Ideas, policies, debates - how to get Wales noticed

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Media captionAre the days of Welsh MPs at Westminster numbered?

Christmas has come early for constitutional geeks who can spend the next few months enjoying a time when constitutional issues dominate the domestic political agenda.

If, on the other hand, you're the sort of person whose eyes glaze over at the mention of the Barnett formula, you might wish to skip invitations to Pontcanna dinner parties for a while.

I asked historian Hywel Williams where the referendum left us. He told me: "It leaves the United Kingdom and its constitutional experts, so-called, with a vast agenda of interviews, programmes, debates, constitutional conferences, all the things that really excite constitutional experts and take us away from the real business of making Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England richer and freer.

"It confronts us with the terrible prospect of an increasing number of discussions also about Joel Barnett and his famous formula which has been the basis of several broadcasting careers over the past thirty years and more.

"In its long and very inglorious history, particularly in relationship to Wales, it has engineered the disillusioning spectacle of a whole series of Welsh politicians who seem to think that the only job in politics in Wales is to extract as much money from the Treasury as they can possibly get - rather than creating real jobs, real ideas, real policies inside Wales that make Wales more rich, more creative, more adventurous."

Williams worked as a special adviser to John Redwood during his time as secretary of state for Wales so he seemed the right person to ask about the difficulty of getting Wales's voice heard in a Westminster political climate that may now be largely focused on England.

"I think the difficulty about getting Wales's voice heard in Westminster is actually a reflection of the poverty of Welsh political ideas. Were Welsh political ideas to be more energetic, more creative, more enterprising, more attention-grabbing then there wouldn't be a particular problem in getting Wales's voice heard.

"The problem about getting Wales's voice heard reflects the poverty, the intellectually under-nourished nature of the Welsh political debate, not the obsessions of a supposedly English governing class, whether posh or otherwise."