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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Extending the mandate

Former Tory Minister, Lord Garel-Jones has told the All-Wales Convention that Welsh people who live outside the country, but who have a family connection with Wales, should be able to vote in any referendum on dismantling the LCO process and enabling the Assembly to access its full law-making powers as set out in the Government of Wales Act 2006.

It is the case of course that overseas voters do not have a vote in Assembly elections. Does the good Lord know this? As Glyn Mathias says, the normal franchises should apply. It is not as if those living outside the Country are affected by Assembly issues. Even arch-sceptic David Davies MP, does not agree with his party colleague.

I would be interested in the views of others on this.
It's obviously rubbish. My view:

1) If you live in Wales, pay taxes in Wales, you get a vote.
2) If you're a Welsh resident, who is away in (insert country here) for a temporary period for college or work or holiday, you get a vote.

Normal electoral rules then?

The following SHOULD NOT get a vote:

1) People who have emigrated. Sorry, Wales isn't your country anymore. Move back and we'll talk.
2) People whos Grandparents were Welsh, but have never lived or even visted Wales. You want a say in my country? Seriously?
3) The opposite of point2 in the "yes" category, people who are just in Wales temporarily, for college or holidays.

Gah... it's about time we had Welsh citizenship and passports.
Well if they're so bothered about having their say, why not move back here?
Of course the normal franchises should apply.

The view of this other is that such a proposition is absolutely loopy
I wouldn't like to try defining "all Welsh people who live outside the country". Which of the following are Welsh:
1) someone born in Wales to Welsh parents, brought up in Wales, and now living in Moscow
2) someone born in Wales to Russian parents, brought up in Russia, and now living in Moscow
3) someone born in Chester to Welsh parents, brought up in Wales, and now living in Moscow
4) a Welsh speaker from the half of Llanymynech that Henry VIII moved into Shropshire
5) someone who doesn't speak Welsh from any of the other places that Henry VIII moved into English counties (say, the part of Chepstow east of the Wye)
6) a Welsh-speaking Argentinian whose great-great-great-great-grandparents emigrated on the Mimosa
7) a linguist with no known Welsh connections who learnt Welsh as an academic challenge
8) someone who was born in India to Indian parents, took British citizenship, lived most of their life in Cardiff, then retired to a farm in Herefordshire
9) someone who has made some form of legal affirmation of being Welsh under Tory referendum legislation

I'm actually surprised that it is the Tories who want to bring up the question of defining Welsh nationality. I don't think it can be done in a fair, non-trivial, and fraud-proof way in the timescale of the referendum. Nevertheless, they have made a good case for transferring the remaining powers of the Home Office to Cardiff Bay, with a view to a Welsh Nationality Measure, as a result of a successful referendum.

Of course, I'm probably being way too charitable in interpreting it as a policy area they actually want to see work. It's most likely just a cynical ploy to try to arbitrarily register a demographic that DTC Davies thinks will support his campaign. That such an arbitrary system would be wide open to fraud suits them nicely too.
looks to me as if those opposed to the devolution 'process' - such as the aforementioned Lord Garel jones - are already attempting to put 'obstacles' in the way of another yes vote?

Maybe this is what we can expect as the referendum draws near? It smacks of the kind of tactics anti-devolutionists employed in 79 - who will ever forget the grotesquely unfair '40 percent' rule which effectively killed the 79 Yes campaign off well before a single vote had been cast! (i would urge anyone interested in the devolution issue to browse the hansard records of the period - - they are online - the antics of the likes of kinnock and co make truly sickening reading)

Certainly if the scaremongering and decietful actions of the so called True Wales are anything to go by the 'tactics' used by anti-devolutionists have not changed one bit in over 3 decades!

I believe that in the 97 referendum the 'local elections' register was used, thus people who lived outside wales but who may have lived in wales for a part of the year ie in holiday cottages were still able to cast a vote in the referendum (which i gather partly explained the closeness of the vote in places like Anglesey)

I would have thought that something along these lines would be fair to all sides engaged in the referendum campaign.

Al Iguana & James D

Some very good points, having done quite a bit of my own personal Family History (sad bastard that I am) I can now announce the following:

Mum was born in Wales, from English Immigrants who were from Surry & Essex.

Fathers' Father's were all from Cwmafan, going back as far as the 1861 census, then from Neath.

Father's Mother's family were from Pembroke, Newport and Northampton. Newport was in England in 1901.

So, not much Welsh in ME!!

Do I still get a vote? Should I get a vote for the Mayor of London?
James D - love it!
James D - thanks a lot, that means so much too me!

You may find the following interesting:

I eat a Welsh rarebit once in 1995 and I quite like Tom Jones, can I have a vote?
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