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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Making history

The granting of the royal consent for the Government of Wales Bill today is undoubtedly an historic moment. The spin is that this Act of Parliament will settle Wales' constitutional position for a generation. I am not so sure.

There is still a rocky road ahead until Wales has parity with Scotland and, even though, as Dafydd Elis-Thomas said this morning, all the tools are available in the Act to get us to where we want to go, there is always politics to get in the way.

Specifically, this Act of Parliament is built on the notion of a successful partnership between Cardiff Bay and Westminster. We have to ask for the powers and Parliament must grant them to us, except that they don't. The real test is when the two governments are of different political persuasions, then we will see how far that partnership and the trust that is inherent in it will stretch.

In the meantime, we all have manifestos to write that will encompass our ambitions for Wales and utilise these powers to the full. What will hold us all back is the uncertainty about how fast and how far we will be allowed to run in the first term. That is something we will have to find out for ourselves through trial and error.
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