Vote For Wales or be Anti Welsh by default

Those of us who are married, middle aged and set in our ways are the most likely to vote in political elections. At a rough guess I reckon that between parish, area, county, Assembly, British, European and referenda, I have voted about 45 out of 46 times since I was 18.

The one I missed out on was on 18 September 1997 the date on which my Mother in Law had a heart attack. My wife and I accompanied her to the hospital, and by the time we left the hospital the polling stations had closed and three definite YES FOR WALES votes were never cast.

Ever since the opponents of devolution have claimed that those who failed to vote in favour of devolution are tacitly opposed to devolution, people who couldn't be bothered!

I wanted to vote Yes, my wife wanted to vote Yes, My mother in law wanted to vote Yes, other members of the family would have voted yes, but were deprived of voting because of family circumstances!

My failure, to vote yes in 1997 could not have been further from the truth of the antis claims about those of us who failed to vote!

If you support Welsh Self Determination – vote YES if you can; because if you don't, those monsters who hate Wales will claim your vote as their own in the same way that they claimed my patriotic mother in law's heart attack as a vote in favour of their hatred of Wales!


Election day confusion

Whether or not the response to Nick Clegg's offer to change the dates of the Welsh Assembly Election is childish or sensible, I find the offer totally confusing.

The reason behind the offer is to ensure that devolved and Westminster elections don't clash, so far so good – elections to different establishments shouldn't clash. But the reason why they might clash is because the Lib Dems have decided that Westminster should have fixed term elections; because they believe that the ad hoc way that Westminster elections have been called in the past are undemocratic.

So in order to stop ad hoc elections to Westminster we get rid of fixed term elections to the Assembly by giving the Assembly a two year leeway in which to hold ad-hoc elections! This is totally illogical.

If fixed term is good and ad hoc bad the problem isn't solved by switching from ad hoc in Westminster to fixed and swapping from fixed to ad hoc in Cardiff Bay!

Of course the clash is only caused because Gordon Brown called an ad hoc election on the first Thursday in May, which just happened to be the fixed date of devolved elections. Wouldn't the sensible answer to the problem be for Westminster to call its first fixed term election in September/October 2014; rather than causing problems by insisting that Gordon Brown's arbitrary decision to hold an election on May 6th 2010 should define the date of Westminster elections in perpetuity?


Vote Yes because the Assembly listens !

There was an exceptionally important debate in the National Assembly Chamber yesterday; despite its importance it probably won't receive much media attention.

It was a debate about work based training for vulnerable children. This might not be a subject that raises the blood pressure of political activists in Wales; indeed it was so uncontroversial that it was given unanimous support by Assembly Members.

The result of the debate will mean that the Government will change some of its policies regarding work based training for the most vulnerable children in Wales, but the importance of the debate is much more than the beneficial effect that it will have on the lives of vulnerable children; its importance lies in how vulnerable children, themselves, have actually caused a changed of Assembly Government policy.

The change in government policy began with two vulnerable children voicing their frustration to the child protection charity Action for Children - Gweithredu dros Blant. Gweithredu dros Blant took up the children's issues and presented them in a petition to the Assembly. The Assembly's cross party Petitions Committee looked at the petition, took evidence from interested parties and presented that evidence to ministers; and the ministers have acted on that evidence.

This is fantastic, this is real democracy in action, and this is an example of real people changing policy in areas that affect their lives.

Historic is an overused word in politics but an occasion where vulnerable children's complaints can lead to a change in government policy is really historic!

Petitions being ignored have played a big part in the Westminster government's history. I have signed some of the Petitions to the Prime Minister on http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ and all of them have resulted in an e-mail that says in civil service speak "p*** off"!

Petitions to the Welsh Assembly, even from vulnerable children, can change government policy!

The Government in Wales reacts to the opinions of the people of Wales in a way that Westminster doesn't!

Is there a better reason for voting YES on March 3rd?


Yes! For Rugby

Despite the best efforts of Yes for Wales and Untrue Lies there doesn't seem much enthusiasm about debating the pros and cons of moving to part four of the Government of Wales Act (2006).

There is however one question that can always guarantee to raise Welsh passions and to divide our nation into two separate camps: What is the National Game of Wales – Rugby or Football?

By being led by the Chief Executive of the WRU and by its excessive use of rugby images is Yes for Wales in danger of scoring an own goal by alienating those who would vote Football in a vote that really mattered?


The truth about my Jim Trott type No Campaign

I have enjoyed my No campaign.

It has, I hope, highlighted some of the faults in the Political Parties Elections and Referendums Act (2000). It has noted that the reasons for voting one way or the other and even not voting cannot be extrapolated in an over simplistic way. The reason why people vote Yes, No or choose not to vote in a referendum are many and variable.

But when devo naysayers complain in perpetuity that the March 3rd referendum result was won unfairly, they can be reminded that:

History records that the only official bid to form a No campaign came from a nationalist supporter of independence. The establishment refused that bid and a majority of the people of Wales abstained, in disgust, at the establishment's attempt to stifle their voice or voted NO! NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

It may not be true, but it is as good a narrative as the naysayers lie that those who didn't vote in 1997 effectively voted no!

My wife and I failed to vote in 1997, because my mother in law was taken into hospital on referendum day and we didn't leave the hospital until after the polling station closed. One of the reasons for my No campaign is that I have been continuously peeved at claims that that our failure to vote is assumed to be a tacit expression of our opposition to Welsh self determination - nothing could be further from the truth!

With voting day only a month away I will come clean and declare that my vote will be a Jim Trott type No – No – No – No - No - No - Yes!