May 6, 2009

Snakes and Ladders

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the first Welsh Assembly, there has been a lot of related articles published in the mainstream media this week. This included an interview with the Speaker where he suggested that a referendum could be held in 2011 to coincide with the next Assembly election.

I consider this referendum to be a bit like a game of snakes and ladders. We are currently on square 22, and in front of us is a ladder which will take us forward to square 36 in the case of a Yes vote, and also a snake which will take us back to square 18 in the case of a No vote. But there is also another way forward suggested by Emyr Jones Parry – which is to avoid the snake and the ladder altogether by simply not holding a referendum. We could still get to ‘square 36’ eventually but it would need to take a series of smaller steps over a longer period.

This might sound a good risk-free tactic for a diplomat, but I think we have waited long enough for our parliament and it is time for us to roll the dice. I have no doubt that we would comfortably win a Yes vote, and could climb the ladder quickly to give the Assembly the powers that it needs.

UPDATE: It seems that other people have different views on timing.

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