Friday, 25 February 2011
Less than one week to go
We are less than one week away from the referendum on Assembly powers; just seven days away from people in Wales deciding whether or not our country should have a stronger voice.
This poll is crucial to the prospects of our country and there can be no room for complacency as we make one last push to convince voters that a ‘yes’ vote is a vote for common sense.
It is an argument that we are winning in the media, in public debates and through canvassing in the streets and over the phones. No campaigners have conducted a dirty tricks campaign based upon rubbishing the Welsh Assembly, its record and perpetuating myths about the implications of delivering a more accountable and democratic law-making system to the people of Wales. It is tantamount to saying that, here in Wales, we do not deserve the same legislative responsibility conferred to the people of Northern Ireland and Scotland because we are somehow inferior and need the approval of Westminster whenever we want to do something. This line of argument is insulting to peoples' intelligence.
Even for those who take a dim view of the Assembly’s performance, it should make sense to support moving to a system that would result in more accountablily. I am of the view that devolution has delivered many benefits, particularly for working people in Wales, but the referendum is not about these success stories. It is about process and whether the people of Wales want to stick with the expensive and convoluted status quo or move to a simpler, leaner and more efficient means of passing legislation.
In light of who has the keys to Number 10 Downing Street and who holds the purse strings at the Treasury, a strong Yes vote takes on even more importance. The stronger the Yes vote, the stronger is Wales's voice.
We have a chance to be waking up in a country with brighter prospects and a stronger voice by the end of next week. Let's hope the vote of confidence in the principle of devolution and in our country is a big one.