D-Day: September 18
Briefing by Vaughan Roderick, Welsh Affairs Editor, BBC Wales
Part 4. You decide
The referendum in Wales will be held on September 18, one week after the Scottish vote. The government claims that the different dates have been set to ensure that the Welsh proposals are given full coverage in the UK media. Cynics suggest that it’s an attempt to achieve a bandwagon effect with a"Yes" in Scotland influencing voters in Wales.
The chances of the "Yes" side are also heightened by the decision to hold the refendum prior to the passing of the main devolution legislation. The government insists that this is to facilitate the passing of what will be a highly complex bill.
In reality the 1979 experience showed that the process of scrutinising the legislation would inevitably highlight weaknesses and problems rather than the strengths of the bill.
Prior to the referendum, a popular summary of the White Paper will be distributed to all households. This follows the pattern of the 1975 European referendum rather than the previous devolution polls. Although the government insists that the summary, along with other government advertising, will be politically neutral, the “No” campaign believes it will inevitably be biased.
Unpublished Labour focus-group research suggests that the more electors are exposed to the arguments the more likely they become to support the proposals. However even-handed the government material is, Labour is convinced that it will help the devolution cause.
THE BALLOT PAPER
Due to the fact that the people of Wales and Scotland will be asked to vote for
different bodies - in Scotland a Parliament and in Wales an Assembly - the
ballot papers are different in both countries.
In Scotland there will be two
papers asking the people to vote for a Parliament or not, and the second paper
will ask the people if they agree that the Parliament should have tax-varying
powers. The Welsh people will be presented with a single ballot paper asking
whether they are in favour of a Welsh Assembly or not.
FORM OF THE WELSH BALLOT PAPER|
Parliament has decided to consult people in Wales to the Government's
proposals for a Welsh Assembly|
Mae'r Senedd wedi penderfynu ymgynghori â phobl yng Nghymru ar gynigion y
Llywodraeth ar gyfer Cynulliad i Gymru
Put a Cross (X) in the appropriate box|
Rhowch groes (X) yn y blwch priodol.
|I AGREE THAT THERE SHOULD BE A WELSH
YR WYF YN CYTUNO Y DYLID CAEL
CYNULLIAD I GYMRU
I DO NOT AGREE THAT THERE SHOULD
BE A WELSH ASSEMBLY|
NID WYF YN CYTUNO Y DYLID CAEL
CYNULLIAD I GYMRU
All electors on the local government electoral roll in Wales will be entitled to vote but no provision has been made for "Welsh exiles" to cast a ballot, a decision that has caused some resentment. Votes will be counted on a local authority basis at 22 counting centers.
The results will be announced in the early hours of Friday September 19, both locally and at a national counting centre. There are no provisions for a re-count.