Just been watching Dragon's Eye where the only issue tonight was whether we should have a referendum on granting law making powers to the National Assembly. Or more accurately, whether we should grant those powers by referendum before or in 2011 - or carry on granting them bit by bit as is happening now. The programme was based on a BBC sponsored poll, published today, which recorded that 49% supported law making powers, while 42% were against. While this confirms a trend in public opinion towards law making powers, the result is far too close for any meaningful prediction to be deduced about the likely result of any referendum.
I have to admit that I found the whole discussion hopelessly confused - and as soon as I saw the studio set-up, I knew it would be. Most of the discussion seemed to be about whether or not law making powers should be granted, in principle. Only David Melding made the crucial point that law making powers are already being granted under the Government of Wales Act (through the back door as David so accurately said). In passing, I have to say how much I detest this meaningless phrase that Mike German uses about giving the Assembly 'the tools to do the job'. Problem is that 7 people discussing an issue in the studio never produces anything sensible. If there were to be a referendum, I hope that there would some more informative debate than the disjointed non-discussion that I've just witnessed.
The only really interesting bit was the interview with Dafydd Iwan. He said "If Labour backtrack over the referendum by 2011, the coalition will be over and done with". Since it looks increasingly likely that there will not be a referendum by 2011,I thought Rhun missed a trick by not majoring in on this comment, particularly since the father of the current act, Peter Hain had said very clearly this afternoon (on BBC) that he couldn't foresee a referendum by 2011. So when is the balloon going to go up? The Lib Dems are already licking their lips.