Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Winning the referendum - a step forward

Lee Waters has an thoughtful article about the referendum on Assembly powers in today's Western Mail and on his Amanwy blog, in which he engages with the half-truth and lies that make up the current "no" campaign.
It's vitally important that progressives in Welsh politics respond enthusiastically. The referendum, as we know, will not grant Wales the Scottish-style powers that most people tell opinion pollsters they want. Nevertheless, as Lee makes clear, it is an important step forward in consolidating our Welsh democracy.
He concludes with a warning about the dangers of a "no" vote:
The majority of voters want to see devolution succeed, but the No campaigners want to hobble our Assembly.

They present a No vote in the referendum as a risk-free venture. Defeat the elites, says Oxford-educated True Wales spokeswoman Rachel Banner, and let Assembly Members carry on as they are.

But staying as we are is not an option. If Wales votes no to the proposals for modest reform, the Assembly’s ability to stand up for Wales will begin to unravel.

We already know that London officials need little excuse to sideline Welsh affairs. Indeed, Wales’ former top civil servant, Sir Jon Shortridge, has described in detail how awareness of the needs of Wales in Whitehall is poor. The UK Cabinet Secretary put the failure to take Welsh interests into account down to “forgetful- ness” among Whitehall chiefs.

If there is a no vote, the slow and complicated system of law-making will get worse.

The holes in the devolution settlement will be exploited. Whitehall mandarins will become even more absent-minded about Wales if they feel they have a green light to frustrate the Assembly.

So the status quo is not an option. Forward or back, that’s the option. And let’s not pretend otherwise.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looks like Plaid itself is cocking up plans for a ref in wales.Cameron has found a willing groveller in the shape of plaids very own Lord Elis-Thomas who has scuttled any plans of a ref this year and safely posted it to the backend of 2011.
Another example of Plaid working for the people of wales,besides if this bloke had anything about him he would have rejected becoming a lord in the first place.

Jim