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

Flying visits

Betsan Powys | 13:43 UK time, Monday, 14 February 2011

The momentum really feels like it's building now.

In the Senedd this morning, the Electoral Commission are rehearsing for their results announcements on March 4th, as the results come in from the local counts through that day.

I'll soon be making my way to Aberystwyth for the first of our "Wales Debates" programmes which you can see tonight on BBC1 Wales at 2235.

Andrew Neil from the Daily Politics is on the desk next to me poring over scripts for his programme which is coming from the Senedd today and focusing on the referendum and Assembly election in May. Has he detected a strength of feeling either way on his visit to Wales? "Zero. Zilch." But he's not exactly surprised. Until the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly are fully in charge of the purse strings and are accountable for every penny they raise and spend, how can you get properly excited? That they're not is, in his blunt view, a fundamental weakness in the devolution settlement from the start.

The Yes for Wales campaign are breathing a sigh of relief that the figure fronting their one million printed leaflets had a good weekend. I'm talking about Shane Williams of course, who bagged a brace against Scotland. The cheers would have been particularly loud in the YfW offices, I suspect.

The No campaigners are also busy, their mascot not a rugby player but a large pink inflatable pig that's flying today outside the Senedd. I don't need totell you where on the pig the word 'NO' appears.

And one of the most high profile figures in True Wales - and a frequent visitor to this blog - has decided to strike out on his own. Len Gibbs has registered with the Electoral Commission as a permitted participant under the name "March 3 is 'Vote NO! Day'"

In characteristically robust style, he introduces his new website with the words:

"The most immediate reaction of many will be, 'Len Gibbs has quarrelled with True Wales'. And then they will ask, "Why?"

"The first question is easy to answer, "He hasn't."

"The second question is as easily answered. "He hasn't."

Any clues in his press release? "He has supported True Wales as a pro-devolution group but has increasingly become aware that there are a large number of people who want to re-evaluate the role of the National Assembly for Wales". True Wales, he believes, are hamstrung by their policy of NOT calling for that 're-evaluation' of the current devolution settlement.

So that's that then. A True Wales figure told me, "Len is an individual and he felt he needed to be freer to express his views. But he'll still campaign with us."

Overall, then, how are things looking? Polling data remains scarce but in terms of empirical evidence perhaps it's best told by a tale of two Jonathans - both firm supporters of further powers.

The Tory AM Jonathan Morgan, says the two reactions he's encountered most often when out canvassing have been scepticism and apathy and seems genuinely concerned that the vote could be a No.

The Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards says he's encountered more support in those parts of his constituency that were most sceptical last time round. Hard work but cool heads is his line and seems quitely confident that the vote could be a Yes.


or register to comment.

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.