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Monday, December 22, 2008

A matter of timing

It is beginning to get to the situation whereby we do not know what the One Wales Government have promised anymore in relation to a referendum for further powers.

Allegedly, it is meant to be held before the Assembly elections on 2011, but the Electoral Commission has quite rightly ruled out holding it on the same day as that poll. However, at a time when key services are being cut back all across Wales the Assembly Government is spending £1 million of taxpayers money to fund a talking shop under Sir Emyr Jones Parry, which is supposed to advise whether a pre-2011 plebiscite is possible at all.

The odds are that he will report that the One Wales commitment is undeliverable simply because his Commission (and this is not their fault) have spent so long talking about it when the four political parties who are commited to further powers should have been out in every community as part of an all-party campaign convincing people of the need for them.

There is of course the economic argument put by many Labour MPs that the last thing people want is to worry about a referendum for a proper law-making Parliament when they are facing job losses, mortgage repossessions, high fuel bills and more. However, as more than one person has said on this blog and elsewhere it is the job of a 'Yes' Campaign to make the case as to why more powers can help to alleviate this situation.

As if to add to the confusion the Presiding Officer, speaking in a personal capacity as a leading member of Plaid Cymru, has gone on the record today to urge people to chill out. He believes that with the All Wales Convention not reporting until December next year then this will leave it a “bit tight” to stage a referendum. Surely, that was factored in or was it? Perhaps that was the calculation made by the Labour Party when they signed up to the commitment but Plaid Cymru only twigged later. Maybe the Nationalists really were taken for a ride back in 2007 when they went into government.

Dafydd Elis Thomas also says that he would not want to see a referendum unless it was clear there was a 20% majority in favour of the move to law-making powers. That is a bit like wanting your cake and eating it. You only get those sort of margins if you campaign for them and that sort of activity has been conspicuous by its absence from the Government parties.

Dafydd's vision of working "with the grain of Welsh society and Welsh political life" is absolutely right but sometimes you have to show some leadership so as to shape that grain. It is leadership that is missing here. I am perfectly content to hold the referendum when the time is right but that was not what was promised in the One Wales Partnership Agreement.

What I will not accept is that we should sit back and wait for our time to come. If we do that we could be waiting for ever. It is likely that Plaid Cymru and Labour have already blown the possibility of a positive referendum vote before 2011 but that should not rule out an attempt shortly afterwards. If those who are supposedly commited to that outcome stop talking about it and start campaigning for it then we might begin to get somewhere.
Rather than convincing people, why not explain what the WAG is designed to do, what the WAG has achieved, exactly what new powers are being asked for by the WAG, what effect these new powers will have in Wales and what effect these new powers will have upon the Union.

In language that all will understand.
funny way of holding elections, only hold them if you know your going to win.

Mind you we haven't got fixed term governments in the UK, the ruling party decides when it wasn't to go to the poles and that's when it thinks it's got the best chance of winning.
i have to ask if this is what dafydd el really thinks why did he not say this 4 years ago? Or when he was selected by plaid at the 99, 03and 07 assembly elections?

Why make this highly damaging public statement now? At the very same time certain sections of the labour party in wales are doing all they can to undermine the one wales agreement on holding a referendum in 2011.

Right wing loony david davies and his tiny grouplet of anti-assembly zealots must be rubbing their hands with glee at the current presiding officer's extraordinary public statement. Peter Hain and dafydd ellis thomas appear to being doing the work of the NO campaign for them!!!

I am further bound to ask - following peter hain's equally appalling recent comments on the issue - is it the case that sections of the politcal elite in wales are very happy thankyou very much with the way things are at present and dont want things to change, even if that is actually to the detriment of the long term interests of the people of wales? Or are such statements the result of political cowardice?

Where on earth does he get the figure of 20% from? It smacks of the kind of arbitrary figure pulled out of the air by anti-devolutionists labour mps in 1979!!!

As while EVERY poll conducted on the matter has shown a majority of welsh voters support additional powers for the assembly they have never so far as im aware shown a majority of that magnitude. If we were to heed this frankly ridiculous and untenable suggetion we might never hold the proposed referendum!!!!!

Surely it is enough that every poll conducted has indicated a majority of welsh voters are in favour of the assembly gaining further powers? What more evidence do the likes of hain and dafydd ellis thomas need that the referendum can be won?

Leigh of Swansea.

Your "Right wing loony David Davies and his tiny grouplet of anti-assembly zealots"

Fortunately this group seems to have sparked a democratic discussion that was noticeably absent several months ago.
the so called True wales organisation "seems to have sparked a democratic discussion that was noticeably absent several months ago".

hmmmm.....well given that true wales is against the devolution project in its entirty and would glady return the people of wales to the dismal days when we were governed by some tory MP from a constituency in england the words 'True Wales' and 'democracy' are frankly incompatible!!!

True wales are complete frauds!! They are against devolution full stop and would in truth like to see the assembly abolished

Perhaps you to would like to see us return to the days when another right wing loony john redwood - the mp for wokingham in surrey -'governed' wales?

Wokingham is in Berkshire.
Leigh of swansea, your "True Wales are complete frauds".

They might not be to your taste, but in a democracy etc .....
sincere apologies to the good folk of surry for stating that the truly scary john rdwood is an mp there and yes stonemason i of course accept your point about people having the right to differing points of views on issues

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