On 3 March 2011. The referendum asked the question:
"Do you want the Assembly now to be able to make laws on all matters in the 20 subject areas it has powers for?"
|What's the point in a Referendum if it doesn't resolve the issue?|
Few flt that was the end pf the Devolution Process nut it was hoped thta it at least cleared up a number of constitutional anomalies .
Far from it the latest problem/row is whether the Assembly has powers to change the voting system for local government elections.
Plaid’s Mid and West AM Simon Thomas has proposed a Member’s Bill to change the voting system in local government to Single Transferable Vote (STV), but Labour AM Mike Hedges, ( I've never heard of him either) claimed that Assembly electoral arrangements are reserved to the UK Parliament.
But Mr Thomas, a member of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, said:
“National Assembly lawyers were happy for the proposal for Fair Votes In Local Government (Wales) Bill to go ahead and confirmed that in writing to us. We can use Scotland as a precedent where the Single Transferable Vote system has worked.”
So whose right ?
Er We don't really know.
Stephen Brooks, the director of the Electoral Reform Society in Wales, said that there was a lack of clarity among Assembly Members and government officials over what fell under the competence of the Assembly – and raised the prospect of repeated trips to the Supreme Court to “test” parts of the settlement. said:
“It appears that the power [over local government voting systems] is not devolved and I think, reading the advice I received from the Chief Legal Officer to the Presiding Officer, and hearing what the Welsh Government has said, it appears it is not devolved.MrBrooks ,said that the current system was “confusing” and discouraged AMs from making laws.
“But the problem remains that it is unclear, and it has to be the UK Government that declares a view or tests this, in the courts, and effectively until that time, the Assembly is in limbo.”
“What I find interesting is, if we are trying to encourage backbench AMs and opposition AMs to come forward with new laws for Wales, if they are confused by the powers they have and receive conflicting advice, you have to question the way we have set up the ‘conferred powers’ model in the Assembly.The issue over reform over the Electoral system is important because of the news that local councils in Wales could face a big shake-up under a major review into the way public services are run.
The Welsh government has ruled out any large reorganisation before the next assembly election; But a review is seen as an attempt to reach an agreement on cutting some of the 22 Welsh councils after 2016.
So it would make it sense that at the same time we examine the electoral system ?
But it seems that even if this was carried out and it was recommended that we aped Scotland adopted STV . the Assembly could not carry this out even if it wanted to.
It would be like the WRU imposing a new League Structure but being told that it couldn't change the points or bonus point system .
It is clear unless we to have parity with Scotland and have a proper parliament then we are still going to have these arguments over competence and filing the coffers of the lawyers as we troop again and again to the high court and possibly beyond.
Isn't it about time we got it right.?