.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Friday, March 14, 2008

Race against time

The announcement yesterday that the All-Wales Convention will not report until late in 2009 has led to inevitable accusations that the Labour Party are seeking to kick the whole referendum issue into the long grass:

Pro-devolutionists immediately warned that the timing of the report would seriously hamper any plans for a referendum within the current Assembly term.

Liberal Democrat leader Mike German warned supporters of a successful referendum they were in a race against time.

He said, “Labour are trying to delay and delay and delay and meanwhile keep Plaid Cymru dangling on a string.”

He expects a General Election to be called in 2010 and fears the competition between the parties will prevent a successful campaign for a Yes vote.

Conservative Assembly leader Nick Bourne – a supporter of further devolution – said, “It is increasingly clear the Labour-Plaid coalition’s aim of a vote before May 2011 is not going to be achieved.”

Mr German believes that if a successful vote is to be held the foundations for a Yes campaign must be laid now.

He said, “The timetable – with the convention set to report by Christmas 2009 – makes it clear to me that we must start a Yes campaign as soon as possible. If we wait until the Convention is over, we could have less than a year to put the case for greater powers.”

I think that we are all familiar with Labour's coalition-building tactics by now, pushing controversial deal-breaking issues onto commissions and conventions so as to stay in government, and then quietly shelving the outcome. They did it with PR for local government and with the Richard Commission, I suspect they plan to do the same with the All-Wales Convention.

Those Plaid Cymru members who believe that this Convention is the first step on the road to nirvana need to think again. It is already clear from the timetable that Labour hope to push the whole issue back until after the next Assembly elections when they will be looking for a fresh deal from a less demanding partner. Their problem will be that all the parties will be wise to their tactics by then and they will not find us such a push-over again.
The timing is as such that it will be able to go through Parliament. There is no issue here, but a way for opposition parties to try and score points.
If you say so Bethan. The issue is not whether the referendum can be approved by Parliament but whether it can be fitted in between a General Election and the Assembly elections and whether there will be an all-party campaign. The announcement dodges all those questions.
So Peter -will LIb Dems chat to Labour about being buttys then?
Or is there hope of a renewal of the Dorothy option
VM humming over the Rainbow
Good question VM. Answer Peter.
I dont have an answer to such hypothetical questions.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?