Secretary of State for Wales Cheryl Gillan, has said the aim is now to hold the Referendum on further powers before the first quarter of 2011. Why she couldn’t say March, I don’t know. Though March 1st will be a Tuesday, so that’s probably out. Gillan is not entirely clear and by now she should have at least produced an exact timetable and this only goes to show the low priority she and by implication the Con-Lib government position on this.
However the news (if it is carried out) is welcome it means that people will be aware (if the vote is yes) of what type of Assembly they will be voting for next May.
I am not convinced however that we will be successful. The behaviour of the media in general during the last election points to them being either indifferent, or more likely hostile.
Already the BBC appears to be under the thrall of the new coalition government and with the lack of any real Welsh based media, the chance to enthuse the welsh electorate will be difficult.
Never the less the Con-Lib government will probably be coming out of the “Honeymoon” period by then and this should aid the Yes campaign.
The interesting thing is who will be backing a No campaign.
The True Wales website does not give any names only a vague statement on the Page “Who we are?”
“We come from all walks of life and from over the whole of Wales - we are teachers, dentists, builders, office workers, farmers, academics, factory workers, accountants and business people - and from over the whole of Wales.”
Well that makes it clear!
It seems however one we do know about, David Davies MP becoming the Chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee and his promise to not campaign against devolution in the referendum, has certainly robbed them of a major figurehead.
In 1997 I did not have a vote in the referendum as I only just returned from my London exile. I admit I was not completely enthusiastic about the assembly seeing it’s lack of real power as a mere sop. but I was reminded by a speech by Marc Philips in a rally in Pontypridd when he said something on the lines .
“That Wales if was to reject the proposals we would leave ourselves open to the derision of the rest of the world”.
That will be as true in March 2011 as it was in September 1997.