The BBC tells us that Plaid Cymru leader, Iuean Wyn Jones has started the process (which this blog has been predicting for a few weeks) of preparing the ground to renege on his promise to his loyal membership that there would be a referendum on law making powers 'in or before 2011'. If you recall, this was the ploy he used to persuade his members to prop up Rhodri Morgan in office last May, rather than lead a 'Rainbow Coalition' himself. I didn't think he really believed in it then - and I think he knows its a 'dead duck' now. So he's looking to get his excuses in first.
Its now over 9 months since the Labour-Plaid agreement was consummated. We have already had a full pregnancy term - and still no sign of any birthpangs. We haven't even had the morning sickness yet. All we've had is an announcement of a 'Convention' to be led by an impressive name, Sir Emyr Jones-Parry, the purpose of which remains as clear as mud. An arthritic snail would have generated more momentum. The Convention 'might' be up and running sometime later this year, and it will need at least 18 months to report. By then we're into the run-in in to the next Assembly Election. Woops. Big promise overboard.
So Ieuan needs excuses - Now. Things are becoming obvious to the troops. So why not blame Conservative and Labour MPs. Doesn't matter if there's no justification. The fact is that neither I, nor he has heard anything we weren't expecting. We knew that in the negotiations, Rhodri Morgan was not speaking for his MPs. We all knew that. And its no good complaining about MPs asking questions about the Legislative Competence Orders they are looking at. No way were MPs going to just rubber stamp things. If I could see that the Government of Wales Act is a 'Recipe for Conflict', why could not Plaid Cymru. No, the MPs are doing the job that Peter Hain told them they would be doing when he was persuading them to put this divisive Act on the Statute Book. Ieuan Wyn Jones has been taken for a ride. The interesting question is whether he knew it at the time.
My view is that we may see the referendum in 2012, and that's nothing like certain. Just don't pretend that you didn't see this coming Ieuan. Not all of us were born yesterday.