25p a day.
By contrast, the Scottish Labour Party is being bounced into providing free school meals for a growing number of children under pressure from the SSP and now the SNP. Labour controlled Hull City Council also introduced this progressive measure, although the new Lib Dem-led council has now suspended the service.
Plaid Cymru has also adopted this measure, which has the support of nutritionists, child experts, doctors and parents. It will cost more than breakfasts but it will deliver significant improvements to children's wellbeing and parents' pockets rather than being a meaningless election pledge.
Time for Assembly election predictions... various Welsh blogateers are indulging in the ludicrous game of trying to guess how the electoral cookie will crumble in May.
Some, like Peter Black, are a bit obvious - Lib Dem predicts Lib Dem gains shock! but I'm not going to accept the established view that Labour will slip slightly.
There are a number of factors at work:
1. The UK dimension - this is a chance for voters to kick Blair over Iraq, cash for peerages and for being Tony Blair.
2. The failure of the Assembly government on key issues such as the NHS and a lame-duck government under Rhodri (I'll resist the temptation to say that lame ducks tend to swim in circles).
3. The Scottish factor, which has helped raise the idea of greater self-government.
4. The Cameron factor - does it work in Wales?
5. The Ming/Lembit factor - how bad is that for the Lib Dems?
6. An increasing sense of national identity - the few opinion polls we have in Wales point to greater support for independence and a majority in favour of Scottish-style powers.
Anecdotal evidence suggests the Labour vote is in meltdown, which raises the question of where that vote will go. Or will disillusioned Labour voters stay at home?
A low turnout may also mean that large swings are possible.
The smaller parties may have a bearing on matters - on the list, the Tory vote will be eroded by the re-branded Independence Party (that could be interesting in a Welsh context... but it's the UKIP), an anti-gay Christian Party and the BNP. Labour will have challenges from Forward Wales and People's Voice to contend with and the BNP will also hoover up some of their vote - especially on the North Wales coast.
One other factor is that Labour will not have the reserves of funding it has enjoyed in the past - remember the £100,000 it threw at the Blaenau Gwent by-election in just one constituency?
So... deep breath:
Labour lose Aberconwy, Llanelli and Caerffili to Plaid.
Labour lose Clwyd West, Preseli Pembroke and Cardiff North to the Tories.
They gain a list seat in Mid and West Wales
Plaid gain Aberconwy, Llanelli and Caerffili
Plaid gains one list seat in the North and one in South Central
Tories gain Clwyd West, Preseli Pembroke and Cardiff North from Labour
Tories lose list seats in the North, Mid and West and South Central
No change for Lib Dems, Trish Law or John Marek
Lib Dems 6
Trish Law 1
John Marek 1
Of course I'm biased but I'm also going on evidence of Labour's vote collapsing on the doorstep.
If this is the case in May, then we're in for some fun!
Wales's first blogespondent is fairly positive towards the Assembly's limited achievements in its short life.
To be accurate we should be asking "what has the Labour Assembly government ever done for us?"
There's no doubt it has done some things that are better - free prescriptions will make a difference to those who had to pay before, but it's little comfort if you can't get treatment for a serious illness because of a postcode lottery.
Bus passes for the elderly are another improvement but again depend on people having a bus service in their area.
This tinkering at the margins seems designed to gain headlines and photo opportunities rather than fundamentally altering people's lives.
Gimmicks like free school breakfasts have been a real con - one of those back-of-a-fag packet pledges that weren't costed and involved no consultation with the schools affected. Little surprise that only 28% of schools have introduced them. My kids went along for a while but a slice of toast and a drink is hardly the innovation promised. Many parents, I suspect, are using the breakfast clubs as an excuse to drop the kids off early to get to work on time. It'd be interesting to know how many children actually attend the clubs.
So eight years of Labour Assembly rule has seen minor tweaks in the system. We all know that substantial improvements are needed to turn Wales round from being a low-wage, high sickness, low-skilled society to somewhere that's far more dynamic, healthy and sustainable. New powers will only work if the people implementing them have the vision and drive to use them. Labour have no vision or drive left, except to safeguard their own privileges.
If the Assembly was a soap opera, Brian Gibbons would be its Jack Duckworth - a hapless lump forever brow-beaten by Edwina "Vera" Hart and given to making some very stupid mistakes.
The dozy Labour Health Minister has once again accidentally voted against his own government.
In June, Dr Brian Gibbons helped trigger an inquiry into the ambulance service when he pressed the wrong button on his voting console in the chamber. That gaffe tipped a knife-edge vote against the Labour Government.
The Assembly's voting record shows this week he voted for a Plaid Cymru amendment which accused Welsh Secretary Peter Hain of making "unhelpful comments" about changes to devolution. But even if Dr Gibbons had pressed the correct button Labour would not have won the vote.
Do you think it's a cry for help or just sheer incompetence? At the very least the poor doctor needs to lie down in a darkened room for a while.
The damning news that a Labour member of the Scottish Parliament has been charging taxpayers £7200 a year to live in his son's flat exposes the abuse of the gravy train by all politicians.
The extent of this subsidy for a well-paid politician is clear when you learn that the son apparently "bought" the flat days before the Scottish Parliament was set up - when he was just 17 years old. It cost £72,000 in 1999.
We should, in truth, applaud the Scottish system for allowing such details to be made clear - they have a far more transparent system of expenses than Westminster (where you can claim much, much more) and Cardiff Bay.
Assembly Members also get about £10,000 a year in expenses to pay for accommodation in Cardiff - that is, for those who live too far to commute daily. While there are doubtless extra costs involved, this is an invitation for AMs to become property speculators and use the money to buy a flat that has (in the past) provided a handy little nest egg upon retirement.
We know how many AMs we have - 60. It doesn't change from term to term. We know how many need overnight accommodation under this scheme. So why hasn't the Assembly bought the necessary flats (or even built a block) convenient to the Senedd building - it could end its subsidy at a stroke and ensure that AMs don't profit excessively from their time in Cardiff Bay.
The only way to stop cynicism towards politicians is to stop the gravy train in expenses that allows MPs to become millionaires as a matter of course.
The National Assembly made a very public stance on donating £500,000 to overseas aid recently. Less public is the financial support it's giving private companies to develop unmanned war machines based at Aberporth near Aberteifi.
Wrexham Peace & Justice Forum are holding a public meeting next Monday evening 23rd October at Trinity Church, King Street, Wrexham at 7pm entitled "War Machines at Aberporth - the unreported facts".
The meeting will look at military developments at Aberporth and in particular how Assembly money is being used to fund unmanned aerial vehicles. The primary reason for the development of these war machines is the desire to be able to go into war zones and drop bombs without risking any of our own personnel - to the operator of uavs, it's like a computer game, although obviously not for the recipients of the bombing. The Assembly talks about the environmental and agricultural uses of these machines and forgets to mention their killing applications, although selling them on the international arms markets will be by far the most lucrative outlet.
The talk will be given by Harry Rogers and illustrated with video clips including the arms manufacturers' own adverts for their killing machines.
Hidden away on p6 of today's Wales on Sunday is an astounding poll result - 52% support for independence. Labour's Peter Hain declares he's "sceptical", which is an odd reaction.
Admittedly the poll is small (420 people were contacted in all parts of Wales) but the result is so much higher than previous poll results that it suggests that the negative feelings towards the Assembly are manifesting themselves in a positive way. Rather than wanting a return to the status quo, the majority want to go further than Labour and allow the people of Wales to decide their own future.
That will take some digesting, especially for the likes of Plaid leader Ieuan Wyn Jones, who is unsure how to react judging from his quote in the paper.
This article by grassroots activist Lynne Hayes in today's Western Mail should shame the Assembly Government into action.
Wales, nobody knows just how many playing fields have been lost because there is no legislation in force in order to monitor the situation. Our losses need to be monitored and far greater protection afforded to existing spaces.
In a study carried out for National Play Day in August, 2005, the National Children's Bureau found that children said that poor provision of play spaces - and the fear that the outdoor world is unsafe - leads them to stay indoors.
Other supporting facts and figures produced at this time include:
Fears for children's safety have increased. The radius around the home in which children are allowed to roam has shrunk to a ninth of what it was in 1970. In 1971, 80% of seven and eight -year -olds walked to school alone; in 1990 the figure had fallen to just 9%;
For every acre of play space there are 80 acres of golf club;
Playing fields have been lost at a rate of one a day for the past eight years.
I am a member of The National Playing Fields Association (NPFA) and founder of Save Open Spaces Wales (SOS Wales), a group set up to try to stem the systematic sell offs of playing fields. In Wrexham, during the past four years I have either led or supported campaigns to prevent no fewer than seven applications to build on playing fields or open spaces.
This is not, however, a localised issue; the sell off of playing fields continues throughout Wales.
At present there are campaigners trying to save fields at Willow Park, Hope, Flintshire; County Field, Cefn Coed, Merthyr Tydfil; Caldicot comprehensive school, Monmouthshire; Fleming Crescent, Haverfordwest; Prospect Green, Treorchy; Conway Road playing field, Pontypool; Llanishen reservoir, Cardiff; St Ilan comprehensive school; Caerphilly; and Stirling Road playing field; Barry.
These are just some of the campaigns that I know of.
My campaigning has led me to study regulations that govern playing-field disposals and it may come as a surprise to you that in primary schools, when working out the minimum team games area required for school fields, only the over eights are taken into consideration.
I am not proud to live in a country where we have a regulation that does not give an inch of playing space to schoolchildren under the age of eight.
What kind of example is that setting, particularly in view of the obesity epidemic?
Our playing fields are being nibbled away at the edges, getting smaller and smaller.
Things need to change.
In order to try to obtain greater protection of Welsh playing fields, I have worked closely with Rhodri Edwards of NPFA Cymru and with Dr John Marek AM, a long-standing supporter of playing field campaigners.
I am delighted that there is a Statement of Opinion, which was tabled in February 2006 by Dr Marek for Assembly Members consideration and support.
It is my hope that readers will lobby their AM to support the Statement.
For me, both the support and lack of support from each political group is very telling.
NPFA Cymru wrote to every Assembly Member personally to enlist their support and I have written to the Welsh Assembly on quite a few occasions only to be told that, "In Wales, playing field disposal is not an issue of concern".
Try telling that to the many people of Wales who take part in mass demonstrations in order to try to save their much-loved and valued playing space.