Last week I was invited to be part of a focus group commissioned by the Electoral Commission to garner opinions about the wording of the prospective Assembly Powers Referendum.
There were about 20 people in the group from different backgrounds. Some of us were keen supporters of the Assembly others wanted the institution abolished, but all, apart from myself, were under the illusion that the referendum was about giving the Assembly the same powers that the Scottish Parliament has now. When it was explained that they were mistaken, that the referendum was just about the way that the Assembly gained powers and that the full powers could be gained, over time, even if the referendum produced a 100% No vote, all thought that the referendum was a complete waste of time and money.
The members of the group were all annoyed that they had come to the meeting with strong views on opposing or supporting enhanced devolution only to find that the discussion was about administrative tinkering rather than anything of substance.
Because of the current government's desire to equalize the size of Westminster constituencies the Government of Wales Act 2006, will have to be amended, because the said act insists that Westminster and Bay constituencies must be the same size. In amending the bill why not add an amendment to give the Assembly Schedule 7 powers without the need for a referendum, and have a referendum in a year or two's time on substantive Full Scottish Type Powers for the Assembly, which most people, from both sides of the argument, think that the part 4 referendum is about anyway?