An issue that this blog posts on regularly is the relationship between the UK Parliament and the National Assembly. Its one of the main issues which drives my desire to become a Member of Parliament. There are two sides to any transfer of legislative power, and in my opinion, the discussions at Westminster are every bit as important as debate in Cardiff Bay. MPs are crucial to the success of this process. So I like to keep an eye on what the Chair of the proposed Convention that is being set up to look at this issue is saying. Yesterday, Sir Emyr Jones Parry was speaking to 'Wales in London' about the issue.
I think Sir Emyr is wise not to commit himself to a referendum on law making powers at this stage, because his Convention may well decide not to recommend one. Currently, those who still don't accept devolution are generally opposed to the idea of a referendum. And in 18 months time, those who do accept it may begin to agree with them, if the system of transferring power by Legislative Competence Orders which has been in place since last May proves to be successful.
Since the Convention was announced, the only worthwhile purpose I've been able to identify for it is engagement with those who oppose the whole idea of devolution. This is why I was pleased to read that Sir Emyr intends to listen to what he calls 'ordinary' people, (Y Werin), rather than those who are closely involved in the political world. Regular readers of this blog know that I personally favour law making powers being invested in the National Assembly (in devolved subject areas). I expected many people, some in my own party, to disagree with me about this. Now this is fair enough, but I've been disappointed that those who disagree through comments on this blog, don't seem to want to engage in serious debate. Comments tend to be anonymous and quite abusive.
Devolution is changing the way Wales is being governed. Many people remain unhappy about this process. The challenge facing Sir Emyr's Convention is to persuade these devo-skeptics to engage in debate in a considered and realistic way. I must admit that I would not be too unhappy to stick with the current power transferring system if a wide consensus could be created in support of it. The next 18 months are going to be very interesting.