As an aside Normal is obviously employed by Golwg as a blogger - he took over the column from Blamerbell - so why doesn't the magazine recognise this by publishing his and other Welsh blogger's URLs?
I was disappointed by Normal's latest offering in which he claims that those who want an early referendum on further powers for the Assembly are faking it and that all of us really truly support Peter Hain and Paul Murphy's policies of procrastination.
Normal's current article is full of inaccuracies.
Firstly he says:
The Welsh political elite currently divides into three camps: those who say they want primary powers via an earlier referendum, those who say they want primary powers via a later referendum and those who don’t want primary powers at all.
There is a fourth option. some of us believe (for a variety of different reasons) that a referendum is not needed / undesirable and that it would be better if the Government of Wales Act was amended forthwith to get rid of the referendum clause.
Secondly Normal claims:
Few politicians genuinely seem to want an early referendum. Labour has claimed credit for the Convention idea, a device that at least punts decision time into the future. Some, however, credit Plaid as the true authors of this deft delaying tactic.
If a snap referendum was held tomorrow all the signs seem to suggest that it would be won by the YES side. The sediment in the clear spring water appears to be a fear that some Labour dinosaurs (naming no names) would do a Kinnock and campaign against Labour Party policy in a big way, scupering the referendum, as in 1979. This is a real problem. But I can't see that delay will solve it. Is there any guarantee that they will have changed their minds by 2012 or 2016? No!
There have been pro and anti home rule wings in Labour since its inception 100 years ago and if the anti's are appeased they will continue for another 100 years. The Labour opponents of enhanced devolution need to be taken by the horns and fought with now. Delaying the fight won't make the fight less bloody, won't make the outcome more secure and wont make victory smell sweeter of defeat smell less bitter.
Those who believe in enhanced devolution, in all parties, should campaign for it and aim for it now - there is nothing to be gained by procrastination!
Thirdly Normal claims that:
The consequences of a “no” vote would be catastrophic, for devolution and for Plaid.
I disagree. On three counts:
The worst failing in Normal's article is this statement:
It is hard to argue for a referendum so that people can vote no
There has only ever been one UK wide referendum, the EU one in 197?. The purpose then was to get a yes vote. In Wales we have had many more referendums. The Sunday drinking referendums were introduced specifically to enable a no vote, in order to reverse an act perceived by both Labour and Conservative politicians as passed as an appeasement to north Wales, Welsh speaking, chapel-going, Liberals. The 1979 devolution referendums which included the if you are dead you have voted no clause was hardly geared to the yes side. Most calls for UK referenda, the Euro, Mastricht, Lisbon etc, of recent years have been called for, specifically, in order to gain a no vote.
All in all, it is those who are opposed to Wales, those who have a NO attitude to Wales, who insist on a referendum for Wales to be treated as a grown up country and who also insist that such a referendum should be delayed forever and a day.