Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pushing Welsh Devolution

A decade ago, as part of the Blair government's devolution program, the UK government created the Welsh National Assembly. Initially a talking shop with limited powers (essentially overseeing the old Welsh Office), it has since gained some limited legislative powers. And now, it looks set to gain a whole lot more:

A national referendum should be held in Wales with a view to giving the Welsh assembly full law-making powers, a major inquiry has decided.

The All Wales Convention, established by the assembly government, said a 'yes' vote in favour of boosting powers was obtainable but not guaranteed.

Opinion polling for the convention indicated 47% of people would vote 'yes' in a referendum and 37% 'no'.

Scotland effectively has its own national government (well, except for abortion, nuclear power, drugs, treason, foreign policy and independence - areas where the English don't trust the Scots to obey), and the natural question is "why not Wales"? And when you look at it, there's little justification for them not to have such powers (hell, there's little justification for them not to be independent - but that's a question for the Welsh people).

The next step is for the Welsh Assembly to pass a referendum motion, which must then be approved by the Secretary of State for Wales. Assuming that is not vetoed, they'll be able to vote on it by the next Welsh elections in 2011.