BBC BLOGS - Betsan's Blog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Round at ours

Betsan Powys | 22:10 UK time, Sunday, 13 January 2008

It's round at our place tomorrow then.

MPs who are members of the Establishing Committee of the All Wales Convention are coming to Cardiff for round 2 of the talks. Round 1 gave us Nick Ainger as chairman and Helen Mary Jones as his deputy. Round 2 promises to be much more fun.

Why? Because this time they'll have to get down to the nitty gritty. This time they'll have to start deciding what the remit of the Convention on further powers should be and how it should operate .. and rumour has it that Labour and Plaid Cymru members of the committee have come to radically different conclusions about their remit. Cosy it won't be.

The Convention will be chaired by former diplomat, Emyr Jones Parry. That much we know - but just like a certain think-tank I could mention, we know very little else. It sounds as though Labour members want a Convention with a pretty narrow remit - in other words a group designed to advise Wales' political parties on the timing of a referendum campaign. It should be neutral and simply advise on the circumstances in which a 'yes' vote would be won. It would commission research on public opinion, assess it and make recommendations. In other words its remit wouldn't run further than examining the potential for winning a referendum under Part 4 of the Government of Wales Act.

So how about Plaid members? I gather they favour a much wider ranging remit. They want a Convention that's allowed to examine the case for widening the areas of policy which the Assembly can legislate on, like criminal justice. How about an increase in the number of AMs to deal with the extra powers which would come with additional competencies? Yes, they want that looked at too.

What about the really fundamental stuff? Labour members, I'm told, view the Convention as a neutral body. It may be aimed at paving the way for a 'yes' vote but it's essentially an evidence gathering body, not a campaigning one. Plaid on the other hand see its role as making the case for more powers, a campaigning body to build consensus, not just measure it.

Labour seem to want a smaller Convention, run by an executive. Plaid a more ambitious body, a 'rolling Convention' where the establishing committee would lead the work of a large number of smaller groups right across Wales.

Entrenched? I'm sure they'll find a way of meeting in the middle - especially since the boss, Sir Emyr himself, will be in Cardiff and part of the discussions.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 11:04 AM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • John R. Walker wrote:

"It should be neutral and simply advise on the circumstances in which a 'yes' vote would be won."

That's not neutral - that's biased in favour of the yes campaign...

We must have an official NO campaign set up as part of any referendum on more powers and it must be as well resourced and funded using public money as the yes campaign.

  • 2.
  • At 05:57 PM on 14 Jan 2008,
  • Penyberth wrote:

How did it go? or did they declare war?

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.