Saturday, November 24, 2007

Conventional wisdom

Certain stock phrases have emerged which journalists are deploying to describe the work of the All-Wales Convention. We write that it will "do the groundwork" for a law-making Assembly, or that it will "clear the way" for a referendum in 2011.
The truth is, there is no accurate way to describe the convention's work because no-one really knows what its work will be.
Sir Emyr Jones Parry this week said he would produce a report by the end of 2009. He could not, however, tell us what he will be writing about because his terms of reference have not been set. Everyone in the Bay seems content that he is the man for the job, even if they don't know what his job is.
Labour AM Alun Davies says in today's Western Mail that the convention must seek consensus on what sort of Assembly Wales wants, not merely identify whether there is consent for the institution envisioned in the 2006 Government of Wales Act.
This is quite a neat way of summing up the convention's primary political function - to tie the One Wales coalition together. There are those who want it to slow down the devolution project and there are those who want it to act as a surrogate Yes campaign. But at some point it will have to address the narrowly-defined question of "Can a referendum be won in 2011".
Rhodri Morgan says that what voters tell pollsters outside Marks and Spencer on a Saturday afternoon is not the same as what they do in the privacy of the polling booth. Sir Emyr, he says, must find out why this is so.
I await with interest to see if Sir Emyr can find a hitherto unknown way of measuring public opinion that will give a foolproof answer to the question of "Can a referendum be won in 2011".

1 comment:

Tortoiseshell said...

A favourite Welsh idioms of mine "ploughing the furrow"