Thursday, 20 May 2010

Playing politics with the referendum

Today, this morning to be more precise, Carwyn Jones finally let us all know that he is in favour of an Autumn referendum – late October if possible. Not only has he set out his preference for the date but he’s kindly provided Cheryl Gillan with a potential preamble and question:

“At the moment the Assembly can make laws about some, but not all, things which only affect people in Wales.

Parliament has decided that the Assembly should be able to pass its own laws for Wales on all devolved subjects. But this can only happen if voters in Wales support this in a referendum.

The devolved subjects include health and social services, housing, education and local government. The laws could not be about social security, defence or foreign affairs.

Do you want the Assembly to have the power now to pass laws on all the subjects which are devolved to Wales?



Is it coincidence or design that it is now Carwyn Jones decides to act on this issue? Now that the Secretary of State is from another party? A party that has struggled to fight off its traditional anti devolution stereotype. Surely Mr Jones isn’t playing politics with this issue?

But you have to ask if Peter Hain was still in office would the First Minister have made such an announcement? What Carwyn Jones’s statement does is put pressure on the Secretary of State to ‘push through’ the referendum process to try and ensure an Autumn vote. If (as I suspect will happen) the vote is sometime after October 2010 expect Welsh Labour to start accusing the ConDem coalition of ‘blocking’ the vote.

If Carwyn Jones has listened to anything that Mrs Gillan has said up to this point – or incidentally what she has said in response to his statement – then he knows that it’s unlikely the referendum will happen this October. Does this mean that the referendum is going to become a victim of cross boarder government squabbling? Is this the spirit of co-operation that we’ve all been hearing about recently?

The cross party mudslinging has already begun. Peter Black of the Liberal Democrats (here) and Jonathan Morgan of the Conservatives (here) placing the blame of a delayed vote firmly at Peter Hain’s doorstep.

It’s long been accepted that for a successful ‘YES’ campaign there needs to be good and strong teamwork between all the parties.

Those who are hoping for that outcome will no doubt be pleased to see the spirit of co-operation getting off to such a good start…

Dewi Un



Pelagius said...

Perhaps the Tories will release all the paperwork so we can judge who's lying?

Politics Cymru said...

Now that would be interesting!!