First things first – all of us here at Politicscymru hope you all had a very happy Christmas and wish you a prosperous 2010.
Now to business. Back at work today busy trawling through the press releases that have gone unread over the past week. Carwyn Jones’ new year message was one such presser. Whilst containing nothing particularly groundbreaking the new First Minister had the following to say:
“2010 will see us looking to gain more powers for the Assembly to use for the benefit of the people of Wales” (Emphasis added)
So, is this the beginning of a new Welsh Labour line on the referendum? On its own probably not, but coupled with this statement from the new counsel-general it could be that Carwyn Jones is looking to make amends for his party’s recent flaky stance on the referendum date.
It’s a move that will no doubt help cement the ‘One Wales’ agreement, which has been on dodgy ground in recent months. Remember the deal was made between Rhodri and Ieuan not Carwyn so a change of stance on the referendum issue would no doubt help smooth the transition process, and appease any Plaid members who are still hankering for rebellion.
We’ll find out pretty quickly if Carwyn and his team are going to push for that Autumn referendum because they will need to start the ball rolling by the end of the month. Politically it makes perfect sense for Carwyn Jones to put his money where his mouth is. It can’t be worth risking the wrath of the opposition parties on this most contentious issue in his first few weeks in charge.
Whilst we sense a change in the air, no-one can be a 100% certain that the polcy has changed or is changing apart from Carwyn himself.
What we are certain of is that the clock ticking.