Thursday, February 26, 2009

The final settlement for Wales?

An opinion poll has been published about opinions towards the constitutional set-up for Wales. (BBC News: Majority back law-making assembly) Whilst it seems doubtful that there will be a referendum just yet, the direction suggests opinion settling towards what could be the final settlement for Wales.

The figures are:
In favour of turning assembly into full law-making parliament: 52%
Against turning assembly into full law-making parliament: 39%
Don't know: 9%
And the breakdown:
Law-making Welsh parliament with tax powers in UK: 34%
Law-making Welsh parliament with no tax powers in UK: 10%
Independent Wales outside UK but in EU: 8%
Independent Wales outside UK and EU: 5%
Status quo: 21%
Abolish assembly 19%
Don't know: 4%
I don't know what is the bigger blow for Welsh separatists - only 13% supporting Wales leaving the UK or that figure being split between membership of the EU and Welsh independence. Another forlorn hope is anti-devolutionism. Just 19% want to abolish the Assembly. Those who still talk about "only 25% support" from the 1997 referendum have well and truly become Yesterday's Men.

The debate is now coming down to whether the Assembly should have legislative making powers or carry on as it is now. Anyone who wants to fight either the anti-devolutionist or separatist causes will be abdicating from the real debate.

At the moment I personally don't know where I stand on this one. So it's lucky I don't live in Wales! But if there is to be a referendum on legislative powers I think it is essential that the knock-on effects for Westminster are given due consideration beforehand, especially as options like cutting the number of MPs may be forthcoming and could prove decisive in a close referendum.

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