Friday, 21 May 2010

No October Poll?

It seems that the chances of an autumn referendum on more powers for the Welsh assembly are in the balance. Clearly the General Election affected the time table, with all Parties having the eyes on another prize.
Now perhaps freed from central party restraints, Carwyn Jones has written to Cheryl Gillan requesting a poll, possibly in October.

This will meant that legislation needs to be passed by Parliament before the summer recess to facilitate such a vote.

Ms Gillan's claim that insufficient preparatory work was done by Peter Hain and, the Electoral Commission appears to say a 10 week period is needed to ensure the referendum question can be easily understood by voters – and it seems this would rule out an autumn poll.

However in 1997 after the election of a Labour government on the 1st of May. We had a referendum on the 18th of September and this was a week after the referendum in Scotland. Clearly if the Political will (and perhaps that of the Civil service) is there, then this can be achieved before MP’s go off on their holidays.

There is some speculation that the referendum should be called on the same day as the assembly elections: But that would mean that people would be voting without knowing what sort of assembly they are voting for.

Already the Lib Dems in the guise of Peter Black and "La Pasionaria" are placing the blame every where but the new coalition in London. Hard as it seems for me to say it this time they may be right. Though Ms Gillan's fence sitting and the low priority that London puts on further Welsh devolution points to their partners and indeed the Lib Dems in Westminster continuing in delaying the process.

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