Tossing Stones and Birds – An Allegory for Welsh Governance

I have in my hand a stone and I would like it be at point X some 50 meters away. Advised by the Williams Report, I take a mechanistic approach to most things so I calculate the force and the trajectory needed and as sure as night follows day the stone lands in the intended spot.

I have a bird in my hand and I would like it to be in the same spot some 50 meters away. In the same mechanistic way, I throw the bird with the correct force and trajectory but such is the nature of live animals as soon as it leaves my hand it flaps its wings and chooses its own direction.

I find my answer. For the sake of argument let us call my answer “White Paper: Reforming Welsh Local Government”. I am going to tie my bird to the stone. I recalculate and toss the stone with bird. Success! It lands as required. Upon investigation, I find the bird on landing has become as dead as a dodo.

Public service delivery organisations, such as local authorities, are full of living persons with lively intelligence and creative potential. Assuming mechanical control of their actions bears little fruit. Creating active partnerships that aligns their motivations with yours; managing complex inter-relationships which can be messy and difficult bear more fruit.

Welsh Government is much concerned with trying to ensure that when it wants something to happen, it does happen. The Williams Report and the Welsh Government’s recent White Paper take the mechanistic approach of tying the bird to the stone


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