Showing posts from July, 2011

Challenging a culture of mediocrity

Here is the unedited version of an essay published in the Summer 2011 edition of the IWA's journal, Agenda : Rachel Banner was right. Well, about some things anyway. Much as I disagreed with the arguments she marshalled to make her case for a No vote in the devolution referendum, there was more than a grain of truth in some of her central charges. As depressing and hypocritical as I found her anti-politics tone, there is no denying that there was much in her analysis of the challenges we face. The No campaign’s assaults struck a nerve in three areas: capacity, scrutiny, and quality. It is only human for those of us who campaigned for a Yes vote to have basked for a brief moment in the satisfaction of a well fought campaign. But it is incumbent on us now to examine the weaknesses in the case that we presented and seek solutions, however uncomfortable they may be. From the vantage point of the engine room of the Yes campaign Wales looked small. Of course, not literally. The task

Were we wasting our time?

Posted on the Wales Home website on 28 June 2011 “There was a very limited campaign impact.” This was Professor Roger Scully’s verdict said as he presented the results of a survey of voting patterns in March’s devolution referendum last week . “The campaign didn’t actually change a huge amount. It increased the levels of those intending to vote a bit, but other than that we’re not seeing a huge amount of change,” This was his conclusion after analysing the results of a repeat survey by YouGov of more than 2,500 people. This is capable of being interpreted as an indictment of the Yes campaign. As one of the people who sacrificed several months of my life to help run the campaign, I naturally have an interest in discovering what kind of impact our efforts had on the end result. The analysis, by Aberystwyth University’s Institute of Welsh Politics and Cardiff University’s Wales Governance Centre, does not suggest that the Yes campaign failed. It simply reconfirms what previous studies ha