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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The case for a referendum strengthens

According to today's Western Mail a study carried out by Aberystwyth University professors Richard Wyn Jones and Roger Scully has suggested that a parliament is the favoured constitutional option for Tory, Labour and Plaid voters. Their findings give fresh hope that a referendum on strengthening the Assembly’s powers could be won:

The researchers asked voters to chose independence, a parliament, the existing Assembly or no devolution as their preferred constitutional arrangement.

They found 44% of Labour supporters backing a parliament, with 30% wanting the Assembly as it is, and 13% preferring no devolution at all. A small number said they backed independence.

Of Plaid supporters, 25% preferred independence, 48% a Parliament and 15% the status quo. Liberal Democrats divided 38-38 on a Parliament or an Assembly, with 12% wanting independence.

But the Conservatives’ responses are the ones that will raise eyebrows. In the party that campaigned against devolution in 1979 and 1997 there is now 39% backing for a law-making parliament, 26% prefer the current Assembly arrangements while 27% favour no devolution at all.

The importance of this research is that it shows that despite the narrow referendum win in 1998, devolution has now become accepted by the vast majority of people in Wales. Not only do a majority of Tory voters now want to either keep the status quo or improve on it but also 76% of Liberal Democrat voters take the same view. The latter category voted 3-2 against devolution in 1998.

It is evident that a referendum can be won if only Labour and Plaid would stop dragging their heels in meaningless commissions and get on with it.
According to their research, 12% Plaid voters favour no devolution - what's that about?!
Ive posted the actual survey report HERE
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