Ten years ago tonight, I was at the count in Llandrindod Wells after the referendum to decide if Wales was to have a National Assembly. I was one of ten representatives of the No side who had been nominated to ensure that there was no jiggery-pokery with the counting. During the campaign period, I had adopted a publicly neutral stance and had arranged a series of public meetings to outline what the vote was all about. Most people assumed that I wa a No man though. I'd set up the meetings with myself as the only speaker. There were some good turn-outs - usually dominated by opponents of devolution.
Anyway, it was a funny old night. To begin with, it looked like devolution was going down the pan - and then things improved for the Yes side - and then it turned against devolution again - before the Carmarthen result came through. The Yes supervisors (and all 10 were still there) stopped crying and started dancing with great joy and happiness. I was the only No person still there - and when the Yes team grabbed me in the general delirium, I just joined in. No point in missing a good party. Gwilym Fychan told me that he'd always suspected that I was a devolutionist - so there was no objection to me partaking of a celebratory tincture. Ironically, all the No team, except me, had gone home thinking that devolution had been defeated. Nasty wake up call for them all next morning.
As driving home about 5.00 in the morning, I knew that there was inevitably going to be a major change in the way Wales would be governed. There would be no going back. I also knew that what had been agreed was a hopeless compromise, and that eventually full law making powers in devolved areas would inevitably be granted. I still think the Assembly is a hopeless compromise and full law making powers are inevitable. Wouldn't it be a something really special for me (and the greatest of ironies) if a referendum to create such a 'Parliament' were to become official Conservative policy at the next General Election. I'd be a very happy candidate indeed.