Friday, October 23, 2009

Will they or won't they

Tomos Livingstone must have been tipped off by a member of the Sir Emyr Jones Parry Commission. How else could he be sufficiently confident to write this article in today's Western Mail. In it, Tomos informs us that on Nov 18th, Sir Emyr is going to tell Rhodri Morgan that he believes a referendum should be held to discover whether or not the people of Wales want law making powers in all devolved policy areas to be granted to the National Assembly. Tomos also informs us that Sir Emyr believes that Wales would vote 'Yes' in such a referendum. He'd better be right about this. Otherwise, he'll look a bit daft.

For the purpose of discussion, lets imagine that Tomos is correct. What happens on Nov 19th. The Coalition Government will have run out of excuse for any further delay - unless either Labour, or Plaid Cymru, or both, do not actually want a referendum. Seems to me there is no reason whatsoever why the Sir Emyr Jones Parry Report could not be debated and voted on before the Xmas recess. The only possible reason not to proceed would be that Labour does not believe that Peter Hain, and his Labour colleagues would agree to a referendum. Peter Hain is on record as believing a referendum will be lost. Will Ieuan Wyn Jones really sacrifice the dream of his party to avoid internal embarrassment to Labour?

Now, I don't know whether there's enough time to hold a referendum before a General Election - but that's not really the point. Seems to me that if the House of Commons approved a referendum before an election, it would be more difficult for an incoming Conservative Government to reverse the position - even if it wanted to. If Tomos Livingstone is right, we are going to find out how big are the Welsh Labour and Plaid's gonads. Interesting times.

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