Why not delay the referendum for now and have a substantial referendum in 2012?

Last week I was invited to be part of a focus group commissioned by the Electoral Commission to garner opinions about the wording of the prospective Assembly Powers Referendum.

There were about 20 people in the group from different backgrounds. Some of us were keen supporters of the Assembly others wanted the institution abolished, but all, apart from myself, were under the illusion that the referendum was about giving the Assembly the same powers that the Scottish Parliament has now. When it was explained that they were mistaken, that the referendum was just about the way that the Assembly gained powers and that the full powers could be gained, over time, even if the referendum produced a 100% No vote, all thought that the referendum was a complete waste of time and money.

The members of the group were all annoyed that they had come to the meeting with strong views on opposing or supporting enhanced devolution only to find that the discussion was about administrative tinkering rather than anything of substance.

Because of the current government's desire to equalize the size of Westminster constituencies the Government of Wales Act 2006, will have to be amended, because the said act insists that Westminster and Bay constituencies must be the same size. In amending the bill why not add an amendment to give the Assembly Schedule 7 powers without the need for a referendum, and have a referendum in a year or two's time on substantive Full Scottish Type Powers for the Assembly, which most people, from both sides of the argument, think that the part 4 referendum is about anyway?


  1. It wont happen because that would remove the need for yet another act and another referendum several years down the line to give us the same status Scotland had in 1999.

    It will be even harder to get a yes vote then because the Welsh media will be even weaker, and Wales even more anglacised.

    In the meantime our (mostly Labour) MP's will be safe in their lucrative seats.

    That was no doubt the strategy from the start.

  2. well said, i fear its far to sensible a suggestion to actually be acted upon.

  3. I am not in favour of any more powers for the Welsh Assembly however I think the country should have a say in whether they should have or not. The problem is that to have it at the Welsh Assembly elections at the same time as the possible alternative vote referendum is wrong. I believe it will create voter apathy and confuse a lot of voters.Getting people out to vote is hard enough without having 2 referendums as well