July 26, 2010

Why not delay the referendum for now and have a substantial referendum in 2012?

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?

July 2, 2010

A Super Thursday?

There has been mixed messages this week about the referendum.

First the good news: The most recent poll shows yet again an increasing level of support for a Yes vote.

But the recent UK general election showed how events in the London media can dominate Welsh voting intentions, and there is a large dark cloud on the horizon - The UK Government plan to hold a referendum on STV and are proposing to hold it on May 6th - the same date as the Assembly elections (and Scottish Parliament and English Councils). They want to do this so as to maximise turnout, and although they have not said it yet you can rest assured that they will also want to hold the Law-Making referndum on the same day.

Can you imagine the scene on the doorstep where a loyal group of Labour activists ask you to vote Labour, No to ATV, Yes to Legislative Power - shortly followed by a second group saying Yes to ATV and No to Legislation - followed by....you get the idea.

And how do you persuade voters that ATV is better than FPTP, when they are actually voting on the same day with AMS??

One thing is clear - 'Yes to ATV' is a much simpler message to sell than the 'Yes to give the Assembly legislative powers in accordance with Schedule 4 of the GOWA 2006 without the need to refer to Westminster'. We need to simplify the message, maybe

'Yes for Wales'

May 5, 2010

The Referendum: Where does YOUR Parliamentary Candidate Stand?

A member of Wales First, Hedd Gwynfor, has conducted a survey of parliamentary candidates' intentions in relation to the upcoming referendum on further law-making powers for the Welsh Assembly. The results - just in - are shown below.

Rather than add comment of my own, I'll let the results speak for themselves. The Parliamentary seats are listed alphabetically, with the name of the candidates and political parties underneath.

Two simple questions were asked. The answers are set out next to the candidate's name. Scroll down the list to see where YOUR candidate stands:


1, A fyddwch chi yn pleidleisio o blaid neu yn erbyn trosglwyddo'r pwerau deddfu yn yr 20 maes datganoledig o San Steffan i Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yn y refferendwm arfaethedig sydd i'w gynnal yng Nghymru o fewn y flwyddyn nesaf?

2, A fyddwch chi'n ymgyrchu o blaid neu yn erbyn trosglwyddo'r pwerau deddfu yn yr 20 maes datganoledig o San Steffan i Gynulliad Cenedlaethol Cymru yn y refferendwm arfaethedig?

1, Will you VOTE for or against the transfer of legislative powers in the 20 devolved areas from Westminster to the National Assembly in the upcoming referendum to be held in Wales within the next year?

2, Will you be CAMPAIGNING for or against the transfer of legislative powers in the 20 devolved fields from Westminster to the National Assembly in the upcoming referendum?



Keith Davies (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Paul Nicholls Jones (Plaid)  – 1. For / 2. For
Caroline Jones (Conservatives) – No Answer
Hywel Francis (Labour) – No Answer

Joe Callan (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Andrew Tutton (Independent) – No Answer


Mike Priestley (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Philip Rees Edwards (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Guto Bebb (Conservatives) – No Answer

Ronald Hughes (Labour) – No Answer

Mike Wieteska (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Louise Wynne Jones (Christian) – No Answer

Alyn and Deeside

Paul Brighton (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Maurice Jones (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Will Gallagher (Conservatives) – No Answer

Mark Tami (Labour) – No Answer

James Howson (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against


Sarah Green (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Hywel Williams (Plaid) – No Answer

Robin Millar (Conservatives) – No Answer

Alun Pugh (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For

Elwyn Williams (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Blaenau Gwent

Matt Smith (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Rhodri Davies (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Liz Stevenson (Conservatives) – No Answer

Nick Smith (Labour) – No Answer

Dr Mike Kocan (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Dai Davies (People's Voice) – No Answer

Alyson O'Connell (Socialist) – No Answer

Brecon & Radnorshire

Roger Williams (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Janet Davies (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Suzy Davies (Conservatives) – 1. For / 2. For

Chris Lloyd (Labour) – No Answer

Dorienne Robinson (Green) – No Answer

Clive Easton (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Jeff Green (Christian) – No Answer


Wayne Morgan (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Nick Thomas (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Helen Baker (Conservatives) – No Answer

Madeleine Moon (Labour) – No Answer

Dave Fulton (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against


Kay David (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Lindsay Whittle (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Maria Caulfield (Conservatives) - 1. For / 2. Not Campaigning

Wayne David (Labour) – No Answer

Tony Jenkins (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Cardiff Central

Jenny Willott (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Chris Williams (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Karen Robson (Conservatives) - 1. For / 2. Undecided

Jenny Rathbone (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For

Sam Coates (Green) – 1. For / 2. For

Susan Davies (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Ross Saunders (Socialist) – 1. For / 2. For

Alun Mathias (Independent) – No Answer

Cardiff South and Penarth

Dominic Hannigan (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Farida Aslam (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Simon Hoare (Conservatives) – No Answer
Alun Michael (Labour) – No Answer
Matt Townsend (Green) – 1. For / 2. For

Simon Zeigler (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Clive Bate (Christian) – No Answer

George Burke (Independent) – No Answer

Rob Griffiths (Communists) – 1. For / 2. For

Cardiff North

John Dixon (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For
Llew Rhys (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
Jonathan Evans (Conservatives) – No Answer
Julie Morgan (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For
Chris von Ruhland (Green) – No Answer

Lawrence Gwynn (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Derek Thomson (Christian) – No Answer

Cardiff West

Rachael Hitchinson (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

MohammedSarul Islam (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Angela Jones-Evans (Conservatives) – No Answer

Kevin Brennan (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For

Jake Griffiths (Green) – No Answer

Mike Hennessey (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

Bill Powell (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Jonathan Edwards (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Andrew Morgan (Conservatives) – No Answer
Christine Gwyther (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For

John Atkinson (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Carmarthen West & South Pembs

John Gossage (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

John Dixon (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Simon Hart (Conservatives) – No Answer
Nick Ainger (Labour) – No Answer

Ray Clarke (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Henry Langen (Independent) – No Answer


Mark Williams (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Penri James – 1. For / 2. For

Luke Evetts (Conservatives) 1. For / 2. Not Campaigning

Richard Boudier (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For

Leila Kiersch (Green) – 1. For / 2. For

Elwyn Willams (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Clwyd South

Bruce Roberts (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Janet Ryder – 1. For / 2. For

John Bell (Conservatives) – No Answer

Susan Elan Jones (Labour) – No Answer

Nick Powell (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Clwyd West

Michele Jones (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For
Llyr Huws Gruffydd (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

David Jones (Conservatives) – No Answer

Donna Hutton (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For

Warwick Nicholson (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

David Griffiths (Christian) – No Answer

Joe Llywelyn Griffith Blakesley (Independent)

Cynon Valley

Lee Thacker (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For
Dafydd Trystan (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Juliette Ash (Conservatives) – No Answer

Ann Clwyd (Labour) – No Answer

Frank Hughes (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against


Bill Brereton (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Peter Ryder (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
Antoinette Sandbach (Conservatives) – No Answer

David Hanson (Labour) – No Answer

Andrew Haigh (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Dwyfor Meirionydd

Steve Churchman (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For
Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Simon Baynes (Conservatives) – 1. For / 2. For

Alwyn Humphreys (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For

Francis Wykes (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Louise Hughes (Independent) – No Answer


Mike Day (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Darren Price (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
Byron Davies (Conservatives) – No Answer
Martin Caton (Labour) – No Answer

Gordon Triggs (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Adrian Jones (Independent) – No Answer


Asghar Ali (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Steffan Lewis (Plaid) – 1. For / 2.For

Daniel Thomas (Conservatives) – No Answer

Chris Evans (Labour) – No Answer

Jason Crew (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Dave Rees (Independent) – No Answer, Probably Against, 'True Wales'

Paul Taylor (Independent) – No Answer


Myrddin Edwards (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Myfanwy Davies (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Christopher Salmon (Conservatives) – 1. For / 2. For

Nia Griffith (Labour) – No Answer

Andrew Marshall (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney

Amy Kitcher (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For
Glyndwr Cennydd Jones (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
Maria Hill (Conservatives) – No Answer
Dai Havard (Labour) – No Answer

Adam Brown (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Alan Brian Cowdell (Socialist) – No Answer

Clive Tovey (Independent) – No Answer


Martin Blakebrough (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Jonathan Clark (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
David Davies 1. Against / 2. Against

Hamish Sandison (Labour) – No Answer

Steve Milson (Green) – 1. For / 2. For

Derek Rowe (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against


Lembit Opik (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Heledd Fychan (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
Glyn Davies (Conservatives) – 1. For / 2. For

Nick Colbourne (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For

David W Rowlands (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Bruce Lawson (Independent) – 1. For / 2. For


Frank Little (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For
Alun Llewelyn (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
Emmeline Owens (Conservatives) – No Answer
Peter Hain (Labour) – No Answer

James Bevan (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Newport East

Ed Townsend (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Fiona Cross (Plaid) – No Answer

Dawn Parry (Conservatives) – No Answer
Jessica Morden (Labour) – No Answer

David J Rowlands (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Newport West

Veronica Watkins (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Jeff Rees (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Matthew Williams (Conservatives) – No Answer

Paul Flynn (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For
Pippa Bartolotti (Green) – 1. For / 2. For

Hugh Moelwyn Hughes (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against


Jackie Radford (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Danny Clark (Plaid) – No Answer

Emma Moore (Conservatives) 1. Undecided / 2. Not Campaigning
Huw Irranca-Davies (Labour) – No Answer

Carolyn Passey (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against


Mike Powell (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Ioan Bellin (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Lee Gonzalez (Conservatives) – No Answer
Owen Smith (Labour) – No Answer

John Matthews (Green) – No Answer

David Bevan (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Donald Watson (Christian) – No Answer

Simon Parsons (Socialist) – No Answer

Preseli Pembrokeshire

Nick Tregoning (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Henry Jones-Davies (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
Stephen Crabb (Conservatives) – No Answer

Mari Rees (Labour) – No Answer

Richard Lawson (UKIP) Undecided / Undecided


Paul Wasley (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Geraint Davies (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Juliet Henderson (Conservatives) – No Answer

Chris Bryant (Labour) – No Answer

Taffy John (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Philip Howe (Independent)

Swansea East

Rob Speht (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Dic Jones (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Christian Holliday (Conservatives) – No Answer
Sian James (Labour) – No Answer
Tony Young (Green) – 1. For / 2. For

David Rogers (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Swansea West

Peter May (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Harri Roberts (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
René Kinzett (Conservatives) – No Answer

Geraint Davies (Labour) – No Answer

Keith Ross (Green) – 1. For / 2. For

Tim Jenkins (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Alan Bateman (Independent) – No Answer

Ian McCloy (Independent) – No Answer

Rob Williams (Socialist) – No Answer


David Morgan (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Rhys ab Elis (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
Jonathan Burns (Conservatives) – No Answer

Paul Murphy (Labour) – No Answer

Owen Clarke (Green) 1. For / 2. Not Campaigning

Gareth Dunn (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Fred Wildgust (Independent) – No Answer

Richard Turner-Thomas (Independent) – No Answer

Vale of Clwyd

Paul Penlington (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Caryl Wyn Jones (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
Matt Wright (Conservatives) – No Answer

Chris Ruane (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For

Tom Turner (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Mike Butler (Socialist) – No Answer

Vale of Glamorgan

Eluned Parrott (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Ian James Johnson (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For

Alun Cairns (Conservatives) – No Answer
Alana Davies (Labour) – 1. For / 2. For
Rhodri Thomas (Green) – 1. For / 2. For

Kevin Mahoney (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

John Harrold (Christian) 1. For / 2. Not Campaigning


Tom Rippeth (Lib Dems) – No Answer

Owain Arfon Jones (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
Gareth Hughes (Conservatives) – No Answer
Ian Lucas (Labour) – No Answer

John Humberstone (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Ynys Môn

Matt Wood (Lib Dems) – 1. For / 2. For

Dylan Wyn Rees (Plaid) – 1. For / 2. For
Anthony Ridge-Newman (Conservatives) – No Answer
Albert Owen (Labour) – No Answer

Elaine Gill (UKIP) – No Answer, Probably Against

Peter Rogers (Independent) 1. Undecided / 2. Undecided

March 1, 2010

A Very Happy St Davids Day

There has already been plenty said about the latest poll, so I will simply leave you with these figures - the margin of those in favour of more powers over those opposed:

2008 +7%
2009 +13%
2010 +21%

So, Peter Hain, Paul Murphy, David Davies, Cheryl Gillan, Len Gibbs, Dave Rees...........Enjoy.

February 21, 2010

A Family Tale

There once was a very large and influential family, but over the years many of the family members drifted away and they found themselves scattered in all four corners of the world. However, despite going their separate ways, they still remained friendly (or most of them anyway) and even met up occasionally at family get togethers.

The family gradually reduced in size until there were just three children and Mother remaining.

One of the children, Andrew, had always been very troublesome and outspoken, and wanted a home of his own. So eventually Mother let him have his own house, but kept on sharing the chores and helping out with the bills, and he stayed close to Mother.

At the same time, Mother also let one of the other children, Norman, have his own house. Norman had a troubled history, and a few years earlier had been involved in a messy divorce with his partner, Pat, which left him with some unresolved issues.

The other child, David, also wanted a house of his own, although wasn't as outspoken as Andrew. Mother was not at all keen on this but she let David have a small flat, but with very little furniture, and which was clearly inadequate.

David felt cheated, and after 10 years Mother gave him some more furniture but she simply refused to give him a house like the other two children.

"Why" said David? "Its just not fair!"

" I am bigger than Norman, and am actually older than Andrew"

But Mother said "That is the point - I cant let you go because you were my first - if you go then I will be left with nothing!"

David replied "But I am not going anywhere - I will just be next door - I am not leaving the family!! But cant you see that the longer you keep me in this tiny flat while my brothers have their own houses, the more likely it is that one day I will want to leave for good!!"

But sometimes, it was pointless trying to reason with Mother.............................

February 15, 2010

Carwyn's Tool Box

How does Carwyn Jones sell the referendum?

“Well, I could talk about the constitutional situation in Wales, but can I explain it in this way? You hire three workers. With two of them, you give them a full set of tools. Call them Scotland and Northern Ireland. The other worker, you give that person an empty box and you say, ‘Each time you need a new tool, come to me, explain why you want that tool and then I’ll decide whether I’ll give you that tool.’ That’s Wales. What we want is a full set of tools in the same way as Scotland and Northern Ireland, so we can do the job properly.”

Da Iawn Carwyn!!!

February 10, 2010

Five Reasons to Vote YES

The starting gun has now been fired, but the campaign proper will not begin until after the General Election in May. But that does not mean we should sit back and let True-Monmouthshire dominate the headlines with their lies and distortions.

So to get things started, I suggest promoting some simple positive messages - these are my suggestions - give me yours:

Wales is not part of England, and we have different priorities, structures and traditions. The Westminster ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach has proven disastrous for the Welsh economy over the last 50 years, and we need to be able to develop local solutions to our particular circumstances.
Government of Wales - For the people of Wales - By the people of Wales

Scotland and Northern Ireland have had law making parliaments for over 10 years, while Wales has been grudgingly granted only limited powers. Even following a Yes vote we would still not have the same powers as Edinburgh or Belfast, but at least it would close the gap.
Ensuring a Union of Equals

The Assembly already has limited law-making powers but in order to get them it has to follow an extremely tortuous, expensive and time-consuming procedure (the infamous LCO process). A Yes vote would eliminate this cotly process and give the Assembly the ability to act quickly and decisively.
Better Government

Less Politicians
The number of AMs will remain unchanged when they receive their additional powers, so they will actually have to work that little bit harder for their money. But it does mean that the number of Welsh MPs can be reduced in line with their English & Scottish colleagues, probably from 40 to 32.
Less Government

More Jobs
The transfer of powers should also mean the transfer of some civil servants jobs from Whitehall to Cardiff, as well as the creation of some new positions in the media, and lobbying groups etc. Not exactly a replacement for our lost manufacturing base, but at least bringing some well paid jobs back into our economy.
Welsh Jobs

January 15, 2010

ITV Wales Poll

In yet another confirmation that a referndum on further powers would vote YES, there is another poll published, this time conducted by YouGov on behalf of ITV Wales.

The poll also asked voters' intentions in a referendum over increased law-making powers for the Assembly.Just under half (49%) would vote Yes, down 2% since November, and 32% No, up 2%. But 20% of voters didn't know or wouldn't vote.

There are still a lot of dont knows out there, but yet again there is a clear (but not overwhelming) majority in favour.

January 8, 2010

26th January 2010

Write this date in your diaries, as it is beginning to look like the date that the Senedd will fire the starting gun in the referendum campaign.

Update: It seems I was out by two weeks - date now set for Feb 9th - I can live with that.

There is an excellent analysis done by MH on the timescale for achieving the referendum which highlights most of the issues inviolved and some of the possible pitfalls.

What is critical for me is to let our politicians know (of all parties) that we will not tolerate any more prevarication, pontification, delaying tactics or outright obstruction on this issue. If Peter Hain feels the time is not right then we should mount a concerted all-party campaign to unseat him in Neath. If Cheryl Gillan wants to take more time to analyse what the Senedd will do with its powers, then maybe it is time to call for the abolition of the post of Welsh Secretary.
(In fact both of these objectives should be pursued in any case).

We can expect Untrue Wales to come out fighting with their usual lies and deceptions - but we should not give them any credibility by responding to their arguments, other than to simply rubbish them for what they are - Liars!

We must take the lead in the campaign, and promote positive and objective arguments in favour of the increased powers, such as:

Government of the people of Wales -
by the people of Wales -
for the people of Wales