Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The day cometh

Even though they want a Welsh Parliament, the Liberal Democrats will not campaign for a 'yes' vote in a referendum on primary powers for the Assembly if it is held on the same day as the 2011 election. Welsh Lib Dem leader Mike German says a simultaneous election/referendum would confuse things. A cross-party 'yes' campaign could not be sustained during a bitter election battle, he says.

In America referendums on election day are not uncommon - seven states banned recognition of same-sex marriage on mid-term election day last year.

Perhaps it would help the cause of greater devolution to have the referendum on election day. Might those voters who turn out at least be more favourably disposed towards having an Assembly?

What Mischievous Mike really wants is to remind us of the broad spectrum of opinion towards devolution that exists within Labour and Plaid Cymru, the two governing parties of the One Wales coalition. He is agitating for Rhodri Morgan and Ieuan Wyn Jones to move swiftly towards a referendum, knowing full well that they dare not appear over hasty. That is why they created the convention.

There are two important elections before 2011 - a General Election and an election for a new Labour leader in Wales. Who knows what complexion that will cast upon proceedings?

Mr German can call for meetings with Rhodri Morgan about setting up a 'yes' campaign for 2011 all he wants. If they stick to their stated retirement dates, Messrs German and Morgan will be long gone as party leaders by the time 2011 comes around.

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