Thursday, 1 July 2010

Fatigue

Posted on This is My Truth on 1 July

The Left Foot Forward blog is reporting that the timetable for the promised referendum on changing the Westminster voting system will be announced next week, and that the referendum itself is most likely to be scheduled for May 2011 – on the same day as local Council elections in England. And of course the day elections to the National Assembly for Wales are also due to take place.

The Con / Lib Government haven’t scored highly on sensitivity to Wales so far and bracketing the Assembly elections with other ‘local’ elections in England confirms the pattern.

If allowed to go ahead on the same day voters would face the confusion of media coverage about changing to the Alternative Vote for elections (they are unlikely to distinguish between Westminster and other polls) while voters in Wales will be expected to use the AMS system for only the fourth time.

Understandably Welsh Party leaders are looking to exercise their ability to request a delay of one month to postpone Welsh elections until June 2nd.

But that raises a further problem. Welsh voters will be asked to take part in a referendum on Assembly powers in early March, the 10 yearly census later that month, a referendum on a new voting system for Westminster in early May and then elections to the Senedd at the beginning of June.

It is going to be hard to get the arguments about the Assembly referedum heard through the noise of a Westminster debate about the voting system, and harder still to generate interest in the Assembly elections in June.

But I doubt that has crossed the minds of our Prime Minister and his deputy.

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