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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Waiting for Ieuan

There is a fair amount of discussion on the blogosphere today about research carried out by the All-Wales Convention which indicates that 48% of those asked want the Assembly to be able to access the full range of powers available to it under the Government of Wales Act 2006 without having to suffer the wasteful, time-consuming and expensive legislative competence order procedure it is currently subject to.

Most bloggers ask the perfectly reasonable question, why such a big lead for a 'yes' vote is considered by the media to be insufficient to win a referendum? Maybe the question they should be asking is why we have to suffer this £1 million talking shop when we could be getting on with a proper campaign to persuade people of the merits of giving that extra a authority to the Assembly?

Plaid Cymru have already abandoned many principles and policies since they went into government, the chances of them delivering on a referendum before 2011 is looking more and more remote as every day and opinion poll survey passes.
I'm inclined to agree. It seems odd, this Convention. The convention is to gauge public opinion, right? Surely that should come after campaigns, not before? There should be campaigning FIRST, then polls and referendums. Polling on a topic that most people haven't got a clue about is like asking someone if they liked a movie before they'd even seen it. Pointless and based on other peoples opinions.
Peter, I am puzzled a bit when the Tory lead of 10% is described as comfortable, and yet a 13% Yes vote lead is described as ‘grim reading’ by the media. If only 13% surprises you, then I am amazed. While the tiny but loud True Wales group is busy scaremongering, virtually nobody is persuading people to vote yes when the referendum comes. The question ‘do you want more powers’ itself shows a lack of understanding. It isn’t about ‘more powers’ it about giving Welsh Assembly primary legislative powers rather than secondary legislative powers, so that laws over matters that are devolved to Wales are made in Wales rather this absurdly complicated, cumbersome and unsustainable LCO process at present.

Let’s look at those arguments used by no campaigners. First, a yes vote is a move towards independence. Let’s get real, that isn’t going to happen, certainly not in my lifetime and I’m a youngish 31. Second, they will increase our taxes. Tax varying powers aren’t devolved to the Welsh Government, which dispels that myth. And council taxes and business rates are more or less set at a local level so that too is a non starter.

This is why I will vote Yes. It will make our democratic process 1- Simpler. 2 – Quicker. 3 – Cheaper (how much does the present LCO system cost the taxpayers in civil service time alone?). And some say this is all boring and it’s for political anoraks. But look at it this way, whether the Welsh government can pass laws affects effectively impacts on the quality of your child’s education, the care you or your relative receive in hospital, and issues such as the future of farming, road and rail links, environment, Welsh language, housing, renewable energy and many other things. This issue may not be as exciting as which celeb is bedding who but it’s far, far more important.
Just to be clear the Assembly does have primary law making powers and has even exercised them. It is just that it can only use them in specified fields and needs to ask permission to expand those fields. The referendum will, if successful, do away with the grovelling to Parliament and give the Assembly full access to all the fields included in the Government of Wales Act. Not only is this nothing like independence but it would not even put us in the same league as Scotland. I explained it better here: http://peterblack.blogspot.com/2009/03/campaigning-for-yes-vote.html
well - and im getting tired of saying this - every survey of opinion on this subject conducted since the assembly came into being in 1999 has shown a healthy majority for more powers. So there really is NO EXCUSE for anyone in the coalition govt not to press ahead with a referndum on more powers in 2011!!!

Even our scaremongering friends in True Wales agree there should be a referendum!!!

But something im anxious to know Peter - and you probably know more about this than me - is if the coalition govt doesnt take this chance to stage a referendum in 2011 where does this leave us in terms of the assembly gaining extra powers?

What 'mechanisms' would be needed to bring about a referendum at a future date beyond 2011? If the tories - as looks likely - win the british general election in 2010 would we have to wait for a non tory govt in london before we could think of staging a referendum on more powers?

Thank you for explaining the dog's breakfest LCO process so clearly and what a yes vote will do. I only wish other AM's from across all the parties would follow your lead. How about you, Carwyn Jones, Bethan Jenkins and David Melding leading the Yes campaign? A dream team. Somebody of your intellect, experience and communication skills would be ideal.
I don't know the answer to that Leigh.
to be honest peter im not sure anyone does!!! All the more reason surely why we have to take the opportunity by 2011 - otherwise we may not get the chance again (hope rhodri, ieuan, carwyn, edwina et al are listening!!!!)

The fact that a Tory sec of state (conceivably representing a seat in England) could stop voters in Wales from having a referendum to decide whether they want more powers is enough to make me want more powers.
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