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Points and punchlines

Betsan Powys | 19:34 UK time, Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Why couldn't there be a referendum in the Autumn of 2010 if the Assembly doesn't trigger one as early as January or February?

A fair question asked by the Good Evening Wales presenter. I gave what I imagine you'd call a 'broad-brush response'. But to those of you who want more detail, then read this legal advice circulated today by the Presiding Officer and written by a man who'd never dare hold a broad brush in his hand. He's more of a fan of pointillism I would have thought.

This is the crucial passage:

It is extremely difficult to see how the legal and administrative steps for a referendum under section 104 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 to be held can be completed before the impending UK general election unless the Assembly were to resolve, virtually immediately, that a referendum should be held. If this were possible, a referendum could be held in the Autumn of 2010.

If the Assembly were not immediately to resolve that a referendum should be held (or other exceptional measures taken to compress the necessary steps into the period before a dissolution of Parliament) then, provided the process is triggered by a resolution early in 2010, it would be possible (but entirely dependent on a high priority being given to the necessary Order by the incoming SoS) for an Order to be made between the election of a new Parliament and the beginning of the summer recess. If so, this, again, could enable a referendum to be held in the Autumn of 2010.

If neither of the possibilities set out in paragraphs 15 and 16 are realised then the need to complete the necessary legal and administrative steps means that the earliest date on which a referendum could be held would be the Spring of 2011.

To leaven the bread here's my award for best joke of the day. It goes to Jonathan Morgan and went something like this:

I can exclusively announce that the winner of the Labour leadership contest is ... wait for it ... Peter Hain. Can I wish Carwyn, Edwina and Huw all the best if they become his deputy!

Comic pointillism perhaps.


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  • 1. At 8:27pm on 24 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    Peter Hain as First Minister? A good choice anyone who can upset you so much Betsan must be good for Labour.

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  • 2. At 8:29pm on 24 Nov 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:

    Points and Punchlines


    I am not a politico just Joe Public having my say and I am astounded by the conduct of the political classes, with the expenses scandal seemingly over they seem to have learned nothing.

    There is the old saying that:

    ”moral indignation purges the self righteous of their own sins and feeling of being unworthy.”

    On the blog we have comments such as

    ”Hain's trickery

    Who ever believed that these could be trusted?

    IWJ stood his ground and Labour blinked first

    I have no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Plaid members would walk over such betrayal by Labour.

    the real troublemaker here is a cetain MP for Neath

    No one likes him or has a good word to say about him except the labour toadies.

    It's in Labour's court now. Let's see how honourable they are. Or will it be another example of a British party going back on their word.

    More Hain mischief making,

    It is, say Plaid, a "serious breach of trust" and "completely unacceptable"

    It's Plaid that's thrown their toys out of the window Nerys Evans has just threatened Rhodri Morgan that they (Plaid) will not allow Labour (the senior partner) to drag their feet on the timing of the referendum.”

    This one takes the biscuit

    “Again its party first and nation second.”

    Err excuse me but AM’s and MP’s are elected to serve their constituents who come first everything else comes second. When the politicians and their cronies respond in the same way in keeping with the job they were elected to do on behalf of their constituents, then perhaps they just might regain some respect.

    There is an answer to this situation and its called a Peoples Petition that has been approved by the clerks and will be published soon and here it is.

    Recall of Assembly Members
    We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Assembly Commission to introduce a system of Recall for Assembly Members for failing in their public duty in any public office, or towards their constituents.

    Supporting info
    A measure is needed to address growing public discontent with elected representatives ignoring the issues raised by their constituents. The result is that they may turn to more extremist parties. Worse still the public may feel that direct action and confrontation is the only way to draw attention to injustice and abuse of power by public funded institutions. A Recall for AM’s needs to include a system whereby correspondence and records of meetings between constituents and AM’s are maintained for future accountability. This in turn will incur an expenditure that needs to be closely monitored. Issues that arise that are outside the jurisdiction of the Assembly should be published for future requests for LCO’s to bring about reform and positive social change.


    Do you think there is going to be a similar argument and moral outrage from AM’s to get this legislation on the statute book?

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  • 3. At 8:40pm on 24 Nov 2009, John Henry wrote:

    This is good, let us know when it is published Neocromwellian, you have my vote.

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  • 4. At 9:09pm on 24 Nov 2009, penddu wrote:

    2,3 In principle I support a Recall option for all politicians - at all levels. But as this has nothing to do with the current political crisis I will save discussions for another day

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  • 5. At 9:33pm on 24 Nov 2009, John Henry wrote:

    There is no political crisis, it's a storm in the proverbial Nationalist saucer, the separatists are in crisis because they see the next stage on the path to independence as being delayed.

    I am surprised that Betsan, our intrepid unbiased BBC political reporter, has become so obviously partisan, aligning herself with the Nation builders and the Cardiff Bay "Big Spenders", do we send her for a goulash or send her to the Gulag?

    Betsan, I await your report of Peter Hain's triumphant Caesar like visit to the capital city of our revered region with ..... excitement.

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  • 6. At 9:56pm on 24 Nov 2009, Ian wrote:

    I wouldn't rule out a Spring referendum but cannot see how it can be fitted in. The earliest would be March in order to allow at least some campaign after the new year and that would leave a mere 2 months to the Assembly elections.

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  • 7. At 10:18pm on 24 Nov 2009, Tony Evans wrote:

    I'd like a referendum that includes an option to say "No" to our rubbish Assembly and wind up this expensive extra county council. On second thoughts they don't deserve that level of praise- they are no better than a parish council.

    On the question of a referendum I still await one on Europe so that I can vote a very strong "NO!".

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  • 8. At 10:20pm on 24 Nov 2009, Tony Evans wrote:

    Peter Hain is the MP that the people of Neath deserves!

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  • 9. At 07:22am on 25 Nov 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:

    #7 An Option to Get Rid of the Assembly within a Referendum.

    I agree, and while I am all for power to the people we are being ignored if issues show that the WAG or assembly is at best ineffective and at worse hiding the truth of what is going on, they have become masters of deception.

    Putting this into context, the political consensus at Westminster is now recognised at being the main cause of social injustice, and while that is bad enough we have a double whammy of the assembly and devolution.

    There is evidence that the Assembly is deliberately hiding their failures at the same time as feeding the public spin doctored good news stories to gain more powers and some would say this is how they would achieve independence by stealth. They are more concerned with popularity contests than the serious job of running a country.

    The result is that people will seek solutions outside the normal 'democratic' process or mainstream political parties, or vote with their feet and move somewhere else. We may see the start of a migration of English speaking peoples outside of Wales, and while there are some who will cheer at this the standard of essential services will decline and running costs to the English taxpayer will increase. Some say that an independent Wales would be subsidised by Europe, I do not think they are that stupid.

    That is why I am advocating partition for those who would wish to opt out of any future independent Wales, but things are so appalling that an opt out of more powers needs to be considered with Welsh counties or designated areas being directly controlled by Westminster.

    It also explains why I have made a peoples petition to force AM's to address issues raised by their constituents for whom they were elected to serve, and not the direct pursuit of more power for themselves at the expense of our personal freedoms.

    Unlike what some would have you believe the two go together, we need reform and more accountability to us the voter and taxpayer, not more powers to a ruling elite. Moreover, as some have pointed out we need to be treated with a bit more respect than an illegal immigrant.

    Regarding Peter Hain I too have concerns and criticisms, but I can safely say he is not concerned about popularity contests so lets wait and see what he does!

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  • 10. At 08:08am on 25 Nov 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:

    Tools to do the Job!

    Just seen Helen Mary Jones on BBC Wales News claiming they promised to to deliver for the people of Wales and talking about the tools to do the job.

    So what are you delivering? certainly nothing to complaining constituents claims to be quote 'On Your Side' are a sick joke.

    What tools do they need to sort out the financial crises in higher education? The answer is none, us serfs have been banned from being able to make any complaint and we are excluded from any form of consultation regarding provision and standards.

    What tools do they need to inquire into the claim by a health chief that there is 1 Billion pounds of our money being misspent on the health service? The Health Minister was asked if there was going to be an inquiry and the answer was NO. What tools or more powers does she need to say yes!

    I am at a total loss as to how more powers is going to address these issues, unless of course you 'need the tools' to extend the ban on public accountability on higher education and the health service into other areas of our lives.

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  • 11. At 08:14am on 25 Nov 2009, Ian wrote:

    I am at a total loss as to how some of the regulars on this blog see no issue with having blinkers firmly fixed, when it comes to all things bad about Cardiff Bay and all things good about Westminster. Even with the recent appalling behaviour of their beloved London democracy, they still concentrate their ire on the much more open and frankly more relevant Assembly.

    Dare I suggest that they have an agenda?

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  • 12. At 08:14am on 25 Nov 2009, alfsplace1986 wrote:

    Tony Evans

    Not all people of Neath, please

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  • 13. At 08:41am on 25 Nov 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    Concealment of loans to banks is outrageous, concealment of corruption and institutionalised abuse in our institutions is something different.

    That is the difference between Westminster and Cardiff and if you cannot see that then God help us because the Church is not going to!

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  • 14. At 09:38am on 25 Nov 2009, Ian wrote:

    A groundless smear on Welsh politics, apparently based on your own prejudices.

    How sad.

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  • 15. At 09:51am on 25 Nov 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:


    Not groundless smears but statements of fact which I would love to prove but the err WAG and assembly are obstructing it!

    That's why we the people need reform and open government and why the WAG and assembly are doing their best to oppose it.

    You are just lashing out with Your Prejudice and Your Sadness not mine. Believing what the WAG, Assembly or these AM's tell you is called the 'Barnum Effect' after the circus owner P T Barnum who coined the phrase 'there's one born every minute'.

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  • 16. At 10:07am on 25 Nov 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:

    Abusing positions of status and trust to conceal wrongdoing and then accusing people who attempt to bring such hypocrisy to light of groundless smears, is classic behaviour of the high born English, and something that I loathe and detest.

    Its only groundless because of the abuse of power in concealing what is really going. What is worse is that the victim gets the blame.

    I had had hoped that in the 21st century we could move on from the vilest of Victorian hypocrisy in the way we are governed.

    We need reform and not replace one bunch of self serving hypocrites with another pretending to be 'on your side'!

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  • 17. At 10:23am on 25 Nov 2009, Neocromwellian wrote:

    #15 Correction

    You are just lashing out with Your Prejudice and Your Sadness not mine. Believing what the WAG, Assembly or these AM's tell you is called the 'Barnum Effect' after the circus owner P T Barnum who coined the phrase 'there's one born every minute'. Should read

    "There's a sucker born every minute"

    I apologise for the error.

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  • 18. At 12:11pm on 25 Nov 2009, Ian wrote:

    15, 16, & 17,

    and also a conspiracy theorist!

    You know so much but you can't tell. Do you realise how odd that sounds? Yet, there is currently an enquiry going on about a war the UK got involved in, where Parliament was clearly mis-informed at best by the UK leader.

    However, you do not give that a mention but rant on about some amazing cover up that you can't tell us about?

    Oh, for some meaningful debate......

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  • 19. At 12:41pm on 25 Nov 2009, penddu wrote:

    Cant tell us about? He cryptically talks about nothing invloves Lampeter University, financial audit, and non-response to official complaint. You can probably fill in the gaps.

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  • 20. At 12:54pm on 25 Nov 2009, John Henry wrote:

    Well son of Harri, I would like to contribute to discussions relating to that particular inquiry, if you find it being discussed let us know where, here at Betsan's it is Welsh politics and all things Welsh.

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  • 21. At 1:28pm on 25 Nov 2009, thegnatswatter wrote:

    17. HMJ says they have the support of the people of Wales? How does she
    come to that conclusion? Opinion Polls and the AWC?

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  • 22. At 2:56pm on 25 Nov 2009, penddu wrote:

    21 Every opinion poll on the subject in the last two years (about 5 IIRC) plus some informal unscientific polls in SWEP, SWA, etc

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