Friday, 20 November 2009

When?

Posted on This is My Truth on 20 November


Huw Irranca Davies makes this case in the Western Mail this morning for delaying the referendum beyond 2011. I’ve heard very serious people outside the Labour Party say the same thing.

I am concerned about the game of chicken that seems to be going on within the Cardiff Bay bubble, with enthusiasts for a referendum goading each other to race across the road confident of avoiding the juggernaught of public opinion.

Though there is merit in Geraint Talfarn Davies’ argument that “our politicians are going to have to make their own weather on this issue”, the consequeneces of losing the referendum are too great to rush into it.

My own view is that the All Wales Convention has not properly addressed the long-term issues and has locked itself into the sterile trajectory of Peter Hain’s Government of Wales Act

As I’ve argued repeatedly in recent days, the offer on the table is not so much extra powers but a different way of aquiring them. The Assembly would still be the poor relation of the Scottish Parliament, both in scope and shape.

Public opinon is volatile and the narrative of a yes campaign not yet clear. I’m less concerned about the sub-text of Huw Irranca Davies’ argument (that Labour need time to unite before a referendum is triggered), than I am about the need to get this right.

I would rather time to build a consensus around revisiting the settlement and fighting a referendum on a stable model of devolution that would last more than 10 years, rather than risk defeat for another flawed outcome.

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