Good post by Liberal Democrat Assembly Member, Peter Black this morning. Subject is the much talked about referendum on National Assembly powers that the governing Coalition Government is committed to holding before 2011. Regular readers will know that I no longer believe there is any intention to hold this referendum - but to delay telling us this for as long as possible.
Peter points out that the power transfer which would be proposed in a referendum is not as significant as many people assume. The new position could not remotely be compared with the powers of the Scottish Parliament, where two thirds of the work concerns criminal justice, a policy area not devolved to Wales. In fact, its quite misleading to refer to 'more powers' at all. What the referendum would be about is making some sense of the 2006 Government of Wales Act, which was significant, and did transfer law making powers to the Assembly - but by just about the most complex bureaucratic process imaginable. Its a process that few people understand, and could not be better designed to create conflict between the UK Government and the National Assembly. And it becoming gradually more complex as the Secretary of Wales introduces new innovations as the orders transferring law making capacity go through..
Anyway, I won't repeat all of Peter's post. But I do recommend reading it. I agree with a lot of it - though I would not become part of any official 'Yes' campaign myself. I would probably support a 'Yes' campaign, but I don't want to be sharing platforms with others who have an ideological commitment to what can loosely be described as 'the slippery slope' philosophy. What I want is a stable and balanced UK constitution, based on clear accountability of politicians for the decisions that they take. Where a policy area is devolved, it should be fully devolved. We need to know who to blame.