Much excitement on the BBC about the latest devolution opinion poll commissioned by the Corporation. Rather than cause me excitement however the poll leaves me in despair.
Because of the failings of previous Welsh opinion polls supporters of devolution are using polls that show a lead, but not a substantial lead, to play into the hands of the opponents of devolution. Devolutionists will not demand a referendum until the polls show substantially more support for further powers than those polls in 1997 that predicted more than 60% support for devolution. This is silly, an inaccurate poll is an inaccurate poll, and if today's poll showed 75% support for further powers it still couldn't be relied on. Those who want opinion polls to predict the best time to hold a referendum should be campaigning for more accurate polls rather than being panicked by inaccurate ones.
The whole referendum issue is, of course, a farce. Those Labour and Lib Dem MPs who stood in the last Westminster election insisting that a referendum should be held on the European constitution but who have now ditched that commitment are blatant hypocrites for insisting that a further devolution referendum is still necessary. A referendum on the Government of Wales Act would not have anything like the constitutional implications of the Lisbon Treaty. Indeed if a referendum was held tomorrow and was heavily defeated it wouldn't prevent the Assembly from acquiring all of the powers offered in the GoW Act over time through the LCO system.
The thing that caused me the most despair, however, was that the BBC and the political pundits insist on peddling the lie that a referendum will put the Assembly on a par with the Scottish Parliament, Betsan Powys' reports even suggested that the question asked in the poll mentioned Scottish Powers. The Government of Wales Act offers the Assembly fewer than a fifth of the limited powers that Scotland has - politicians and broadcasters who claim otherwise are deliberately deceiving the public.