I do not believe that many commentators on Welsh politics have acknowledged the significance of David Cameron's statement last Friday that a Conservative Government led by him would not veto a formal request for a referendum on extra powers for the National Assembly for Wales. The 6th of November, 2009 was a very big day for Welsh politics. Since it delivered one of the main objectives behind my decision to seek selection as a Parliamentary candidate, please forgive me for seeming pleased. The churlishness of those who wish the Conservative Party ill only adds to my pleasure. The current Secretary of State, Peter Hain (and none come more churlish than he) has made himself look very silly indeed. The best that most of them can throw at us is the literally incredible suggestion Cameron will not keep this promise. Ah well. Bit like Warren Gatland moaning about the referee.
Regular visitors will know that this blog has been totally committed to campaigning for the transfer to the National Assembly for Wales of law making powers in all currently devolved policy areas since its birth. Its one of the reasons I started it. They will also know that this blog has been deeply frustrated by the prevarication and lack of purpose in the Assembly's governing parties. They will also know that I've thought the reason for this is that both Labour and Plaid Cymru have planned to call for the referendum when the decision to grant it would fall to Conservative Government. At least some of the individual elected representatives of the two parties did not want a referendum, and hoped they could 'blame' the Conservatives for not agreeing to it. Well all that nonsense has been buried. The ball is right back in the Labour and Plaid's court. The importance of Sir Emyr Jones Parry's statement on the 18th promises to make it a real red letter day for Wales. If he says "Go for it", there'll be more squirming on the top floor of the National Assembly than at a lap dancing club - as new delaying tactics are searched for. Nick Bourne can look forwards to a series of long hops and open goals.
Must admit I'm really pleased. I'm no 'nationalist' but across the political world, its the right-of-centre parties that have championed the cause of regionalism, and promoted minority languages. For some reason this is not the case in Wales - despite the brilliance (in a downplayed subtle sort of way) of Lord Roberts of Conwy. There is just one further point I want to make before ending this post. It relates to the assumption, by some who should know better, that if there is a referendum under a Conservative Government, it will be a case of Conservative AMs campaigning for a Yes, and MPs campaigning for a No. Dear readers, it depends who is elected, and how influential those individual MPs will be. Interesting times ahead!