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From afar

Betsan Powys | 17:25 UK time, Wednesday, 26 January 2011

I was standing on the balcony of the Scottish government offices in Edinburgh, trying to disentangle why talking about "Scottish style powers" on offer in the referendum in Wales would be wrong, when the latest ITV/YouGov opinion poll pinged into my inbox.

The political parties' ratings are pretty much holding station month-on-month ahead of May's election, but most attention is focused on the referendum voting intention results.

Would the splurge of publicity surrounding the launches of the Yes and No campaigns this month have had an effect?

The answer? Yes, but the net effect seems to have been to increase the number of "don't knows".

Here are the (unweighted) figures:

If there were to be a referendum tomorrow on giving the National Assembly for Wales increased law-making powers, how would you vote?

Dec Jan

Yes 46% 44%

No 25% 23%

Don't Know/ 29% 32%
Wouldn't Vote

So the upshot is +3 for the don't knows.

For the first time, YouGov have also produced results weighted on how likely respondents are to vote, with the following results:

Yes 49%

No 26%

Don't Know/ 26%
Wouldn't Vote


  • Comment number 1.

    We normally have to wait a few days for the full breakdown, but I'm very pleased to see that it's already on the YouGov site, here:

    Betsan, are you able to tell us whether the BBC will commission ICM to produce what has become an annual St David's Day poll this year as well? I very much hope you do, not least because of the continuity of year-on-year information it provides.

    MH @ Syniadau

  • Comment number 2.

    The poll also included questions about the respondents ability to speak Welsh - those results seem to be missing from the reported figures it would be interesting to see them, and how they impact on the voting intentions and overall result.

    A small point Betsan, today's report on Welsh Education spending is surely of more importance than this interim poll.

  • Comment number 3.

    @ West-Wales

    The only time these yougov/itv wales polls have published the data on ability to speak Welsh was back in Oct 09 here

    page 20 shows that of the thousand odd surveyed,in answer to the question "Can you speak Welsh?":

    18% ticked "Yes fluently" and an additional 24% ticked "Yes but not fluently". These two together add up to a massive 42%! Double the figure from the most recent survey for a question indicating 'some ability' in the language.

    Consequently, as speaking welsh corresponds extremely strongly to likelihood of voting Plaid (you can use my link to cross-reference in order to prove this) the poll was unrepresentative because Plaid voters are hardly likely to vote No to more powers :)

    A poster called Sedwot claimed to have taken up this very issue with Yougov who admitted they had difficulty applying any sort of appropriate weighting for Welsh speaking ability. Since then, any update interim polls have mysteriously not included the data on Welsh speaking ability.

    p.s. agree with your final point West-Wales ... is there seriously nothing more important to report from the bay today? Not even a 'well known' (I use the term loosely) AM falling asleep again??

  • Comment number 4.

    I think the message from this poll is simply that the "yes" side will win due to lack of knowledge and interest by the Welsh electorate and subsequent low turnout (As in 1997).
    Loaclly Labour supporters are saying (incorrectly) that a "no" vote will mean that the NHS reforms proposed in England would also be implemented in Wales. The fact that people would belive this (and possibly vote "yes") shows the level of di-interest / ignornace in devolution.

  • Comment number 5.

    Interesting to see how things haven't changed much in a month, especially since True Wales have attracted a disproportionate share of the media in the last couple of weeks. i honestly can't see why capability to speak Welsh should have any relevance at all to this referendum - though it would be interesting to see whether True Wales's inability to present their case in Welsh, either in the media, or on their website, has had an effect.

    Betsan - exactly what "Scottish style powers" are on offer in the referendum? Why haven't we been told this before?

  • Comment number 6.

    Re M4, I must apologise for the shocking spelling;
    Loaclly = locally
    di-interest = dis-interest
    ignornace = ignorance
    time for bed.

  • Comment number 7.

    laughable to see poster 3 still employing bizarre calculations in an effort to claim that these independent polls are somehow weighted in the yes sides favour! In effect saying that these polls by reputable polling companies like yougov are fixed! What an outrageous slur that is...but sadly what we have come to expect from no campaigners as they seem unable to accept the stark fact that they are still not getting any meaningful support from people in wales.

    Their so called 'launch' has not improved their dismal poll standings one bit...tho in truth of course it wasnt a launch as there was not a No campaign being launched ...rather a 'announcement' that there would not be a No campaign! Well clearly in view of these polling figures that stunt appears to have seriously backfired for true wales!

  • Comment number 8.

    Ah Leigh you are missing the point, there is a conspiracy involving the leading elements of the Labour Party, senior Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and all lead by Plaid. The BBC, ITV and all the newspapers in Wales are in on it. As are all the polling organisations. All the voluntary organisations in Wales have to toe the pro devolution/independence line or they will lose their funding. What? You want proof? Well there were some discussions on a Welsh Stock exchange and the possibility of an annual award/honours event... isn't that proof enough? As for the polling organisations, well they keep saying that the people want a yes vote, so that is proof positive that they have fiddled the results!

  • Comment number 9.

    Leigh #7,
    polls by reputable polling companies like yougov

    Not sure you are right to assume YouGov do it all and the poll results are independently analysed and weighed by them.
    YouGov collect the data, but the analysis and weighing is done elsewhere as Betsan reported on the 14th October 2009 in her post "Poll!"

    YouGov has established a Welsh panel. That means they have a pool of people who will take part in regular internet polling. The results of their very first Welsh poll will be published in a fortnight's time when the tantalising prospect of regular polling in Wales will be dangled before us......
    Doing the analysing, Richard Wyn Jones from the Wales Governance Centre at Cardiff University and Roger Scully from Aberystwyth University.

    The post is here

  • Comment number 10.

    of course lyn i’d forgotten that there is a grand conspiracy involving the entire welsh media...every british polling organisation...and virtually every meaningful political and community organisation in wales! In fact i have it on good authority from one No campaigner that yougov was a key player in the assassination of JFK....oh and elvis is alive and well and campaigning for a no vote in Blaenau Ffestiniog...which is disappointing as i really thought the ‘king’ would have been with us!

  • Comment number 11.

    just to point out 'west wales' that yougov's poll findings are in line with polls carried out by beaufort research and by ICM for bbc wales last month ie indicating a lead of well over twenty percent for the yes side of the debate.

    but old cliche i know...the poll that matters most is on march 3rd and none of us on the yes side can afford to get complacent about the result and must continue to work as hard as ever to get people right across wales to come out and vote yes on march 3rd.

  • Comment number 12.

    The most recent polling figures are "accurate",in that the welsh speaking part of society,and the labour heartlands are likely to be solidly behind the "more powers" argument,and therefore they represent a sizeable chunk of welsh life. Whilst there is no "conspiracy",worthy of its name,there is an unhealthy grouping of "civic society",which sees clear advantages to itself in the internalising of wales as a sort of CUBA without the sunshine,and attractive maidens rolling cigars on parts of their bodies. Whilst all this "politicking" is going on the actual welsh world seems to be heading towards a greater mediocrity than ever,and the gap in wealth between the "haves",and "haves not" is increasing,even in this socialist paradise. With the clear evidence that the whole of western europe is going to face major structual problems,due to ageing populations etc etc,and the impact on public funds available to fund "lifestyles" its people can afford,we in wales are only moving more and more into a never never land. Read Jeff Randall in today's Telegraph for fuller details. I saw Leanne Wood AM on television yesterday and if thats the "quality" weve got then we are in greater difficulty that I thought. Never mind both my children are living "over the border",where there is some realism. In conclusion we need to "devolve" powers to individual people who can then sort life out with public service,rather than give more and more powers to incompetant organizations that cannot even teach children to read and write to proper age grouping. Never mind get a "job" with BBC CYMRU and you can get £600 taxi rides from HQ in Llandaff to London,and thats a fact.

  • Comment number 13.


    They are not my calculations.... they are there in black and white on the yougov link I provided. They polled 42% people either fluent or with 'some ability in the Welsh language'. This is not consistent with the reality of Wales as backed up by census figures. These are undeniable facts in black and white.... nothing laughable about it.

    Now if you dont want to believe that speaking Welsh is a confounding factor on likelihood of voting Yes in the referendum then that's fine (although you can use the data in yougov link i provided to prove it is a confounding factor for voting Plaid).... but dont call my calculations bizarre without even attempting to follow the methodology. Did you even look at my link?

  • Comment number 14.

    yougov's poll findings are of course in line with polls carried out recently by Beaufort research and ICM for BBC wales...and unsurprisingly all have shown a lead of over twenty percent for the yes campaign.

  • Comment number 15.

    Re 12

    In a week when we've seen the unacceptable sexism of some SkySports presenters, it's a shame to read:
    "...and attractive maidens rolling cigars on parts of their bodies"
    by Tellingme...
    Perhaps it's a generational thing.

  • Comment number 16.

    i dont believe it comeoffit...

    You have been peddling this absurd line that every opinion poll on this matter is slanted in favour of the yes side for some time now...using your own bizarre formula in order to arrive at your own bizarre conclusions. You are of course perfectly entitled to your own opinion comeoffit ....personally i prefer to trust the people at yougov...ICM and at Beaufort research......presumably you think that the pollsters at ICM and Beaufort also slant their polls in favour of the yes side.....

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm not saying every poll Leigh Richards because they no longer give Welsh speaking ability in the breakdown (as per MH's link). However in my link (for the Oct 2009 poll) they did, and by sampling 42% Welsh speakers and not even attempting to weight for bias they have a poll which is unrepresentative of the whole of Wales. It's all in my link Leigh Richards... you can put the words 'absurd' and 'bizarre' in your posts as much as you like but it wont alter what's there in black and white. As I said it's undeniable.

    You know you nationalists make me laugh! constantly you attack British organisations for 'not understanding Wales'... but when I give you a clear example of Yougov forgetting to take into account that Welsh speaking ability has a relationship with voting intentions, because it doesnt suit your nationalist agenda then you start singing Yougov's praises. Simply hilarious to observe :)

  • Comment number 18.

    yet all the polls are saying the same thing, a remarkable degree of consistency. So either they are all lying or they are all showing the same tends. Which is it?

  • Comment number 19.

    I was born in England, have English parents & only speak English
    I will be voting Yes

    I don’t think which language you speak makes a difference to how you vote. If you want a confident, enterprising & forwards looking Wales that has the guts to solve its own problems you’ll vote Yes

  • Comment number 20.

    bit of advice for you comeoffit ...when you are in a hole stop digging!

    as for attacking british organisations i have every faith in the polling capacities of reputable polling organisations like yougov and beaufort research and ICM...all of whom have brought out polls recently indicating a lead of over 20 percent for lawmaking powers for the welsh assembly...its you that appears to be doubting the truthfullness of these british organisations

  • Comment number 21.

    beautifully put Marches_man

    im not a welsh speaker either ......and i will be voting Yes!

  • Comment number 22.

    I saw another interesting quote from "True Wales", this time from Paul Matthews, who claims, "I am a Welsh person. We’re not the most innovative or creative, and very often those that are, move out of Wales."

    This damning indictment prompted this response from Geraint Talfan Davies, writing on Click On Wales:

    "In one short sentence he has stated the most concise case for law-making powers. His depressing thought, if turned into public policy, points Wales down the shortest route to the knacker’s yard.

    "It is a wonderful rallying cry: Vote No on 3 March in favour of the congenital inferiority of Welsh people, Vote No if you think Welsh people cannot do what the English, Scots and Northern Irish are allowed to do, Vote No if you think Wales doesn’t have two ideas to rub together, Vote No if you really believe there is no hope, Vote No if you would rather leave, Vote No if you think this is how you want it to be, for ever and ever, Amen."

  • Comment number 23.

    Lyn #8

    Conspiracy - Oh dear, are you suggesting that there is not a program in place to get a yes vote in the forthcoming Referendum.
    That no Political Parties, various pressure groups and activists are not working to that end, with of course the support of sections of the media.

    Part of the problem is factual data;
    We know given the geo democratic and indigenous cultural diversity of the people of Wales assessing popular opinion through opinion polls is extraordinary difficult - the margin for error much larger than in other parts of the UK.

    In the case of the YouGov Welsh Panel we know that the sample includes 41% Welsh speakers - given that group in the Welsh population (of Voting Age) represent only some 20% of the population, it suggests that the poll panel is unrepresentative of the people of Wales.

    It does not mean that the reported opinions are different to those of the whole population.
    It suggests an unrepresentative group was sampled.
    So if the findings compare with the opinion of the whole of the Welsh people that is purely fortuitous.

  • Comment number 24.

    Re: 12

    "...attractive maidens rolling cigars on parts of their bodies."

    They don't do that anymore because it can cause cancer.

  • Comment number 25.

    just when you think no campaigners surely cannot get any more absurd in their refusal to accept all the polling evidence of polling organisations like ICM ....beaufort research and yougov ....along comes this pearl of wisdom from west- wales "if the findings compare with the opinion of the whole of the Welsh people that is purely fortuitous." just couldnt make it up......

  • Comment number 26.

    Now, now - you mustn't get into the bad habits of the rest of the "Yes" group,
    Taking a quote out of context, to twist the meaning, is a tactic of those who have nothing else to offer.

    However given the intellectual and factual weakness's of the "Yes" campaign argument I suppose its all you have got.

    Perhaps you can make a case (based on fact not opinion) to support granting Primary Legislative Powers (PLP) to the Welsh Assembly, a body who has squandered millions (perhaps Billions) and under whose control all the devolved services have dramatically underperformed.

    I suggest you start with how (PLP) can be used to improve Education in Wales.

    You might like to go on to describe how (PLP) will help improve the NHS, perhaps explaining why WAG is centralising services, which in Wales because of poor transport links and dispersed communities need to be close to communities based in local hospitals.

    Both are devolved responsibilities over-which the Assembly has had full control since its inception.

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    Re, my message 130, it seems that I picked up a troll, please BBC, could you remove that diseased link I gave to You Tube? Thanks, Eastwood fan.

  • Comment number 29.

    People are talking past each other. I would like to engage. Here's what I don't understand in West Wales' position #26. You think the WAG has performed poorly since devolution. For the sake of argument let's agree that's a tenable view. Why do you assume it is inevitable? Why, instead of campaigning to change the Welsh government do you want to abolish the Welsh government altogether? Don't you want the Welsh to get off their backsides and take responsibility for their affairs? A government in Cardiff, however incompetent, must take more notice of Welsh public opinion than a government in Westminster, which can afford to ignore it entirely if it differs from the majority view in marginal seats in England. So is it, as Talfan Davies put it, that the Welsh are uniquely incompetent to be trusted with democracy? In fact, for a new institution in my view the WAG has not done too badly though it has made many mistakes. It is OTT to blame it for the state of a Welsh economy that has been deteriorating relatively since 1913. And it will get better with practice. It needs people like you to criticise it for policy errors not waste time calling for abolition or condemning it to a half-life without adequate powers. Everyone has the vote in Wales if they are over 18 so it's pathetic to talk of an 'undemocratic' institution conspiring against people's interests. If you think that: throw the rascals out and vote in people more responsive. Westminster will never be responsive to any special needs Wales has - we are too politically insignficant in the House of Commons. And if you think Westminster is full of philosopher kings, you really haven't been paying attention. We have to grow up and take responsibility. Why do you think we don't?

  • Comment number 30.

    west_wales its good to see that you have given up flogging that dead horse that the polls are slanted in the yes campaigns favour it was become embarrassing watching yourself and other flat earthers flounder in public like that.....

    yes the case for primary lawmaking powers for the welsh assembly is a simple will speed up the process of devolution ....making it more efficient and more effective than it currently is. A yes vote on march 3rd will mean that the welsh assembly will have lawmaking powers over those areas which are already devolved too it.

    It will mean that legislation that has already been approved by the welsh assembly such as the excellent organ donor scheme or house sprinkler scheme will not then have to be sent up to westminster to be approved by MPs there before it can be implimented in wales - a costly and time consuming process which has seen some vital legislation being delayed for up to 3 years by MPs at westminster or blocked altogether in some cases. The office of the wales counsel general recently calculated that doing away with this costly and time consuming process could save up to two millions pounds a year.

    There is of course another important reason to vote yes - and that is laws that only apply to wales should be made in wales.

    Obviously judging by all the opinion polls...its a case that people in wales seem to agree with

  • Comment number 31.

    30 ... your ... legislation being delayed ...

    It's a little like choosing a restaurant....

    ... a burger bar in Cardiff Bay.


    ... a fine restaurant such as St John in London.

    .... it's all about choosing the very best chef's and just as important, the menu, the Labour-Plaid dish is convenience food wanting to get faster, a frightening prospect as the two examples you gave illustrate, the ill considered donor scheme and domestic sprinkler system.

  • Comment number 32.

    West-Wales # 23:

    You said this:
    "Part of the problem is factual data;
    We know given the geo democratic and indigenous cultural diversity of the people of Wales assessing popular opinion through opinion polls is extraordinary difficult - the margin for error much larger than in other parts of the UK."

    For my own education could you say why the margin of error is greater for opinion polls in Wales than in other parts of the UK - any papers or links to sites that explain this phenonenon?

    Many thanks.

  • Comment number 33.

    Spending per pupil should be on everyone's agenda, perhaps the main reason for the disadvantageous discrepancy is the huge bureaucratic overhang. So much money spent before it gets anywhere near any classroom. Does this mean that more powers will equal more of the same? I think we should be told.
    Regards, etc.

  • Comment number 34.

    Tredwyn #29
    Thank for a sensible post - Busy at present will responsed properly as soon as possible.
    One point you ask;
    instead of campaigning to change the Welsh government do you want to abolish the Welsh government altogether

    I want to abolish the Welsh Government - I am trying to change it! but Ill explain later.

    Leigh #30
    Provocative - again not what I said.

    As for the excellent organ donor scheme The Welsh assembly Government have no rights over my body dead or alive, they cannot assume assent to harvest organs without express consent.

  • Comment number 35.


    Sorry that we missed you in Edinburgh. There are a few of us who were refugees from "Blether with Brian" during the 2010 Election who would at least liked to have said Hi if not bought you an expensive Coffee and Cake on the Royal Mile.

    The problem with both of the Devolved Settlements is clear in the headlines at the moment with The Scotland Bill.

    England Giveth and England can damned well Taketh Away.

    Any transfer or alteration of the Devolved Settlements is at the whim of Westminster, where the combined votes of Welsh and Scottish MPs of any persuasion can not overcome "the settled will" of the "UK" Government.

    How do we avoid this ?

    Why should the MP from, purely as an example, Norwich, Newcastle or Nottingham dictate to the people of Wales what laws they can and can not make.

    Would the people of London be happy if the voters of Cardiff decided on how London would be taxed in a separate way from Cardiff ?

    So that's how it stands. Scotland and Wales can enact the laws in the areas that England says it can, but we have no say on the laws of England and no say on the laws that effect "The UK" ?

    The Unionist Media in Scotland are currently trumpeting the words of the Late Donald Dewar (Secular Unionist Saint) in support of The Scotland Bill. "Devolution is a process, not an event".

    It is a process controlled by English MPs who know little and care less about Sponging Sweaties and Whining Welsh.

    Its time that the control passed to the people of Scotland and Wales, Sovereign and unfettered.

  • Comment number 36.

    re no 35
    just a question, does your logic of not having English MPs vote on Scotish or Welsh only isues also mean that Scotish and Welsh MPS should not vote on English only matters.
    As such an action would seem to me to support the case for further Devolution then should Scotish and Welsh MPs put their money where their mouth is and refrain from voting on English only issues at Westminster as a point of principal.

  • Comment number 37.

    #36 geoff drake

    SNP MPs do not vote on matters that concern only England as a matter of principle.

    I'm fairly sure that Plaid take the same attitude, although its a bit more difficult for them given the unified legal system in England and Wales, where changes to the law impact across both nations.

    However, "Scottish" Labour, Liberal and Tory MPs do vote on English Only Matters, including but not limited to the recent vote on Tuition Fees for Students, which affected only English Universities. It wouldn't have mattered if the Scottish MPs hadn't voted, the ConDems would still have had a majority on the vote.

    Why though, should Danny Alexander (Liberal), Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Constituency Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, whose constituents will not pay fees if they study at a Scottish University, vote in favour of increasing the fees charged to students from, for example, Witney, Sheffield Hallam or Doncaster North ? Why should Margaret Curran (Labour), Glasgow East, ask a planted question at PMQs about the same tuition fees, when her constituents will not pay those tuition fees if they study at a Scottish University.

    I don't think that any Scottish MP should vote on a matter that concerns only England. I think it wrong that what we shall politely call "development of the devolved settlement" should lie in the hands of MPs whose constituents will not be affected by that "development". Will the voters of Sheffield Hallam give a damn whether or not a future Scottish Government can vary the rate of income tax ? No, because it won't affect them. Why will Nick Clegg then vote for it in voting for the Scotland Bill ?

    If you think that's morally right, then keep voting Liberal, Labour or Tory.

  • Comment number 38.

    C'mon Chiefy, why don't you pack in your Brave Heart routine? Trying to stir up Welsh nationalism is an utterly lost cause, the mass of the population can only be classed as British.

    In the 2010 General Election, Plaid's vote share dropped from a pathetic 12% vote share to a humiliating 11%.

    Mind, saying that, Proper Welsh Labour, are still trying to hide behind Plaid's ever diminishing skirts!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    RE: M35 & 37
    Surely this is a complete misunderstanding of the current situation in Westminster, in fact Welsh, Scotish and Ulster MP's DO vote in bills which affect only England and English MP's CAN'T control what happens in some areas of life in Wales, Scotland and Ulster which are decided on by the devolved authorites, but paid for on a UK basis.
    Why, if the Scottish feel so hard-done-by with the current system, can't the scotch nationalist goverment organize an independence referendum, if what they say is to belived there would be a massive "yes" vote, they could then go to see the PM and negotiate their departure from the UK ?
    What's the delay then ? They've been in power since 2007...What happened to the "100 days to independence" or whatever it was ?
    Also, so the Welsh, Scottish and maybe Irish nat MP's don't vote on English only bills ? Given their numbers, doesn't really matter, does it ?

  • Comment number 40.

    38. Jack_Wilkinson

    Oh Jack, Jack, proud in aloof majesty, condescending down Zeus-like upon us poor deluded Nats from the eternal heights of the Rock of Union, your basket of thunderbolts by your side like a third-rate production of Wagner. Did somebody press the Nat-Alert Button ?

    If all you can come up with is the Braveheart stereotyping, I must be doing well.

    An intended and acknowledged "consequence" of Devolution when set up was that both of the Nationalist parties, Minorities at Westminster, would throw their main efforts to the Devolved administrations.

    That's where our game lies because that's where we can have the greatest benefit for the peoples of our nations. And oops, despite the way in which the electoral setup was rigged, PC and the SNP find themselves in Government. Strange that.

    As to the decline in the PC vote in 2010, much as up here in chilly Jockoland, the people of Wales fell for the Labour and Liberal Lie that the only way to prevent a Tory Government was to vote for them. Didn't work did it ?

    Good to hear from you again Jack. Be nice if you had some logical reasoned argument for a change instead of visceral stereotyping next time.

  • Comment number 41.

    39. merthyrmarkf

    Mark, I'm sorry, but you seem to be hammering two contradictory arguments here and are a bit light on the facts.

    Firstly, much like Jack, you give yourself away by name-calling. Calling somebody or something Scotch is like suggesting that somebody from west of the Dyke has a propensity for activities involving sheep and wellingtons. If that's the best you can do, once more, I'm up.

    Yes, as I said in my posts, Welsh, Scottish and Ulster MPs can and do vote on matters involving only England. I think that's wrong and without Labour's Feeble Forty from Scotland, Brown and Blair would have been in trouble on several votes in the last administration.

    Where is anything decided that applies to Scotland, Wales or Ulster which are decided on by the Devolved Administrations, but paid for on a UK basis ? I can't think of anything ? The Devolved Administrations receive a Block Grant from London, decided by London and the votes of English MPs to pay for those areas over which they currently have authority. Anything outside the remit of the Devolved Administrations is therefore the responsibility of Westminster, legislated for by Westminster and paid for by the UK Treasury, to which everyone on these islands contributes to. Some more than others.

    I don't know where you got this "100 days to Independence" thing from. Never heard that before. I have heard some real keich in the way of slogans from the SNP, but I don't think that was ever one of them.

    As the SNP is a minority administration (stop me if I'm boring you), they don't have a majority and therefore can not pass bills at a whim like, oh, for example, the last 13 wasted years of Labour or the next five frightening years of the ConDems. So the Unionist Parties, run from London, could vote it down before it even got before the People.

    What I can't understand is that if the Unionist parties were so certain that an Independence referendum would be lost, which, lets face it, would put Independence off the agenda for a generation, why did they vote it down ?

    Why are London Labour, London Liberals and London Tories so afraid of giving The People a say? In Particular, the Liberals, who at one point were calling for referenda on everything ? Why has Call-Me-Dave and Call-Him-Nick backed off so much from allowing a referendum on Europe ? Because once they are in, the People are an irrelevance.

    Your final point "...given their numbers, doesn't really matter does it ?". You reinforce my points admirably. Actually, there were several occasions in the last Labour Administration where the whipped votes of the Feeble Forty passed legislation that affected only England, whereas if only English MPs had voted, it would have failed. First vote on Tuition Fees for example.

    So Mark, if we don't matter that much, why not just let us go ? We are obviously such a drain on your poor Union, our votes don't really matter, so why keep us on ?

  • Comment number 42.

    Yes, No, Don't know!

    Politicians united behind the Yes vote ...

    ... yet I get the feeling that things are not quite right.

    ... as reported by the BBC, , Lib Dem local government spokeswoman Veronica German said: "The Labour-Plaid government wants the powers to allow a significant reorganisation of local government by ministerial decree with minimal consultation with the communities affected and next to no scrutiny and debate in the national assembly.

    I found a certain irony that for so many months Assembly supporters have denied such a claim, but for the record lets record the words that worry ...

    minimal consultation with ...
    next to no scrutiny and debate ...
    in the national assembly.

    Even with the expression of disquiet this Liberal politician must follow the Assembly whip, why, because if she doesn't she will be labelled as anti-welsh.

  • Comment number 43.

    I am afraid that Veronica German is playing to the gallery there, the amendment was submitted late, but is going to be subject to line by line scrutiny, by committee, by vote at plenary. The intended power is to be used when all else fails and is not to be used for wholesale reorganisation. May I remind you that the consultation for the last reorganisation was minimal - pushed through by a Tory secretary of state without the support of the majority of Welsh MPs. On the other hand Westminster imposed a whole new tax on Scotland against the wishes of the MPs for Scotland - which is more democratic? Id go for the National Assembly any day.

  • Comment number 44.

    43 ...

    Playing to the gallery or voicing real fears for democracy, the latter is the reality of this particular game by the Labour-Plaid administration at the Assembly, your submission that the sleight of hand proposals will be subjected to scrutiny by committee and vote ignores the importance of consultation with the communities, by ignoring those directly effected, that is the public, democracy is reduced to ...

    ... ministerial decree.

    Dictatorship by any other name.

    With regard to the past, two wrongs do not make a right, democracy is too fragile a commodity to risk it in any way.

    You might like to let us know what tax you refer to above.

    If it were not for Ron Davies standing in the next Caerphilly election for Plaid, this voter will lend his vote to Labour, I would be voting Liberal Democrat, it seems the Liberal mentality at the Assembly is the only voice of reason, well done Veronica German, Peter Black and Kirsty Williams.

  • Comment number 45.

    post script to 44 ...

    WAG's intention is that it [the power to merge Welsh local authorities] should be voted on next Wednesday (2 February) in Legislation Committee No. 3's meeting. It is worth noticing that WAG has a majority in both the Committee and Plenary, so unless Plaid Cymru were to rebel, there is little chance of these amendments being blocked. (Extracted from the druid of Anglesey.)

    ... anyone for democracy ?

  • Comment number 46.

    In reply to M41;
    If the people of Scotland are so poorly served by the Union, why is it the unionist parties are so popular ? I think the clue is in the SNP minority government, nationalism is a vocal but realatively small MINORITY. I find it hard to belive that if there was anywhere near the level of support for independence in Scotland needed to win a referendum no party in Westminster or Edinburgh would prevent it, surely this would lead to civil insurrection on a mass scale in Scotland ? Or at the very least the people deserting the mainstream unionist parties to vote SNP, either way, give us a shout when it starts to happen !
    The one thing the Welsh and Scottish nats have in common is "all mouth, no trousers" (a fine old Scotch saying !)

  • Comment number 47.

    46. merthyrmarkf

    1/ The Unionist Parties are also Minorities. The Assembly and the Parliament are administrations of Minorities. All that they can agree on is that whenever queried on Policy, the base response is "Its not what the Nats Say".

    2/ Again, no answer. A NO vote in a referendum would knock Independence off the agenda for a generation. Why did they not let the SNP bring that vote to the People ?

    3/ I think you'll find that "all mouth and no trousers" is generally attributed to the fine people of the county of Yorkshire.

    4/ Again, I cordially invite you to stop using the word Scotch. It is viewed as a pejorative phrase, generally used by those of low intellect who know no better. Please allow me to educate you. In referring to the people of the nation of Scotland, you should use the words Scots or Scottish. Try and be grown up about it.

  • Comment number 48.

    Re 47


    I can only apologise for the attitude of some of my fellow Welshmen.

  • Comment number 49.

    Tredwyn #29
    Sorry for the delay:)

    Firstly why do I support Devolution for Wales;
    Apart from a few major towns/cities and the associated urban conurbations, Wales is an area of small dispersed communities, each with its own heritage and culture.
    Partly because of geography, but mainly due to lack of development, transport links and other infrastructures issues, delivery of adequate Services, economic regeneration and the social issues that arise here need different solutions to the rest of the UK.
    This for me suggests a Local/Welsh Government administration is needed.

    So why do I not support giving more powers to WAG;
    I do not support Taflan Davies's view that the Welsh are uniquely incompetent but do agree with Adam Price who said The gap between the problems we face in Wales and the skill-set of the people we're drawing in to politics is huge.
    However despite that our AM's may not have the capabilities we would wish, they should still be able to improve the situation and quality of life for us in Wales.
    The reason they don't, and why more powers will compound the problem we face, can be summarised as;

    The set up and structure of the Assembly systems is inappropriate;
    The political balance is undemocratic, of the 60 AM's only 40 face the electorate, the rest are Party hacks, who owe allegiance to the party, not the voters. After all if you are at the top of your party list you have a seat whatever the voters say, and these 20 hold control.
    If we are to have PR lets have a different system that focus's on the person not the Party. AV would do.

    For many AM's and some Political Parties Devolution is seen not as a function, but as a Process toward divorcing Wales from Westminster and the UK, The Wales 2006 Act encourages and reinforces that process.

    The Senedd is not a debating chamber – there is no analysis or detailed discussion on the floor, many AM's are regularly absent or spend their time playing on computers.

    It is a unicameral legislature, the Senedd system does not encourage or allow a real analytical revising function, there are few if any checks and balances on the work of committees, scrutiny is inadequate.
    There is little in the systems and procedures for protection of the public or the individual from inappropriate legislation. Worse Public consultation appears simply to tick the box, it is not to inform the decision process, after all the decision has been made, if not yet made public..

    Remember this body generates over 3,000 new statutes a year. Many of them simple reworks of Westminster Legislation and probably unnecessary, all expensive to put on the books and even more costly for those who have to implement them.
    Also remember this curent arrangement is costing us £400M+ a year, expensive, and money that could well be spent elsewhere.

    The Assembly does not develop new solutions or seek answers to the special problems Wales has, centralisation is the answer, despite the problems it creates for our remote communities.
    The Assembly does not recognise that there should be, or seem to understand why there needs to be, a balance between Wealth Generation and Public Services.

    Finally your comment Everyone has the vote in Wales if they are over 18 so it's pathetic to talk of an 'undemocratic' institution remember only 25% voted for devolution 50% couldn't be bothered. Since 1999 no Assembly election achieved a turnout of more than 46%.
    It seems there is little interest or support in Wales for the Assembly, There certainly isn't public interest in the politicians frantic drive for still more powers.

    I will be Voting “No” because until the Assembly gets it act together it certainly should not be given more powers.

  • Comment number 50.

    Sorry Tredwyn #29 - it seems the moderators object to a detailed explanation of my reasons for disagreeing with you and voting "No".


    I disagree with Talfan Davies but agree with Adam Prices view of that we are not drawing people with adequate ability into Welsh Politics.

    Currently the WAG see Devolution as a process to remove Wales from the UK and not a responsibility to run the devolved functions.
    The Wales Act 2006 is part of that process.

    As is being discussed on Who's who.. The Devolution referendum had a turnout of just over 50%, no Assembly election has generated more than a 46% turnout,there is little interest in the doings of the Assembly nor is there public pressure for this increase in Powers - the only pressure is from the Political Activists and Parties.

    After all its not a case of the Welsh to get off their backsides and take responsibility for their affairs this is a project by a bunch of second rate politico's who want More & More Power.

  • Comment number 51.

    RE: M47, This is the ultimate get-out clause for the nats, if every view is a minority one, then you can just keep belly-aching about Westminter, the union etc.etc. with great plans and claims for independence, knowing that they will never be able to happen.
    Who, exactly, is preventing a scottish independence referendum then, the Westminster government, or the Edinburgh government, consisting of members elected, by the er.. Scottish electorate ? The same electorate which will vote in the referendum. Just get the thing done and settle it for a generation.
    Like I say all mouth, and indeed, no trousers.
    Time for a nice glass of scottish !


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