October 20, 2008

Yes or No

The All Wales Convention and True Wales (the Tory led ‘No’ campaign) both have the same stated aim of raising awareness of the issues surrounding a referendum – but while the All Wales Convention has been very quiet to date, True Wales are blatantly lying and misdirecting the truth so as to scare off moderate voters. To address this lack of any objective or truthful information, I have tried to break it down to basics:

In 2006, the Government of Wales Act made some changes to the way the Assembly worked, and included a provision that the Assembly’s powers could be increased in the future to a full law-making parliament similar to the current Scottish Parliament, but subject to a positive vote in a referendum.

In 2007 the One-Wales Government (the Labour-Plaid coalition that leads the current Assembly) committed itself to holding such a referendum before 2011 and appointed an independent body – the All-Wales Convention headed by Emyr Jones Parry – to consult with interested bodies, to review the level of popular support, and to advise on the detailed timing of such a referendum. This process is ongoing and no specific recommendations have been made, although it has been suggested that such a referendum could be held to coincide with the next Assembly election in May 2011.

The proposed referendum will have two options - We don’t know the wording of any referendum question yet, but it will be something similar to below:

Do you agree that the National Assembly for Wales should be granted law making powers as outlined in the Government of Wales Act 2006?

.......Yes......... or

A Yes vote will not be a vote for independence – it will only be for a Parliament similar to the Scottish model.

A No vote will not be a vote for abolition of the Assembly – it will only be to maintain the status quo of limited law-making powers.
Anybody who tells you otherwise is lying to further their cause. So lets talk about the real issues and the implications of these two options if we believe in democracy.

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